Frozen Nova Waits for Spring, Questions Oil Consumption

By Mike Mello

What happens when you freeze a 1978 Chevy Nova in a block of ice? You put a car’s life on hold while the elements work it over until Spring arrives. Sounds like a pretty good way to make a statement about technology and the environment.

Two artists, Mary Carothers and Sue Wrbican, have put together the Frozen Car Project, installed on the grounds of Michigan Tech University. At any time, you can view the webcam and monitor the Nova’s frozen status as conditions change from now until the Spring thaw. Will the ice help preserve this product of the mid-1970s Oil Crisis; a car originally developed to deliver good gas mileage? Will the Nova suffer any accelerated deterioration as its materials react to being encased in ice? What will people think about when comparing this machine to the natural world? Will it urge you to think about the importance of saving fuel?
These are the kinds of questions I’ll be mulling over when checking out the Frozen Car Project blog. The ’78 Nova at the heart of the installation is, by today’s standards, a relic, and is what some would call a gas hog – even though it was more of a gas miser when new. As old technology becomes outdated, this kind of project reminds me of today’s most economical cars and where we’ll be 30 years from now.
Edit: The engine and other fluids were removed from the car.
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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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  1. I gues this is what would be considered performance art, even if the performance is v-e-r-y long, you know, until all of the ice melts. I guess I’m an art philistine, but it’s not doing anything for me.

  2. My grandmother had a ’75 or’76 Chevy Nova. It was a lousy car then and has not improved with age.

  3. I’m willing to bet the poor Nova wasn’t questioning oil consumption BEFORE it was frozen.

  4. I knew someone who knew someone that had a Nova from the Seventies. I think that makes me completely informed on this subject.

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