The first Chevrolet Chevy II was available in showrooms in September 1961 for the 1962 model year. The unconventional Chevrolet Corvair could not compete with the Ford Falcon. To meet Ford head on a full complement of Chevy II models are on the table with five body styles plus four trim options; the 100, the 200, the 300, and the 400 (the 200 series was axed very quickly after launch) to compete against the Ford Falcon. The conventional rear wheel drive Chevy II is on the Chevrolet “X” body platform and is of semi-unibody design with the front and rear sections bolted onto the unitized body. Head to head competition, the Chevy II, is marketed on a half inch longer wheelbase than the Falcon. For the ’62 and ’63 models the power options were a four cylinder 153 cu in (2.5 L) and a 194 cu in (3.2 L) inline six both with overhead valves. The Chevy II Nova initially did not come with a V8 but late in the ’62 model year a V8 became a dealer installed option, including a fuel injected version-the same as offered in the Corvette. With its lightweight, this Chevy II became a popular choice for drag racers. The convertible and the hardtop were dropped after ’63 but came back late in ’64 by popular demand. The SS model was available from ’63 with a full complement of options; all the logos, uptown instruments, special wheel covers, side moldings, buckets, and a floor shift kit for the 400 version and the dealer could install a V8 if the factory standard six wasn’t good enough
Chevy II sales dropped in ’64 with the Chevelle coming on line that year which prompted Chevrolet to offer the first Chevy II V8 as a factory option with a 283 cu in (4.6 L) engine developing 195 hp (145 kW) offered alongside a now larger 230 cu in (3.8 L) six. For 1965 the Chevy II gets a revised full width grill with integral headlights, parking lights placed into the bumper, a new roofline, restyled tail lights, and the back-up lights are updated as well. The entry level 100 and the Nova 400 both come in three body styles and as standard fare a column mounted three speed. The power option is the Nova SS in a sport coupe only. This car came with a brushed chrome console and could have a four speed manual or the Powerglide automatic transmission installed at the customers choice. The uptown models have vinyl buckets and instrument gauges-not idiot lights. The four cylinder power is only available for the entry level 100 model but the engine line-up numbers six for the Chevy II which is now officially able to compete as a muscle car. The largest engine available is a 327 offering up to 300 hp (220 kW) which puts the Nova SS close to the same class as the GTO and the Olds 4-4-2 for accelerating. In the summer of ’65 a higher powered 283 became an option and with the dual exhaust system would produce 220 hp. The Chevelle, Malibu, and the newly revised Corvair had eaten into the Chevy II market and this car has the dubious distinction of being the only model in the G.M. line-up to have a sales decrease in ’65 despite high praise from the critics. For ’65 there were 122,800 Chevy II models sold (9,100 were the Nova SS) with almost double that number of Ford Falcons sold (213,602) that year.