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Chevrolet Nova

1962 Chevrolet Chevy II and Nova

The 1962 Chevy II, part of the 1962 Chevrolet Chevy II and Nova line.
The 1962 Chevrolet Chevy II was the
base-level companion to the Chevrolet Nova.

The 1962 Chevrolet Chevy II and Nova were created around the time Chevrolet executives realized that the Chevrolet Corvair wasn't going to match, much less beat, Ford's Falcon in compact-car sales.

Despite its technical innovations, the Corvair simply lacked the kind of universal appeal needed for high-volume production. No, what Chevrolet needed was a new -- but not really different -- type of car, a down-to-basics vehicle to compete in the quickly growing compact league.

The rush to production resulted in the boxy in silhouette but adequately pleasing Chevy II -- a sure bet not to offend or fluster anyone. Providing basic transportation and modestly billed as "the thrift car," Chevy II nevertheless pledged "no-nonsense styling [that] will catch glances years away from the showroom."

Ads lauded the "frisky, family sized Chevy II," aiming to blend "luxury and low price." Three trim levels went on sale: basic 100, mid-range 300, and posher Nova 400, topped by a Sport Coupe and convertible. The lineup also included sedans and station wagons in each series.

A Chevy II could have a 90-horsepower, 153-cubic-inch Super-Thrift four-cylinder engine or a 120-horsepower, 194-cubic-inch six (the latter standard on Novas). This was Chevy's first four-cylinder powerplant since 1928. Anyone who didn't want to operate a column-shift three-speed gearbox could select two-speed Powerglide instead.

Chevy Nova 120-horsepower, 194-cubic-inch six.
Standard on the 1962 Chevy Nova was
this 120-horsepower 194-cubic-inch six.

A handful of dealerships even began to install V-8 engines, one of which, cranking out 360 horsepower, delivered a 0-60 dash in 5.2 seconds. Chevrolet executives took note and began to ponder and plan a V-8 for factory installation.

No other GM cars shared the integral body/frame construction with a separate front sub-frame. Single-leaf rear springs claimed to eliminate the "inherent harshness" of customary multi-leaf springs. Front bucket seats were available in the two-door Nova 400 -- a harbinger of things to come in the mid-Sixties. Model-year output totaled some 406,500 cars, including an impressive 23,741 convertibles.

1962 Chevrolet Chevy II and Nova Facts

Weight range (lbs.)
Price range (new)
Number built
Chevy II 100
47,000 (approx.)
Chevy II 3002,425-2,855$2,084-$2,57792,800 (approx.)
Chevy II Nova 400, I6
2,540-2,775$2,198-$2,497266,721 (approx.)

The Chevy Nova 400, part of the 1962 Chevrolet Chevy II and Nova.
This Nova 400 was the only convertible
offered in the 1962 Chevy II line.

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