1968 CHEVY NOVA BACKGROUND
In the mid-1960s, GM was king. They were so successful, so profitable, controlled so much of the market, that they were able to afford luxuries like totally restyling their cars every two years, with a facelift (new front and rear facias) on the off-years. That’s a big commitment to design, engineering, tooling, you name it. But in the 60s, GM could do no wrong (well…unless you count that Corvair thing). After Ford launched its compact Falcon in as a 1960 model, the entire industry raced to catch up. It took Chevy 2 full years to respond (sound familiar?) with their hot little ’62 Chevy II, arguably a much nicer, and better looking car than the Falcon. This basic body shell got them through the 1965 model year, then in 1966 the Chevy II/Nova hit its second generation, which lasted just 2 model years. That brings us to the 1968 Chevy Nova, which was the first of the 3rd-gen Novas, with a much smoother, more modern and aerodynamic shape than that of the boxy 1967 model that it replaced. This new Nova shared much of its platform and mechanicals with the new Camaro and Firebird being developed at the same time. The 1968 Chevy Nova definitely moved upscale from where it had been prior to this. It was bigger, heavier, nicer, and faster, with new 350 small blocks and 396 big block V8s available for the first time.
1968 CHEVY NOVA ENGINE CHOICES
There were a slew of 6-cylinders available in various plebeian 1968 Chevy Novas, but we’re focused on the V8s. These started with the 307 V8 with 2-barrel carb producing 200 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. Next up was the 327 with 4-barrel making 275 horses and 355 pound-feet. Chevy’s newest small block was the 350, introduced in the ’67 Camaro SS and was now in broad use throughout Chevy’s entire lineup. The 1968 Chevy Nova got a 4-barrel version making 295 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. From there, you made a trip into Big Block Land, with two versions of the new 396 Mark IV Big Block, one making 350 horses and the other 375 horses, both churning out 415 pound-feet of torque. All this power in a car that weighed around 3,000 pounds! Even the Corvette weighed more. Big block Novas are wicked-fast!