They wrote all those things to avoid discussing its looks? I wonder…
They forgot Italian style. Oh, wait……
American build quality.
I see six people but five nationalities listed.
And they are all orange.
The blond guy in the middle is the American.
Why didn’t they use a feather Indian?
I can’t think of many non-fleet ads where the featured car had dog-dish hubcaps. Maybe the ad people should have added “Scottish Frugality.”
California Baby Moons on a tarted up Nova. Just a different grille at that.
All that, and Detroit car…..of course, it would be preposterous for Americans to think that here in Uruguay that car could be a product for well to do people, only available through diplomats. No, this was not the USSR but those were times of no-imports.
As soon as upper level European cars became available (through grey imports also) American cars immediately became the subject of jokes. But they would run when mechanics wouldn’t be able to fix a Volvo.
Nothing runs bad better than old RWD American iron. I’ve seen 40 year old B-body Chevys and Fox-body Fords chugging around town in a condition that would have relegated any European and some Japanese cars (except Toyotas) to the scrap heap.
That`s exactly what happened here, especially with the 6 cylinder, manual transmission and few options. Many cars were imported (I mean 50 to 60 years ago) with a v8, automatic, perhaps power steering, and absolutely nothing else, but in a high trim, two tone, Impala Sports Sedan guise (I guess in the idea that trim falling won’t prevent the car from running, but electrical maladies might). I had the canche to drive a ’68 Impala Sports Coupe, dog dishes, three on the tree, 283, manual steering and brakes. Used to smallish European cars, but eager to get one of those, it was a memorable drive, but one I wasn´t prepared to repeat on a daily basis, especially without any kind of decent rear view.
What is it that I’ve seen on this site: “American cars may run badly, but they’ll run badly forever, and much longer than cars of other nations.”
Just regional. I’m sure an old Peugeot or Renault runs longer than any Pontiac, say, in France.
None of those descriptors make it an attractive buy.
Obviously basically a Nova, but is it a Chevy motor or a Pontiac?
The 250 six and the 307 V-8 were Chevrolet engines, but I believe the optional 350 V-8 was a Pontiac engine.
Those aren’t even the best traits for each of those countries. In 1972, I’d want:
– German handling and engineering
– British elegance
– French comfort
– Swedish safety
– Italian style
– Japanese quality
– American breadth of equipment choice
I can’t be the only one who likes this. While derided as a nova with a different grill (actually hood, bumper, and tail lights as well) these could be had with a real Pontiac 350 under its bespoke hood. The ‘74 GTO model also had unique suspension tuning and was a strong performer for its day.
One of the ‘sleeper’ tricks for the ’71-’74 Ventura was to swap in a 400 or 455 engine, although it wasn’t a common or widespread thing. In fact, I wonder if it would have been a factory option if Pontiac had gotten their Nova clone a few years earlier. A factory, 400-engine Ventura would have slotted in nicely against a 396 Nova SS. If not for the Energy Crisis/insurance surcharge at the time, I dare say that the one-year-only 1974 Ventura GTO might have gotten the 400 instead of the weaker 350.
Of course, Pontiac was much more protective of the GTO than Chevy was of the Chevelle SS396, with the famous example being the small screw that kept the Firebird 400’s carburetor from opening fully.
I’ve seen a couple of 400 swaps. I believe it’s a bolt in swap as all Pontiac V8s of the era shared the same basic block casting. 74 GTO with the big displacement motor in that relatively small and taught handling car would be a screamer.
The irony of the Ventura GTO, even with the 350 engine, was how close it actually was to the original car. The problem was that, unlike in 1964, there were actually better choices in 1974 for a musclecar, namely, the Mopar A-body 360. I vaguely recall a Motor Trend (I think) comparison between the Duster, Nova, GTO, Maverick, and Hornet, all with the biggest available V8 offered. As one might imagine, the A-body came out on top, with the GTO woefully lacking, given all the scoops and graphics.
I like how they couldn’t come up with anything better to say about French cars other than some intangible “spirit.”
You made me think of the very early SNL perfume ad parody: “On her, it smells like French kitty litter.”
Pontiac couldn’t very well claim it had French comfort.
Hey, it was the early 1970s, with imports continually on the rise and brands like Mercury, Pontiac, etc. wanting a smaller car in their lineup.
My ’73 Ventura (its six was Chevy’s, right?) never skipped a beat and was dirt cheap to run and fix in the 1980s. The big hatchback was a terrific feature: on a non-rainy day, I could haul even bigger stuff than would have fit in a station wagon.
