Cheap Nova Alternative: 1971 Pontiac Ventura II

This 1971 Pontiac Ventura II is a cheap project car, listed for $2,000 or best offer in Branford, Connecticut. The Ventura II was an X-Body twin to the venerable Chevy Nova, and while not worth much as a collector car, parts are prevalent and the aftermarket is vast. This car has been garage stored for the last several years and not driven in over five. Find it here on craigslist for more information.

The Ventura is powered by a six-cylinder powerplant, which in 1971 means it probably came with the 250 cubic inch Chevy six-cylinder as standard equipment. This Ventura has the look and feel of being a total stripper model, and I suspect the original owner checked very few boxes when purchasing this car. The fact that one hubcap is missing adds to its low-rent appearance.

If the mileage count is accurate, it’s reasonably low at just under 91,000 miles. The Ventura II could have been equipped with a few different options to make it more of a driver’s car, with the Sprint and GTO trim lines offering V8 power, four-speeds, special steering wheels and bucket seats, and other upgrades. If you want those features here, you’ll likely have to swap them in.

But as cheap project cars go, the X-bodies are hard to beat. It seems a fair amount of engines swaps are possible, and should you need to replace a rusty body panel on this New England car, good spares are still easy to find. It won’t ever be worth much, but if you’ve ever passed on a Nova project for being too common, perhaps a Ventura II will preserve your individuality.


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  1. Chebby Staff

    Depends on the rust factor, but a good polish plus paint repair and a set of Rally II’s and this car could look pretty sharp. Add Clifford parts at your leisure.

    Like 6
  2. Stevieg

    I don’t recall this car being offered with the GTO package until 1974. Not familiar enough with the sprint package to know when it was offered, but I believe it was just a stripe package that didn’t change the engine.
    I tend to gravitate toward odd-ball cars. This was a very common car when I was young, now it is unique. Another one I wouldn’t mind having. My dream garage is getting bigger & bigger lol.

    Like 13
  3. Pat L Member

    Cue the sleeper comments on 3,2,1.

    Like 8
  4. matthew B steele

    Drop a 389 6 pack and 4 speed in it and go have some fun

    Like 6
    • RobB Member

      Hey Matthew, If you really want to have some fun, a 455 with a 5 sp. would be great. The block sizes are the same.

      Like 6
  5. jerry z

    Surprised it’s not sold already. It’s just a Pontiac Nova.

    Like 6
  6. Jim

    My first car was a 1972 Pontiac Ventura II (V8)…..and in almost the same color as this one. Wish I had a place to keep it…..I’d grab this up! It always stood out from all the Novas on the road.

    Like 3
  7. Jim in FL

    The GTO was 1974 only. One of the things I remember is car craft (or maybe hot rod) doing a series on one of these. They shared a lot of underpinning with Camaro and Firebird so it was a budget version, where you had a stealth bodied trans am. In 1977? When the car was rebranded the Pontiac Phoenix, they put a 1977 sheet metal kit on it. The article was called flight of the Phoenix, and I think it ran a hot small block 350, plus corner carving suspension. But I was ten at the time so don’t quote me.

    Like 3
  8. Troy s

    Not so uncommon at one time, wasn’t that a green Ventura in the movie The Seven Ups? Fairly good chase scene. Same ideas here as the Chevy Nova when it comes to hot rods….but no Chevy engines please.

    Like 3
    • 68custom

      many of these were factory equipped with chevy motors though most if not all were the 307’s and not 350’s I always thoght the rear end details were nice but thought the nova grille was better looking. if I was contemplating a engine swap the LS is all I would consider…

      • SteVen

        BTW for ’71 the 307 was the only V8 available. It remained available for 1972. The 350 motors for ’72-’74 were Pontiac engines, not Chevys.

        Like 1
  9. Miguel

    Why do the writers keep commenting on the numbers on the dash?

    Who cares if the numbers say 90,000? They don’t give any indication to the condition of the car which was their only function.

    Like 5
  10. SteVen

    I have always felt Pontiac should have gone back to basics with the GTO(much earlier than the half-hearted effort for ’74 with a mildly breathed on 350), and recreated the original formula of using the smallest, lightest chassis and putting in the engines from the full-size cars, and add a little style, which is what they did fro 1964.
    If only they had made the ’71 Ventura Custom GTO the true spiritual successor to the ’64 Tempest LeMans GTO, equipping it with the 400 4 bbl. standard, with the 455 and 455 HO optional, they would have relit the flame of the GTO and been able to carry it through 1979, and go down as the alpha and omega of the supercar era.
    As far as this car, stick a ’71 spec 455 HO, M-22 4-speed with Hurst T-handle, shaker hood, honeycomb wheels and a 12-bolt rear in it and go have a blast.
    Pontiac actually built and tested a 455 HO ’71 Ventura, but never had the balls to bring it to market.

    Like 3
  11. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Why is it the Ventura II?
    Weren’t these always based off the Nova platform?

    • SteVen

      I believe it was due to it being the second generation of the Ventura, as the first Ventura was the 1960-1970 full-size car.

      Like 2
  12. TimM

    I had a Ventura hatchback!!! It was a 350 with a 3 speed automatic and it moved along pretty good!! It was a sharp looking car!! I don’t recall the Ventura 2!!!

    • SteVen

      FYI the “II” suffix was only used for 1971.

      Like 2
      • Dan

        That’s incorrect. I owned a 1972 Pontiac Ventura II Sprint. It had a 350 V8. I loved that car.

        Like 1
      • SteVen

        You’re right Dan. Meant to say that it was only used for 1971-72. For the ’73 model year the “II” was dropped.

        Like 1
  13. sluggo

    For many years had a 1972 Nova Rally and was my first hot rod, but saw these many times back in the day and while it was Nova based,, they just didnt look right (Tail lights and the front nose) So I did buy 2 and flip them over the years because they were a deal, But I could never bring myself to keep one long term. Still this one looks in remarkable condition and being a east coast car is probably pretty rare back there. Seems like a good deal but I never paid more than $500 for one, but times change.

  14. John C.

    I will be looking for something like this soon for a daily driver, I’m getting tired of the modern cars with all the check engine light problems and what not. Just need a simple car to get from point A to point B without any hassle. Plus I always liked this body style.

  15. Pete

    You might want to tie the subframes together. The X Bodies were known to crab walk.

  16. bone

    Actually, while the platform is shared with the Nova , the Ventura II has a totally different front clip, quarter panels and tail panel – finding body parts for Venturas Omegas and Apollos can be difficult, especially on the East coast !

  17. Al

    It was sold. New guy has it for like $5500 on CL

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