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California Original: 1972 Chevrolet Nova

The dream of Presidential hopeful Herbert Hoover for Americans in 1928 was “a chicken in every pot”. With slight modification, that’s GM’s mantra from the 1960s and 1970s: “a 350 cubic-inch engine in every driveway”. The engine, in various versions, appeared in everything from Camara to Cutlasses. This all-original 1972 Chevrolet Nova has just such an engine. Available here on craigslist, this car is located in the Sacramento, CA area with an asking price of $32,500. Thanks to Barn Finder TJ for the tip on this original classic.

A little brother to the more luxurious Oldsmobile Cutlass and other cars in that series, the  Nova was part of the GM X-body compact line, the fraternal twin to GM nameplates like the Pontiac Ventura II (just Ventura after 1972), Olds Omega (1973-79), and Buick Apollo (1973-75). Hard to imagine now that a car 190 inches long was a compact. A contemporary Honda Civic is, depending on the body configuration, as much as a foot shorter. With the Nova, buyers got the available punch of a 165-hp V8 engine in a body size that could still be comfortably parallel parked. That is, if they were willing to upgrade from the standard 250 CID six-pot or the smaller 307 CID V8. This buyer was.

She also put other goodies on the car, including AC, power steering, front disk brakes, and two packages: the exterior décor group (fancy side and window moldings) and the custom interior group (a lengthy list of luxe items including a glove compartment light and luggage mat). And let’s not forget—full wheel covers, which cost a very reasonable 26 bucks. Clearly, this Nova was loaded from the factory. The functionality, except for some choke issues and a non-working gas gauge, is still there, as the ad claims that everything works. It’s a little vague whether that specifically means the A/C, and converting that is not an inexpensive proposition in the contemporary moment. Under-hood photos show unmolested mechanicals.

If you bought this stunningly original Nova, how would you treat it? I would do what the current owner does, which is protect it from sun damage when outside with a blanket on the rear package shelf. I’m not sure that I would do what is suggested and paint it. It’s only original once, and the Placer Gold finish, while noted as having some needs, looks OK in the photos. Add that to the fact that the asking price is already 10K over the book value, and that’s for a #1 car, and you really don’t have much room to play here. If you did, I’d already own this car, since I’ve been looking for an all-original GM car with a 350 for a long while, and it’s located a reasonable afternoon’s drive from where I live.


  1. Moparman Moparman Member

    VERY nice and unmolested. The only changes I’d make would be a dual exhaust and perhaps some period correct rally wheels. GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 14
  2. Big C

    My first car! Mine was a 1970, but the same color combo. I got a tad less when I sold mine!

    Like 7
  3. Bick Banter

    If you’ve got the cash to drop $30,000 on a standard 1972 Nova you must have those really nice Crate & Barrel non-stick pots!

    Like 13
    • Emel

      Who uses pots anymore. Or an oven. Airfryer baby !!

      Like 4
      • Bick Banter

        People like to hang them over their expensive kitchen’s granite topped island and never actually use them. A nice complement to all the other expensive items that they seldom use, like the KitchenAid Stand Mixer.

        Actually, this is a pretty good analogy we have going here!

        Like 0
  4. Blyndgesser

    Back to history class for you! That slogan came not from Herbert Hoover but from Huey P. Long.

    Like 4
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      Or was it Huey Lewis?

      Like 2
  5. NSG

    “The engine, in various versions, appeared in everything from Camara to Cutlasses.”
    Camara? Call the typo police! :-)

    Like 7
    • 19sixty5 Member

      Some of the folks down south refer to them as a “Camara”! Nice looking Nova, but I don’t see $32,500. I’m with Moparman, set of rally’s and dual exhaust, and enjoy it

      Like 2
  6. Chicago Mikie Member

    Wow, talk about original. The price has been lowered to a more reasonable(?) $27,500. I get so excited when I get to look at the original window sticker, especially in a car so old that so many of the items were optional.

    Like 1
    • Dadae1

      Mine was a 73 with gold paint

      Like 0
  7. SJMST

    Very well equipped. Nice color interior. If were buying I’d add an OEM dash clock and a new exterior color

    Like 1
  8. Emel

    Never thought much of the Nova. The Chevelle or the Malibu was where it was at over at Chevy.

    And in some years it was the Chevelle Malibu as in 1973. and I believe
    the late 60’s had the 429 Chevelle Malubu 4 speeds, which could tear up the highway pretty well.


    Like 0
    • Big C

      Yenko Nova’s had 427’s, didn’t they?

      Like 3
      • Shawn

        Yes, the Yenko S/C Novas had the 427. They’re rarer than hen’s teeth through, with only 38 ever built. The Yenko Deuce Novas came with a LT1 350 in them.

        Like 1
  9. MrF

    I believe the 350 was Cali-only. Other states had 307s. Had one much like this pale yellow/white. It used an impressive amount of gas.

    Like 1
    • NHDave

      My recollection is that the 307 was not available in California, and the 350 was available in all 50 states.

      Like 0
      • mick

        If you wanted a 350 in all but California, you had to move up to the SS.

        Like 0
    • Shawn

      No, you could get a 350 in any of the states. As NHDave mentioned, the 307 might have been kept out of CA though.

      Like 1
  10. David

    How would I treat it? I’d lay one tire smoking rubber in parking lots.

    Like 1
  11. rustylink

    I can think of a lot of other cars I’d own for $32,500 over a bench seat Nova automatic.

    Like 5
  12. alan leonard Member

    Chevy made no 429’s…427 maybe…….

    Like 2
  13. "Edsel" Al Leonard Member

    Chevy made no 429 cu in engines……Ford did……..

    Like 2
  14. Shawn

    This is a great car, and I know the market is nuts right now, but I’m not seeing the 32K or reduced 27K asking price. That’s more really nice factory SS territory than a well optioned base.

    Like 1
  15. Greg Williams

    Is the paint 100% original??? And the milage? 10 bolt or 12 and posi or open? I’m interested in possibly making an offer if my financier likes it as much as I do. Not my favorite color but you can be that picky when you find one this clean. It’s not a $32k car but if it were an SS it would be. I’m another year or two these cars will be all picked clean and commanding closer to 190k if brought back to 100% complete original or made into a big block resto mod with all the bells and whistles. Does anyone know how I can reach the owner? I’d appreciate any help. Thank you Greg W 413 537 0003. . Would the owner call

    Like 0
    • 19sixty5 Member

      All the Barn Finds write-ups have the source… it is a hyperlink, even in red to make it stand out. “Available here on craigslist”. Click on it. 10 bolt rear likely a 2:73 or so ratio. No Posi unless someone added it. 12 bolt rear from what I remember was not available in the 1972 Nova. Finally, the Craigslist ad says to contact the seller via email…

      Like 0
  16. Bruce

    Nice Nova, but $32,000.00? Not a chance maybe 15-18.

    Like 0
  17. joenywf64

    Is that steering wheel from some other later model Chevy?

    Like 0

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