Original 350 V8: 1970 Chevrolet Nova

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It’s unusual to find a Chevy Nova coupe from the late ’60s or early ’70s that hasn’t been hot-rodded one way or another. Some are done really well, others not so much so. But here is a 1970 example that’s an original, non-performance version and it’s typically, a bit rough around the edges. It is one to check out so let’s give it a review. You can find this example in Anaheim, California and it’s available, here on eBay for a BIN price of  $14,900.

The X-body Nova compact was in the middle of its third-generation (1968-1974) by ’70 and had a spectacular sales year with 315K copies finding new owners. A two-door coupe and four-door sedan were the only two body styles available and the performance-oriented SS was the go-to version for those who craved speed but were on a budget. On the way out in ’70 were the bookend motors, it was the last year for the lowly 153 CI four-cylinder on one end, and the 396 CI, Mark IV big-block engine at the other.

Our subject Nova appears to have been adorned with a Custom Exterior trim option known as RPO ZJ2 which includes stainless door frame trim, black painted and stainless trim equipped rocker panels, and a brushed trim rear valance panel. Unfortunately, a piece or two is missing from the passenger side quarter. The trim tag indicates that the finish is #45 Green Mist Metallic but it is quite faded and doesn’t come close to matching the door jamb hue which is probably the original color. That being the case, the finish is probably a repaint. There are numerous body spots that resemble the use of spot putty to patch either small dents or rust holes. The body seems to be intact and straight overall and the seller claims it to be solid. Unfortunately, there are no underside images provided. Of note are the wheel covers, these were used on multiple Chevy models between 1968 and 1970, probably one of the most common styles employed. I think I still have a couple of sets lying around.

Under the hood is a matching number 250 gross HP, 350 CI V8 engine. This was the most powerful non-SS Nova engine available in ’70. This Chevy’s mileage is listed as 96K which isn’t too excessive for a 350 small-block motor providing that it has been properly maintained. The seller states, “Runs and Drives“.  A Turbo-Hydramatic 350, three-speed automatic transmission channels the engine’s power to the rear wheels.

The interior of this Nova is a bit distressed too, the upholstery is split and shredded in places, the headliner has given it up and the package tray appears to have had a run-in with the weather. The simple instrument panel is very clouded too. Novas of this era possessed very basic, almost austere interiors but they got the job done are were in keeping with the Nova’s position in the Chevrolet hierarchy.

If you would like a little more visual on this Nova, here is a walk around video of it idling. This Nova hasn’t been hot-rodded yet but my guess is that will be the next stop on this Chevy’s tour of motoring life. That is if the seller can find a buyer willing to cough up the price. It seems steep to me for what this car is, what’s your thought on that matter?

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  1. Big_FunMember

    The picture of the engine numbers- nice to see it has the same VIN as the car, and the suffix code is CNN, which does decode as a 1970 350/250 HP with a Turbo 350 transmission, like the author Jim says.That would be RPO code L65. This is where a 4bbl intake and carb, and the heads from an L48, 300 HP would give a factory look and more go.
    The factory code 45 paint is Green Mist, but with the black interior, one could paint it any color they wanted.
    To me, this would be a joy to restore, as no rust/minor rust would be great! So many colors to choices in ’70, and no vinyl top, either!

    Like 8
  2. Connecticut Mark

    Too much money, too much to redo, I think those are Pontiac hubcaps

    Like 6
    • Chris Webster

      Those hubcaps are FUGLY as!

      Like 0
    • JoeBOB396

      They look like the wheel covers that were on a 70 Nova I owned.

      Like 3
      • Bob C.

        They look like 1968 Impala hubcaps. My dad had them on his.

        Like 1
    • Matt Gilmore

      Those are Chevy hubcaps. I had them on my 69 Nova.

      Like 0
  3. Nick

    Could they have optioned in the LT1 350 . . . and another 100 hp.

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      No, the LT-1 was only installed in Yenko Nova’s.

      Steve R

      Like 3
  4. dogwater

    The price is good for that year and condition would be a fun project for a guy that wanted to do the work put some nice wheels and tires etc.

    Like 0
  5. Bellingham Fred

    It also has exterior trim code RPSE, random primer spots everywhere.

    Like 2
    • David Cobb


      The Primer and bondo spots had me really scared, but they turned out to be small paint chip arears without rust.

      Like 0
  6. RayZ

    All the exterior photos from twenty feet are scary. Would maybe be worth the gamble if it was an SS car.

    Like 2
  7. RayZ

    All the exterior photos from twenty feet are scary. Would maybe worth the gamble if it was an SS car.

    Like 1
  8. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Well despite all the negatives my personal view is great possibilities. It’s a A/C car which is a big plus in my book. Does not have the lowly 307. Chassis and frame appear to be in good condition. I’m a little impartial due to my buying a 69 model new. Wasn’t a great car but for a young buck it was cool and had some sex appeal with its 396 and 4 speed. Yeah, I’d buy this if I were a bit younger and wasn’t saving and waiting for a 67 Buick Skylark convertible with factory 4 speed.
    God bless America

    Like 0
  9. V12MECH

    California price gang, but hard to beat typical california car condition, give a little more time, and I think those price points will drop.

    Like 0
  10. jerry z

    I’ve seen Novas here in NC for less money in similar condition. Chance they get that price is slim IMHO.

    Like 0
  11. thomas okonski

    to much money for this car period.

    Like 0
  12. David Cobb

    Thought it was a great buy, but paid much less than this asking price. Future will be a LQ4 NA build with an interior redo and new original mist paint.

    Like 2

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