Best Hatchback Nova Muscle Cars List | Top Five

Did I read that right, hatchback muscle cars?

There are a few muscle cars that have been produced beyond the typical affordable V8 engine.

In this article, we will list five of the best hatchback chevy nova muscle cars that have ever been produced.

What is a hatchback car?

A hatchback car is a two-box configuration with either a two or four-door feature. The passenger and cargo area is a combined and shared space. 

The rear opening is often counted as a door; this allows many manufacturers to call these cars a three-door or five-door model.

Hatchback vs sedan

The major difference between a hatchback and sedan is the trunk. In a sedan, the cargo space is separated. In a hatchback, there is no divide and the rear seats and cargo space are shared.

It was tricky for me to differentiate between the two.

So, I wanted to make sure everyone has a clear distinction between these two cars at least.

Chevrolet nova muscle cars

The Chevy II/ Nova produced 5 generations, from 1962-1979 and 1985-1988.

The 1st generation was the Chevy II Nova SS, 1962-1965.

The 2nd generation was the Chevy II Nova, 1966-1967.

The 3rd generation was the Chevy II Nova, 1968-1974.
The 4th generation was the Chevy II Nova, 1975-1979.

The 5th generation was the Chevy II Nova, 1985-1988.

In 1964, the Novas received a V8 engine upgrade, capable of dishing out 195hp and 285 lbs-ft torque.

It was also compact for its times as well, weighing only around 2,500 pounds.

So, right from the get go, it was already in muscle car force producing territory back in the day.

Then, your next question would be which nova generations had the hatchback option?

The chassis hatchback design was introduced in the 3rd generation Novas and continued until production dropped.

It is worthwhile to note that the coupe in the 3rd and 4th generation was disguised as a hatchback even though it was labeled a coupe.

The 5th generation labeled their novas a hatchback, so there should be no confusion there.

However, it is significant to note that because the engines used for the 5th generation Novas were a 1.6L inline-four (I4) engine, created by Toyota, the 5th generation Novas will not be on this list. 

The 5th generation hatchbacks was also when they introduced the 5-door model whereas earlier generations only had a 3-door hatchback coupe version in the 3rd and 4th generation Novas.

Is the chevy nova a muscle car?

Since 1964, Chevy introduced the V8 engine into its Nova models and there was no turning back. 

This addition qualifies it to be labeled a muscle car, a bold recognition for its times since the Novas had a more powerful engine yet was still very compact.

In the 5th generation, the nova hatchbacks reverted to their motto and image of being compact and efficient.

The V8 engines were replaced with a smaller, eco-friendly version.

Best Hatchback Nova Muscle Cars

  1. 1975 Nova Hatchback
  2. 1976 Nova Hatchback
  3. 1973 Chevrolet Nova
  4. 1974 Nova Hatchback
  5. 1977-1979 Hatchback Nova

1975 Nova Hatchback

The 4th generation of Novas went through drastic changes.

Consider this an upgrade compared to the 3rd generation…

The first one is the access to the 4.3L 262 V8 engines.

Not only is this a more powerful engine, but it is also reduced exhaust emissions.

There was an increase in regulations by the federal government and automobile industries needed to comply within certain parameters.

It also had changes to the frame, front suspension and brakes.

Not to mention that the body is also different as well.

  • Weight – 3,629-3,651 lbs
  • Access to 4.3L V8, 5.7L V8 engine

1976 Nova Hatchback

More powerful engines were used in the 1976 Chevy Novas, marking the end of the 262 V8 engines after 1 year of productions.

This is one reason why the 1976 Chevy Nova SS placed second on our list, being the first Nova hatchback coupe year to introduce a 5.0L 305 and 350 V8 engine.

  • Weight – 3,596-3,657 lbs
  • Access to 5.0L 305 V8, 350 V8 engine

1973 Chevrolet Nova

This is the first generation of novas to become a hatchback, though it was still labeled as a coupe.

It started off as a two-door model with a revised nose.

This facelift, the 2nd for Nova’s 3rd generation, was largely due to the federal government’s new law to mandate 5-mph front and rear bumpers.

  • Units produced – 369,509
  • Weight – 3,033-3,274 lbs
  • Access to 115hp 307-cubic-inch V8, 145hp 350-cubic-inch V8, 175hp 350-cubic-inch V8 engine

1974 Nova Hatchback

This is the second year of Nova hatchbacks.

Not much changed from the 1973 model; there were slight modifications made to the front and rear bumpers.

  • Weight – 3,505-3,615 lbs
  • Access to 145hp 350-cubic-inch V8, 160hp 350-cubic-inch V8, 185hp 350-cubic-inch V8 engine

1977-1979 Hatchback Nova

This is a picture of a 1977 Chevrolet Nova.

The Nova “SS” name was dropped after 1977. 

For these next 3 years, refinements were made but nothing significant technically.

These Novas are often overshadowed by its older Novas in the previous decade.

In the 4th generation Novas, they were still identified as coupes but were also a hatchback variation as well.

  • Weight – 3,362-3,384 lbs
  • Access to 305 V8, 350 V8 engines for 1977-1978
    • Access to 5.0L V8, 5.7L V8 engines for 1979


Let me know how I did on this best hatchback nova muscle cars list.

For many car connoisseurs, these models may not rank with any of the modern-day muscle cars.

However, for its generation and novel approach to the automobile industry, it was a very significant breakthrough.

If you are also interested in a great Thunderbird list, we also got you covered.

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