1962 Chevrolet Chevy II 300
6-cyl. 194cid/120hp 1bbl
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Alarmed by the runaway success of the Ford Falcon, GM launched a direct competitor in 1962 with its Chevy II line. A conventional four- and six-cylinder front engine, rear drive box on wheels the Chevy II contrasted with the funky rear-engine, air-cooled flat-six Corvair that had deeply divided the corporation. Termed a “senior compact,” the Chevy II was 183 inches long, with a 110-inch wheelbase. There were to be four lines – the 100, 200, 300, and 400 Nova series, though the 200 was canceled before it began. The highline Nova series could be recognized by rear fender nameplates, additional brightwork and full wheel covers.
The Chevy II may not have been as radical as the Corvair, but it broke new ground for Chevrolet in that it was a unibody design with a separate front subframe, bolt-on fenders and sheet metal. Two engines were offered – a 90 bhp, 153 cid OHV four and a 120 bhp, 194 cid OHV six. Both were available with a 3-speed manual gearbox, or a 2-speed Powerglide automatic.
The Chevy II was considered a big success, with 326,607 sold in the first year, and one third were the top level Nova model. Most Chevy II and Nova sales were six-cylinder models. A factory authorized dealer conversion package offered 283 cid or Corvette 327 cid V-8s. It made the Nova a lot more exciting, but was expensive.
Other options included air-conditioning, Powerglide transmission, power brakes, power steering, Nova front bucket seats, wire wheel covers, Positraction axle, front seat belts, pushbutton radio, tinted glass, heavy duty clutch, heavy duty rear shocks, heavy duty springs, and heavy duty radiator.
Chevrolet offered 16 exterior colors for 1962, and 10 two-tones. They included Tuxedo Black, Surf Green, Laurel Green, Jewel Blue, Silver Blue, Nassau Blue, Twilight Turquoise, Twilight Blue, Autumn Gold, Roman Red, Corona Cream, Anniversary Gold, Ermine White, Adobe Beige, Satin Silver, Shadow Gray, and Honduras Maroon. Several two-tone color schemes were available as well, and color keyed interiors were a mix of cloth and vinyl.
Because the V-8 Super Sport option was dealer-installed it’s hard to know how many cars were converted – especially with a $1,400 penalty. Retro-fitting high-performance powertrains is relatively easy, so look for original dealer documentation before parting with your money.