Original 350: 1970 Chevrolet Nova SS

Stepping back to admire a classic restored with your own hands is a satisfying experience, but it is not one available to every enthusiast. Various circumstances can undermine the viability of a project build, leaving those affected with two choices. They can abandon their ownership dreams or hand over their cash for a turnkey vehicle promising motoring satisfaction. That is what this 1970 Chevrolet Nova SS offers its next lucky owner. It needs a new home, so the seller has listed it here on Craigslist in Bellingham, Washington. The price for this magnificent beast is $38,500. I must thank Barn Finder Pat L for using a well-developed radar to spot this beauty for us.

For potential buyers, there appears to be nothing but good news associated with this SS. The seller states it previously received a repaint in its factory Champagne Gold, which shines richly. There are no glaring faults or defects in the panels or paint, and the new vinyl top is perfect. The glass is flawless, the chrome is excellent for a survivor-grade car, and the factory Rally wheels add a sense of purpose. I’ve examined the photos carefully and can spot no signs of rust. The seller doesn’t mention any issues in their listing, but when considering handing over the cash for a classic car, it is always wise to confirm details like that with an in-person inspection. However, if the listing details and supplied photos accurately indicate the Nova’s condition, it appears to be structurally sound and in excellent order.

The Nova’s tidy presentation continues when we open the doors and examine its interior. The front bench seat may be splitting on the driver’s side, but the remaining black upholstered surfaces look good. The buyer could spend $300 on a new cover in the correct color and pattern for the front seat, although $530 would secure a complete set that would guarantee color and pattern consistency. The carpet may be slightly faded, but the lack of wear would make replacement a low priority. The dash and pad are excellent, and the wheel has avoided the cracking that can plague these components. The original owner didn’t tick a lot of additional boxes on their Order Form, but the inclusion of a tilt wheel and AM/FM radio are welcome.

The 1970 Nova SS occupied an interesting spot within Chevrolet’s performance car offerings. It was significantly smaller and lighter than the Chevelle SS muscle car range. However, while it was marginally larger than the Camaro SS pony car, it was also lighter. That means that the Nova SS could hold its own head-to-head against a similarly-equipped Camaro while offering greater interior space. The original owner wanted respectable performance and comfort when ordering this Nova. They selected the 350ci V8, a three-speed automatic transmission, a 12-bolt rear end, power steering, and power front disc brakes. Off the showroom floor, it could storm the ¼ mile in 15.2 seconds. The seller indicates the car is numbers-matching, but the good news doesn’t end there. The engine and transmission are freshly rebuilt, with less than 4,000 miles under their belts. The addition of Hooker headers and a Flowmaster exhaust may have liberated a few additional ponies, which is always welcome in a performance model. It comes with an excellent collection of documentation, including the original Build Sheet, Protect-O-Plate, dealer paperwork, and the Pre-Delivery Checklist. The seller says the Nova runs and drives perfectly, meaning it is ready for instant fun with a new owner behind the wheel.

During my decades of involvement in the classic scene, I’ve undertaken project builds and bought turnkey vehicles. Both provided enormous satisfaction, and I never felt that my lack of input into the creation of the turnkey alternative detracted from the ownership experience. If you aren’t in a position to tackle a build, cars like this 1970 Nova SS fill the void. It appears the seller has performed their work to a high standard, and a bulletproof drivetrain combination means it should offer years of reliable service. The price looks competitive in the current market, and those factors combine to make it worth a closer look.


  1. John B Member

    My brother had this exact same car when I was just learning to drive. I got to drive it several times before he traded it in for a pickup. The 350 was a good fit for this car.

    Like 9
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice car here. Always was a good looking car and a lot of folks I ran into with them had upgraded to the big V8s. It’s just what you do.

    Like 6
  3. Big C

    My first car, sans the SS trim and 350. Brings back memories. I traded my dirt bike and $500 cash for a totally rust free, almost mint Nova. A whole lot has changed since then!

    Like 3
  4. Rick

    I believe that color is actually called “Autumn Gold.” My parents had a ’70 Monte Carlo in the same color combo.

    Like 3
    • bone

      Adam guesses on colors….a lot

  5. CaCarDude

    I had a ’71 Nova SS, great car back in ’76, but mine had the factory 4 speed and bench seat setup. My Nova was the factory Cottonwood green, this listed Nova is a very nice looking example and one I would be proud to own but the deal breaker here is the 3 spd. auto. Also, my research shows this color would be called Camaro Gold for the ’70 model year.

    • Chuck Dickinson

      Camaro Gold was, as indicated by its name, a Camaro only color. This color is Autumn Gold.

      Like 2
      • CaCarDude

        Actually, that might be so but, you could “order” this Nova with the Camaro gold paint color. The Autumn gold was a darker Brown shade, and the other gold offered in ’70 was a lighter Champagne Gold. In ’68 a good friend had a new Camaro, and it was ordered in Corvette Bronze, so it was really up to the customer on color choice back in the day.

        Like 1
      • karl

        You’re 100% correct ; my BIL has a 70 Nova the same color as this one, Autumn Gold , with its original paint

        Like 1
  6. Jon

    Why do some of these cars with the SS badge have a vinyl roof? Is it a add on by the owner of the day? Vinyl roofs better left elsewhere than on a sports coupe, not a fan of the vinyl roof.

    • Shawn

      Strange enough, the vinyl top was pretty popular on the Novas. It wasn’t tied to a specific package either, so you could get it on a base, SS, or the 71/72 Rally. I’m there with you though, I’m not a fan of the vinyl on sportier models.

  7. NovaTom

    Looks like I need to update the replacement value on my 70 SS. Guess 12K is a little shy nowadays.

  8. Chuck Dickinson

    If you had been a buyer of new cars at that time, you would probably order a VT (I know that I did–several times). They were the rage, and a very large number of new cars had them. That was when they were drivers which no one thought would become collectible in the future, and before we realized the damage to the roof that a VT might cause later on. You can’t apply what we know or feel today to how it was 50+ years ago when this car was built.

    Like 1
  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    38,500 for a Nova? I guess if you can’t afford 45K for a Chevelle…..

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