Low-Spec Survivor: 1972 Pontiac Ventura II

This Quezal Gold 1972 Pontiac Ventura II looks great in almost all of the many photos that the seller has provided. They’re an interesting line of cars, being GM X-body cars, but not that X-body, this car is a rear-wheel-drive model. This one can be found listed here on eBay in Bowling Green, Kentucky and the bids are at $7,271 with no reserve.

There is a wheel cover missing,  of course, but the next owner should be able to find one, they are available for not much money. Or, just take the other three off. This car is five decades old, which is hard to believe given its nice appearance. I wish I looked this good. The seller believes that this car is all original, or mostly original other than the trunk lid that was replaced at some point. The seller includes a link to dozens of great photos, including a lot of underside and detail photos.

The Pontiac Ventura was related to the Chevrolet Nova, along with cousin cars, the Buick Apollo and Oldsmobile Omega. The Ventura II was made from 1971 to 1977, but after the 1972 model year, the “II” was dropped from the name. The Ventura would be followed up in 1977 by the Pontiac Phoenix. All of these names sound familiar because GM would use them again for the later front-drive X-body cars.

This is a bare-bones model with rubber flooring rather than carpet, and a Saginaw Muncie SM326 three-speed manual transmission and column shifter rather than an automatic transmission. I love this combo, this is exactly what I would have had. The seats look good, both front and rear – I would have guessed that the vinyl sides were recovered, but maybe not? – and the trunk also looks nice. Although, the gaskets could be replaced at some point.

In keeping with the low-spec theme, the engine is a Chevrolet-sourced 250-cu.in. OHV inline-six, with 110 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. You won’t find power steering or power brakes under the hood, this one is low-spec all the way. The seller doesn’t say much about how it runs and drives, other than taking a 20-minute drive from their storage unit to their shop. Hagerty is at $6,700 for a #3 good-condition car and $12,600 for a #2 excellent car. Would any of you daily drive such a low-spec car without power steering or brakes, and a three-on-the-tree manual like this Ventura II, or just keep it for weekend drives and car shows?

Comments

  1. Pat L Member

    Nice find Scotty. I would find a Pontiac hubcap to match the three on the car and detail the engine bay. No shame in cruising this survivor to the local car shows.

    Like 21
    • Larry D

      Yes, nice find, Scotty!

      Like 3
    • SasqwatchSmith

      Have a set of four hub caps looking for a new home.

  2. CCFisher

    This car looks like it was ordered by a dealership for advertising purposes. Their newspaper ad would feature illustrations and pricing for Pontiac’s pricier models, along with a “starburst” in the top-right corner that read “New Pontiacs Starting At $2249!” with no photo. When a customer walked into the dealership and asked to see the $2249 Pontiac, he was shown this Ventura Ii, then quickly redirected to something more expensive. At the end of the model year, the car was discounted until it sold, having served its purpose.

    Like 21
  3. Grant

    The 250 was a solid engine. Great car. Hope it doesn’t change, unfortunately with the crazy asking prices, people seem to justify soiling nice base level cars. Soon there will be none.

    Like 17
  4. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Anything with a three-speed manual transmission with a column shift is A-OK in my book.

    Like 19
  5. Keith

    Had a near-identical one years ago, but with a Powerglide. Hard to believe that was still a thing in ’72!

    • JoeNYWF64

      Not really – this is basically still a not too heavy 1st gen f-body underneath. What is surprising is that the glide was optional on 1971–1972 FULL SIZE monstrous heavy chevies with six-cylinder and small-block V8 engines!
      Scroll down to engine/trans choices in …
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Impala_(fifth_generation)
      Imagine how slow a ’72 full size chevy would be with a/c on going up hill, 6 cyl, glide, trunk full & 6 people on board.
      lol

  6. Troy

    I like it because it’s a 6cyl trying to track down that missing hub cap could be a challenge this would make a fun cruiser

    Like 7
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Troy, I put a link in the second paragraph (red letters) for one on eBay for $14. Being Barn Finds, those red words aren’t advertising as they are on a lot of sites, they’re links that the authors add for additional photos or things like that missing hub cap, so don’t be afraid to click on those links here.

      I agree with the six-cylinder, and that three-on-the-tree adds the finishing touch, as Bob said.

      Like 10
      • Grant

        There is a place that advertises on the net as to only selling old hub caps and wheel covers. The name escapes me, but should be easy to GOOGLE. The videos of the place I have seen seem to suggest that they have emptied out every old salvage yard in the country. Smart really, at one time people only wanted fancy wheels, and wheel covers were pretty much throw away items, but maybe purists have changed that equation. We of age, all know that fancy wheels as a factory option used to be crazy expensive, most people went wit wheel covers.

        Like 6
  7. John Lang

    Nova
    Omega
    Ventura
    Apollo

  8. Joe Haska

    I like it and would like driving it. However the bids are going up and I don’t like it that much.

    Like 4
  9. Brad460 Member

    The author refers to “that” X body, meaning the 1980 and up version, which of course had problems. Primarely because it was rushed into production before all the engineering and validation had been done. On the flip side, just comparing this chassis to the fwd X car, design and packaging efficiency had came a long, long way.

    Nice to see one of these that’s not all modded up and still remains basically stock.