I like this. It was right sized for me and all it needed was the handling suspension and some other upgrades like a Pontiac 350 instead of the Chevy 250 under the hood of this economy car.
This was 1973 so German craftmanship meant VW Beetle build quality, British handling meant Jaguar, Swedish durability meant Volvo and Japanese price meant Datsun. Still not sure what French spirit meant.
This advert looks like a joke to GearHeads but prolly helped sell more than a few of these interesting cars .
In those days I liked Novas just fine but still preferred my European (hood always open) imports more .
When new I spotted a blue one of these in the local SEARS parking lot, a couple years ago whet I believe was the very same car was again parked in the very same place, worse for the wear but not a barrio bomber either .
Basic American cars then were always a crap shoot on initial build quality but they were designed to price and purpose and filled that niche very well indeed .
I always wondered how much the hatch backs leaked .
Nate, mine was a decades-old, well-worn grad school bomber, and eventually some water was getting past the rubber weatherstrip stuff on one side. Perhaps a trunk-latch adjustment would have taken care of it; who knows? I eventually had a cookie sheet pan inside, behind one of the rear wheels, and that always took care of things. Good times!
Good deal George ;
I always enjoy hearing the real life stories .
In my youth I lived in New England where it rains all year ’round to water leaks can be a serious issue .
Here in So. Cal. it doesn’t rain much but washing the car shouldn’t (IMO) fill the trunk / footwells with water….
IIRC these came with the Chevrolet 250CID i6 engine, not fancy but cheap to build, buy, maintain and *very* long lived if you took any sort of care of it .
Nate, here’s a little more since you like the real-life stories. I bought mine from a local dealer in a bit of a rush after my ’67 Chevy croaked (frame rust—Great Lakes salt belt). The Ventura sure looked nice under the dealership’s lights, and I didn’t fully appreciate what a bondo-repaint bucket it was. But, the 250/6 and transmission never skipped a beat, so what the hell.
The car got totalled only about a year later in a wintertime accident (chain-reaction crashes on glare ice)–“totaled,” in that insurance company declared repair cost greater than worth, so wanted to write me a check rather than repair. I can’t remember how I did it, but I wrangled a deal where I could keep the car and part it out (in addition to taking the check), to get some more money out of it. Someone bought the new-ish exhaust system, another bought the two doors, yet another the hatch, then someone else bought the rest of it (which was still running just fine). You may imagine it with crimped front and rear ends, no doors, hatch, or exhaust—-I couldn’t take his money (and sign over the title) fast enough!!!!
Thanx George ;
I’m old & from the salt belt so I well remember rusted out five year old cars that still ran perfectly…
Insurance companies used to be a bit more lenient about the carcass, I remember more than once they never came to collect the old junker .
The truth is that these were a pretty durable car, not much to go wrong. The better handling would come for 1975 when the virtual Camaro front suspension and steering came.
The ad reminds me of this mouldy ouldie:
In heaven the police are British; the cooks are French; the engineers are German; the administrators are Swiss, and the lovers are Italian.
In hell the police are German; the cooks are British; the engineers are Italian; the administrators are French, and the lovers are Swiss.
Haha, I was thinking of a variation of the same joke. Heaven: English service, German efficiency and French cooking. Hell: German service, French efficiency and English cooking.
I am not sure that these cars lived up to the attributes trumpeted in the ad. However, I think these cars were better than the opposite, which might be more like German price, British durability, French craftsmanship, Swedish spirit, and Japanese handling. Or something. They were thoroughly American cars of the 70s, which seemed to hit right about an undistinguished middle in each of those metrics.
Maybe “East German” craftsmanship, though early 70s GM seemed to be doing a little better with build quality than Mopar. I always wondered who the target markers was for these fake Novas? Just thrifty, brand conscious buyers? At least Mopar featured significant model differences between the Valiant/Dart siblings–(in the early 70s). Perhaps I’m missing the unique differences between the Nova and its corporate siblings.
The dealers were often the target. As intermediates increased in size, compact sales began to grow in the early 1970s. Pontiac dealers wanted in on the action.
Over at Oldsmobile, the six-cylinder version of the Cutlass was discontinued, and the 1973 Colonnade Cutlass was not a small car. Oldsmobile dealers began asking for their own compact, although many of them simply wanted a price leader to get potential customers to visit the dealership. Once they were there, the sales rep would try to “upsell” them to a (more profitable) Cutlass.
