(Image of a Chevrolet Chevy II)
The Chevy II was introduced in 1962, and designed due to the sales success of the Ford Fairlane over the Chevrolet Corvair. The Chevrolet Corvair was very unconventional with the engine in the trunk, and sales were flat. The 1962 and 1963 Chevy II's had four cylinder or inline six engine options. The Chevy II Nova was the model with the upscale trim package.
Although the Chevy II was a compact car, the engine bay was large and could fit a V8 in there quite well. Some dealers installed V8 engines as dealer installed options. These were not very popular due to the fact that it added nearly 75% more to the cost of the vehicle. This did make the Chevy II a popular drag racing car, due to it's light weight yet powerful V8. Some Chevy II's were even equipped with the fuel injected Corvette engine.
The Chevy II Nova Super Sport (SS) was released in 1963, but it was only equipped with a six cylinder, since Chevrolet did not allow V8's in such a small compact. The only way to get around that was by getting a dealer installled small block V8. The Chevy II Nova Super Sport was more of a trim package with wheel covers, bucket seats, and an upgraded steering wheel. Chevrolet finally equipped the Chevy II with a V8 engine in 1964, but it was the little 283 ci V8 with 195 horsepower. A 327 ci V8 with 300 horsepower (L74) was made available in 1965.
1966 brought new styling for the Chevy II, although the dimensions didn't change much. The Nova badge was removed for the Susper Sport, so itwas just names the Chevy II Super Sport. A new 350 horspower V8 option (L79)was now avalable, making the Chevy II a true contender on the drag strip or highway. 1967 Chevy II's saw improvements in safety due to new federal requiremeents, inlcuding energy absorbing steering columns and front shoulder belt anchors. The L79 V8 engine was removed as an option for the 1967 Chevy II's, since they were being put in the new Chevrolet Camaro. A few of these engines did make it into the 1967 Nova SS's however.
1968 would be the last year the Chevy II name was used, and all models that year were Chevy II Nova's. From 1969 on they would simple be Chevrolet Nova's, although many still called them "Chevy Nova's". Along with the new name came new styling, and engineering coincided with the new Chevrolet Camaro. There was a new subframe to house the drivetrain and front suspension. The 1968 Chevrolet Nova SS was now a performance package instead of a trim package, and finally had a powerful standard engine, the 350 ci V8 with 295 horsepower. The Nova SS396 was also available in 1968, which included a 396 V8 with 350 horsepower, and optional was a 375 horsepower version. This turned the Nova SS396 into a hellish beast, being able to push the Nova to a 13.85 second 1/4 mile at 104 MPH. The375 horsepower V8 had an 11:1 compression ratio, a four barrel carb on an aluminum intake manifold, and solid lifters. There were no real changes for the 1969 or 1970 Nova other than the dropping of "Chevy II".
The Nova That Didn't Go - Urban Legend
Many have heard the story of how the Chevy Nova did not sell well in Latin America due to the term "No Va" mening "No Go" in Spanish. Like many urban legends that are passed around, this simply isn't true. Chevrolet exceeded sales projections in some countries. Nova and the Spanish term "No Va" are not pronounced the same, and this story got bigger as it was spread.