    Like 6
  10. Jay McCarthy

    I know people are gonna hate me, but this is the perfect candidate for an LS sleeper. 17in steel wheels and poverty caps with a Tremec, but no color change

    Like 4
  11. Matt B

    Needs a Pontiac V8 swap and a set of wheels and something to put in the hole in the dash 😂 maybe put a small gage cluster there for temp and oil pressure – I know it’s a survivor but if I had it I would have to add a correct era Pontiac V8 350 or 455 and power steering and brakes and some Pontiac rally’s with some BFG T/A radials just saying 👍😎

  12. OldsMan

    I wish the Olds Omega came out a year or two earlier so that there would’ve been a small bumper version of it…

    Like 3
  13. John C.

    I wouldn’t have a problem driving that everyday, very easy to work on, probably good on gas, no sensors or check engine light, I would look for that hubcap too otherwise I have a set of 14 inch rally wheels with all caps and rings that could go right on there. The younger generation would probably laugh at me driving it around but what do they know. Good find.

    Like 5
  14. bone

    Wow, this is about an absolute base model Ventura ! It looks like the AM radio is all its got for options judging by the antenna , and I’m not even 100% sure it had that as it has an aftermarket radio . It reminds me of my buddy’s 73 Nova , he got it from some guy for 100 bucks, it was a similar honey gold , 6 banger with a three on the tree, and not even a radio ! He ended up putting it in an Enduro race when those started up in the mid 1980s , and going into the turn at full speed the right front tire blew out and slammed the wall – bent that little car really bad, he didnt get hurt and we left it there for the crusher.
    Finding any old Nova based car that hasn’t been molested is rare, I hope it stays the way it is .

    Like 4
  15. Chuck Dickinson

    The car is in KY. It was last licensed in OR in Dec. 06 (the 08 is exp. date). So, in the ensuing 16 years, the car went from OR to KY but was never re-registered, which basically means not driven and just sitting all that time.

    Like 2
    • John C.

      Yes, so she will need a good going over, anything rubber would need replaced for starters.

      Like 1
  16. Bill D

    One of my best friends in high school in the early ’80s had a cream-colored early ’70s Ventura 2dr like this one, only with a 307/THM350 and power steering.

    Odd to see that this is so low-spec but it has a dashboard clock that was almost certainly optional.

    Like 2
  17. Amishtrucker

    Anyone ever see the movie “the Seven-Ups?”

    Like 3
  18. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD(???) for $12,800. Looks to be a couple of shill bidders that drove this price up. Owner probably still has it.

    Like 3
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks, PRA4SNW!

  19. V12MECH

    As good as the French Connection, was that an Omega or Ventura that ended up under a semi trailer? This gem definitely needs a big block and the good stuff that goes with it. Tub it and tie the frame.

    Like 1
    • John W Kriegshauser

      The car chase in the movie “The Seven Ups” was awesome. Roy Scheider was chasing a black 1973 Bonneville sedan in a silver 1973 Pontiac Ventura. That poor Poncho met its demise under the rear of a semi truck .

  20. JoeNYWF64

    Was the Chevy 250 the 1st engine to be used by several GM divisions, starting in 1970? I don’t think anybody complained, tho i would not have ordered this motor in a heavy bumper ’70s camaro or malibu, let alone in a ’71-’73 full size chevy!

  21. John W Kriegshauser

    This was my very first car, begrudgingly. I was searching the newspaper classified ads when I was 14 looking for a 68-72 Chevy Nova…I really wanted a NOVA. I started working and saving for 2 years. Dad said he would loan me an amount equal to what I had saved up. That was about $750. Finally I found a sweet 72 Nova coupe with a 350 V8 and rally wheels. The dealer wanted $1650. Well, Dad said it was too much. I ended up with a green 72 Pontiac Ventura coupe like this one, but mine had a 350 Pontiac V8. I hated it because it wasnt a CHEVY NOVA. I fixed it up, sanded it down, took all the trim off of it and had Earl Scheib paint it for $59.95. Yes, thats how much they charged me in 1980. Sold that Ventura and got a real chick magnet…a LeMans Blue 1969 Camaro coupe! Wish I still had that one!

  22. Psychofish2

    ‘Would any of you daily drive such a low-spec car without power steering or brakes, and a three-on-the-tree manual like this Ventura II, or just keep it for weekend drives and car shows?’

    I do it all the time. 63 Valiant Signet two door hardtop, no options [well, radio heater and possibly whitewalls when new].

    No boosted brakes or power steering. I just bought new tires and a spare last week. 13″.

    Over 40 years this Plymouth has been the template for all the other cars I have owned. I have allowed AC and automatic [even the Valiant has an under dash Montgomery Ward Riverside AC unit from the ’70s].

    Simplicity.

    I’ve never owned a car with power windows to this day.

    The last one I did splurge for floor mats though.

    This is how I would have bought a Ventura in ’71. Especially with the rubber flooring. What I wouldn’t do for that today. And no stupid console eating up space. Bench seat. Two door with rear windows that roll down.

    The front end is just perfect. From the first time I saw it on the cover of Motor Trend, I loved it.

    Like 1
  23. John Prill Member

    My second car was a 1970 Chevy Biscayne 4 door sedan with the 250 6 cylinder w/automatic trans. Dependable, easy-to-fix, good gas mileage, and fine for city driving. On a road trip to Canada, hit 95 mph and pretty much maxed out at that point. Never left me at the side of the road in 4 years of driving around Chicago.

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