Classic CC Capsule: 1979 Chevrolet Nova Custom Coupe – Last Call

Yes, I know we’ve had a full CC on this vintage of Nova recently, but I had to share this one, as it is a very rare ’79 model, the end of the road for the traditional RWD compact Chevy. And it even has a landau top!

1979 was the last roundup for the Nova, unless you count the NUMMI-built Corolla clone from the late Eighties. While not much had changed since the 1975 restyling, the ’79 did get an attractive new grille, and for one year only, rectangular headlights.

Novas were available in plain hatchback, sedan and coupe models, plus a plusher Custom sedan and coupe. The luxury Concours version, meant to compete with the Ford Granada and Mercury Monarch, was gone after ’77 but many of its plush features moved to the Nova Custom, including the wide chrome fender moldings and Cabriolet landau top.

Engine choices were the tried-and-true 250 inline six and 2 BBL 305 V8. A 350 V8 was also available in California and high-altitude states. The basic Nova was the most popular by far; out of 97,721 ’79s sold, over 82,000 were standard Novas. There were not many takers for the Custom, with only 7,529 coupes and 7,690 sedans made. Our featured car, a Custom coupe, sold for $4,164 with the six and $4,399 with the V8.

I spotted this Nova a few days before getting photos, and thought it was a Concours until I saw the square headlights. It’s pretty clean for a ’79, with no obvious rust, other than the bubbling under the landau top. It even has a CB radio, and appears to be owned by a car guy, as there was a car show flyer on the seat.

Despite the short model year (production ended in 11/78), Chevy moved nearly 100,000 Novas in 1979. The new Citation was waiting in the wings, and was supposed to be the way of the future for compact cars. Given how that turned out, maybe Chevy could have kept the Nova in the lineup a couple more years, at least until the Celebrity was introduced. But then, it’s always easy to second guess!