The Chevrolet Chevy II/Nova is a compact automobile manufactured by the Chevrolet division of General Motors produced in four generations for the 1962 through 1979 model years. Nova was the top model in the Chevy II lineup through 1968. The Chevy II nameplate was dropped, Nova becoming the nameplate for the 1969 through 1979 models. Built on the X-body platform, the Nova was replaced by the 1980 Chevrolet Citation introduced in the spring of 1979. The Nova nameplate returned in 1985, produced through 1988 as a NUMMI manufactured, subcompact based on the front wheel drive, Japan home-based Toyota Sprinter.
After the rear-engine Chevrolet Corvair was outsold by the conventional Ford Falcon in 1960, Chevrolet began work on a more conventional compact car that would eventually become the Chevy II. The car was of semi-unibody construction having a bolt on front section joined to its unitized cabin and trunk rear section, available in two-door coupe and four-door sedan configurations as well as convertible and station wagon versions. The 1962 Chevy II came in three series and five body styles - the 100 Series, 300 Series and Nova 400 Series. The sportiest-looking of the lot was the $2,475 Nova 400 convertible - 23,741 were produced that year.
Available engines for the Chevy II included a 153 cu in (2.5 l) four-cylinder and 194 cu in (3.2 l) and a 230 cu in (3.8 l) inline-six. The six-cylinder was actually the third generation engine, replacing the second generation Stovebolt. Rival manufacturer Chrysler had earlier developed the Slant Six in their Plymouth Valiant, a Chevy II competitor, when the cars were introduced to the public in late 1959 as 1960 models. All Chevy II engines featured overhead valves. Although the Nova was not originally available with a V8 option, it wouldn't be long before Chevrolet V8s were offered as dealer-installed options (between 1962 and 1963), up to and including the fuel injected version available in the Corvette. The combination of readily available V8 power and light weight made the Nova a popular choice of drag racers.
In 1962 and 1963 the Nova option for the Chevy II was available in a convertible body style, and a two-door hardtop was available from 1962 to 1965, although the hardtop was dropped when the 1964 models were first introduced, but subsequently brought back to the line later in the model year. Like all Chevy two door hardtops, the body style was marketed as the Sport Coupe.
For 1963, the Chevy II Nova Super Sport was released, under RPO Z03. It featured special emblems, instrument package, wheel covers, side moldings, bucket seats, and floor shifter, and was available only on the 400 series sport coupe and convertible. Cost of the package was US$161.40. As mentioned above, the Nova option could not officially have V8 engines at this time — the standard SS engine was the six-cylinder — but small-block V8 engine swaps were commonplace among enthusiasts.
For 1964, sales were hit hard by the introduction of the new Chevelle, and the Chevy II received its first factory V8 option, a 195 hp (145 kW) 283 cu in (4.6 l), as well as a 230 cu in (3.8 l) straight six.
The 1965 Chevrolet Chevy II and Nova were updated with cleaner front-end styling courtesy of a fresh full-width grille with new integrated headlight bezels. Parking lights moved down to the deep-section bumper, and sedans gained a new roofline. Taillight and backup lights were restyled, as was the rear cove. The 1965 Chevy II came in entry-level 100 form or as the posher Nova 400, each in three body styles. The Nova Super Sport came as a Sport Coupe only, and its production dipped to just 9,100 cars. Super Sports had a new brushed-chrome console with floor-mounted four-speed manual transmission or Powerglide automatic, but a column-mounted three-speed manual remained standard. Bucket seats wore textured vinyl trim, and the dashboard held ammeter, oil pressure, and temperature gauges. An expanded engine lineup gave customers six power choices of the six-cylinder or V-8 engines; the four cylinder was available only in the 100. But, for Chevy II enthusiasts, 1965 is best remembered as the year the Chevy II became a muscle car. A 327 cu in (5.4 l) V8 was available with up to 300 hp (220 kW), suddenly putting Nova SS performance practically on a par with the GTO, 4-4-2, and 271-bhp Mustang 289s-at least in straight-line acceleration. Midyear also brought a more potent 283 with dual exhausts and 220 horsepower. The Chevelle Malibu SS continued to eat away at the Nova SS market: Out of 122,800 Chevy IIs built for 1965 (compared to 213,601 Falcons), only 9,100 were Super Sports. For 1965, Chevy II had the dubious distinction of being the only car in GM's lineup to suffer a sales decline. It is possible that some Chevy II sales were lost to the brand-new '65 Corvair, which addressed virtually all its 1960-64 problems, got rave reviews from automotive journals and featured sleek new (Z-body) styling along with a brand-new chassis.
Source: Wikipedia, 2011