There’s really nothing like it – a relatively light car with a huge engine powering the rear wheels. This 1969 Chevrolet Nova with a 396 cubic inch big-block V8 is truly a thing of excitement. And, this Nova has it all.
I do understand it’s easy to add bigger engines to the basic Nova chassis, but I think the effort was well worth it. Don’t you?
Thrills and excitement – that’s what it’s all about.
That’s why I was intrigued by this (hopefully) authentic SS 396 1969 Nova.
Like most Chevrolet products, it’s extremely easy to substitute various engines without much headache. In fact, years ago, I traded a 250 cubic inch inline 6 cylinder with a hopped-up 350 cubic inch V8 in a 1968 Chevy pickup. It was all done without any major headache. The only real problem I had was some slight overheating which I cured with a shroud.
The Nova of this era was built like a Camaro or a Firebird with a big front subframe connected to the cowl that held the engine and transmission. One of the major complaints was that this subframe attachment acted like a big hinge, adding some chassis flex at times. This chassis flex could be prominent in big-block cars like this Nova.
Even though the Nova started as a rush replacement for the Corvair, it’s basic small, light economy car goodness still lent itself to a light body/big engine hot rod, no matter the year.
And the Novas were like most other Chevrolet products of these years – sturdy, well-engineered vehicles that are still with us in great numbers.
Chevys like this Nova are still plentiful and can still be affordable, if you want to get your hands dirty. When scouring online vehicle sales sites like Craigslist and Facebook, I see at least one 1960’s Nova that is a failed hot-rod project, and is just screaming for someone to spend some time and effort bringing it back to its former glory.