Lean Muscle: 1969 Chevrolet Nova Coupe

In terms of sales, the ’69 Nova continued to be a bit of a stumble for Chevy.  The muscle car era was at its height, and although Chevy offered the beefier and sportier SS trim package, Chevy would, over the next few years continue to rebadge the third generation (1968-1974), Nova.  According to its 1969 sales brochure, the Nova was touted as a “roomy, inexpensive, economy car.”  This nicely preserved, low-impact workout Nova, available here on Craigslist in Lakewood, New Jersey, is reported to be a one owner original.  No price is given but the seller is open to the “best serious offer.”

The seller claims the car has been garage kept for about half of its life.  “The vinyl top is in great shape” claims the seller, and he mentions there are no rust bubbles to be found anywhere.  For the most part, the original paint looks to have held up fairly well although, upon closer examination, some peeling can be seen along the driver side rocker and rear quarter panel.  The more I study photos of the car the more something doesn’t look right.  Is it me or does the surface along the lower edge of the rear quarter panel appear wrinkly and uneven?  The seller makes no mention of any bodywork having been performed, so perhaps it’s just the graininess of the photo.  On a more positive note, I love the body color-matching wheels, accented nicely by those dog dish hubcaps.  What an awesome, signature look.

The interior looks about as plain and basic as you can get.  It’s clear Chevy was straight-up going for that affordable, value-car feel.  I’m a sucker for simplistic design, however, and the clean, tight look of the black vinyl bench seat looks pretty inviting.  Given the age of the car, I believe it to be in perfect condition with no rips or tears and just the right amount of color fade.  The owner claims the AM/Fm radio is in working order and offers the original 1969 title, owners manual, and even the protect-o-plate that came with the car when it was purchased new.

No, that’s not the 396 or even the 350 Turbo Fire V8 that were options offered with the SS package.  But this base model Nova does come with Chevy’s 200 horse 307 V8.  The motor is reported to have 89,000 miles on the clock and is mated to an automatic two-speed Powerglide transmission.  So if you were to buy this Nova would you continue to preserve it as a beautiful example of an unmolested original?  Or as the seller suggests, use it as “a perfect starting point for a performance build?”


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  1. Rock On

    I wonder if it was garage kept for the first half or the second half of its life?

    Like 4
  2. Ralph

    Hey? Isn’t this the same yellow Nova in the linked article at the bottom?


    Like 8
    • VL21

      Sure is!
      Any doubts will be erased by looking at the engine pics.
      It is a 45/89000 mile survivor …

      Like 2
  3. J.T. WILSON

    It is my opinion that the drivers rear quarter is full of bondo.

    Like 7
    • moosie Craig M Bryda

      Applied with a slingshot no doubt.

      Like 5
      • dweezilaz

        How did you find out about my body working skills ??

  4. r s

    Lean muscle?
    This is a cheap grandpa Nova with the very pedestrian 307 Joe Lunchbox engine. And I agree the driver’s quarter looks like bondo. The only really remarkable thing about this car is that it didn’t end up in the crusher.

    Like 7
  5. Kenneth Carney

    Looks like it’s been hit. The only time you
    get wrinkles in a quarter panel is when a
    car’s been in an accident. Despite all that, the car seems to have good bones
    for whatever project the owner has in
    mind. I’d vote original all the way. It isn’t
    too often that you see a Nova that hasn’t
    been modified in some way. Just add a
    new quarter panel and while you’re there,
    check for potential frame damage.
    Nothing would be more devastating than
    to find the frame bent or cracked beyond
    repair AFTER you spend the cash to install a a new left quarter panel. Needs
    2 more doors to meet my family’s needs.
    It’s a great deal for someone out there,
    just not for me.

    Like 6
  6. ss355z@yahoo.com

    Its simple….LSX swap + low gears/posi +
    Fat drag radials = one good time

    Like 2
  7. Superdessucke

    If it took it hard in the rear it’ll likely “crab,” as in it’ll look like it’s kind of driving sideways from behind. Used to see this all the time back in the day on these X cars for whatever reason. Probably due to the strong subframe front plus unibody rear.

    So if there’s suspicion of a rear hit, you would definitely want to drive behind this to see if that’s the case before shelling out the big money the seller obviously wants for this.

    Like 3
    • dweezilaz

      Single leaf springs as well.

      Like 1
    • Neal

      I like that term “crab”.
      I remember seeing these and later Novas riding that way, like a dog that trots at a jaunty angle.

      • Superdessucke

        For whatever reason, you didn’t see it with the Camaro and Firebird, even though they used the same basic design.

    • CapnShindig

      We used to see these many Novas drive like this back in the day, my brother referred to it as “Doing The Nova Side Step”.

  8. MrF

    I believe the front seat has been redone in plain vinyl, aka a “taxi seat”. Even basic Novas had some embossing.

    Like 7
  9. Del

    A seller should list what he wants otherwise its just another fishing trip

    Like 5
  10. 38Chevycoupeguy

    Have read several comments on oil spout, alternator location, etc, but none on the HEI, pretty sure it wasn’t introduced until 74-75. I’m not a potential buyer, just thought I’d share my prospective. All the best to the new owner.

    Like 1
  11. Deacon Bluue

    Had a 69 with the 307…added headers,cam,intake and carb with a 4 speed and 456 gears would run consistent 12:80’s in the quarter,with slicks.Dont knock that 307 till you’ve built one

    Like 4
  12. Miguel

    I am drawn to any car this color.

    I have to control myself.

    Like 4

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