posted by J.C.
It’s a perfect specimen. Now all it needs is your comments to make it complete.
It is a handsome car even if it did have its space efficiency issues. The rally wheels look particularly nice. There were many of these, two-door and four-door (usually hand-me-downs from Mom or Grandma) in my high school parking lot.
Ok Paul, the 2nd cup of coffee is hitting well so I will bang out my thoughts in rough chrono order. Pffffft…a nova…this gen is not as interesting to me as previous. Hmmm. That really is a not bad profile for a ““ compact/economy car. Interesting color actually quite good. Tire wheel combo looks nicely sized and as I think many will agree the Chevy rally wheel is an excellent high-quality universal donor to almost any Chevy vehicle ( as does the complementary rally wheels for our other GM friends). The V8 badge appears to read 307 not 327 . Don’t know if the 327 was available on this year. Doesn’t really matter because we don’t know what’s in there though nearly certainly it’s a V-8.If it had disc brakes and the air conditioner It would take my boxes for a good classic driver. Also quite sure that with some very minor suspension work as simple as shocks and sway bars you would have a pleasantly capable vehicle. Reasonably cool
I think this is a 1969 because it has the ‘Nova’ script on the front fender (not on the ’68 which was the last year it was called ‘Chevy II’) and the front fender marker lights were changed for 1970.
Given the very clean survivor condition and OEM wheels, I’d wager it still has the original 307 under the hood, as well.
Only the base, non-Nova ’68 Chevy II had a Chevy II badge on the fender; Novas got a Nova badge. The grille on all ’68s do have a Chevy II badge that was replaced by a bowtie logo in ’69.
All ’68s Chevy IIs were Novas. The ’68 had the Nova emblem on the rear fender and Chevy II nameplates above the grille and on the decklid.
I stand corrected; I really shouldn’t trust my memory anymore 🙁
That said, I could swear I’ve seen stripper ’68 Chevy IIs with a front fender Chevy II badge and nothing saying Nova. I remember seeing one or two and being surprised because I thought that name had been completely retired by then. Guess it’s kind of like how all ’77 Chevelles were Malibus of some sort, but that was the last year of its generation, not the first.
Chevrolet naming in ’68 could get really confusing. My ’68 El Camino said Chevelle on both fenders while saying El Camino on the tailgate.
I think the 327 was available in ’68… after that it was the 307 or the 350. Nice looking, well proportioned car. Makes me question why cars needed to be so much larger than this. I had a hot rodded ’70 with a 350 for a year or two in my early twenties.
If I had to have guessed, I would have said that most of these when sold new would have had the 250 CID six banger inside.
I knew someone who had one, it was about a 1972 I think. Even at 6 years old they only had 14,000 miles on the thing. It was pretty much a stripper model, but I think it had a 3 speed automatic. Dog dish hubcaps and all.
Did those come with a smaller displacement six at the time? Maybe a 200 cube?
The one featured looks like a 1969, which I once had. The base engine on these was actually a rarely ordered 4 cylinder. Most had the the 230 CID six. The 250 six and 307 and 350 V-8’s were optional.
Rally wheels look good but are a bit of a cliche on these. At least it’s (still) an interesting color, one that was offered originally or close and certainly popular through the ’67-72 period; it’s escaped “resale red” or the all-black-everything treatment. Looks to be a light green interior too!
As much as I grumble in general at The General, I alway thought that these were pretty darn good cars. As Axlehop says, above, V8, A/T, and A/C (and disc brakes if you could get em?) and you were set for a lot of reliable and not uncomfortable miles. I have to say that back in the day if a friend who wasn’t a car person asked my advice on choosing a car to buy on a lower-end budget, a Nova like this would have been my conventional wisdom choice. Toyotas and Hondas were not yet at the point where you could be sure enough of them to recommend to someone else. Among other things, you had to take them to the dealer as most mechanics didn’t even have metric tools… but a Chevy? They were reliable and if you did have a problem, you could get it fixed, and cheaply, where ever there was a shadectree.
We had a ’68 stripper in white, dog dishes, AM radio, 230, powerglide and manual steering, which in my view enhanced the drivability. Sweet ride, solid construction. I can still hear the purr of the I6…or was it the powerglide purr?
I always thought the side window profile looked like something Ford might have designed, not GM.
GM could have pulled the Ford trick of using the intermediate passenger section with shorter doghouse/quarter sections, a la ’66-’67 Falcon/Fairlane 2-door sedan.