The Olds Omega and Buick Apollo were a response to those divisions desire to ape what Chevrolet had done in 1970 by eliminating the 300 Deluxe 2-door sedan. Likewise, Pontiac just got in on it earlier even though it was still possible to get a Tempest 2-door sedan through 1972 (as was with the Olds F-85 and Buick Skylark). Seems like a rare CC might be one of those low-trim 1970-72 Skylark 2-door sedans.
All the divisions knew the 1973 colonnades would have the same frameless doors for the coupes, regardless of whether they had the big quarter windows or the smaller, formal ones.
So, in anticipation of eliminating the low-line intermediate 2-door sedans for 1973, Pontiac, Olds, and even Buick all had a version of the Nova.
Simply put, it was cheaper to have a badge-engineered version of the Nova than to engineer a strippo, framed-door intermediate coupe.
The fascinating thing about the whole thing is how Ford performed a similiar feat with the 1970 1/2 Falcon, but for a completely different reason. In Ford’s case, they were unsure how to market the 1970 Maverick to replace the 1969 Falcon. Initially, the Maverick was positioned as a VW Beetle fighter. As a stop-gap measure, the 1970 1/2 Falcon was created, effectively a strippo Torino 2-door sedan.
But when the Pinto arrived for 1971, the ‘Torino-Falcon’ was unnecessary as the Maverick was moved up to a full-fledged compact against the Valiant and Nova.
Better looking and nicer all around than the Nova. Some Ventura’s were built at North Tarrytown, NY where uncle Zoltan did repairs to things like misaligned windows
German craftmanship? My father bought a ’73 Ventura and it was a piece of junk. The trunk had a water leak that the dealer couldn’t seem to fix; I think after about six trips to the dealer the leak was fixed but by then rust was starting to appear. Also the paint was terrible- it was equipped with the 350 c.i. engine on a good day it might get 13 miles per gallon. It was nothing more than a Nova with a different front clip some different tail lights and a few other pieces. I honestly could find nothing about this car that was in any way unique or outstanding, it was simply a badge engineered car and a preview of what was to come from GM in the future.
They don’t actually SAY that the car has any of those qualities, they just list them, leaving the reader to make the inference.
I suppose that’s more appealing than saying American craftsmanship, American handling, American spirit, American durability, American price.
I had to do a double-take on “British handling,” but then I remembered 1972 is nearly 50 years ago!
Having had a later variant in the fleet growing up (1976 4dr with a 2bbl 350 Buick), I’m having a hard time hating on these cars overall. Its two bad qualities were poor space utilization and the fuel economy of a garbage truck. But it was dead reliable, reasonably well screwed together, quiet inside, and handled well. It had the ability to eat up the miles like cars of a much higher price class.
GM expected us to fall prey to the classic marketing strategy of product line extension here: repositioning the early 60s Chevy Nova as a new global wunderkind possessing qualities previously not evident. I suppose some took the bait but by the early 70s that was a remote prospect. I will credit that the Ventura did enjoy some later acclaim as Roy Scheider’s car in the Manhattan chase scene from the film “The Seven Ups.”
Visually, The Seven-Ups chase scene is fine. But, aurally, it is distracting and a disappointment. The reason is that Philip D’Antoni, the producer of the classic Bullitt, which was nominated for an Academy Award precisely for the best sound mixing of that legendary chase scene, made the fateful decision to reuse the Bullitt car sounds in The Seven-Ups. Although it was technically possible for a Ventura to have a manual transmission with a V8, it’s doubtful, and it certainly didn’t have a loud exhaust. And there’s no question that the Pontiac Grand Ville in the movie was an automatic.
The whole thing is distracting, the only difference in the chase choreography was briefly adding *other” cops to the chase for the bad guys to crash through a roadblock with, otherwise it’s nearly identical -> Drive fast jumping down hilly city streets -> drive into the outskirts of town -> protagonist gets shot at – > ram into each other -> crash spectacularly(Roy Scheider in this case). Even the driver of the Grand Ville was the same driver as in Bullitt in the Charger!
The noises bother me but not because the GT40 engine sound effects were reused(Vanishing Point reused them too but they don’t stand out near as much) but there was zero implication that the Ventura was souped up, or that the protagonist was the type who would soup up his car. Frank Bullitt was the type, and the car was visually modified with its torque thrust wheels, it wasn’t just some undercover car with poverty caps from the motor pool the Ventura seemed to be.
7-ups is a fun watch though but it really was trying too hard to be Bullitt and the French connection.
Just needed one featuring :
it has Italian ( Michelotti, Pininfarina, Bertone`s ) style .
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