Home Car Stories 20 Years + 1970 CHEVROLET Nova- Sister J, Vancouver, BC
1970 CHEVROLET Nova- Sister J, Vancouver, BC PDF Print E-mail
Written by Double Dragon
Thursday, 12 June 2014 19:48

1970 CHEVROLET Nova- Sister J, Vancouver, BC


Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown

This 1970 Nova has been a 'bookend' to a 1965 Nova at an old house in Vancouver, British Columbia for several decades now. The two Novas have been parked together off the road since the late 1990s and were owned by two sisters. To retain their privacy I have named them Sister D and Sister J. No, they are not nuns! They are two sisters who both happened to own Novas both of which are featured here in the 20 YEARS PLUS section of this website.

See the story about Sister D's 1965 Nova for more details. Miss J asserts that it was a total coincidence that the two sisters ended up owning Green four door 6 cylinder Novas. There was no collusion or intention behind the matching set of cars.

Although Sister D stopped driving her 1965 Nova in 1999 due to failing health, Sister J was still in good shape. Through another coincidence both Nova's were last insured in 1999. Sister J switched to a more modern car for transportation and left her 1970 Nova parked where it always had been parked with Sister D's 1970 Nova.

Sister J is the second owner of her 1970 Nova. She bought it off an acquaintance when it was still a fairly new car. She used the car to go to work and to visit Victoria, BC several times. It was primarily a city driver. As Miss J sums it up,

"It was an uneventful car."

Uneventful is a perfect word to descriibe the intial mission of the Chevy II which gave birth to the Nova. The two sisters saw their matching Novas as nothing more than appliances that provided a means of getting groceries and commuting to work. Both the sisters saw their Novas as utilitarian economical easily parked boxes. These type of people were the ones that the Chevy II was aimed at. The fact both cars were bought used is another pattern of thrifty buyers.

The Nova began its history as a higher trim level on the Chevrolet compact Chevy II which was an utterly simple car devoid of any innovation whatsoever. GM had good reasons for cranking out this primitive car in a hurry. Ford was taking the lion's share of domestic compact car sales with the basic Falcon.

The Falcon was Ford's 'do as little as possible' answer to the compact problem and this had proved to he the right answer to a growing sales issue facing domestic manufacturers of large cars.

General Motors went at the compacts with the unconventional (by USA domestic standards) new compact rear engine air cooled Corvair import fighter. Pontiac Tempest used rope drive and a rear transaxle, Buick Special brought out an aluminum V8 and later the first domestic V6. Oldsmobile F-85 had turbocharging.

Plymouth Valiant used a slant 6 engine with an angled cylinder bank to create room for very long straight runners in the tradition of the Ram Chargers. The fuel air mixture was optimized before entering the engine and hence more power and economy was wrung out of a smaller engine.

Ford decimated GM and Chrysler in the compact sales race by ignoring the imports and their radical engineering and simply making a smaller copy of a typical domestic vehicle. The Falcon was a conventional simple domestic car that just happened to be smaller and cheaper to buy.

Chevrolet learned this lesson and spent as little time as possible in developing the 1962 Chevy II which was a combination of Falcon clone and Chevrolet miniature. The Nova name designated a higher trim level of the car. 1965 was the first year the factory put a 327 into the Chevy II and it made for a crazy fast little car. The top 327 with 300 HP made for a power to weight ratio around the magic 10:1. The majority of Chevy II buyers were not interested in muscle cars but just basic transportation and that is what Sister D and Sister J got from their Novas.

The original Chevy II was a small economy car built on a 110 inch wheelbase. Upscale options such as the Nova and SS did little to disguise the boxy low end nature of the car. Taking some subtle cues from the Chevellle, the Chevy II took on a slightly more stylish look but the size of the car made it difficult to do much with the sheetmetal. By now the economy craze had receded and the Chevy II's Spartan bare bones answer to the Falcon was looking too stark and stripped in the affluent 1960s marketplace.

Chevrolet addressed the dowdy lines of the Chevy II for the 1968 model year. The car was completely revamped and consequently the original Chevy II name was dropped in the 1969 model year. Chevrolet named the whole 1969 compact line up Nova which had previously meant the upscale trim version of the car. Given how much more aesthetically pleasing the new car was, the upscale name was entirely appropriate.

The new bodystyle lasted util the 1974 model year without major change because it really was a good looking little car. Chevrolet stretched the wheelbase one inch to 111 inches. Now that the Nova compact was only an inch short of the 112 inch 'intermediate' wheelbase used on 2 door GM cars it would seem that it was no longer a compact. But the overall length of the Nova was still a full foot shorter than the intermediates which had become marginally shorter than their 1967 predecessors.

The base 153 cubic inch 4 cylinder was still around but 1970 was its final year. Now that the Nova was growing in size the 4 cylinder just didn't seem to be adequate and was seldom ordered. Most Novas were equipped with the 250 cubic inch inline 6 cylinder. Now that the car was bigger finding a V8 under the hood wasn't such a rare event anymore. The 1968 V8 was a stroked 283 measuring 307 inches. Stroking helped cars pass emissions standards and to compensate for some of the lost power due to the emissions equipment.

Sister J's Nova never suffered an accident or required any major repairs. Despite a charmed existence while in use, the decade of inactivity proved to be tough on the car. The Sister's usual parking spots beneath towering pine trees in the continuous rain of Vancouver, British Columbia kept the car covered in water and debris. The huge trees shut out any sunlight which allowed moss to form.

The Nova VIN 113690Wxxxxxx decodes as:

1= Chevrolet

13= Nova L 6

69= 4 door sedan

0= 1970 Model year

W= Willow Run, Michigan final assembly plant

The final sequential digits are not shown here to protect owner privacy.

Sister J's Nova has a 250 inline 6 cylinder engine with automatic transmission column shift and bench seat creating a surprisingly large passenger compartment for a small car.

The British Columbia Aircare program keeps a record of the inspections and this gives a rough idea of the car's use and condition.

The Odometer Readings are given to AirCare inspectors by the motorist and cannot be guaranteed for accuracy.

1998-01-30 09:15:05 44,000 1999-01-28 129 ppm 0.14 % 2914 ppm 741 ppm 0.17 % n/a n/a P

1997-02-04 11:30:59 41,000 1998-02-02 104 ppm 0.13 % 1966 ppm 1069 ppm 4.74 % n/a n/a P

1997-02-03 16:42:53 41,000 n/a 129 ppm 0.14 % 2352 ppm 1553 ppm 0.17 % n/a n/a F

1996-01-16 08:20:26 180,000 1997-01-13 125 ppm 0.08 % 3668 ppm 578 ppm 0.17 % n/a n/a P

1995-01-13 07:42:25 136,000 1996-01-11 125 ppm 0.17 % 4000 ppm 420 ppm 0.56 % n/a n/a P

1994-01-24 07:07:45 133,000 1994-12-31 131 ppm 0.15 % 4000 ppm 205 ppm 0.25 % n/a n/a P

1993-02-16 07:34:48 130,000 1994-01-31 154 ppm 0.15 % 2601 ppm 1044

Last Updated ( Friday, 19 August 2016 15:07 )