Car Show Outtake: 1966 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova SS – An Opel Kadett Crossed With A Riviera

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(first posted 6/24/2015)   This past Saturday, CC Contributor amazonray and I drove up to the Portland area to see the new World of Speed Museum in Wilsonville. And there just happened to be a drive-in car show in the parking lot too. I’m in the middle of a very busy summer, and I hope to write up the museum soon, but in the meantime, I’ll show a few outtakes from the car show first.

Here’s a car I’ve long wanted to write up but have never found on the streets, the ’66-’67 Nova. It was a well-done re-skin of the original Chevy II from 1962, but the ’66 Nova SS has a special status, as it offered the best performance/dollar ratio of any car at the time along with a handsome new roof line. With the right engine (350 hp 327 V8), this was a veritable giant killer, and the template for the Duster 340 that would become so popular a few years later.

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To tell the truth, I’m not a big fan of car shows because I hate getting people in my shots, which is of course almost inevitable. So I only took two of this Nova, whose fender badge indicates one of the two available 283 V8s (195 or 220 hp).  What makes the ’66 Chevy II/Nova particularly fascinating is the huge range of engines available, from the 90 hp 153 four, through two sixes (194 and 230), the two 283s, and no less than two versions of the 327; the 275 hp and the mighty 350hp, which turned the 2830 lb Nova V8 coupe into a terror. Because it exceeded GM’s new 10lb/hp limit, in 1967, the 350 hp unit was no longer available; the 327/350 is a one year wonder.

I love the interior of this car. I realize its the SS version, but how bright and cheerful it is for an economy car. Within a couple of years, almost all that bright work was gone, and molded black plastic was the predominant theme in the ’68 and up Novas. This is a very appealing little coupe, with its four speed stick, even if it’s only got a 283. And kudos to the owner for not stuffing in a 327 and adding the 327 badges on the fender. Now that’s some serious restraint; unlike the Corvair in the background. Stay tuned….