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Nova Alternative: 1977 Oldsmobile Omega

Oldsmobile needed a compact car in the 1970s, so it jumped on the Chevy Nova bandwagon. Just as Pontiac had done with the Ventura/Phoenix and Buick and Buick with the Apollo/Skylark. Sure, some of the sheet metal was different, but the 1973 to 1979 Omegas were Novas with a higher level of trim, as befitting an Oldsmobile. This ’77 Omega has been treated to new paint and half-vinyl top and is said to be in great operating condition. Located near Mesa, Arizona, this blue beauty is available here on craigslist for $8,000 OBO. Hats off to “numskal” for another enlightening tip!

As a rear-wheel drive automobile, the Omega was built across two generations. For whatever reason, the naming gurus at Oldsmobile elected to call the car by the last letter of the Greek alphabet, aka Omega. Car-for-car, the Omega was a Nova with more features, more sound-deadening materials, and so forth. The 1977 car was offered with a 231 cubic inch V6 as standard, borrowed from Buick, but you could opt for either a 260 or 350 V8, the latter also coming from Buick. That’s the engine that lurks below the hood of the seller’s car. The Omega was never as popular as the Nova, as the latter outsold the Olds on a scale of 6 to 1 in 1977.

The seller’s Omega is a pretty nice car, equipped with power steering and brakes (front discs?), factory air conditioning, automatic tranny, Rally wheels, and velour upholstery (it’s been redone). It all presents quite well, although I’d have to lose the cheapie steering wheel wrap. About the only things that appear to have departed from stock is the air shocks in the back and the dark tinted glass. For a car with 88,000 miles, it looks pretty solid, though the trunk is a tad messy.

If the Olds ever had any rust, you can’t tell that now. If you’ve had a yen for a late ‘70s edition of the Nova, the Omega should be an equally viable choice. The seller is hoping the vehicle sells quickly, so perhaps he/she is open to talking turkey. This could be a lower-cost way to get into the vintage car collecting ‘thang.


  1. Al_Bundy Al_Bundy Member

    Not my cup of tea, but I think the price is pretty fair given it’s condition and a 350 CID w/ A/C.

    Like 8
  2. Nevada1/2rack Nevada1/2rack Member

    IIRC, the Buick 350 was the “little brother” to the Buick 455, and turned more torque sooner than other GM 350’s. If so then this Olds “Nova” might be a better buy than the same vintage Chevy Nova.
    Or am I missing some info here?

    Like 10
  3. Cooter Cooter Member

    You’re spot on there Half track, this is a stronger running engine with only 170 HP, but 270# of torque…20# more than the Chevy engines that year. These 350 equipped Omegas were sold in California and for higher altitude regions. I had forgotten Oldsmobile made a version of this. My dad had a 75 Nova hatchback with the 305 2 barrel. It wouldn’t get outta it’s own way but sounded really nasty when you flipped that air cleaner lid over! I got my license in that car in 78.

    Like 10
  4. Big_Fun Member

    The shift, and turn signal levers look like parts store upgrades, with their size and sleek look of woodgrain. I was thinking in the early a.m. they were sold by a company called ‘Mr Rocket’, but I believe it was just called ‘Rocket’. Don’t tell Mr. Gasket…

    Like 5
  5. Craig Baloga Craig Baloga Member

    Reminds me of my ‘76 Buick Skylark…..it was my first car (bought it from my Uncle), hence, it was brown with a tan bench seat/231 V-6, and no AC.

    First thing, I put on 15” Rally wheels and air shocks, to make it “mine”!

    Ahhh, the good old days of making a silk purse out of a sows ear, god I loved that car and all the memories….thanks Russ, for making me smile!!


    Like 10
  6. Michael

    Based on the NOVA;

    Like 14
  7. Joe

    This needs whitewalls. Looks pretty good compared to a 79 Nova I had that was a complete rust bucket.

    Like 7
    • Greenhorn

      Nothing needs whitewalls…

      Like 11
      • Joe

        IMHO, this does.

