Chevy Enthusiast via Hooniverse: The 1964 Chevy Super Nova Show Car

This is an interesting piece I did recently for Chevy Enthusiast Magazine on a little known show car that made its debut in the Spring of 1964. However, this was also the time in which the wildly successful Ford Mustang made its debut, making this show car virtually obsolete overnight. Was it a case of bad timing, or did it forecast the general direction of Chevrolet in the future?

GM always gauged public reaction to new or upcoming models using “Dream Cars” developed within the styling studios controlled by Harley Earl and, after 1958, by Billy Mitchell. Both men were visionaries, creating some of the most memorable dream cars ever. Earl’s dream cars included the Buick Y-Job of 1938, the Futureliner of 1940, the Buick LeSabre of 1951, and the Corvette based Chevy Nomad of 1954. Mitchell’s contributions were subtler and sleeker with restrained use of extra ornamentation. They included the Corvette Mako Shark, the Corvair Monza GT, and the subject covered here, the Super Nova.
If you want to read more about this fascinating car, you will have to go over to the on-line edition of Chevy Enthusiast Magazine. Good News! You will no longer have to submit your e-mail address to gain access, so what are you waiting for?
Image Credits: Lead Image: GM Media Archives – 1966 Chevy II from full line brochure, Richard Truesdell Collection.

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  1. tonyola Avatar

    I bet this was a relative quickie – GM certainly knew that the Mustang was coming, so I suspect Bill Mitchell and team threw this together to try and steal some spotlight from Ford's new car. At the time, no-one knew just how successful the Mustang would become – not even Ford. GM was suddenly scrambling and the Super Nova was quickly set aside.

  2. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    Looks to me like it's halfway to a Camaro. After the Mustang took off (that being the real cause of death of the Corvair, not Nader), GM figured out that they needed to lower the beltline a bit (ahh, those were the days), shorten up the rear deck, add in just a bit of interest at the hips (reusing the best feature of the '65 Corvair redesign), and voila.

  3. junkman Avatar

    I was recently at the GM Heritage Center and didn't see this car on display. I hope it still survives for it is a classic example of Bill Mitchell's reign of the styling department in the sixties.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      It's unlikely. Looks like almost all of the photos for this car are period GM shots, and it appears that this car was a static display – a non-runner. I have never seen a picture of this car outside of the studio or show floor. The policy of the Big Three was generally to destroy show cars (particularly static cars) once they had outlived their usefulness. Those that have survived were fortunate enough to have saviors who defied corporate rules or were special enough that the corporations kept them (like GM's turbine Firebird series). At any rate, the survivors are almost invariably at least somewhat drivable.

  4. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    I see a lot of Chevelle there.

  5. Carmella Hettes Avatar

    Hey, good website..I haven’t figured out the way to add your web site in my rss reader :\ where’s to link on the feed?