Classic, Exotic, and Performance Vehicles

1972 Chevrolet Nova Sleeper


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Engine 496ci
Transmission 4-Speed Automatic
Drive RWD
VIN 1X27D2W231225
Mileage 70,582
Exterior Green
Interior Green
Stock NO 1797
Fuel economy


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It doesn’t get much more “sleeper” than this.  At first glance you might see just an ordinary grocery-getter Nova; an original 6-cylinder bench seat car that still wears most of its original paint, void of any splitters, spoilers, flares, or the like.  Still, a more astute eye might spot the CalTracs hanging underneath, or those unusually large exhaust tips.  But light that 496ci fire under the hood and the jig is up; that sound isn’t going to fool anyone. Throw in a built 700R4 overdrive transmission, 9” rear end, upgraded suspension, and 4-wheel disc brakes and it’s clear this car means business.

This 1972 Nova was living a quiet life in southern Missouri when everything changed dramatically.  We’re talking about a factory 6-cylinder that was nobody’s race car.  The code 48 Sequoia Green paint remains almost completely original, showing a great patina that some painters try hard to duplicate.  Similarly, the original body exhibits a few dings but has avoided the ravages of rust or any major accident trauma.  It was the perfect starting point for a sleeper build!  The bumpers, grille, lenses, and some trim items had been replaced along the way to keep things looking nice.  The car also received a new set of Wheel Vintiques 15” steel wheels with Chevrolet hub caps and BF Goodrich redline tires (215/70 front, 255/60 rear).

Now let’s talk about what really makes this car tick.  While this big block Chevy might wear a 396ci sticker on its air cleaner, the truth is greater than that.  It is actually a fully balanced 496 ci stroker engine with forged pistons, a hydraulic roller camshaft, and aluminum Pro Comp cylinder heads.  Other features include a Brodix HVH aluminum intake manifold, Holley 850 cfm Ultra Double Pumper carburetor, and an MSD ignition.  Still, while there is tremendous power and torque under foot, this tire spinning beast remains reliable, streetworthy, and runs on pump gas.  Cooling uses an aluminum radiator (disguised as an original) with mechanical and electric cooling fans, while the exhaust is a dual 3” Magnaflow setup.

This Nova is more than just a big engine though.  The transmission is an Animal Performance 700R4 Revenger automatic overdrive unit with a locking 12” converter and both a Derale cooling pan and an external cooler.  This is followed by a Ford 9” rear end with 3.70 gears and 31-spline Moser axles.  There is a set of Hotchkis bolt-in subframe connectors to prevent excessive body twisting.  To ensure a good launch the rear suspension uses Calvert monoleaf springs, 9-way adjustable shocks, and CalTrac traction bars.  Up front is a large Addco sway bar and power steering.  And rounding out this total package are power 4-wheel disc brakes with a parking brake. 

The interior is almost all original and accentuates the sleeper theme (the factory A52 bench seat certainly does not suggest a performance car).  Like the exterior, it shows some wear but is complete and in surprising condition for its age.  It is finished in its original dark green vinyl and has a rubber floor!  It all ties in perfectly with the exterior look.  The seats, door panels, and headliner are in remarkable condition overall.  Flaws are primarily some cracks in the dash pad and a few small tears ahead of the package tray.  The factory equipment works properly including the lights, turn signals, wipers, horn, heater, AM radio, and even the key buzzer.  A tachometer has been tucked into the instrument cluster while the MSD box resides in the glove compartment, but there is no hiding the B&M Stealth Magnum shifter or the Stewart Warner Green Line underdash gauges.  Note the car comes with a nice stack of receipts too.

This is one of the coolest Novas out there.  It has such a modest look with its unmolested body and interior, but is ready to stomp with a very effective drivetrain and mechanicals.  Still, this is not some over-the-top build; you can actually drive and enjoy this car on the street.  It's definitely not your grandma’s Nova - even if it looks like that way.



  • Power Steering
  • AM Radio
  • Power Brakes

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