Randy and Yvonne Davis have owned three of Oldsmobile’s screaming yellow Rallye 350s. This is their most recent, a car they bought a year and a half ago from the estate of a man who owned it for years and planned to restore it. We are glad he didn’t. It’s an 81,000-mile, alloriginal example with factory air and power steering. Yvonne told us they plan to leave it as-is, despite (or maybe because of) the clearcoat someone sprayed on it years ago to “preserve” it. “That means we have to live with the rock chips,” Yvonne admits, but to strip the clear would likely ruin the car’s graphics, turning an excellent original car into just another restoration candidate. For their commitment to its preservation, we gave the Davises our Celebrity Pick Award.
This is a COPO. Specifically, this 1974 Nova is a 9C1 police car and just the second one built. The 9C1 Nova was the brainchild of former Motor Trend staffer (and reserve L.A. Sheriff’s Deputy) John Christy, who wrote a letter to Chevrolet in January 1974 with an idea to turn Novas into police cars by fitting them with Z28 engine and suspension parts. He reasoned that the compact Novas would be more fuel efficient than the Satellites, Coronets, and Matadors the department was using (this was during the OPEC oil crisis). Chevrolet bit, and between 1974 and 1978 built some 15,000, most going to California police departments. At end of service many of the cars were sold to film studios, and most of those were destroyed in movies and TV shows. Alex Manz, who owns the Nova and runs a 9C1 registry, figures that just 20 have survived. This one was bought at auction by a film editor who garaged it for 34 years and also kept “stacks” of the car’s original paperwork, which Manz got when he bought the car. Note the original L48 engine and the shotgun rack in the trunk.
OK, so maybe Greg Fleenor’s 307-powered 1969 300 Deluxe is not a muscle car per se, but its sleeper simplicity drew us in, as did the fact that this is a rare base model equipped with power steering and A/C. Fleenor bought it “25 years ago from a little old lady” and restored it a short time later. In fact, it’s one of the first cars painted by Mark Coates, now of ABM Restorations and, according to Fleenor, Tim Wellborn’s painter of choice. “He’s married to my first cousin, and that’s how I got him to paint a Chevy,” Fleenor says.