Chevrolet Chevy II Origins to 1965 – the First Generation

The Chevy II was a compact car produced by Chevrolet between 1962 and 1979 in four distinct  Generations; all with rear wheel drive. The model name plate was dropped from the line up for a few years. In 1985 an all new fifth generation Nova did  make its appearance as a sub-compact front wheel drive unit. The original Nova went from design tables to dealer showrooms in a very short time in an effort to compete with Ford's Falcon.  Chevrolet had just dropped the failed Corvair and its air cooled rear mounted engine  from the line up. The more conventional, water cooled, rear wheel drive Chevy II would fill the gap nicely. The first versions of the model are a basic economical automobile of semi-unibody design. The cabin is integral with a bolted/welded front clip. The car is available in a full range of body styles; a convertible, sedan, two door hard top, and station wagon.
The Five body styles plus three trim levels are available throughout ’62. The 100, the 300, and the 400 but for a very short term a 200 series was also offered. From the factory the model comes with a choice of a 153 cu in four cylinder motor or a 194 cu in inline six cylinder engine. A V8 engine is readily available but only as a dealer option and a super charger to go with it if you like. The Chevy II was a popular choice; both for family transportation and  on the track for this light weight, high performance car. The Chevy II has a “Nova” option available but only in a convertible and two door hard top (coupe) body styles. In 1963 the Chevy II Nova Super Sport was introduced with special emblems, instrument package, bucket seats, floor shifter, outside trim, and wheel covers but only available for the 400 series coupe and convertible; both powered by the inline six from the factory.
The factory finally released a Chevy II with a 283 cu in (4.6 L) V8 in 1964 and made a larger 230 cu in straight six available as well; although the hard top has been dropped from the line up. Towards the middle of ’64 the Hardtop; now looking more like a Sport Coupe, was reintroduced.
Chevy II’s changed a bit in ’65; a new full width grill with the headlights inset with bezels added, parking lights are in the bumper, tail lights, and back-up lights also get a makeover while the sedans get a newer roof line. The entry level model is the 100 and the uptown version is the Nova 400 with the Nova Super Sport available as a sport coupe and has a console option with your choice of the four speed or the Powerglide automatic in it. The basic shifter is the three speed on the column as well as bench seats. Bucket seats are available and the dash holds a well configured range of gauges not just “idiot lights” if you choose. Chevy II increases the engines range to six options in  ’65 with  the power option of the 327 cu in (5.4 L)V8 which puts out up to 300 hp (220 kW) putting Nova close to the GTO, 442, and Mustang. This is the favored year for Nova fans, collectors, and power enthusiasts.  A powerful 283 putting out 220 hp and equipped with duel exhaust is introduced mid way in 1965 to add another engine to the options.

2 thoughts on “Chevrolet Chevy II Origins to 1965 – the First Generation”

  1. “Chevrolet had just dropped the failed Corvair and its air cooled rear mounted engine from the line up.”

    Not true. The Corvair survived through a second generation styling change and was produced until 1969. In fact, to spite Ralph Nader, its scheduled discontinuance was to hapen in 1967 with the introduction of the Camaro, but Chevrolet decoded to extend its production.

    1. Larry:
      During the Corvair production run more than one million vehicles rolled off the assembly line so “failier” is a bit extreme. I am certain the last three years were a disappointment for GM to say the least with a more refined product and plummeting sales.

      Thanks, Ross

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