30 Years Of Dry Storage: 1970 Chevy Nova

Garr LarsonBy Garr Larson

I can remember my first Nova. Citrus green and gleaming in the early morning sun, two massive black stripes racing up the hood, the rumble of the glasspacks, it’s rear popped up with oversized Cragar SS 5 spoke rims. And it belonged to the coolest kid in high school. So, it’s fitting I get to present another 1970 Nova – this one a single owner true barn find, stored in Arizona for 30 years.

The seller, who has posted over 60 photos found here on eBay, says they “…put brand new tires on her, new filters, new battery and she fires up and honestly drives with great power, goes through all her gears and brakes good…”, but does warn that the remnants of Marvel Mystery Oil might be the cause of smoke. Still, it could be a great start to an overhaul of an American Classic – whose body seems to be in good shape, all badging is intact, but whose interior looks like its comfortably housed decades of critters everywhere but the back seat.

This body style, the third of four generations (ok, technically five – but I don’t count the ‘85 to ’89 Toyota NUMMI subcompact return), is my favorite stance because of the Super Sport version of my early driving years. It was a smaller, powerful little muscle car, with the available big-block 396 cu in V8 that sounded the perfect amount of mean rolling down the streets of Kenmore, WA – unique in a sea of Fair lanes, Furys, Cutlasses and Caprices.

Certainly, getting this project from “Nova” to “Yendo” (remember the urban legend about marketing the Nova in Spanish speaking markets?) will be a lot of work – albeit mostly the more fun (in my opinion) interior work, fixing a smidge of rust, and getting it ready to return to its original “Marlboro Maroon” color, clearly seen on the underneath of the trunk lid. Still, the result could be a stunning tribute to a classic moniker – back crawling along the streets of the North End of Lake Washington, trying to catch the eye of Darcy (wait, she’s nearly 60 now and has 6 grandkids! Oh well). For inspiration, look at the Marlboro beauty below!

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Comments

  1. grimmmr Member

    This one hurts. I’m in AZ and have been looking for one off and on for years ever since I sold my 68 SS in 1985. I’ll watch the bidding but I’m sure it will go for more than I can pay right now.

    5+
  2. RoKo

    What’s going on with prices these days? Not too long ago one of these in this shape would go for $1000 max.

    11+
    • Shane

      My dad had a 69 SS. I’d love to have this, ls swap, coilovers as the leaf springs break on these. I had a 77 Nova RS for my 1st ride.

      4+
    • Metoo

      Two door Nova’s always fetch a higher price. And this one has “patina”!

      3+
  3. Robert

    My first car was a gold 1970 chevy nova with a straight 6cy and it needed work , but my farher-in-law gave it to me so I did some work on it and it didn’t have much power but it was the easiest motor to work on .

    7+
  4. Mike B

    Yep, we had a ’70 in Pea/Sage metallic w/ 3 on the tree when I turned 16. Not a bad color in the golden hour with a fresh wax , but when dirty and succumbing to salt exposure it was less inspiring. Also remember the shift linkage would bind on occasion when you were less than deliberate in finding 1st at a stop, necessitating opening the hood & unsticking the rods. The 307 was plenty of engine with drum brakes.

    6+
    • Don

      I had a ’69 with the straight 6 and a 2 speed “Powerslide”! Barely enough power to get out of its own way! Fun to drive in the winter though!

      0
    • Nikolai A Leeds

      Drum brakes with no Abs?? Means having to push really hard to slow from 85mph on the highway when you see a Wall of brake lights

      0
  5. redwagon

    this is how i remember novas from back in the day. the lines are classic and the metal is in great shape but the interior has suffered at the hands of time and sun.

    iirc the 307 is rather anemic for a small v8 and not easily remedied.

    0
  6. Steve R

    I would have guessed $5,500. It must be because of the floor shift manual transmission, it will save the cost of a new steering column when the car gets modified my it’s next owner.

    Even though the seller says its rust free, I wish they would have included pictures of the floors, due mainly to the rubber floor covering which does show exposure to moisture in some of the interior shots.

    Steve R

    2+
    • Metoo

      Yeah, being in WA state, it having rust somewhere is a good possibility.

      0
  7. Jeffro

    Is Axel Foley the seller? Looks kinda like the car he drove to Beverly Hills.

    7+
  8. RoughDiamond

    My guess is that this Nova is destined to be heavily modified. That looks like the same shifter, black knob and shift boot set up my ’69 Chevelle “SS” had with the 396/325 engine and factory 3-speed manual transmission. I was so giddy about finding and buying the car that I missed the engine being chained to the frame.

    4+
    • Vince H

      Roughdiamond.

      Chevy’s answer to keep it fastened to the engine mount.

      3+
    • Metoo

      Joy caused giddiness causes blindness apparently. So how did you fix that problem?

