Cruising around Adelaide, Australia, possibly on Seaview Road near Henley Beach is a likely spot to see a very pretty, red 1965 Chevy II Nova SS. Say g’day to Alf. If time permits, he may want to show you around his pride and joy.This car sports its original California plates, as first installed, in the dealer frames supplied by Hovey-Dallas Chevrolet. He imported the muscle car in 2008.
Alf has taken great pains to keep the ’65 Chevrolet Nova SS, powered by a 283 with the two-speed PowerGlide transmission, as close to original showroom condition as possible, which includes the still near-perfect interior. The car is complete and even has the original owner’s manual in the glove box with the VIN plate still attached. Alf acquired this gem of a vehicle with its pedigree included. The Nova SS had two very old original owners, and Alf is the third. The car was repainted, thanks to some paint damage by unruly birds while in storage for 15 years. Alf also took the high road by flushing, then recoating the gas tank, and he replaced the complete brake system, as well. The Flowmaster mufflers with dual exhaust, added for a slight increase in power plus a better sound on acceleration, and a new set of mags are the only variations from the car as it rolled off the assembly line. One major change Alf did make was to remove the dealer-installed air conditioning to keep the car as it was from the factory, which he may regret during the summer.
Chevrolet created the Chevy II, introduced for the 1962 model year, in short order with the mandate of “maximum functionalism with thrift,” according to then-Chevrolet general manager Ed Cole. Ford introduced the Falcon in 1960 into the small car market, and it took top prize for sales that year over the revolutionary Chevy Corvair, which was the only car Chevrolet had in this category.
Chevy designer, Clare MacKichen, quipped “no time for experimenting or doodling around with new ideas. We had deadlines to meet. This was possibly the quickest program ever to go from the exec offices to the showrooms,” only 18 months after the idea was first formulated. The Chevy II is a basic compact of conventional design (engine in front with rear-wheel drive) that went from the drawing board to production quickly with the designers and engineers working 24/7 to complete the new project. It reaches the assembly line in August 1961 at Willow Run, Michigan, for its September 29 release into dealerships. The new Chevy II rides on a 110-inch wheelbase, and the Falcon’s wheels are 109.5 inches apart.
The name for the new compact, first-generation Chevrolet was a problem, but finally Chevrolet chose the moniker Chevy II because of the “C” at the beginning of the word to keep in line with other Chevrolet products. One of the names that did make it to the end was “Nova,” which Chevy chose as the name for the luxury version of the Chevy II. In the 1969 model year, Chevrolet dropped the Chevy II badge entirely, and Nova finally became the nameplate and not a luxurious variation of the compact model.
Chevy designers had their eyes on the Falcon. With the ’62 model came the choice of many power combinations and a full range of body styles. Made available from the start were a two-door hard-top, a convertible, and a full choice of sedans and station wagons, as well. There were 23,741 Chevy IIs produced the first year, but the top of the line is the Nova 400 Chevy II, whichwent in ’62 for the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $2,475.