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My 1976 Nova SS NovaResource
The Incident
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The damage
The incident occurred back in April of 1992. While driving home from work, a lady in a Nissan NX decided to make a left turn from the right lane while I was next to her. I left an impression of the front of my Nova in her drivers door. Her car was totaled and I drove mine home with only this damage. I was extremely lucky that there was no damage to the very hard to find grille. The grille is exclusive to 76 SS and 77 thru 78 Rally Novas. This one was found in a junkyard on a 77 Rally which is why the Rally Nova emblem is on there. I later found an SS emblem to replace it. You will also notice the 68 thru 72 SS hood grilles. I loved the way they looked. When the steel hood was later replaced with fiberglass cowl induction one, these grilles went into hibernation in my basement. I hope to install them on another Nova someday.

Top view
From this view you can see the fender extension is completely destroyed. When it cracked, it bent the fender where they bolted together. Parts list: 1 fender, 1 fender extension.

Front view
From this view you can see the fender extension was pushed into the headlight bucket and cracked it. Add to parts list: 1 headlight bucket.

Side view
The bumpers of 74 thru 79 Novas are bolted to shocks to absorb 5-mph impacts. The shock did its job but didn't extend back out. The bumper is now closer to the body on the passenger side. I'll replace them both since they are 16 years old. Add to parts list: 2 bumper shocks.

The bumper
Because the bumpers give and the impact was more than 5-mph, the bumper was pushed into the fender where wrinkled it. You can also see that the top of the bumper is buckled up because the outside edge has been bent in towards the fender. The bumper isn't bent that bad, however, so it will remain until it's replaced later with a fiberglass one.

Black eye
First I removed the broken fender extension and headlight bucket.
It makes the Nova look like it has a black eye.

The driver side headlight bucket was removed so it could be repainted
at the same time I paint the new passenger side bucket.

Next off was the front bumper.

Side profile
A cool side shot of the front without the fender extensions or bumper.

No Hood
"Off with her Hood!"

Bumper Shocks
Here the bumper shocks were removed. For 75 thru 79 Novas, the shocks fit inside the frame and are held in with 5 bolts. 4 on the front and one at the rear of the shock. 74 is the only other year Nova with these bumpers. Because the 74 frame is the same as the 68 thru 73 Novas, a special bracket is bolted to the outside of the frame rails. The shocks then mount inside those brackets.

Old Fender
Here is the old fender off the car. That's the hood in the background.

Fenderless Fenderless
Here's a look at the Nova without the fender. The inside wheel well was left in place. Since the fender is off, I decided to finally replace the blower motor. It worked 90% of the time, but on very cold days, it would squeal like a stuck pig. The bearings were shot.

A/C Box A/C Box
The old motor is out and ready for the new one. These pictures show the A/C box very well. The small hose to the lower right of the hole provides cool air to the blower motor.

Blower Motors
The old motor is on the left, the new one is on the right. The
new motor is physically smaller and has a shorter fan as well.

New Blower Motor
The new motor installs very easily. Because the A/C box is plastic,
be careful not to over-torque the bolts and strip out the holes.
Bumper Shocks
This is the new (left) and old (right) bumper shocks. You can see how much the impact collapsed the shock. This is why the bumper was still pushed in on the passenger side. There is a small bracket that bolts to the back of the shock. It allows the rear of the shock to be bolted to the frame. A bolt passes through the frame into the bracket.

Bumper Shocks Installed
Here the bumper shocks are installed in the frame.

New Fender New Fender
My good friend Brian (on the right) and his father hold up the brand new GM fender for me to photograph. Brian prepped and primered it for me. The new fender extension and the fender to bumper filler are already installed. The pic on the right shows the inside of the fender and the radiator overflow bottle. It tucks inside the fender nicely.

Fender Installed Fender Installed
The new fender is back on and fits great. It's starting to look like a Nova again.

A good look at the fender extension and the fender to bumper filler.
The marker light and engine emblem fit great.

Hood Installation Hood Installation
The hood is back on and the fender lines-up perfectly. All that's left to do is to install bumper and headlight buckets. I don't know why there aren't any pictures of the completed job. Either I ran out of film or I was too excited to drive it again and forgot to take a pic.

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Main Page Copyright 1999 Scott Windle Created on: 03/06/99