Inside Beauty: 1962 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova 400

062716 Barn Finds - 1962 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova 400 - 1

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This one is beautiful on the inside, sort of like the prom date that your parents set you up with a couple of decades ago. The 1962 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova 400 seen here is in Saint Leonard, Maryland and is listed on eBay with a current bid price of a buck under $3,500. There are still over two days left on the auction and this one may surprise you if you look beneath the surface.

062716 Barn Finds - 1962 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova 400 - 2

This is a first-generation Chevy II, made from 1962 to 1965 and Chevy made 23,741 Chevy II Nova 400 convertibles in 1962. The “Nova” was an option for the Chevy II convertible in 1962 and 1963 and also in the two-door hardtop from 1962 to 1965. This car has had two owners, “Only owners have been Uncle (bought it new) and Niece (bought in 1973 from Uncle).”

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This particular car was was taken “off the road and garage kept beginning 1981”, and it has 122,000 original miles. It looks rough on the exterior, there is no question about it. I can’t tell if it’s been normally dented, whatever that means, from everyday use for a couple of decades, or if someone spent a few weekends just going around the car with a ball peen hammer and dinging up almost every surface possible. Almost everything about the exterior needs work or needs to be replaced. Luckily, a lot of parts help is available for these great looking cars. This one could shine again, hopefully it will.

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Yep, the interior needs quite a bit of help, too. I think I see driveway under that floor mat! And, under the driver’s side, too. The trunk looks a little crusty, too, but no sunlight is visible, at least in this one photo. The seller knocks it out of the ballpark with this one line: “Mechanically sound but needs complete body and interior overhaul”. Truer words have never been spoken.

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Here’s where it gets good. In 2003 this car had $7,000 in mechanical work done to it, including a full rebuild of the engine, brakes, a new suspension, exhaust, a new fuel system from a new tank to new lines and fuel pump, and the transmission was gone through with new seals, fluid, and filters. In 2015 it got a new battery and transmission gasket and fluid and more. The underside looks much better than the body and interior does, and that’s probably a good way to start a project, with a solid foundation. There is no mention of which one of two six-cylinder engines this one is, but I’m assuming that it’s the 3.2L 194 six, but I could be wrong. Maybe one of you will know. This car could be a nice project if a person was handy at bodywork, that’s mainly what it needs. That, and some interior help and a new top. How would you restore this one, or would you just fix the floors and drive it as it looks here? Or, dare I say, would you put a V8 in there?

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  1. JW454

    I think the 6 cylinder would have plenty of power to get you where you wanted to go. Put in new floor pans where needed, replace the top/seat covers, do a heavy duty clean up, and enjoy it until a further resto can happen.

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  2. Terry J

    A 194 6 cyl was stock of course, though the 4 banger (that became the Iron Duke) was the base engine. This was the new light weight 6 cylinder engine. The 4 banger was the same w/ 2 cylinders whacked off. The 230 (194/230/250/292 series ) didn’t come along until 1963. In 1962 the full size Chevys / Pu’s etc still used the venerable 235 6 cyl which was of course the old design engine with roots from 1937. I had a red ’62 Chevy 2 two door hardtop in 1967, and several other ’62-’65s as the years went by (another hardtop, a 2 door post and a stock V8 4 door wagon). My first one, the red ’62 had the stock 194 with a 3 on the tree, then later Dad and I put in a 283 and again later a 327. Great cars. :-) Terry J

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  3. Mitch

    The four cylinder was fairly uncommon (from what I understand) but I have an old hot rodding magazine from 1972 where a guy took a ’62 with a four & built the snot out of it. It apparently was a constant class winner on the 1/8th mile drag strips in Maine & the far northeast.

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    • Rocco

      I actually serviced(changed fluid) a transmission in a ’68 Nova with a 4cyl. It had the longest fan shroud I’ve ever seen. The eng. bay looked empty. I think the shroud was bigger than the eng. lol.

