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AJ's Car of the Day '63 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova 400 Station Wagon
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Car: Chevrolet Chevy II Nova 400 Station Wagon

Year: 1963

What makes it special: Chevrolet's Chevy II/Nova was produced in five generations for the 1962 through 1979, and 1985 through 1988 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. After the Chevrolet Corvair was outsold by the 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. Chevy II came in three series and five body styles—the 100 Series, 300 Series and Nova 400 Series.

What made it famous: Available engines for the Chevy II in 1962 and 1963 included Chevrolet's inline-four engine of 153 cu in and a new third generation 194 cu in Chevrolet straight-6 engine.  All Chevy II engines featured overhead valves. A V8 engine was not available in 1962 and 1963. For 1963, the Chevy II Nova Super Sport was released, under RPO Z03, featuring 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.

Why I would want one: I've always loved the Chevy II (aka "Box Nova") for the sheer fact that performing a small block V8 mod turns it into instant hot rod. It's boxiness makes it even cooler.

Fun fact: There was a lot of debate within the Chevrolet organization over just what to call this new car, and the decision to go with "Chevy II" was a very late one. Among the finalists was Nova. It lost out because it didn't start with a "C," but was selected as the name for the top-of-the-line series. Ultimately the Nova badge would replace Chevy II, but that wouldn't happen until 1969. 

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