350 V8 Survivor: 1970 Chevrolet Nova

The Nova began as the Chevy II in 1962 as Chevrolet’s more conventional entry in the compact market space (the other was the Corvair and conventional is not the word to describe it). By the end of the decade, the Nova name would replace the Chevy II moniker and the cars would be quite popular during 1968-74 (third generation). I’ve always been a fan of the Nova and the 1970 is perhaps the best one, but I’m prejudiced because I owned one for 11 years. This beauty is in Moorestown, New Jersey and looks to have been pampered the past 50 years. It’s available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $18,500. Thanks, Larry D, for finding this Green Machine for us!

Nova’s are in demand with the cloning set, turning an ordinary 1968-72 into a clone or tribute of the SS 396, which saw less than 13,000 installations across 1969-70 combined. While the Super Sports are great little muscle cars, I’m more drawn to the “regular” Nova, especially ones with the non-SS 350 cubic inch V8, like in the seller’s car. Chevy assembled 307,000 Nova’s for 1970, with 226,000 being the 2-door coupe. Nearly 35,000 had the 350 motor, but that number includes SS models and 4-door sedans. More than 77,000 Nova’s had the TH-350 automatic transmission.

The seller’s car was well-optioned for a ’70 Nova. We’re told it has a matching numbers drivetrain, factory air conditioning, power steering and brakes (drums), Rally Wheels and an AM/FM radio with optional rear speaker (which had only 3,000 or so installations which helps drill down where this car falls into the numbers mix). This Nova didn’t have many option boxes unchecked and has the Deluxe Trim Package but no pesky electronic doodads like power windows and seats (Chevy had the foresight not to make them available on their compact cars).

This ’70 Nova looks to be finished in Forest Green paint with a matching vinyl top and corresponding interior colors. It was repainted in the ‘90s and it looks like they did a thorough job of it. We’re told the car has all its original sheet metal and everything is solid. The underbelly was undercoated which likely helped preserve the Chevy. The trim, chrome and glass look good and everything opens and closes as it should. Some of the weather-stripping needs replacing, like in the trunk. The original spare tire is still in in play.

Sometime 25-30 years ago, this Nova was parked in a garage, put on jack stands and stored for nearly 20 years. Although it runs and drives, some additional work is needed for it to be trustworthy. It idles rough, which suggests a carburetor cleaning or rebuild is needed. The belts and hoses are ancient, and they should be replaced as should the tires which are date-coded from 1978-83. And the seller is a bit uncertain about the brakes.

The interior presents well with the only annoyance being that the plastic steering wheel is cracked in several places. The odometer reads 25,000 miles which the seller believes is really 125,000. Since it’s not an SS model, real or recreated, Hagerty says a 1970 Nova like this should top out at $25,000 in terms of resale value. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this one go for more than $20,000. If I had the space for it, I’d be on my way to Jersey right after the auction closed.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. poseur Member

    i’m seeing green everywhere!
    cool to see what used to be a throw away daily driver in such lovely condition.
    hard to believe it will likely sell for $20k+ but then again, i just priced a new truck and it was over $85k.

    Like 11
    • Poppy

      I was fortunate to have once owned a 1962 Chevy II with a 6-cylinder and 3-on-the-tree. Great little car that got totaled when I was sideswiped on the interstate and hit a guard rail head on. The steering wheel looked like a football and my girlfriend’s head hit the radio knob so hard it was pointed up instead of out.

      Like 1
      • Terrry

        I bet she got real good reception!

        Like 9
  2. Timmy V

    As a kid in the ‘70s, you were well acquainted with these from riding your bike around the neighborhood and seeing them at eye level. They were everywhere and most were exactly like this, this color especially or a lighter green, purchased as a second car runabout by someone in middle management who could afford to option it out a little with AC and make it handsome with a vinyl top. Our neighbors had one. I admired the stying and thought it was a notch or two above what the other two were doing, but I kept that to myself being from a Ford family. I’d buy this in a second and do the necessary maintenance and drive it and enjoy it if only for the nostalgia factor. Every passing year makes the ‘70s seem like a planet in a distant galaxy.

