This 1963 Chevrolet Nova (aka the Chevy II) is a neat little
droptop bruiser that speaks softly and carries the proverbial big
stick. With an unassuming look, this flyweight fighter is capable
of beating up on some much more powerful hardware, all for a
bargain price. Sound like your kind of fun? Read on.
The trick to building an effective cruiser with good power is to
keep it low-key. The vivid blue metallic paint has just the right
'60s vibe that makes it look right when you're out cruising. Not
detailed to show levels, it still looks good on the roll and when
you stop to talk a bit with friends, and there's nothing better
than a solid driver grade convertible to take out and have some fun
with. There's a nice blend of new and old, with shiny paint and
good original trim that suggests this car has spent its life in a
pleasant place. The sheetmetal is quite straight, and if you're
looking to run hard and enjoy the sun, the lightweight convertible
Chevy II is about as good as it gets in the muscle car arena. No
modifications to the body were permitted, not even a cowl-induction
hood, and they resisted the urge to slap a set of SS badges on it
or to even upgrade the grille. Instead, this looks like a clean,
mild-mannered Nova with no stories to tell. And honestly, that was
entirely the point. It's nice, but not too nice, and stock, but not
too stock, if you know what I mean.
Inside, the light blue vinyl upholstery is clearly newer, and it
effectively duplicates the original stuff so nobody's eyebrows will
be raised at a casual glance. The low-back seats are original-style
equipment, and work well with the low-profile mission, although the
late-model shifter and middle console will undoubtedly get people
talking. You know this one was built for more than just slow,
Sunday cruises, however, with the fat, small-diameter Nova SS
steering wheel, and a set of white-face aftermarket gauge next to
the factory speedometer inside the factory bezel, but nobody can
see that stuff when they're next to you at a stop light. The
original AM radio is still in the dash and is ready for an upgrade,
and the original instruments and trim inside the dash still look
great as well. Factory door panels and plush carpets are simple but
do the trick, and there's a white convertible top that looks good
and folds neatly, so you'll have no complaints about spending
Saturday night behind the wheel of this convertible. The trunk was
finished with spatter paint and looks very solid, and there's
enough room back there to accommodate for most travel plans.
The engine is a fuel-injected 350 LT1 cubic inch V8 small block,
which isn't radical by any means, but thanks to the Nova's light
weight, it gives the car impressive performance. Mild enough to
drive every day, it was clearly built for the street. A big air
cleaner and aftermarket intake gives it a modern look under the
hood, and the black finned valve covers match it all nicely.
Frankly, the motor almost looks likes it always belonged. It's
linked to a 700R4 4-speed automatic overdrive that with a Camaro
front clip together make for a very comfortable highway cruiser,
while the durable rear end handles the added firepower with ease.
Stock headers feed a pair of Flowmaster-style mufflers, and the
chassis is also very presentable and solid. Traditional Rallye
wheels carry all season radials that finish the look nicely.
Big fun on a small budget, this Nova convertible delivers in ways
that cars costing tens of thousands more just can't. All you have
to do is call!