Numbers Matching: 1970 Chevrolet Nova SS 350

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For many, the 1970 model year was the last time you could buy a true muscle car. From 1971 forward, engine emissions output began to tighten, and the insurance companies had become wise to the speed that some of these cars were capable of producing. A less expensive alternative to a Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 was the Nova SS 350, which produced 300 hp in a lighter package. Nearly 14,000 were built (with another 5-6,000 with the 396 in its last year in the Nova). The seller’s car appears to be one of these, though the VIN is not disclosed nor is any of the original paperwork needed as these cars are easy to clone.

We’re told this Nova is numbers-matching and has had a “frame-up” restoration. But we don’t know how recently that work was done, and the limited photos provided show the car in a garage on dollies. So, it’s not used regularly, and the indicated mileage is 31,000. If a restoration was required, is 131,000 more plausible? The seller says it was collector-owned and kept in a climate-controlled warehouse. We wish there were more photos and many of the ones provided are blurry.

As popular as Super Sports were/are in Chevy circles, the Nova was not the best-selling compact when it came to muscle cars. Chevrolet built 13,991 Nova SS 350s in 1970 while Plymouth moved 24,875 of the comparable Duster 340. It was a similar car, and the body style was new in 1970, but the Duster 340 put out 25 fewer horses than the SS 350. The fit and finish on the Nova were probably better, including the bucket seats that we’re told are original and have never been recovered.

This Nova has a 4-speed which adds to its appeal. The paint is not original, but the color is, and we’re told the engine compartment and trunk have been detailed but the photos don’t help with that. Located in Stuart, Florida, the opening bid of $36,000 here on eBay has yet to have any takers. While the Buy It Now price is stated as $42,000, the seller also says he/she will take $40,000. This could be a better car than how it’s presented.

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  1. 8banger 8bangerMember


    Like 23
  2. MGM

    Good grief, why did they waste their time with this presentation,it does nothing to present this vehicle. Put a for sale sign in the window and set it by the road.

    Like 27
    • EuclidkidMember

      Lol that’s what I thought too. No common sense I guess.

      Like 12
    • Terrry

      and then watch it disappear..Happened to a friend’s ’68 Camaro.

      Like 4
  3. Bill West

    $40 large and you can’t take definitive photographs? Quite obviously they are scamming a first biter. Beware!

    Like 16
  4. Steve R

    This looks like a nice car, though the pictures let it down in more ways than one. The Nova has a few subtle modifications, seller should have shown or mentioned if some of the SS specific pieces are there, starting with the 12 bolt rear end.

    I like Nova’s, I have a 70 myself, I also like 70-72 Dusters, the 340 is a much stouter engine even though it was rated 25 horsepower less. Ratings back then were meaningless, they were created to appease insurance companies and sanctioning bodies, did anyone actually believe the either the Boss 302 or the 302 Chevy in the 67-69 Z/28 actually had 290 horsepower. The 300 horse 350 was a generic passenger car engine available throughout most of the Chevrolet lineup, the 340 was a purpose built performance engine available in a limited number of models.

    Steve R

    Like 22
    • gbvette62

      Being a teenager in 68-72 when these cars were new, it seemed almost every one of my friends drove a Nova. I had an El Camino, but among the other car guys I hung around with besides a couple Camaro’s there were 3 or 4 68-72 Nova SS 350’s, a 69 307 factory 4 speed Nova, a 72 350 Nova Sky Roof, 2 69 396/375 Nova SS’, plus a 66 L-79 Nova SS and a 65 Nova with a 70 LT1 in it. My high school only had a couple Chevy fans besides me, Mopars were much more popular at my school. There was a bunch of Duster and Demon 340’s, a Cuda 340, a 70 383 Challenger R/T, a 70 440 Challenger R/T SE, a Dart Swinger and others I’ve forgotten, but the guy with the 340 Cuda was the only one that I paled around with.

      There’s no denying those 340’s were fast, they were no match for a 70-72 Z/28’s LT-1, but they usually ran away from 350/300’s in Novas, Camaros…and the one in my El Camino. The 340’s were usually quicker than the 383 Mopar’s too. The Nova’s were far nicer cars than the Mopars with generally better fit and finish and nicer interiors, even in the base rubber floor mat models.

      Like 14
      • Steve R

        Thanks for sharing your recollections. I was about 10 years behind, there weren’t a lot of Nova’s around, but there were Darts, Dusters and a few E-bodies. In my area GM A-body muscle cars as well as Mustangs and Camaros tended to be the go to cars.

        Steve R

        Like 9
      • Driveinstile DriveinstileMember

        GBVette, all I can say is, your High School parking lot must have looked like a Mechum auction!! Wow, you were in some great company with your ElCamino. Thank you very much for sharing that!!! I could just picture in my mind each car you listed.
        And as for this listing. I agree with everyone, please post some better pictures of the car!!! You want to earn some real money on the sale, do a little extra work and time on your part.