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    • Doug Towsley

      Back in the 80s I found a number of old magazines and saved some of the period advertising on these cars as I had 2 of them.

      “Thrifty 4, Satiny 6,,,,,,,,,,,,,” and I cant remember what they said about the V8 option.

      Chevrolet had the right idea, Modular construction, easily replacable parts and great deal of interchange with parts and power trains. But some of the ideas were flawed. While I had one, I knew a Ssgt who drag raced one. Firebird raceway in Boise and Ontario in Oregon mostly. He was a tech instructor for flightline acft and when we had a long day and wanted a break we would ask about his race cars or racing and would get him to veer off topic and nice distraction. He liked to talk about racing!

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  4. Rotag999

    I am a Bowtie fan but Nova was pretty lousy till about 65 (and up) weak front suspension that wear frontend part’s out…!

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    • Mark

      62 to 67 have the same front suspension.

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  5. Doug Towsley

    I had both a 63ss and a 64ss in the 1980s, the 64 had a 283 and muncie 4 sp and the 63 I found in the impound lot and bought it from the owner had a inline 6 with powerglide, power assist steering and came stock with 4 lug wheels. Both cars in Idaho when stationed at Mt Home AFB. So those cars a story in itself, but more to the point on my way to Boise one saturday stopped at a truckstop just outside Boise (Gearjammer?) Near the Missle Silos. And out front was a car EXACTLY like this! Same color same features! They were holding a raffle and selling tickets for Truckers. Some one would win that car. I TRIED to buy it from the Truck stop, so then I stuck pieces of paper with my info on it all over the car and in nooks and crannies hoping when the winner got it they might contact me. No luck.

    Rotag is right about the front suspension, brakes were really crappy too. Fred Puhns suspension book uses this design as the WORST design possible. When you turn the wheel it cambers over the wheels and your contact patch shrinks to about a 1/4 inch. I finally sold my cars of this type because while they were lightweight and fast with the right motors, they were pretty unsafe to drive and way too many underwear soiling events. There is suspension kits out now that fix this problem but whats the point? You are effectively replacing half the car just to make it driveable.

    But I have a lot of memories from driving and owning them, so bit of nostalgia here.

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    • Donald

      Doug, in the late 80’s I was driving around in a 63 nova ss convertible. It had the inline 6, bucket seats, center console with automatic shifter on the floor…This car was nice, black paint, red vinyl interior and white top…but like you, the front suspension was so lousy, it was really scary driving it too fast…At that time a mechanic I knew told me a chevette suspension could be fitted on the car and would make it safer to drive…But I was in college and broke…sold it for $5000 and bought an ’84 Camaro with a T-Top. This was summer of ’88…

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      • Doug Towsley

        Donald, If you got that much in 88 you did well, I had that much and a lot more invested but no matter what couldnt find a solution to the suspension. Now a Chevette, New one on me but that might have worked. They at least SORT OF handled. I sold mine in 97 or so, I had looked at using a late 80s Camaro front clip as well since they also used a similar strut suspension. Well, the camaro was Strut, the Nova was a weird shock and A arm set up but i thought i could adapt it. Instead sold it off and did a kit car project instead. The idea of NO-RULES appealed to me as opposed to not doing anything that could not be returned to original.
        However hindsight is 20/20. I learned later my 64SS with v8 and 4 speed is now worth a fortune. and should have kept that 63ss all original and used it as a sunday driver. Mine also had that shifter on the floor with the console plate. The power assist was a joke, but im sure super rare now. Had i kept it stock and original it would be a real sweet heart today. Wish I would have kept my 1972 Rally Nova as well, and that missed chance for a 1970 Cuda with motor problems for $400 in 1984,,, arrrgh.

        I do still have parts for one of these cars in storage. I have the clutch and brake pedals for early 60s Nova as well as linkages and the adapter to use in a non 283 car as they had a special boss on the engine casting. A few other items as well,.

