V8/4-Speed! 1962 Chevrolet Nova Rag-Top

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Chevrolet was a little late to the conventional compact party. While Ford and Plymouth launched their Falcon and Valiant, respectively, for the ’60 model year, Chevy ran with the non-traditional Corvair. That changed in ’62 when they followed suit with the Chevy II/Nova and today, we have a first-year convertible for your review. This drop top is also packing some equipment that wasn’t available in ’62 but more on that later. Located in Hollywood, Florida, this intriguing little 1962 Chevrolet Nova 400 is available, here on craigslist and it can be yours for $17,900.

Chevrolet’s new Chevy II was offered in three trim levels for ’62, the 100, 300, and Nova 400. The Nova was the top of the line and saw body styles including a convertible, two and four-door sedans, a two-door hardtop, and a station wagon. Chevy got off to a brisk start with their new compact with total production exceeding 326K units. The convertible alone, like our subject car, put up a respectable output of 23K copies.

One thing that the Chevy II/Nova did not offer in its inaugural year was a V8 engine and this Nova convertible would have originally been equipped with a 120 gross HP, 194 CI in-line, six-cylinder engine – and that was as good as things got in ’62. Well, trouble no more as this drop-top is sporting a 350 CI V8 engine equipped with dual four-barrel carburetors and working through a four-speed manual transmission – how’s that for a metamorphosis? The seller states, “runs fantastic“; yeah, I bet it does. He does mention that in spite of having the proper suspension in place, one that supports the more powerful V8 engine, he can’t get this Nova aligned properly. What he doesn’t mention is whether the alignment problem makes this car just a drifter or whether it’s a real swerver.

The exterior is a bit worn, with faded paint, missing trim, bent rear bumper, and some rust evident in the passenger side quarter panel. One thing not stated is the missing headlight assemblies and mismatched hood- that’s all going to need attention! Beyond that, the convertible top shows well with no noted deficiencies. The wheels are a nice choice, they look like a cross between a Hurst and a Cragar.

We have some mismatching going on inside with period-correct bucket seats, upholstered in blue vinyl, juxtaposed with a two-tone vinyl-covered rear seat that is probably original to the car. The door panels, radio, and glove box are missing but the carpet is new and shows well – definitely, some finishing will need to happen.

This is a great hot-rod start! The alignment problem is likely caused by not having a shop with the proper machine that has the necessary settings and know-how to perform the job. I ran into the same problem with my ’68 Impala but was able, after some searching, to find someone who knew exactly what to do. Beyond that, perhaps something is bent but a Chevy II/Nova has a pretty simple front-end setup so the problem should be easily solvable. And that leaves the matter of the price…I think this one, unfortunately, misses the mark, how about you?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. Yblocker

    This is what chevrolet should have done to begin with, the feeble Corvair couldn’t compete with anything. Not a chevrolet guy here, but I always liked the first Chevy IIs, especially the 64 SS. Not sure about the price on this one, the motor’s done, but the car has a ways to go.

    Like 12
  2. R ig18

    These were notorious for being hard to align or not holding alignment. Mostly due to only a single cam bolt. Their are after market kits without going to a new front clip that work well.

    Like 10
  3. Robert West

    These early Chevy II cars were super lightweight and made
    building a fast car a piece of cake.

    Like 7
  4. RalphP

    Can pass everything but a gas station. This car was modified for the drag strip. $17k? Too much work left to do to justify the price.

    Like 12
  5. John

    Dropped a 350 in mine to replace a 6 cylinder.
    They came stock with 13″ wheels and the spindly suspension to go along with it. Mine handled like a boat ready to capsize. If he didn’t substantially upgrade the suspension, around town driving won’t be too fun.

    Like 8
  6. Paul R

    The’62’s had 13” 4 bolt wheels. I had a 300 with the six and three in the tree.
    With no full frame that V8 could twist the whole front end

    Like 8
    • John

      My 63 had the 13’s also.
      Cut the fenderwells and put 15″s on it but didn’t finish the car before a friend offered me too much money to turn down, and also thru in a 1972 RD350.

      Like 1
    • Dennis Zozula

      Yes. I remember reports that cars with lots of power added would bend the body.

      Like 3
  7. William

    In 62 the Nova did not come with a V8. Mine was a 6 cyl convertible and I installed a Chevy small block and the whole front end dropped. Do not remember what I had to do anymore…but I would buy one again that was made to handle the V8…I think they were available in 1964. Good luck.

    Like 2
  8. Paul Owen

    I had a 63 SS Convertible. Thought about replacing the 6 with a V8 but after research, 63 was the first year for the SS and the only year for an SS Conv. Was a nice cruiser and parade car but not real fast! Wish I still had it though

    Like 5
  9. Mikey

    17 grand?? No way

    Like 5
  10. Ski

    Hindsight being 20-20 and much water under the bridge better options than a V8 for this year of Nova may be viable. How about an aluminum block modern day 4 cylinder with a turbo? Put some low profile wider tires on with some suspension tweaks and call it a day. You might have to play a recorded V8 rumble to satisfy your inner gear head though……😆

    Like 3
    • Yblocker

      You must be a millennial, or maybe even a newer model.