        Like 6
      • Stan

        Intersting summary 👌 thanks.

        Like 1
    • jam

      The ultimate Hp on any engine is determined by the cylinder head flow and whether the engine will rev high enough. The 302,327 and 350 will put out very similar HP numbers at peak. Richard Holder has a great video on this. The lower torque numbers are completely different. Displacement rules there.
      The question for the manufactures at the time were how do you communicate that to the customer. Chevy did it by rating the 302 at 290HP and the 350 at 370HP. This allowed them to make money selling the more profitable 350.

      Like 3
      • Charles Jenkins

        The horsepower of the 302 was driven by Trans Am regulations and not sales. Both the Z-28 and the Boss 302 were rated at 290 horsepower in an attempt to appease the powers that be at Trans Am, and had nothing to do with sales. While both engines made considerably more horsepower than advertised, manufacturers routinely underestimated particular engines horsepower ratings, it was generally done for two reasons. One was so insurance companies wouldn’t ding their customers quite so harshly, and the other was to try to get more favorable classes from various motor sports sanctioning bodies. Sometimes it was just plain politics. Chev rated the ’67 L-79 small block at 325 HP while the exact same engine was rated at 350 HP in ’66. That was because they didn’t want the 327 rated at a higher HP than the new 396. Sometime it was just plain old gamesmanship. Did anyone really believe that the Boss 429 really only produced 375 HP? No, but in the beginning, it helped their customers with NHRA. In the end, there were lots of reasons to play with advertised horsepower ratings, but under rating generally wasn’t done for sales reasons.

        Like 2
  5. Nelson C

    Hold the camera still, please. LF and LR corners look nice. The Nova SS was a great car living in the shadows of greater cars. This is a nice shade of green just right for cruising the circuit.

    Like 8
  6. TJ57

    If somebody is that bad a taking pictures I wonder what’s been done to the car

    Like 2
  7. Wayne Turner

    I only live 45 minutes from Stuart. Problem is, I already have three classics. Loved the Novas and two of my three ar chevys . Need to sell my 50 Kaiser Traveler first. It’s a museum piece, might wait for Barrett Jackson.

    Like 2
  8. Big C

    Must be the original owner, borrowing the grandkids phone to snap the pics? Who posts photo’s like these?

    Like 6
  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

    One thing that is guaranteed: this car isn’t a scam with photos pulled from BAT!

    Like 3
  10. Charles Jenkins

    Could be a nice car and maybe worth the money, but it could also be a pig. The seller clearly doesn’t care whether it sells or not. That’s the only thing that could explain these photos.

    Like 3
  11. Marshall

    You won’t be sorry in no way if you by it. If I was looking far a nova I would buy this for sure..

    Like 0
  12. Terrry

    A presentation like this of a car priced like that is an ad I wouldn’t take seriously.

    Like 4
    • HHO Guy

      I agree. I love it, and I had a Nova back in the day, but this one leaves me with the question of why someone who is legitimate would post blurred pictures?

      Like 3
  13. Jim

    I raced one of these it had a 4 speed With my stock 69 road runner 383 4 speed and no match I could see the nova grill in the back window as I crossed the quarter mile

    Like 1
    • Charles Jenkins

      Big surprise. 300 HP vs. 335 HP,. small block vs. big block, with comparable weight.

      Like 3
  14. Fox owner

    IDK. I never liked these, they seemed to be straight up from the trailer park. Just my opinion.

    Like 1
  15. NW Iowa Kevin

    When we were in high school, 1972-75, we’d ‘cruise the loop’ on Sunday evenings. The reformed churches were, all ten of them in our farming town of 3,000, busy as hell. We counted the number of ‘jacked-up’ cars, mostly Nova’s, Chevelles and a small number of GTO’s, Judges, Dusters and Chargers. Unbelievably as I recall, the most they numbered on any given Sunday night were 78 cars. All were impeccably shiny, and all had aftermarket wheels, mostly Cragar SS’s & Keystones. A veritable car show w/no owners in sight. Several took advantage of drag racing events at Thunder Valley Dragway near Marion, SD, 50 miles west. That Dragway had been around for several years before then and is still runnin’ ’em today. Three of my older retired friends still race there, two with MOPARS and the other a Chevy and are a force to be reconned with.

    For anyone who enjoys truck and tractor pulling at the national level, my hometown 4 miles away is having their ‘Thunder in the Valley’ two-day event tomorrow and Saturday. I’m sure it’ll be taped and posted to YouTube. Free admission but accepting donations for the displaced families having lost their homes due to the flood devastation two weeks ago.

    Like 0
  16. stillrunners stillrunnersMember

    And Duster 340’s came standard with Disk Brakes in 1970…..

    Like 1

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