      0
  9. Chebby Member

    I wonder what a rubdown with that calcium/lime/rust remover would do for the original paint?

    1+
  10. Steve L Winzenread

    Yep, my first car was a 1969 Nova, it had a 4cyl 153 with no horsepower, the transmission was a none automatic power glide called a torque flite (had to Manuel shift it to second). I couldn’t believe my Dad found such a slow car for me. guess he knew me better then I thought.

    1+
  11. Nikolai A Leeds

    Seriously those 1970s Novas were ugly, Spartan with the Spartan interior complete with full vinyl power nothing,not even passenger side mirror

    0
  12. Derek

    Seems like everyone is obsessed with power these days I’d rather have a six banger in this and drive it daily. 8k is a bit much for a car needing everything.

    5+
  13. Supermova72

    I have a 72 that was in similar condition. West coast car. It’s almost done now. Was a 350 vs 307. Non SS but it still makes lots of noise. I could not afford a Camaro in 1989 so I chose Nova. Fun car

    6+
    • al8apex

      back in the 80’s that is EXACTLY who owned novas

      2+
    • Mike SORENSON

      I bought a 72 gold 350 automatic. It was a Rally with black stripping. I wish I had it. I think the sticker was $3250.00. Plain black interior.u

      1+
      • Mike SORENSON

        There was also on the lot a 1972 new Heavy Chevy with black stripes and same gold as my Rally. 1972 was the only year I believe for the Heavy Chevy and the Rally Nova package.

        0
  14. John Tomorowitz

    Very first car, the moment I turned 16 circa 1979, was a 1969 Nova SS350. A factory 4 speed, but someone had installed a TH350 trans and Mustang shifter. Pampered and loved that car for almost 30 yrs. Restoring and drag racing along the way. Sold to my nephew, so I could buy my house in Orlando. He recently sold it to do same thing. Keep in touch with current owner, whom just redid the 25 yr old lacquer paint. and FINALLY fixed properly the rusted floors. Told him I want first dibs, if he ever sells it.

    1+
  15. EJB

    My Dad had a 73′ nova with a stick and a 307. Hatchback body though. First new car I ever drove in.

    2+
  16. Steve

    What’s up with a maroon car and green interior? Was it originally silver and faded badly?

    I still kick myself on getting rid of my 70 Nova 2 dr. I bought for $1,000 in the early 90’s in Austin Tx. Original Henna Chevrolet dealer plaque from there was still in place. It was off white/ cream with a six cylinder and 3 ott. It was night and day in better shape than this car. No dents or rust, except one from a pellet gun the seller said the neighbors kids put in the right quarter. I hammered it out and pouched up the 1/4″ spot where the paint was gone. The paint on the hood and roof had streaks from water since it was never waxed. I conpunded and waxed it and it almost looked new. The seller was a lady that weighed over 300 lbs so the driver side seat was shot. I added a couple of pillows temporarily and a seat cover, but didn’t keep it long enough to fix. Only other flaw in the interior was from someone cutting holes in the doors for speakers, then removing them and a cassette deck before sale. The original am radio got reinstalled but not hooked u to power. I picked up some speakers to fill the holes for the time being, but new door panels would have fixed it. The car would get hung up in gear, but I fixed it with new shifter bushings. Rebuilt the one barrel carb for $10, tuned it up, new shocks all around. Tightened up the manual steering box so it wouldnt wander, and installed a new throw out bearing. I planned to build a yenko deuce clone with a 350 and four speed, but a co worker made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, $3000. I wish I could find one in that shape for $3,000 today!

    1+
  17. Bruce Fischer

    My 69 nova was blue with the 6 cylinder and 3 speed on the column . My dad help me buy it at Readman Chevy in P.A. There you could test drive them on a large ovel track they had there.After my 1 st pay check I put a Hurst shifter in it on the floor , then the shackels and then the wider rear tires. Boy that sucker was quick off the line for a 6 cylinder. Bruce.

    1+
  18. Nikolaus

    Dude! Kenmore Wa? I used to be a relief bartender / mgr back in the day at the Keg Restaurant. (Late 80’s – early 90’s) Cruised the loop around the North end of the lake many a time. Had a cool primer grey ‘ 51 Henry J at the time.

    1+
  19. LAWRENCE

    Wait…is that my old Nova ?

    0
  20. David J David J

    Something about this car keeps me coming back to look at it.

    0
  21. ICEMAN

    1970s West End/North End Winnipeg High School losers loved these things. Jacked up the rear end, Cragar wheels and Craig stereo. Perfect for taking your date to “Socials”.

    1+
    • Mike SORENSON

      I am just south of you in MN. 30 miles NE of Grand Forks ND.

      0
  22. John T

    The bidding on this Nova was at $5600 with a little over 3 hours remaining in the auction. There must have been one heck of a bidding war going on because when the auction ended about an hour and a half ago the car was eventually SOLD for $7100!

    1+

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