It’s true that GM has held on to a certain tradition of mid-sized and compact muscle over the years, and this resume of mid-range model performance has included everything from the Tempest-based GTO to one of Chevy’s very first experiments with the world of import racing, the Cosworth Vega.
There’s really not too much that General has not been able to accomplish in terms of stuffing a bigger motor into a smaller car, but the truth of the matter was that of all the models ever offered in the Bowtie world, the unibodied Nova II lineup was just not one of the most muscular.
In fact, with a wiry little front end that slips and slides at freeway speeds, 1st-Gen Novas were just the epitome of what was considered an “econo” model during the early-to-mid ’60s. They weren’t fast or “buff,” but then a lot of builder/tuners like Bill Thomas made smart use of the early Deuce’s feathery-light platform.
Fortunately, Nova rods are still en vogue, as made evident by this ’63 SS out of San Antonio, Texas. Stuffed with a 383 mill chasing a rebuilt gearbox with a 2,500 stall, the Deuce has been in the hands of just three owners, and it’s current owner has had the car since 1978.
Obviously the Super Sport Nova’s current owner is asking for at least a penny for the purchase of the 1st-Gen, but they are also willing to give up the ride for a reasonable trade.
Early Novas may be the “underdog” in terms of Bowtie muscle, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be built to take on the much bigger dogs in the kennel!