31k Miles: 1969 Chevrolet Nova

More often than not, when a third-generation Nova (1968-74) comes up for sale, it’s either an SS original or tribute with a 350 or 396. So, it’s refreshing when a more basic Nova comes along, including four-door sedans. Chevy sold a lot of those back in the day, but you just don’t see them anymore. The seller has a nice, original, low-mileage 1969 two-tone Nova with a 307 V-8 and Powerglide transmission. The engine compartment has been thoroughly detailed and looks clean enough to eat off. The car can be found in Scarsdale, New York (north of the Big Apple) and is available here on Craigslist for an asking price of $14,500. Thanks, Jack M, for the tip!

Those late ‘60s/early ‘70s Novas were big sellers for Chevy and the 2-door coupe likely inspired Ford to come out with the Maverick and Plymouth the Duster. This particular car intrigued me as I had a ’70 Nova coupe with the same color combination, a 350 and a Powerglide. Chevrolet cranked out a tad more a quarter-million Novas in 1969, the first year after dropping the Chevy II portion of the car’s name. About 27% of those Novas were 4-door sedans and 26% of that number had a V-8 engine. So, six-cylinder four-sedans were purchased more often than those with V power.

This 1969 Nova probably has a story to go with it having covered just 31,000 miles in 51 years. Little old lady from Pasadena who only drove it on Sundays? Garage stored since Gerald Ford was president? We just don’t know and the condition of the car isn’t perfect, but it comes awfully close. The seller says the Nova has its original paint which looks really nice with one small boo-boo on the lower trunk lid and a little ding in the rear bumper. Also – and I don’t think it may be the lighting – one of the photos angled on the driver’s side shows a difference in the paint color on the doors versus the front fender.

Inside the passenger compartment, all looks well although the seller indicates some small holes reside in the headliner. And no cracks in the dash cover! These Novas with the base interior were pretty sparse, but comfortable. Looks just like the one I had (black interior, too) except mine had an aftermarket Sears air conditioner hanging under the dash.

Some time and money have been spent on the engine compartment. Besides looking better-than-new with a professional detailing, lots of parts have been replaced. They include a new radiator, water pump, fuel pump, timing chain, belts and probably hose. This tends to support my Gerald Ford theory. The seller says the car runs drives like new and I’m inclined to agree. The 307, which replaced the 283, wasn’t a barn-burner, but with 200 horsepower in a lighter package, it should do just fine getting on and off highways. I remember my 350/Powerglide could run up past 50 mph before it went into second gear.

Most price guides for these cars are geared toward two-doors with big motors, so Hagerty’s projection of $20,000 sounds high to me for a grocery-getter Nova in great shape. I’m thinking the seller’s asking price is optimistic, as well. The seller would find a bigger audience for this car by advertising outside of Craigslist where people tend to be shopping for cheap wheels.

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  1. Mark

    $14k for a 4 door Nova and a valuation of up to $20k? Does the owner by any chance work at Hagerty?

    Like 13
  2. Tony Primo

    The import crowd don’t have any aversion to hopping up a 4 door car. I think a 4 door Nova could be a fun project.

    Like 4
  3. nlpnt

    Such an oddly optioned car, a vinyl top and deluxe wheelcovers but no body side moldings and that taxicab interior?

    Like 2
    • Joe

      I don’t know, but the wheel covers look like they’re from a 68 Impala.

  4. Kenneth Carney

    There was a lady at our church that had
    a ’68 4 door similar to this one. Hers ran
    a 250 cube inline six mated to a PG tranny. Used to catch a ride to church
    with her in exchange for keeping the car
    maintained for her. Back then, I used to
    tune up and change fluids in a lot of the
    petitioner’s cars at that time. In fact,
    Sunday morning would often find me
    grabbing my beat up Craftsman toolbox
    along with my Bible and suit coat! Seemed like I was always under the hood of someone’s car. One Sunday
    night, the young lady with the Nova and
    I held hands and made out a bit. She
    was single and in her 20s, and I was 15.
    Found out about girls that night too.
    Not long after that, she left our church
    and we never saw her again. Now, every
    time I see one of these, I think of her.
    Great find though.

    Like 11
    • BobM

      It always pays to have the right tool for the job at hand.

      Like 12
  5. George Louis Member

    I am curious as to why you would replace a timing chain on a vehicle that has 30,000 miles on it.

  6. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking car. I’ve always loved the 1968-74 Chevy Nova. It’s not often you see a 4 door sedan. 2 doors are nice, but with 4 doors, you can get more people in the back seat easier. I’d buy one if I could get it either with a straight six engine and a 3 spd auto, or a V-6 engine and a 3 spd. auto.

  7. Maestro1 Member

    The car is oddly equipped but if you can live with that you should be OK.
    I think the price is too high. I don’t care what the values are.

    Like 6
  8. Creekdad

    My first car was a 1970 Nova in this same shade of gold, with the upgraded interior and Turbo-Hydramatic. It was a sweet ride for a sophomore in college and I loved it. It was my grandfather’s car before and he had purchased a mahogany colored 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic as a replacement for the Nova. Honestly the Nova was a better car! Sure miss it!

  9. David Ulrey

    I really love the car but not the price. Other than that it’s a really great, simple car. Yes maybe an HEI distributor or Pertronix conversion and a carb rebuild because of the newer style gaskets. The older type gaskets just don’t stay ethanol friendly when a vehicle is used regularly.

  10. TimM

    Really clean looking car and everything works and does what it should!! You could daily this for 100,000 miles with general maintenance and good fuel!! Nice find!!!

    Like 6
  11. George Louis Member

    To: Tim M: You have to remember a 1968 cylinder head does noy have hardened valve seats for today’s no lead gas.

  12. TimM

    Good point George!!! Might have to drop a couple lead fishing weights in the tank every month!!

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