Chevy Nova & Chevy II

When Ford launched their compact Falcon in 1960, they tapped into a market for small cars that had yet been unrealized. Chevrolet took a full 2 model years to respond, but when they did, they really hit the nail on the head. Chevy’s new small car was the 1962 Chevy II, benchmarked by its designers against the Falcon, and a slightly bigger, better car by almost every measure, as the result. Available in a sedan, a wagon, a hardtop and a convertible they also offered a wide range of engines, options and trim levels. Nova was the name given to the premium trim level. The SS or Super Sport performance option package appeared in 1963, always on top of a top-line Nova, and only in Hardtop or Convertible form. At this point in time, 1963, Chevy’s entire passenger car lineup consisted of the Corvette (a sports car), the Impala (a full-size car), the Corvair (in a category all to itself), and the Chevy II/Nova. For a great many Chevy buyers, it was the only clear choice. But the arrival of the midsize Chevelle in 1964 took a big bite out of Nova sales.

The Nova went through 3 generations that matter to us Muscle Car enthusiasts. The first ran from 1962 through the 1965 model year. The Nova SS began with the ’63 model year. The second-generation was just 2 model years long. It was a sharp-edged, squarish design that was slightly bigger than before. The 3rd-gen came along in 1968, and like the rest of GMs cars, took on a more aerodynamic, rounded, modern look. By the end of the 3rd-generation in 1974, the entire market had changed so dramatically, that the next generation (1975 through 1979) had moved more toward the ‘personal luxury’-side and away from any muscle car intentions.


1962 NOVA

First year for this iconic pint-sized muscle car. Built on Chevy’s first conventional (non-Corvair) lightweight, small car platform, even the 6 cylinders were fast. The V8s were monsters.

1963 NOVA

Mostly carried over from ’64, Chevy’s economy-sized muscle cars refines and improves and grows more power.

1966 NOVA SS

The 2nd-generation Nova/Chevy II gets bigger, nicer, faster & heavier.

1967 NOVA

The last year for the classic square body. Some consider this the best-looking year. Either way, it was fast, light, nimble, and it sold well.

1968 NOVA

A total reskin results in a svelte, new modern shape. It’s also slightly bigger & heavier. But they just keep adding more power.

1969 NOVA SS

A new front & rear facia & trim grace the carry-over sheetmetal. Further refinements & improvements across the board. One of Chevy’s best-selling cars.


Chevy dealer Steve Yenko ordered Novas with 435hp 427s, 4-speeds & posi, then sold them as Yenkos. They were legendary.

1970 NOVA

1970 marked the peak of the Classic Muscle Car Era, with horsepowers peaking that year as well. By 1971, government regs gutted performance cars. The ’70 Nova was also at its peak.

1972 NOVA

Clean body style, great overall cars to drive. But by ’72, horsepower was well on its way south. Sadly the Classic Muscle Car Era was over.