The compact Chevrolet Chevy II hit showrooms in 1962. The Chevy II was designed as a no-nonsense conventional model to take on the successful Ford Falcon — something the European-inspired Chevrolet Corvair had failed to do.
While it did gain market share, by 1965 it was a four-year-old design and sales figures waned compared to the restyled ’64 Falcon and Plymouth Valiant models.
For 1966, the Chevy II received a full restyle, and the fresh, clean look was an immediate hit with buyers.
From a small, boxy sedan to a sleek slab-sided look that followed other GM models, the Chevy II started to pull some serious sales numbers.
Partly fuelled by the new youth buyers in the market, the Chevy II and upscale Nova were go-to models for young families. Roomy enough for five, with a full trunk and a host of optional equipment, the Nova was a rising star.
As a performance offering, the Nova could also be equipped with the super sport package. Opening the door, the Nova SS model could be ordered with just about every style upgrade and performance option on the GM order sheet.
Everything from performance axle and handling packages, to all the fire-breathing small-block optional V-8s could be had. With a very favourable power-to-weight ratio, the Nova was not only a contender, but a fast competitor.
The only limiting factor in the quarter-mile was the ability to hook up that power. Plagued with a small wheelhouse and the tires of the day, traction was the only thing holding the Nova back.
For ’67, the revised Nova SS continued to be an excellent high-performance car.
By the late ’60s, a process called back-halving saw many drag cars have the rear frame modified with the rear leaf springs moved inboard, to make room for larger rear wheel and tire combinations. Traction became a matter of tire-compound selection and engine horsepower, as hooking up the Nova would often end up with it in the winner’s circle.
For Dave Geraldi of Winnipeg, his experience with the Nova goes back several years, as he owned a ’67 two-door model in Brantford, Ont.
“I’ve always been looking for another, but since moving to Winnipeg and meeting friends with classic vehicles and seeing the cruise nights, I started to look more,” Geraldi said.
Spotting an online ad in the spring of 2016, for a ’67 Nova SS in the Niagara Falls area, Geraldi felt he had a winner. A rust-free ’67 Nova Super Sport hardtop, it had several performance upgrades, including the back-half treatment.
With the car back in Winnipeg, Geraldi took stock of what he had. The Nova was straight, with a flawless viper-blue paint job, fibreglass four-inch cowl induction hood, four-point roll cage, black vinyl bucket seat interior with custom centre console, and Autometer tachometer and gauge package.
Under the hood is a rebuilt 355-cubic-inch, small-block Chevy V-8 with a steel crankshaft and forged pistons, topped with 327 high-performance ported and polished cylinder heads, Weiand aluminum intake manifold and Holley 650 c.f.m. four-barrel carburetor. Cooling is supplied with an Edelbrock aluminum water pump and three-core aluminum radiator with electric fan.
A healthy horsepower package, it also came with MSD 6AL ignition box, Hooker Competition headers leading to a three-inch diameter dual exhaust system with Flowmaster Super 10 series mufflers.
The battery has been relocated to the trunk, along with a 10-gallon fuel cell.
Backing the engine is a Turbo 350 three-speed automatic transmission, with 3,000 r.p.m. stall TCI Streetfighter torque convertor, Turbo-Action Cheetah shifter, trans cooler and shift kit, leading back to a narrowed Chrysler Dana 60 rear axle with 3.73:1 posi-traction gear ratio.
Front suspension has been replaced with Mustang II rack-and-pinion steering, coil-over shocks and disc brakes.
Tying the Nova SS to the road is a set of 15-inch Weld Pro Star five-spoke wheels, with Michelin radials up front and massive 29-inch by 18.5-inch Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires on the rear.
Since acquiring the car, Geraldi has rebuilt the carburetor and completely rewired the car with a new American Autowire wiring kit.
Future upgrades include the addition of a real set of racing bucket seats and a set of CalTracs traction bars from Calvert Racing Suspensions, along with a trip to the chassis dyno for tuning.
“I managed to get out to several shows and Sunday cruise nights this year, and I’m looking forward to next season,” Geraldi says.
There were 10,100 Nova SS hardtop coupes manufactured in 1967. Of those 8,200 were built with V-8 power.
Today the mid-60s Nova is a very popular car among collectors, and there’s a real following for these vehicles, with a great selection of reproduction parts available for restorations.