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Projects Is it worth it buying this drivetrain

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 54LedSled, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. 54LedSled
    Joined: Mar 11, 2011
    Posts: 362

    54LedSled
    Member

    Came across a late 70s ('78) Nova 4 door (ugly brown) original survivor with 60,000 miles on it. Guy says the car is in good condition, just been sitting in storage. Runs and drives, 350/350 factory setup. I was thinking of scooping it up and using the full drivetrain down the road in my 54 belair. I think the 350 is a factory 160hp motor, how costly would it be to beef that up a bit? Would the swap be worth it? Any thoughts. Does anyone know how the front suspension is setup on that year nova?

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  2. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,681

    325w
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Depending on cost? Your going to need short water pump so you loose the drive pulleys. Ac and alt. brackets. Don't remember if rear is too wide.
    .
     
  3. How much do they want for the car? HRP
     
  4. 54LedSled
    Joined: Mar 11, 2011
    Posts: 362

    54LedSled
    Member

    Oppps, $1500. I was thinking of offering him $1000. The factory rear end has final 2.41 highway gear, 60 1/4 inches. My current rear end is 60 inches.

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  5. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,295

    slowmotion
    Member

    What HRP said^^^. I'd think the rear would be that same width as an F body. Those would have been the narrowest offered at the time. Grandish or under would get me lookin'. The 350/350 combo is tried & true, as bellybutton as it gets. But it works.
     
  6. Paul B
    Joined: Sep 29, 2007
    Posts: 890

    Paul B
    Member

    My 53 sedan delivery has a 74 nova front clip and rear end under it. had the 6 in also but I put a small block in it.
     
  7. Speed Gems
    Joined: Jul 17, 2012
    Posts: 3,851

    Speed Gems
    Member

    Like Slowmotion says the 350/350 combo is as bellybutton as it gets but would cost less to "Beef up" then it would to rebuild the old stovebolt so if the I.F.S and rest of the drivetrain fits under your '54 and you really want a v8 then I'd say buy it.
     
  8. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,608

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Good 350s aren't as easy to find as they used to be. Yours sounds like a good one. I don't know if I would pay that much just to scrap it. The car must be in pretty good shape.

    Front suspension is integrated into the body and not useful for a swap.

    That one may be too good to scrap, you should be able to find a powertrain for less.

    You ask about a way to beef it up a bit. There is a tried and true hop up that has been duplicated thousands of times with good results. It goes something like this.

    Basic 350 stock rebuild but with an RV cam, Edelbrock intake and Quadrajet, 1 3/4 headers and dual exhaust. This is a good combination for a daily driver car or pickup truck. Gets you an extra 30 or 40 HP over stock plus 2 or 3 MPG gain.

    Dates back to the eighties, no doubt there are better cams today but the basic formula still works.
     
  9. Gerrys
    Joined: May 1, 2009
    Posts: 327

    Gerrys
    Member

    78 Nova is front steer. Using the subframe will cause problems with fit of front sheet metal. 350/350 combo ok make sure its a 350/350 not a 305/200.
     
  10. You would probably get $1000 back for the parts you use and maybe another $200 from salvaging the rest.

    If you want to save the parts for yourself, it's worth it. If you're trying to flip, that's alot of work for $200...
     
  11. racer32
    Joined: Sep 22, 2007
    Posts: 745

    racer32
    Member

    The rear axle and front suspension clip from 78 Nova is the same as a 70-81 Camaro. Buy for a grand, keep the engine/trans, strip out the wiring harness for parts/projects, sell the "Camaro" clip, and scrap whatever else you don't use. A whole car can supply a LOT of small parts, bolts, etc. that'll come in useful.
     
  12. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,233

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    I am with those that recommend using the driveline but not the front suspension clip. There are far better choices for upgrading the front of your Chevy.
     
  13. the 350/350 in my `28 Tudor came out of a `77 Nova. after a complete rebuild and an upgrade in camshaft and carb/intake it has been fine for the last 18 years. i can spin the tires all i want.

    yours doesn't sound like it needs a rebuild , but i suggest you do as i did with the cam/carb/intake. maybe even add a set of headers. while you are in there put in a new timing set. 1978 was the early years of the new EPA regulations and nothing ran worth a crap from the factory.
     
  14. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,479

    Squablow
    Member

    I have no real opinion on the drivetrain, but I will tell you that the later 70's Novas have a following and parts are not reproduced, I think if you're eBay savvy, you could sell a lot of parts off of the car. Bumpers, grille and headlights, tail lights, all the dash parts, seat belts, handles, and on and on. It would take a lot of free time, but if the car is clean, I bet you could damn near make your $1000 back selling off the pieces you don't need. The core supports are also valuable if they're solid, but they are a hassle to ship. Front fenders, too.

    I usually cut the roof skin and hood/trunk off of cars I junk out since it's a nice big sheet of clean steel to make patch panels and stuff out of.

    I 2nd whoever said make sure it's actually a 350/350.
     
  15. 54LedSled
    Joined: Mar 11, 2011
    Posts: 362

    54LedSled
    Member

    Thanks guys for all the tid bits and advise. I think I may take a drive out to see it on saturday and see exactly what I'm working with. I agree I could turn a profit on alot of the parts with some time and patience. Bummer on the front clip but, I've always planned on using one of the several mustang 2 kits offered for my car anyway.



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  16. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,250

    squirrel
    Member

    didn't we already answer this question?
     
  17. 54LedSled
    Joined: Mar 11, 2011
    Posts: 362

    54LedSled
    Member

    Yea, squirrel, but it got deleted for some reason before I could even check it out :( had to repost

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  18. Imperial66
    Joined: Jul 16, 2012
    Posts: 76

    Imperial66
    Member
    from NC

    You can pick up a little HP on that smog motor, with a set of 305 HO heads. They'll bump your compression up a point or 2. The cast # on the real 305 HO heads are 416. I seen a few sets on CL for about 100.00 dollars.
     
  19. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,250

    squirrel
    Member

    so...you needed to repost, so it could be redeleted....great

    Consensus was you'd be paying a lot more money than the drivetrain is worth. If you could get the car for $500 it might be worth it, but then it would probably be more worthwhile to flip it and make some money, to buy more appropriate parts.
     
  20. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,185

    Mr48chev
    Member

    It sounds a bit spendy just for a drivetrain that may or may not be up to putting a lot of miles on it before you do something to it.

    I do go along with figuring that you need to sell every piece off the car that will bring you a return on your initial investment though. That is what will in the end give you a drivetrain with a low investment. The good thing is that you can tweak on the engine before you ever pull it so that you have the engine and trans all squared away when you pull them and drop them in the 54.
     

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