Three trim levels were featured on the 1962 Chevrolet Chevy II. The low-priced 100 series was available as a two- or four-door sedan or a two-seat station wagon.
At $2,003, the four-cylinder, two-door sedan was priced $10 higher than Chevrolet's lowest-priced car, the Corvair 500 coupe, and $18 above the cheapest Falcon. Standard features on all models included heater and defroster, electric windshield wipers, foam-padded front seat, cigar lighter, and Magic-Mirror acrylic lacquer exterior paint.
Originally, there was to be a 200 series, but this was scrubbed at the last moment. What became the mid-range Chevy II 300 series included the two sedans, and -- unusual for this class -- a three-seat wagon with a rear-facing third seat.
The top-of-the-line Nova 400 came as a very good looking Sport Coupe two-door hardtop, convertible, two- and four-door sedan, and two-seat wagon. Exclusive-to-Nova features included uplevel interior and exterior trim, including full wheel discs, carpeting, and foam-cushioned rear seats. All-vinyl interiors were found in the wagon and convertible, and bucket seats were optional in the Sport Coupe and convertible.
Engineering was straightforward, but contemporary. An all-new structure, shared with no other GM car, featured integral body/frame construction, but with a separate front-end sub-frame.
Bolt-on, instead of welded-on, front fenders reduced repair costs, especially when compared with fully unitized cars like Corvair and Valiant. Front coil springs were as expected, but the real news was the novel five-foot-long "Mono-Plate" rear leaf springs -- tapered, single-leaf semi-elliptic units, made of high-strength rolled steel and mounted in rubber bushings.
They reduced unsprung weight a bit, cut manufacturing costs, and were said to be less susceptible to rust damage. Two-ply tubeless tires and 13-inch wheels were standard, mounting 6.00 × 13 or 6.50 × 13 tires depending on model.
A new family of inline engines was developed to power the Chevy II. The standard engine for the 100/300 series was a 153-cubic-inch inline four, Chevrolet's first "four-banger" since 1928.
Engineering features included a cast-iron block with a weight-saving thin-wall casting (like the Falcon), single-barrel carburetor, hydraulic valve lifters, and an 8.5:1 compression ratio. Horsepower, 90 at 4000 rpm, compared favorably with Falcon's 144-cubic-inch, 85-horsepower six.
A new 194-cubic-inch six, rated at 120 horsepower, was standard for Nova 400s, optional on the 100 and 300 (a 230-cid, 140-bhp version would make its debut in the full-size 1963 Chevrolet). Falcon's optional 170-cid six developed only 101 horses. Transmission choices were the usual three-speed, column-shift manual, with Chevy's two-speed Power-glide automatic optional.
How was the first Chevy II received? Find out on the next page.
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