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Was at Hot August nights in Reno last night and met a guy who flagged me down. He has a 1963 Nova SS Convertible like I do. His Nova was a little different then mine. He said rumor has it that his Nova was owned by an old family friend who was close to some GM executives. His Nova has 5 lug wheels and a 283 in it. He said that the friend told the GM executives that he would love to buy a 1963 Nova SS Convertible and that he wanted one with 5 lug wheels and a 283. All the suspension looks original and all the 5 lugs drums have drum brakes etc. What was intersting is that on his crowl tag the options part had XXXXXXXXXXXXX acrossed it... The crowl tag looked original as did the rivets. I know many stories like with L79 Novas etc exist---any thoughts? He wanted my opinion --- all I could say is everything looked original. Pictures to follow soon!
 

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Sigh. Pardon the skepticism, but there have been stories like this before with '63's. What owner of a nice '63 SS coupe/convertible hasn't wished they'd made the SBC available in that car from the factory? I think the flimsiness of the convertible is the reason they didn't. I'm not saying it isn't true, but it would take more than a car sitting in front of you to prove this true. Novel twist to the tale with the multiple X's across the cowl tag, but faking cowl tags and reproduction rivets is a cottage industry for many cars of this era, so that's not the decider. Any casting date on the 283 block? Exhaust manifolds? Intake? Carb? Is the original owner still growing hair and fogging a mirror so the story could be corroborated? Any documentation to this transaction/request of GM? Where and exactly when? Not saying it didn't happen, but highly unlikely. Wonder what other info the current owner has because, even though his tale is a good one, that story and $4 will get you a cup of coffee, and that's about it.
 

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It’s my understanding the Chevrolet had decided to not make ChevyII hardtops in 64 since the Chevelle was coming to market and they didn’t want to be competing with themselves.. They reconsidered this decision as the Mustang also came to market and Chevrolet only made the hardtops for the second half of the production year.. I suspect that whatever hardtops and convertibles were made for the 63 model year would have been gone well before the 64’s were brought into a dealership.. It’s possible that leftover 63 inventory could be sitting in dealerships in 64 but they would be 63 models..

It’s way too easy to swap the 64-67 factory 5 lug stuff onto a 63 to be a convincing story on its own.. Documentation of the cars build and factory options would need to be looked at thoroughly.. Decoding the body tag and VIN would be a start and any supplemental paperwork that could trace the vehicle back to the factory build would be absolutely necessary to validate the claims that somebody could just make up..

I’m a skeptic on stuff like this but it would be cool if it could be proven..
 

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last year I bought a 63 SS, coupe
it had original engine, suspension, steering, most interior, paint, trim, etc
but had 5 lug front spindles, muncie, 10 bolt
based on body, there is no indication the car has ever been taken apart or modified
it would have been pretty easy for a good story teller to convince some unsuspecting person this was a dealer special, maybe not so much regarding muncie, but at least with the 5 lugs
 

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Let's just say no factory-installed V-8 engines for Chevy II/Nova in '63. That said, I have personally seen one, and pictures of another, 283 with recessed oil filter casting, 721 casting number and one had an early '63 date and another a 1962 casting date. Another member on SNS I believe claimed to have yet another with a '61 casting date, but I can't vouch for that one; I seem to remember that from a post earlier this year. So were Chevy II V-8 blocks made earlier than June '63? Yes. Factory installed? I've yet to see any documentation of that or a dealer install.
 

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I seriously doubt the original buyer waltzed on down to the Chevy dealer to buy a convertible Chevy II and his decision to buy or not hinged on 5 lug wheels or a 283 engine even.
 

