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History of the 1968-1974 Chevrolet Nova
The second generation Chevy II / Nova was a far larger and heavier car than the original, this being a normal course of events for cars in the era. The long under hood area for the carry over big sixes originally intended for larger cars gave these cars a long nose look which had come into fashion with the advent of the Mustang half way through the 1964 model year. Of course, four cylinder cars had a large empty spot under the hood and made the engines look precisely like what they were – sawed off sixes intended for cheapskates. The four cylinder engine was given last rites after 1970. The physical size gain compared to first generation Novas put the cars up with the earlier BOPer “large compacts” and even first generation Ford Fairlane intermediates introduced in 1962. Some underbody components were gleaned from the new for 1967 Camaro to shave development and production costs. Quality also seemed to get better, and engine choices grew to include the 396 big-block mill by 1969, allowing for a low cost, high powered muscle car for guys on a budget. The advantages of the Nova could also be seen on drag strips with the relatively light weight in combination with big-block power. The convertible, station wagon body style and 2 door hardtop body style were history. Only the two door pillared coupe and four door sedan remained in the line. Always intended as an “economy car”, these vehicles were rarely highly optioned and so now are sought after as collectibles in “muscle car lite” guise, whether cloned or real.
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