The Chevy II/Nova is well known in the classic muscle car world. Chevrolet sold them has a compact car, building them through 5 generations from 1962 to 1979 and then again for a few years from 1985 to 1988. The Nova’s Sales peaked in the late 1960s. We won’t be talking about the 5th generation since it was basically a rebadged Toyota Corolla. Something that would probably make Nova muscle car lovers cry. This list of the 5 fastest Nova’s of all time only includes factory built cars, sorry Yenko Nova. But, since the Yenko Nova is so rare and famous we’ll go ahead and give it a mention below.
The most lethal Yenko Nova was the 1969 427 and according to the Yenko Sportscar Club there were a total of 38 SC427 Nova’s converted by Yenko. These cars were originally factory equipped 396 SS models to take advantage of their stronger frames, beefier drivelines, better brakes and suspensions. The engine used was the 11.0:1 compression L72 427ci, which produced approximately 450 horsepower. For its time the Yenko 427 Nova was a very capable car with break neck acceleration. The only official recorded track tested 0-60 is 5.1 seconds. This should put the Yenko 427 Nova in a mid-11 seconds ¼ mile at around 120 mph. Fewer than 10 Yenko SC427 Novas are known to exist today. Now onto the list of the 5 fastest factory Nova’s of all time.
5. 1969 Nova SS 350ci 4-Speed Muncie M20 Manual
The 69 SS 350 produced 300 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. Its curb weight came in at 3,330 lbs. The 0-60 time was 6.4 seconds with an estimated ¼ mile time of high 14 seconds. Although the 350 Nova SS wasn’t the most exciting Muscle Car, many of those 350s still live on to this day weather they’re in a hot rod or another muscle car. The 350 Small Block is easily one of the most popular V8’s right next to the LSx’s of modern years.
4.1970 Nova SS 396(Turbo Jet 400)-375hp 4-Speed Muncie Close Ratio Manual
In the 1970 due to new emission regulations General Motors decided to modify the 396 big block engine. This resulted in a slightly higher displacement of 402 cubic inches. Chevy still referred to the engine as the “396”or the “Turbo Jet 400” just to take advantage of the name recognition. 1970 was also the last year the Nova SS would see a big block engine. Which is why the 1971 and newer Nova’s were much slower.
The 396, aka Turbo Jet 400 produced 375 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. The curb weight was nearly 200lbs heavier than the previous Nova on the list coming in at 3,505lbs. Its 0-60 was 5.9 seconds with an estimated ¼ mile time of low 14 seconds.
3. 1969 Nova SS 396-375hp 4-Speed Muncie Close Ratio Manual
The 68’and 69’ model years were arguably the better years for the Nova. The SS 396 had a favorable 45% weight distribution on the rear axle which was very favorable weight balance that few other muscle cars could match during this era. Even with favorable weight balance, traction issues were still a constant problem. The power these cars were putting down to the ground was just too much for the technology of the street tires during this time.
The 69’ 396 produced 375 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. The curb weight came in at 3,370lbs. Its 0-60 was 5.7 seconds with an estimated ¼ mile time of high 13 seconds when traction wasn’t an issue.
2. 1966 Chevy II Nova SS 327 Turbo Fire 350hp 4-Speed Manual
The second generation was short lived from 66’ to 67’, but the Chevy II Nova SS officially joined the muscle car ranks with an additional engine option starting in 1966. That engine was the L79 327 cubic inch small block V8 producing 350 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. The 327 would propel the light Nova SS with a curb weight of 3,007lbs from 0-60 in just 5.5 seconds. Its estimated ¼ mile was low 14 seconds. The L79 327 was only available on the 2nd generation Nova SS for just two years.
1. 1968 Nova SS 396-375hp 4-Speed Muncie close ratio Manual
1968 was the first year of the 3rd generation as well as the first year the 396. The 68’ 396 produced 375 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. The curb weight was 3,370lbs. Its 0-60 was 5.5 seconds with an estimated ¼ mile time of high 13 seconds.
Even though Chevrolet Nova’s run as a muscle car was much shorter lived than many others, the Nova wasn’t short of performance and excitement. Being one of the smallest Muscle Car platforms helped it rocket past most of its competitors. We can only blame emission regulations for the cars demise.
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