        Like 8
      • Beard Bear


        Like 2
      • Bill West

        My Lincoln Town car does, but whites wouldn’t look right on this car and neither would ROWL tires either.

        Like 2
  8. Rw

    Looks stupid with back end all jacked up and small tire,more important how did they jack it up?

    Like 4
  9. Rw

    Steer column is also jack up, look at Craigslist pics

    Like 2
  10. Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    Badge engineering at its finest! Once upon a time, there were significant differences between the General’s various brands to justify climbing the price ladder, but by 1977, those differences were largely cosmetic, engine choices notwithstanding. Soon, even the engine choices would disappear, as more GM brands got Chevy engines in a cost saving move that created significant backlash and lawsuits by customers, justified or not. The higher content in this example over the more pedestrian Nova, combined with its condition and relative rarity, certainly justifies a slightly higher price (notice I said slightly).

    Like 5
  11. Bill McCanless

    The engine in this car is not a Buick 350! Buick engines had the distributor in the front of the engine. I had a 1976 4 dr Pontiac Ventura equipped with a Buick 350 and the distributor was in the front. The engine choices were the 250 CID inline 6 , the Olds 260 CID V-8 , and the Buick 350 CID V-8. I wanted the inline 6 with a 3 -speed manual on the column. The car had 20,000 miles on it and I only paid $2200 for it in 1978.

    Like 8
    • Zen

      Looks like a Chevy engine to me, so maybe it was installed aftermarket. Beautiful car, though, and may be worth it.

      Like 4
    • William Milot

      You’re right, this isn’t a Buick 350 in this car! It looks more like a 260 Olds motor which shared the block with the 350 Olds. This guy was probably told it was a 350 when he got it since they look the same as a 260. Well now he knows why it’s such a Dog, and probably the reason he’s selling it!

      Like 2
  12. Bill McCanless

    I always wanted to find an Omega 4dr with the Olds 260 CID and th e 5-speed manual. The 2bbl carb on the 260 was built in a 4 bbl housing, thus it had a 4bbl intake on the motor!it’s

    Like 3
  13. duaney

    Even though the ad says, “350 V-8” it’s far more likely that it’s the Chevy 305. GM just wasn’t putting the Chev 350 in these cars for that year.

    Like 5
  14. Pete Kaczmarski

    To whomever looks at this car. Make sure it does not have the letters “METRIC” on the transmission oil pan. If it does means it has the “Metric 200” trans and it will go out as they were known for doing. My parent purchased a ’77 Omega new and the trans went out at 25,000 miles.

    Like 3
  15. Nelson C

    Yes to the front disc brakes, Russ. I’m not sure that you could get drums by this time but the disc brake medallion is present on the break pedal pad.

    GM and apparently customers really liked that quarter roof treatment. Maybe the rear suspension is to correct the tendency of the springs to crack causing the car to dog track. I like the car but could do without the window film and the beer tapper on the transmission selector.

    Like 2
  16. JCH841

    I had the same car in red with a white quarter vinyl roof and red velour interior. Unless you were in CA or the Rocky Mountain states the top engine, like mine, was a 305 Chevy. Mine had the FE2 suspension package with 14X7 ralleye wheels and variable ratio 3 turn lock to lock steering. Once I put on FR70-14 Dunlop radials and 1 3/16 inch gas shocks it drove like it was on rails. Eventuality it had headers and turbo mufflers. I bought it new when I thought I had outgrown hot rodding but obviously I had not.

    Like 1
  17. Lance Platt

    Looks like a nice car. Sensible size that will still fit in today with modern shrunken cars but boxy for better headroom and visubility. A V8 of whatever GM origin, automatic and air would make it pleasant to drive. If it is a true Arizona car and not a transplant, rust would not be a factor as in the snowbelt states. So definitely worth a look for someone who likes the Nova platform and vintage 46 year old cars.

    Like 1
  18. Dan

    I’m digging the “beer can” shift khob!Haha, unfortunately just badge engineering by 77.

    Like 0

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