    Like 16
  3. Skorzeny

    poseur, good point. We always need to think of what we would be spending compared to a new vehicle. I would rather have this 1000 times over than a new Hyundai. And would gladly pay the asking price.

    Like 8
  4. NovaTom

    Nice to finally see Novas get some love after years of taking a back seat to Chevelles and Camaros.

    Like 11
  5. 370zpp

    don’t change a thing.

    Like 7
  6. Mike

    I bought a ‘70 with the 6 and hydromatic when I was a newlywed poor sailor. No p/s or p/b just the basic in green mist. Put 135000 on it in 5 years. Tires, brakes and a muffler kept it going. Rebuilt the carb twice myself and finally bought a rebuilt one. Converted to manual choke. Repaired some rust along the way. Traded it in on a ‘75 Chevelle wagon. The dealer actually bought it for his teenaged kid. Loved that car.

    Like 7
  7. Terrry

    Another good buy-it and drive-it classic. I’d fix the mechanical gremlins then use it as a daily driver.

    Like 6
  8. JoeNYWF64

    Astounding (original?) condition inside – yet why would the steering wheel be cracked & everything else inside be perfect?

    Like 1
    • Don Eladio

      It’s from age, and very common. Don’t get your panties all in a bunch, you weren’t gonna buy it anyway.

      Like 11
      • JoeNYWF64

        Don’t have room in my garage for it – my other old GM cars have squatters rights.
        Let me rephrase: i believe either
        1. the whole interior except the steering wheel was replaced – even the carpet is not faded – hot sun cracks steering wheels & most likely faded the paint – reason for the repaint. The sun & a lot of being outside would have also faded & discolored the interior, & high mileage would result in additional seat, dash, etc. wear, tears, & rips.
        OR
        2. the car really does have < 25k miles & Chevy should have chose a different vendor for its steering wheels.

        Like 2
  9. Robbie M.

    My first car was a 70 Nova. I would love to own this beauty.

    Like 2
  10. Lance

    Being stored so long can produce its own set of problem and it is not a perfectly detailed show car. The drum brakes should be switched to power disc brakes for safety reasons but the car shouldn’t be changed to a clone. What it represents is a perfectly sized car that was easy to park and drive. Good for singles and small families before CAFE and government regulation forced practical compacts to downsize to hideous aero shapes with engines smaller than my lawnmower. Big cars were land yachts back in the day but the Nova was beautifully proportioned.

    Like 2
  11. karl

    “Chevy had the foresight not to make them available on their compact cars” Really ? Neither did the Falcon , Maverick, Dart, Valiant , Hornet , etc. Nothing special that Chevy didn’t offer high line stuff like power windows on an entry level car, no one did

    Like 2
    • Chuck Dickinson

      By 75, that had changed and PW were an option. PDL as well, I believe.

      Like 1
  12. Pugsy

    This car really does look like a 25K car, not 125.

  13. Stu

    My brother-in-law had a 70 Nova 6 cylinder, standard trans that he bought used. Green of course with black interior. Helped him replace a rear spring before a Christmas Eve dinner. He babied it along to 250,000+ before it gave up. Snapped right up when he put it up for sale.

  14. JoeBob

    I had a 70 Nova long ago. It was a good car that I enjoyed. But it was hit several times and I decided it was a jinx and sold it. This one’s up to $20,100 now and worth it. Upgrade the brakes like Lance suggested and enjoy it.

    Like 1
  15. David Bailey

    Man! Where did all these NOVAs go to? You used to see them EVERYWHERE. One of best small car designs-ever. These SS with the 350, I think, 350 HP gave 383 RoadRunners fits!. 440s , too! Real sleepers but with the Rallye(?) trim rings, a great looking car. Fast as H–L with the ‘Corvette 350’!

    • Steven Westlake

      No the weren’t 350hp. At max they were 300 hp. And no they they had no chance up against a 383 or 440. Now 396 375s were a different story!

      • David Bailey

        Steven, Maybe you’re right. I could have swore that some Novas had Corvette engines in them. as for a 350 Nova vs. a 383 RoadRunner. I disagree. A friend at work had a sleeper 350, 4 spd. and it gave my ’69 383 all it could handle. I’d take him, but by an inch.

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