GT Enclosed Transport Delivers This 1963 Chevrolet Nova To It's New Owner
Frame up restoration
Original California car
Original owners manual
When the weather gets warm, thoughts of cruising down the highway with the top down are inevitable. Linger on the thought a little longer and the sound of a small block V8 comes to mind coupled with images of a classically styled steel dash in front of you. We’ll let you fill in the details from there but, if you like where the idea was going, take a look at this 1963 Nova convertible. It’s an original California car with a rock solid frame and body. Factor in reliable small block power, great looks and a comfortable restored interior and this car starts to look like a no brainer. If you’re ready to feel the summer breeze blow through your hair, take a closer look at this Chevy.
For those of you curious as to what the car started out as, you’ll be pleased to know it started out much like it sits today. Here’s the trim tag:
04E: Built during the fifth week of April 63-0467: 1963 Nova 400 convertible WR16725: Willow run assembly plant sequence number 1-774: Vinyl Red bench seat interior 936-5: Ermine White exterior A02: Soft Ray tinted winshield M35: 2-speed Powerglide transmission
It’s not hard to see why these early Nova’s attract a crowd at shows. With their simple lines and compact size, they appeal to a wide range of enthusiasts. This one wears a freshened coat of its original color – Ermine White. Flattering on almost any car, the white highlights this Nova’s straight panels well. Panel fitment is factory correct with even gaps all around. The recipient of a frame up restoration, this car looks good without being an over-restored trailer queen.
The amount of trim on this car is surprisingly extensive for a small car. Up top, a clean white canvas top rests under a red boot that matches the interior well. If you have a Nova of this vintage, you already know how difficult it can be to find the full length body moldings for these cars. This one has a complete set that is free of dents and major imperfections. The rocker panel moldings are equally clean with plenty of shine to spare. Up front, the chrome bumper and grille are anchored by two round sealed beams lights that mirror the curve of the fender when viewed from the front. Out back, a chrome bumper sits under small square taillights with integrated backup lights.
In April of 1963, when this Nova was born, it left the Willow Run assembly line with a 120hp 194 cubic inch L6. Though it was the biggest engine available that year, performance was dismal. This car has been wisely upgraded with the 195hp 283 introduced the following year in the SS models. The bay has a stock look thanks to the correct radiator and satin black single snorkel air cleaner with a factory style 283 decal. The block has been painted Chevy Orange and topped with a Quadrajet carburetor that feeds fuel through a GM intake manifold. Exhaust gas exits through factory cast iron manifolds that connect to a true dual system. For a relatively unmodified engine, the car has a great rumble at idle.
The 283 is backed by a Powerglide 2-speed automatic. Known for their dependability on the drag strip, this bullet proof transmission can take anything the small block may throw at it. The suspension is comprised of rebuilt stock components to keep the factory feel. Manual brakes with drums all the way around provide stopping power. Steering has also been left manual though you may not even notice in a car this size. At the corners, steel wheels with full SS covers are wrapped in 195/75/14 white wall tires for a classic look. The undercarriage clean but not over-restored.
Open the doors and a clean red interior awaits. Novas of this era were economy cars and the same no-nonsense attitude that drives economic design pervades here. At the front, a red steel dashes houses the original AM radio in the center. To the left, the bezel houses the speedometer, clock, and gas gauge with integrated temperature, generator and oil readouts. There is also a Stewart Warner water temperature gauge mounted to the left of the steering column. On the opposite side of the day, the glove box houses a Kenwood head unit with a remote. The door panels are factory fresh with a rectangular pattern adding some movement to the red vinyl. The chrome handles for the doors and windows look new. Up front, a red vinyl bench seat provides adequate seating for three while the rear bench accommodates at least two more in comfort. Carpet is fresh and rounds out the simple but effective interior.
Documentation includes an original owners manual.
These Novas were built to be driven and, even today, they are great to drive. Add the power of a small block V8 and the experience becomes that much better. If you’re ready to hit the road with the top down and get plenty of attention in the process, your car has arrived.
Description Courtesy RK Motors Photo Courtesy Robin Thompson