A 1977 Chevrolet Nova raced by the Intimidator himself just sold for $209,000 at Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach auction.
Likely a contributing factor to the car’s impressive auction result, other than its race-winning provenance with Dale Earnhardt behind the wheel, is that this car represents the origin of Earnhardt’s signature black-and-silver GM Goodwrench paint scheme.
Interestingly, the car sold for just $53,000 at a Bonham’s auction at Amelia Island just a month prior, proving that the right venue can make or break a sale.
The car began its life as a Pontiac Ventura, but was converted to a Chevrolet Nova by Dale Earnhardt and brother-in-law Robert Gee Jr to take advantage of some aerodynamics afforded the Chevrolet in NASCAR’s Busch Series. The Ventura and Nova rode on GM’s X-body platform, along with the Oldsmobile Omega and Buick Apollo/Skylark, and like a lot of GM’s badge engineering, the same body shells were used by multiple brands, distinguished only by grille and trim variations.
By 1975 GM had added big bumpers to the Nova and the rest of the X-body line, so while it wasn’t as striking as its 1968 forebear, its new greenhouse was rather handsome. This NASCAR version proves, however, that just about anything can look good as a race car.
As per NASCAR rules, power comes from a 358-cubic-inch small-block Chevy. It’s backed by a four-speed manual and is said to produce more than 700 horsepower. It was previously in the collection of Zak Brown, the McLaren Racing CEO. Not Zac Brown the country artist, although who wouldn’t like a Dale-driven ‘77 Nova?
1977 Chevrolet Nova "Dale Earnhardt NASCAR"