The 1963-1967 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova SS was the company's answer to Ford's compact Falcon model. Continue reading to learn more about the introduction of the 1963-1967 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova SS.
Ford's compact Falcon had Chevrolet worried. The rear-engined Corvair, though technically innovative, lagged in universal appeal. Chevrolet needed something new -- but not so different -- to compete in the growing compact category. So, the boxy little Chevy II dashed into the 1962 lineup to fill the void.
At first, it didn't look like much: just basic ho-hum transportation to rival the Falcon and Valiant, as well as the rising number of imports. Chevrolet billed its unibody senior compact as "the thrift car," though insisting that its "no-nonsense styling ... will catch glances years away from the showroom."
Sedans and wagons came in basic 100 and midrange 300 series. The luxury Nova 400 line added a sport coupe (hardtop) and convertible.
Either a 153-cid Super-Thrift four-cylinder engine or 194-cid six provided the power. Single-leaf rear springs were claimed to eliminate the "inherent harshness found in multi-leaf springs." Giving a hint of things to come, front bucket seats were available on the Nova 400 two-door.
Chevrolet's first four-cylinder powerplant since 1928 isn't what cemented Chevy II's spot in the automotive annals. Neither did the practical six. No, what did the trick was the Super Sport option introduced for 1963 -- plus the potential for V-8 power.
Installation of V-8s was underway during 1962, but only at individual dealerships, using over-the-counter parts. When an early 360-bhp conversion by Bill Thomas dashed to 60 mph in a stunning 5.2 seconds, more than a few performance fans took note.
Mild restyling with a bolder aluminum grille for 1963 was accompanied by the availability of a $161 Super Sport package, claimed to deliver "Nova 400 glamor with a sports car flourish" when installed on sport coupes and convertibles.
It required larger (14-inch) tires and included a four-gauge instrument cluster, front bucket seats, silver-striped body moldings -- but the ordinary six-cylinder engine. Ford dropped a V-8 into its Falcon this year. Could Chevrolet not follow suit?
Continue to the next page to learn more about the 1963-1967 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova SS.
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Yes, the 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova SS did follow Ford -- and for 1964, a V-8 became official: the 195-bhp Turbo-Fire 283, priced at $108.
Amazingly, the sport coupe and convertible (and Super Sport options) were dropped. Protests brought the Super Sport back in hardtop coupe form by midyear, but the ragtop was gone for good.
Thin body-peak moldings went on SS coupes, and the rear cove was silver-colored. Inside were front bucket seats and a console-mounted gearshift, for either the Powerglide automatic or -- yes, there it was -- a four-speed for the V-8. More than one-third of this year's sport coupes had the SS option.
"Despite its new vigor," ads declared, "it's still a nice, quiet, sturdy, sensible, unpretentious car. With sharper teeth." Full-throat screamers these were not, even with V-8 power. Motor Trend managed only an 11.3-second time to 60 mph with the 195-bhp engine. Additional vigor could be ordered for 1965 in the form of a 327-cid V-8, churning up 250 or 300 horsepower.
A mild face-lift produced a cleaner front end with bumper-mounted signal lamps. A more potent version of the 283 arrived at midyear, with dual exhaust pipes helping to whip up 220 horsepower. Even so, Super Sport production slipped to 9,100.
Extensive restyling for 1966 gave the series a sharp-edged, masculine look appropriate with the changing times, accented by a semi-fastback roofline taper and angular rear end. Strato-bucket front seats were part of the $159 SS package, which included console shift. A tachometer was optional; other gauges were not.
As before, the SS package came with any powertrain, except the four-cylinder. Two tougher versions of the 327 emerged: one cranking out 275 bhp, the other tweaked to 350. A close-ratio four-speed gearbox was available with that top powerplant, but not Powerglide automatic.
In five years, the Chevrolet Chevy II Nova SS had grown from a mild-mannered utility vehicle to one of the hottest street performers, capable of traveling to 60 in 7.2 seconds -- provided that the assertive 327 was installed.
Even the milder 327 with Powerglide did the trick in 8.6 seconds. All this potential must have struck a chord with the public, as Super Sport sales more than doubled.
Elation had to be short-lived, as SS production for 1967 slumped back to 10,100. A black-out grille and visored headlights weren't enough to lure customers -- some of whom were moving upward to Chevelle's SS and its 396-cid potential.
Loss of the 350-bhp 327 didn't help. Super Sports would continue as the Nova line gained a massive revamping for 1968; but the SS mystique edged over to the bigger Chevrolets for its final years.
For 1963-1967 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova SS specifications, go on to the next page.
For more information on cars, see:
1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova SS Specifications
The 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova SS enjoyed years of success, but production began to slump in 1967. Customers were more interested in the Chevelle SS.
Engines: ohv I-6 1963-1967 194 cid (3.56 × 3.25), 120 bhp 1966 230 cid (3.88 × 3.25), 140/155 bhp 1967 250 cid (3.88 × 3.53), 155 bhp; 1964-1967 ohv V-8, 283 cid (3.88 × 3.00), 195/220 bhp; 327 cid (4.00 × 3.25) 1965 250/300 bhp 1966-1967 275/350 bhp
Transmissions: 3-speed manual; 4-speed manual and 2-speed Powerglide automatic optional
Suspension, front: strut-supported lower A-arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Suspension, rear: live axle, single leaf springs
Brakes: front/rear drums (front discs optional in 1967)
Wheelbase (in.): 110.0
Weight (lbs.): 2,410-2,880
Top speed (mph): Six 94 V-8 100-112
0-60 mph (sec): V-8 7.2-11.3