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.