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They existed. Just not many and it's virtually impossible to prove. Plus what possible value other than trivia would it really add anyway? Anyone is capable of installing a bolt-in kit.

motortrend.com/how-to/chevy-ii-v-8-engine-swap-history
a lot about race cars in that article, doesn't mean any of them ever got into your average Joe's car bought from a dealer

and the article showing a document with the option listed in no where near proof

I have a 63 factory assy manual, lists options for 4 speed, V8, 10 bolt in several places, I just assumed those documents could be developed before final decisions were made on exact options available

so just cause options and prices are listed in some document, on its own is no proof they were actually avail or sold
 

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Read the article. It bases dealer installed V-8s in '62-'63 Novas on the existence of part numbers in a catalog? Plenty of part numbers in GM catalogs that were for parts never produced or actually for sale, even though these engines WERE produced (I mentioned in a previous post that there are Nova castings with dates well pre-dating '64 production engines). But, much as BT did, parts were purchased over the counter and installed, at least the parts that could be had. Still no proof of one actual dealer-installed V-8 setup. Looking at the close-up shot, Bill's running an over the counter '63 floor hump from '63 Nova SS or Impala SS, a T-10 shifter (no Muncies yet) and the motor mount brackets look fabbed, not factory production. Also, looking at the parts book page, what's missing? Exhaust manifolds. They're not in the book, not included in the package, and BT is not only running some custom fabricated headers, he evaporated much of the inner fender apron, and that firewall ain't exactly from Willow Run or Norwood Ohio, either. Those drums and sintered metallic linings? What rear or spindles are you putting those on anyway? Any casting or dates for pre-64 5-lug spindles or rear ends? They'd have to be borrowed from big car. So any legit dealer install would have to have paperwork from the dealer and answer questions about exhaust manifolds, exhaust routing and hangers, fuel line routing, and other questions. Looking forward to the first documented example.
 

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Sigh. Pardon the skepticism, but there have been stories like this before with '63's. What owner of a nice '63 SS coupe/convertible hasn't wished they'd made the SBC available in that car from the factory? I think the flimsiness of the convertible is the reason they didn't. I'm not saying it isn't true, but it would take more than a car sitting in front of you to prove this true. Novel twist to the tale with the multiple X's across the cowl tag, but faking cowl tags and reproduction rivets is a cottage industry for many cars of this era, so that's not the decider. Any casting date on the 283 block? Exhaust manifolds? Intake? Carb? Is the original owner still growing hair and fogging a mirror so the story could be corroborated? Any documentation to this transaction/request of GM? Where and exactly when? Not saying it didn't happen, but highly unlikely. Wonder what other info the current owner has because, even though his tale is a good one, that story and $4 will get you a cup of coffee, and that's about it.
4.00 will not get you a coffee at Starbucks ;).
 

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I had the chance to ask Bill about this when he was alive. According to him and to one of his main wrenches Warren Williams, Bill was given 6 V-8s and 6 Chevy II's to adapt bracketry, parts, etc. to put them in. He put 6 SBCs in 6 Chevy IIs, and at least one of them was a wagon. Some manual trans, some automatic, 2bbl cars, 4bbl cars, and one F.I. The one that got the F.I. is featured in the Hot Rod article, where these pictures came from. When he was done and GM had seen the cars and the parts that were either purchased OTC or made to make the cars work, Bill sold the cars. Just to people, just to get rid of them, just to empty the shop. Love to have one of the 6, but I'm sure they were done on title/B.O.S. and just lived their lives as cars until junked.
 

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I have heard the ridiculous "63 1/2" SS thing more than once over the years. One guy insisted his had special trim. Another that 5-lug was an option. These conversations always without fail include the mythical previous owner that knew everything there was to ever know about the Chevy II. I had a guy insist his car was taken back to the factory to have the 4-speed installed. Really? Showed up in the parking lot of Norwood and demanded a 4-speed? Seriously, how does that even work?

What is always completely lost here is that these were BOTTOM OF THE BARREL REGULAR PRODUCTION ECONO BOXES. You gonna special order a Geo Metro with an unavailable engine? GM was one of, if not the largest auto manufacturer on Earth in this period. They were known to be cheap and have a myriad of anti-performance rules. You don't suddenly decide to make some one off cars without a lot of internal resistance. From casting, to assembly, to part numbers, to getting the line prepped, and on and on and on and on. The supply and production chain implications are huge. Maybe for a Corvette or with a very specific reason in mind like an auto show.
 

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The bottom line is Fact: There were NO factory built V8 Novas for consumer purchase until the 1964 model year. Fact: Sometime starting in 1962 and continuing in 1963 there were Dealer available V8 conversion kits for sale to the public for both Dealer and consumer installation.
 
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