If I knew nothing of the Camaro, and you told me that this was Chevy’s sporty car, like a Capri (vs Cortina) or Mustang (vs Falcon), I would assume that was true. A fine, and lasting, profile. By the way, while Chevy rally wheels may be considered clichéd now, at the time they were hugely popular and considered discreet and functional. A high school friend’s parents had a 2 door full size Chevy, I think a ‘69, with rally wheels and 60-series tires. Otherwise totally lo-po, but very cool looking. And that was in the early seventies.
I would think there’s little doubt that Chrysler did the typical sixties Chrysler thing of taking a last model cycle GM car’s styling (1968 Nova) and improving on it (1970 Duster).
Unfortunately, the Duster proved a bit ‘too’ successful to the point that it was regarded by a lot of Chrysler execs the same way that many on GM’s 14th floor looked upon the success of DeLorean’s 1964 GTO. They didn’t like it (at Chrysler, it was because of Duster sales cannabilizing other, more profitabe Mopar B- and E-body cars) but there wasn’t much they could do about it.
I don’t think the 3rd gen Nova ate into Camaro or Chevelle sales nearly as badly.
The 3rd-gen Nova however got a little sibling down the road when Pontiac inherited the 1971 Ventura II (why they didn’t recycle the Tempest name for the X-body Nova is a mystery), I guess some Ventura buyers might have been a Nova buyer who moved to Pontiac.
As far as the Pontiac version of the Nova being called Ventura instead of Tempest, maybe it was something as simple as the Ventura having less of a negative connotation of the old ’61-’63 rope-drive car.
Still, I agree that it was rather odd to use the name of an option package that had just been resurrected in 1970 for one-year-only on the full-size Catalina.
That would mess with the play on the name of the donor
I don’t know if that was intentional or not, if it was it would have made a little more sense to me to have the Pontiac use O and Olds use V so that it followed the traditional price hierarchy. On the other hand I do understand why they might have wanted to use the O for Olds and Pontiac had already used Ventura.
I’m no statistician, but there’s no way N-O-V-A wasn’t intentional.
They weren’t that worried about it because they added the Dodge Demon in 1971 based on the success of the Duster.
The ubiquitous Chevy Rally wheel reminds me a lot of the Magnum 500, then the later Mopar Rallye wheel. Yeah, they were everywhere back in the day, but they looked good on whatever car they were on. The manufacturer’s stylists knew what they were doing and, frankly, the vehicle’s appearance really didn’t improve with any aftermarket wheel. It was usually the Cragar S/S which usually rusted quickly due to cheap chrome plating. To be honest, I’d just as soon have steelies and dog-dishes (particularly the ones on Mopar products).
I like how wheels were treated as utilitarian back in those days, styled steel wheels like the rallys and Mag 500s brought the looks but at the end of the day were something of function to be shared across many cars and lines for many years. By contrast the norm today is a given car probably will probably have 3 or so new alloy wheel castings and different color finishes applied during an extended design cycle.
And all those alloy wheels will have faces flush with the outermost extent of the tire, which will be a 50- or 40-series item with no sidewall to speak of, so either your wheels get carved up and shredded by curbs if you have the temerity to park your car, or you buy those goofy-lookin’ red plastic guard things and stick them to the perimeter of the wheel face. Because wheels are fashion accessories, don’tchyaknow, not, like, functional car parts. »snaps gum«
(…now get the hell offa my lawn! Goddamn kids got no respect…)
My parents’ 1982 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Brougham had the optional wire wheels. The center cap stuck out beyond the tire itself, which made parking quite dicey…as my mother discovered the first time she tried to parallel park the car. A quick trip to the local auto parts store resulted in the purchase of clip-on curb feelers to help her park without further damaging the wheels.
Although the Chevy Rally Wheels are ubiquitous (as some say above, a cliché) on an old Chevy, I still like ’em. They look great on everything from a Vette to a Monte Carlo. Heck, even an Impala looks good with those wheels.
Good looking car this one.
This generation of Nova was actually one of those rare occasions where the 5mph bumpers mandated in 1973 actually looked pretty good.
This ’69 seems to be sporting the same 307 (including the fender badge) that my Dad had in his ’68 Impala. While not a particularly fast engine in his Impala, I’ll bet it was more than adequate to motivate that Nova.
I will join the chorus that recognizes what a good looking car this is.