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      • Doug Towsley

        oh yes, almost forgot. Speaking of value in the 1980s. I STILL have my receipts from Summit racing, PAW, JC Whitney and others. All into that car. At that time in 1985 I had about $6,000 into it.and invested more including paint, interior and chrome work, and several engine builds. Plus Centerline wheels and nice tires. So I went overseas. The military lost track of it and same time read in Stars & Stripes newspaper that a whole bunch of cars fell off a cargo ship in Bremerhaven. I had been told my car was coming thru there.

        I started assuming my car was at the bottom of the harbor. I went to legal office on my base and asked what would happen if it had been one of the cars. They could not have cared less about all my receipts or all my labor. They looked in a book and said “We will give you $800 if your car was lost” Aiiiiighhhhhh! I was despondent for a long time and then one day got a notice my car had shown up safe after all. The military does not give a crap, Luckily my car survived.

        When i returned to the US in 1989, same deal, Should have arrived at port of Seattle or Tacoma. No word, no word no word. One day a letter shows up and says if i dont come claim it, it will be scrapped in 10 days. Some crooked SOB’s had been trying to steal it. When I got there post haste to get it, someone had scrawled P.O.S. into the windshield.

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  6. Ck

    I had a 63 hard top same color as this one white with a red gut cool car paid $150 bucks for it ahhh the good old days

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  7. stillrunners

    like me a II….have had 63-64-65 hardtops and would get another if priced right….have a buddy with a nice ‘vert – won’t sell it fer nothin…..and he drives a flat head coupe to boot……..good Nova converts are hard to find….this one could just be a good driver with all the work that has been done all ready….do we vote buy ?

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  8. rangeroger

    My 1942 Ford GPW has a ’67 Chevy II 4cyl in it. 153 ci, 90 hp and 150 ft lbs of torque. Engine is like a tractor engine. Will run all day and pull and pull.
    When I was a senior in HS in Chula Vista there was a guy who was the son of the Nelson of Nelson & Sloane concrete. He raced a ’62 Chevy II that got one of the first 427’s to hit SoCal. What a monster.

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  9. Terry J

    Comment from Doug T (above) “adapter to use in a non 283 car as they had a special boss on the engine casting”. Doug is referring to the fact that the 283 V8 stick shift Chevy 2 engines had a unique threaded boss cast into the block at the back/drivers side to mount the bell crank for linkage to the clutch. Without that you need to engineer something, but it has to be stout. There is a lot of pressure on it when the clutch is engaged. Also those engines used a different oil pan with the sump in the front to stay away from the tie rod. Can’t find one? Gotta drop the tie rod (doesn’t work well because of ground clearance) or re vamp the pan with some skilled cutting and welding. :-) Terry J

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    • Doug Towsley

      Correct Terry, Good luck finding a correct 283 block with that casting feature. Most people would not know it if they saw it. So, without it, you need an adapter to locate that ball for the cross over shaft and pivot. I was an idiot in 84, didnt notice it. Blew up the 283 and threw it in a dumpster. Installed a 327 and Uh-Oh! Stuff does not fit! I did part of the work and a “Elms Speed Shop” in Mt Home Idaho did the rest.
      So, someone needs these parts. I got ’em! Maybe I should list them on feebay but most people have no clue.
      As to the oil pan, thats a very common story but not ALWAYS true. To swap the 6 from a Nova or Chevy 2 into a later car you DO need to swap pans and oil pickups. And many say you need a special pan on a V8 and that may be the case for some but I had 3 different engines and pans and while close,,,,,,I did not have a problem. I have a picture of my 327 going in hanging from a cherry picker and you can clearly see the pan. No problems!

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  10. Scotty GAuthor

    Auction update: Sold at $3,705!

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  11. patty

    My cousin had one of these when were teenagers. It was not exceptional but it was clean inside and out. This car never cost her a dime, other than the gas that she put in it. She drove the car with a bad starter for years. Didnt have the money or the want to bother replacing it. She drove it untill someone rear ended her. My sister had one too for awhile.

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