Car: Chevrolet Chevy II Nova Super-Sport
What makes it special: 1966 Chevy IIs introduced an extensive sharp-edged restyle based in part on the Super Nova concept car. In general, proportions were squared up but dimensions and features changed little. Highlights included a bold grille and semi-fastback roofline. “Humped” fenders in an angular rear end were reminiscent of larger 1966 Chevrolets, though the 1966 Chevy II and Nova had vertical taillights and single headlights. The lineup again started with Chevy II 100 and Chevy II Nova 400 models.
What made it famous: For just $159 more than a Nova 400, buyers could choose a Nova Super Sport. Available only in a Sport Coupe, the Nova SS was top of the line. The 194 cu in inline-six was standard on the Super Sport, but any Chevy II excluding four-cylinders, could be coupled with the SS. The Nova SS was visually distinguished by wide rocker panels and a bright aluminum deck lid cove. It had bright SS emblems on the grille and in the ribbed rear panel, and Super Sport script on the quarter panels. Buyers could also order a 194 cu in inline-six engine, a 230 cu in inline-six, a 195 hp or 220 hp 283 cu in V8, a 275 hp 327 cu in V8 and the top engine, a new Turbo-Fire 327 cu in V8 delivering 350 hp. This engine was first seen in the Chevelle. This engine with the close-ratio 4-speed manual transmission (the Powerglide automatic was not available with the 350hp V8) turned the normally mild Nova into a proper muscle car.
Why I would want one: I have had a love-affair with the Chevy Nova from it’s early Chevy II days up till around 1974.
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. In almost every way, the creators of the Chevy II used Falcon as a benchmark.