Here is Jeff Clavey pictured with his own 1969 Chevrolet Nova SS. It is currently equipped with a small block 350 cid 350hp V-8 engine, four-speed manual transmission and center console with Ralley gauge package. This third generation Maroon sedan was bulit at Chevrolet’s Willow Run plant in Michigan. It has the special heater box that was needed to accomodate the big block engines that were available options in 1969 models, indicating that it most likely had a factory 396 cid big block.
There were two versions of the 396, one being 350 hp and the other was a whopping 375 hp. There were 37 units that were modified at Yenko Chevrolet that had 427 cid 425 hp engines installed in them. These are very rare. Of the 17,654 Nova SS’s built in 1969, only 5,262 were equipped with the 396/375hp engine and 1,947 had the 396/350hp engine.
The original standard SS package with a 350 cid V-8 cost just an extra $280.00 more than a base level Nova coupe and included a special suspension, red stripe tires and power front disc brakes. 1969 was the first year that the 350 small block was built with 4 bolt main bearing caps to strengthen the bottom end of the engine. The exterior sported SS badges on the front fenders, black accented grille and tail and simulated hood air intakes. (Jeff’s car has a custom hood air scoop covering the factory intakes) The 396 engine cost an extra $500.00, but even with the $184.00 close-ratio 4 speed transmission, $43.00 limited slip differential and $84.00 fast-ratio power steering, the total new purchase price was still under $3500.00. These cars were very popular with hot-rodders because they looked very plain on the outside, but these “street sleepers” had plenty of horsepower to leave most cars behind at the stop light with their drivers staring in dibelief at the Nova’s tailights.