It just now occurs to me how Chevy handled the move away from compact hardtops pretty much opposite of the way Ford did. The 66 Falcon got a fairly formal (and only slightly sporty) roofline on the 2 doors after the hardtop went away. These got extra sporty and looks like it really should have been a hardtop, even though a 2 door sedan.
But blackwall or RWL tires, please, not both.
At least not on the same side.
But I’m just being picky.
I like the green. Very period stylish.
Rally wheels rule on old Chevies, and any GM car of that era. Radial T/As as well.
I love it.
Fun to see these; indeed, they were everywhere once.
Ad for 1969 gives the six as standard, and even mentions the cheapskate Torque Drive transmission option: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/automotive-histories/automotive-history-chevrolets-torque-drive-a-dumber-powerglide/
These were nice low priced transportation in their base guise. They could easily be transformed into a very acceptable performance car. Either as it was ordered from the factory new, or more importantly, by selectively incorporating upgrades as they became cheap used cars.
This is a good looking car.
Better looking that the domestic competition at the time.
However, it was not the best car – the Valiant/Dart was a better car.
Smaller car, but better – the Corolla and Datsun 510.
I just wished GM used better quality material. For generations, Chevrolet made very attractive vehicles with materials that would have embarrassed Fiat.
I would have gone for this with the 307, the newly available Turbo Hydra-Matic, power steering, power disc brakes, and air conditioning, stereo radio, along with various upgrades. It looks a lot like a smaller version of the Chevelle.
If one chose the four or either of the sixes, available transmissions included the Torque-Drive. I wonder what the uptake was on that item.
My late brother had a ’72, at the time I had a ’74 Maverick; both with 6’s. I borrowed his car once and immediately noticed what a better driver it was.
In the late 70’s in high school I spent a lot of time behind the steering wheel of my best friend’s 72 Nova with the 350 V8 and a manual trans. It could scoot.
A more stylish compact, there never was,
A “compact” a whopping 8” shorter and 3” narrower than the intermediate Chevelle coupes!
As a blank canvas for the multitude of 70s options available, it didn’t get any better than the Nova. You could get it plain or fancy or sluggish or super-powered or somewhere in between (Unless you wanted a station wagon, convertible, or hardtop after ’67, then you were S.O.L.)
Love the simplicity of the coupe, but I’d probably spring for the exterior decor package to get some extra chrome.
I ordered a new 1973 Chevy white nova 2 door custom with 350 engine, 3 speed auto P steering , A/C and a tilt-steering ($44 extra and first year it was offered) no radio because I wanted put in my own am/fm cassette recording system. Sticker price aprox $3500. I did this when I was 17 years old!!!WOW!!
The owner at the curb is contemplating how much he’s gonna miss it, once his g/f shows up and they head in to the store behind him……..
My friend in high school sold his ’69 Super Cobra Jet, 4 speed Mustang and bought one of these little trinkets with the big six in it when he got married.
….. the sacrifices we make )-; for love. Also known as responsibility, 2 jobs = 80-90 hours a week, ankle biters, and little to no sex for the next 40 years.
Keep the Nova there Romeo. It may be your only source of testosterone boost over the long haul
Nice lookin car and I seeing some of them here too, recent imports though we never had them new, mores the pity
Rally Wheels= timeless on any Chevrolet from the 1960 & 70s.
These were so common when new, and appealed to everyone from young buyers looking for cheap performance (they bought the coupe) and grandmas looking for sensible transportation (they bought the four-door sedan). They ran forever with minimal maintenance.
The 1973 Nova and the AMC Hornet were the two compacts that best handled the 5-mph bumper requirements. For 1973, both offered sharp hatchback versions, although the Hornet hatchback had the added bonus of a unique roofline not shared with the sedan counterparts.
I always liked the early Novas, not so much the last ones. On this one, I hate the color of it, always have, even when it was common. Same went for the blue that was a “sister color”. My friends and I always called them, “Weak assed blue” and Weak assed green”. The 307 was tolerable, but the 350 was a vast improvement. A friend of mine still owns the ’68 Nova he bought in 1972, and he recently got it running again with a new 250 6 Cyl. It’s a nice color, bright red and other than some fading due to being over 50 years old, the paint looks pretty good. I’m trying to remember the price difference between the 307 and the 350. I know it wasn’t a whole lot, and the 350 4 barrel really made the car a great driver.
You could call that nondescript shade of paint a non-color. It is evocative of nothing.
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