Although still based on the 1962 bodyshell, the reskinned 1966 Chevrolet Chevy II was supposedly inspired by the sleek Super Nova show car that had made its debut at the 1965 New York Auto Show.
To many eyes, the appearance of the 1966 Chevy II sedans and wagons remained, at best, unimaginative, but the Nova Super Sport Coupe picked up some of the successful "look" of the bigger Impala and Malibu coupes. SS interiors were upgraded, too, but for the third year in a row the most interesting news was under the hood.
The expanded range of available V-8s included the 195- and 220-bhp 283s, a 275-bhp 327 and, the ultimate small-block -- a new 350-bhp 327 V-8 straight out of the Corvette Sting Ray. So equipped, the 1966 Nova SS became one of the top weapons in Chevy's performance arsenal due to its relatively low weight. Reportedly, about 2,200 350-horse 327s were produced, all with the four-speed stick. Most were SS Novas, but about 50 of the light two-door sedans got the hot combo, too.
While the SS added excitement, Chevy II for 1966 remained far behind its 1962-1963 sales levels, although up smartly from 1965. Production totaled 163,300 units, including 21,000 Super Sports, but this still wasn't enough to beat out the Falcon's 182,669 sales.
In its last year on the 1962 bodyshell, the 1967 Chevrolet Chevy II was virtually unchanged -- and unappreciated by 1967's compact-car buyers. Model-year production slumped to 106,500, the lowest ever. Even so, this was enough to beat Falcon, which plummeted to just 64,335 units.
New 1967 Chevrolet Chevy II features included a reworked grille, duo-tone SS all-vinyl interior, and a rarely seen optional vinyl top. Safety features in every 1967 Chevy II embraced GM's new energy-absorbing steering column, front and rear seat belts, padded instrument panel, and padded sun visors.
All this notwithstanding, times had changed, but the Chevy II hadn't. Even the four-cylinder motor remained in the lineup, and at $2,258, the Series 100 two-door was one of the industry's lowest priced cars -- but also a car few wanted to buy.
In 1968, a very different kind of Chevy II Nova appeared, but for a legion of devotees, the real Chevy II story began in 1962 and ended in 1967. For those six years -- in the face of Falcons, Darts, Comets, Tempests, and even a saboteur or two from within -- the "back-to-basics" Chevrolet Chevy II was a lot like the Eveready Rabbit.
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