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Thread: Chevrolet Nova (2nd Gen) 1975-1979

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    Chevrolet Nova (2nd Gen) 1975-1979

    The 1975 Chevrolet Nova was the most-changed Chevy car for that model year. "Now it's beautiful," said the brochure of Nova's all-new sheet metal, "refined along the lines of elegant European sedans." Chevrolet wisely maintained a visual kinship with the 1968-1974 design, and also retained Nova's efficiently sized 111-inch wheelbase. Front tread grew by an inch and a half, and the front stabilizer bar had a larger diameter. Novas now had standard front disc brakes and steel-belted radial tires. The front suspension and subframe assembly was similar to the one used in the second generation GM F-body cars (the Camaro and Pontiac Firebird), whereas the rear axle and suspension were carried over from the previous generation. Coupes, including the hatchback, had fixed side windows (or optional flip-out windows) and vertical vents on the B-pillar. All Novas now had cut-pile carpeting, formerly installed only in the Custom series. Speedometers had larger, easier-to-read graphics. Windshields offered greater glass area. Front-door armrests were redesigned with integral pull bars. The base model carried the inline Six-cylinder 250 cu in (4.1 L), 105 hp (78 kW), two V8 engines (305 cu in (5.00 L) and 350 cu in (5.7 L)) for 1976 only, were offered. Mated to a three-speed automatic, 3-speed manual or 4-speed – V8s only – Which remained the norm through the end of the decade (and the end of the rear-wheel drive X platform).

    The LN (Luxury Nova) package sent Nova into the luxury portion of the compact market; some actually thought of it as competing against a few high-end European imports. The Nova LN was called "the most luxurious compact in Chevrolet's history," with wide-back reclining front seats that "look and feel like big, soft lounge chairs." LN equipment included ad­ditional sound insulation, map pockets, an electric clock, a smoked instrument lens, and a day/night mirror. Swing-out quarter windows could be ordered for the coupe. "Thanks to LN," the sales brochure announced, "Nova's image will never be the same again."

    For 1976 the Nova LN was rebranded Concours to rival the Ford Granada and the Mercury Monarch, as well as upscale versions of the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant. Like regular versions of the 1976 Nova, the Concours came in three body styles: coupe, hatchback coupe, and four-door sedan. Concours was the most luxurious Chevrolet compact to date. Rosewood vinyl decorated the upper door panels, instrument panel, and steering wheel. Concours models had an upright hood ornament, bumper guards, bright trim moldings, black bumper impact strips, and full wheel covers; more-basic Novas came with hubcaps. The dual-unit taillights were replaced with triple-units that were reminiscent of the big Caprice. The Concours coupe also was the first Chevrolet coupe with a fold-down front center armrest. A V-8 Concours coupe sold for $547 more than the comparable base Nova. Engines for the 1976 Chevrolet Nova were a 105-horsepower inline-six, a 165-horsepower 350-cubic-inch V-8, or a 140-horse 305-cubic-inch V-8. 1976 GM vehicles first saw use of the THM200 — from the GM T platform to GM X-Bodies (Chevrolet Nova et al.). A Cabriolet padded vinyl top was available for Nova coupes. Modest revisions were made to the brakes, and also to fuel and exhaust system mountings. Dashboards contained new knobs. After testing the 1976 Chevrolet Nova, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department placed the largest order for compact police cars ever seen in the U.S. The $187 Nova SS option group included a black grille with unique diamond-mesh pattern, Rally wheels, four-spoke steering wheel, and heavy-duty suspension. 1977 model year minor changes included a more modern round gauge cluster to replace the long sweeping speedometer, and a revised dash panel which changed to a flatter design. Some new colors were offered (as with the rest of the divisions) and some small trim added. A separate brochure was printed for the Concours while the "1977 Nova" brochure detailed only base and Custom versions. The Nova SS previously offered for 1975 and 1976 was discontinued, the option code for the SS — RPO Z26 — continued as the Nova Rally from 1977 through 1979.

    Three engines and four transmissions were available for every 1977 Chevrolet Nova, including Concours. Buyers could choose from a 110-horsepower 250-cubic-inch inline six, a 145-horsepower 305 cubic-inch two-barrel V-8, or 170-horsepower 350 cubic-inch four-barrel V-8. Shifting was accomplished by three-speed (column or floor shift) and four-speed manuals or Turbo Hydra-Matic. Novas might also be equipped with a heavy-duty suspension or the F41 sport suspension. A surprising number of police departments ordered Novas with either a 305- or 350-cubic-inch V-8 engine, following the lead of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, which had given the compacts an exhaustive evaluation.

    The 1977 Nova Concours featured a finer-mesh grille and a stylish stand-up hood ornament. It also boasted newly designed wheel covers and wider bright wheel-opening moldings. "International in style, it is American in function," the sales brochure insisted of the Concours. The brochure went on to note that Concours offered a "very special blending of classic style and good sense." That last comment referenced Nova's sensible size. Novas themselves, the marketing materials said, were "not too small, not too big, not too expensive."

    For 1978 the Concours was discontinued to clear the way for the newly downsized Malibu, and the Nova Custom inherited much of the Concours' exterior finery but lacked the stand-up hood ornament displayed by the Concours. Upholstery choices included all-vinyl or Edinburgh woven sport cloth/vinyl. More basic versions of the 1978 Chevrolet Nova had the same grille used in '76-77 and added a gold-tinted Chevy bowtie emblem at the leading edge of the hood. For '78 Nova was also available with Rally equipment, which included yet another front-end layout: a diamond-pattern grille with horizontal parking lights and black headlight bezels (basically the '76-77 SS grille), plus triple band striping and color-keyed Rally wheels. All Nova drivers faced a new dual-spoke, soft vinyl-covered steering wheel; the same one found in the Caprice and Malibu.

    Any 1978 Chevrolet Nova could be ordered with a 250-cubic-inch six-cylinder engine, a 145-horsepower 305-cubic-inch V-8, or a 170-horsepower 350-cubic-inch V-8. Law enforcement agencies in 48 states were driving Novas by now, as the sales brochure boasted. Production dropped almost 100,000 for the model, to 288,000, making Nova the only Chevrolet series to show a sales decline for 1978. Sales of the Nova hatchback body style lagged well behind regular coupes and sedans, and base models handily outsold Customs.

    Upon introduction of the downsized GM A-body (later G-body) mid-size cars in 1978, the X-body and downsized A-platform had similar exterior dimensions. The roomier and more modern downsized A-bodies outsold their X-body counterparts.

    The 1979 Chevrolet Nova marked the end of the line for the rear-wheel-drive Nova. The front end was revised with square headlights and a new grille for the short run; a modified horizontal-bar grille contained vertical parking lights. New chromed hood and fender moldings were installed, and new front-bumper filler panels gave the front end a more finished look. The lineup was the same as in 1978; the base-level hatchback, coupe, and sedan, plus the Custom coupe and sedan. As usual, base coupe and sedan proved to be the best sellers. Nova Customs had a special acoustical package including improved headlining and full hood insulation, along with other luxury extras, while the Rally Package returned, this time using the same grille as other '79 Novas. These final Novas were promoted for their "solid value" and "reputation for dependability," capitalizing upon a 17-year heritage that had begun with the Chevy II. Fewer than 98,000 examples were produced. Production ended on December 22, 1978. Chevrolet's compact models were headed into the front-wheel-drive age and for 1980, Nova's place in the lineup would be taken over by the new and very different Chevrolet Citation.

    Source: wikipedia.org
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