      Like 7
  11. 64 Bonneville

    Maybe $13K max. To much left undone, dual quads will bankrupt you feeding them, go with 3-deuces or a/k/a Tri-Power set up, with progressive linkage to run the center carb as the primary source of fuel, other 2 kick in when you mash the loud pedal. Both quarters will need work done on them. Hopefully some sub frame bracing has been done, if not, could be the reason for not being aligned. V-* have tendency to twist floor pan. Appears that a floor pan has been put in, but hard to tell if it is a replacement or not due to orange paint. Interior is just so-so will need lots more work, too.

    Like 1
  12. Nelson W. Rayder

    I was a service tech for Chevrolet when the Nova was new, You could align the front end drive around the block put it back on the alignment and it would be out of spec. A very heavy lady bought one when new and we had to try to align the front end with her in the front seat, what a nightmare!

    Like 9
  13. Shawn gherity

    No word on how the clutch linkage was handled. If its not done correctly a regular chevy block will bend the pushed back to the clutch fork.

    Like 2
  14. Gary Gary

    What a fantastic project/build that appears to be tastefully thought out so far. I’d be more than willing to take it from where it is, continuing to finish the exterior & interior (I like the original black with red accents of the rear seat). Did anyone notice the vintage tach inset where a factory clock would have been? And I can totally believe the seller when stating “Unbelievably I could not get anyone to align the car here in South Florida.” It’s the same BS here in eastern PA ever since everything went computerized. I never should have sold the ’63 Nova SS convertible I had some 35 years ago.

    Like 2
  15. Paul R

    Customers twisted Chevy twos away what from GM envisioned.
    I mean they kept offering the 153 cu.in 4 cylinder , 90 hp engine as an option until 1970.
    This was intended to be an economy car , not a muscle car.
    We made our bed , now we’re lying in it.
    Loved my ‘71 Nova though, , 307 V8 , buckets , positraction and 3 speed Muncie floor shift.
    All speaks of a compromise with my parents. Probably would have done myself some harm with a 396 4 speed.

    Like 4
  16. 19sixty5Member

    A Heidts front end will solve virtually all the front end problems permanently. A bit pricey, but worthwhile. Add a set of subframe connectors and you will be good to go. This car needs all the help it can get being a convertible without a full frame.

    Like 4
    • John

      The 63 was my first real car back when I was 17 in 1976 and I knew nothing about front suspensions. All I knew from hanging out with my hot rod buddies was big power and big rear tires, hard launches – and lots of smoke! That changed with my next car, a 69 Corvair, which was a revelation in handling. I had much more fun experiencing lateral G-forces then straight line blasts. It also changed me from a “Look at me” kid to a more mature driver. Cars will change you

      Like 0
  17. Chuck Dickinson

    Neither the front nor the rear seats show as being correct for a 62. The fronts appear to be repro covers for a 63. The rear seat is an ‘owner’s choice’ design. Either the deck lid is from a 63 Nova or just the emblem has been changed to a 63.

    Like 0
  18. Tim W

    Thank you 19sixty5, People have been putting small blocks in these since they were new. Yes, sub frame connectors are a must. BTW, isn’t a sbc lighter than a Stovebolt? I did front end alignments from 77 to 82 and had quite a few first gen Chevy IIs on the rack. Don’t remember them being any more of a problem than say a Mustang, Falcon, or any other little uni-body econo-box.
    Just my 2 cents

    Like 1
    • Yblocker

      The Chevy II 6 wasn’t a stovebolt, it was smaller

      Like 0
  19. Rbig18

    @Gary. That information is incorrect for 1967, but true for 1966. It is well documented that only 6 L79 350 HP 327’s sneaked off the assembly line in 1967. However, GM had discontinued them in the Nova by then. Actually it was covered here in Barnfinds.
    https://barnfinds.com/1-of-only-6-1967-chevrolet-l79-nova-ss/

    Like 1
  20. Tim W

    Do I remember that the L-79s were nicknamed “Hemi Killers”, for good reason?

    Like 0
    • Yblocker

      I doubt they were hemi killers.

      Like 1
  21. Tim W

    You might be right Yblocker. Best time for the Nova I could find was a 13.8 quarter mile, the best on a Hemi car was a 69 RR at 13.3

    Like 0
    • Yblocker

      That was pretty close, guess I was just “barely” right. Lol

      Like 0
  22. Tim W

    We had a 62 Nova wagon with the 194 in it for a third car when I was in HS. Sweet little car. Got the 194 knock from the piston skirt on #1 piston cracking, so we swapped in a 250 cu 6 from a 71 Nova. 22-24 mpg on the highway back in the late 70’s.

    Like 1
  23. Glenn Schwass

    They need frame members added between the front and rear due to the crappy unibody. My 66 had a 6 banger and the frame twist duevto rust was scary. The kid I sold it to put an 8 in it. It had to have broken in half. Like anything, expensive suspension upgrades would be needed. Great car in snow though. The back end hung out fathervthan my buddoies Dart. His rear end was way too light and was terrible in snow.

    Like 0

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