- The Washington Times - Friday, April 30, 2010

General Motors must have had families like the Batchelders in mind when the Chevrolet Nova was created.

The compact car was introduced as a Chevy II in 1961 as a 1962 model. The model remained relatively unchanged for the next three years. On March 25, 1964 a no-frills four-door Nova with no options left the Norwood, Ohio factory and was delivered to the Evans Chevrolet dealership in Drexel Hill, Pa.

The unibody sedan had a two-tone paint scheme with the roof painted ermine white while the rest of the car wore a coat of lagoon aqua. Under the hood was an in-line 194-cubic-inch, 120-horsepower, six-cylinder Hi-thrift engine.

After the Nova was purchased, it was kept by the original owner for the better part of four decades before it was sold to a man who wanted it for his young son.

The Nova sat in a garage for two years before the second owner realized his son wasn’t interested in the small car. Along about this same time, Jim and Sally Batchelder were shopping for such a car.

Mrs. Batchelder had liked the early Novas from the days when her older sister owned one. The search for an unmolested Nova from that era was three years old when the Batchelders learned of the one in Drexel Hill.

“I grew up in Springfield,” Mr. Batchelder says, explaining that it was a neighboring town. His brother Joe, who still lives in the area, was familiar with the car and gave it a “thumbs up.”

Mr. and Mrs. Batchelder went to investigate and were amazed at the pristine condition of the car. “It even had the original aqua cloth and vinyl interior,” Mr. Batchelder says. “In the glove box we found the original owner’s manual.”

Also in the glove box was a record of every time the original owner filled the gas tank, with the date, the mileage and the price. It have been driven about 115,000 miles.

Without hesitation they bought the car on June 21, 2005 and Mr. Batchelder drove it the 150 miles to their Alexandria home.

He reports a mileage figure of 26 mpg at highway speeds.

The only non-authentic part of the car, Mr. Batchelder says, is the 6.00x13-inch bias-ply tires have been replaced with 175.80-13-inch radial white sidewall tires.

Examining the 2,595-pound Nova revealed the standard equipment on the car that includes:

* Heater.

* Horn ring.

* Tinted glass.

* Backup lights.

* Aqua carpeting.

* Cigarette lighter.

* Wing vent windows.

* Two-spoke steering wheel.

New, the Nova had a base price of $2,243.

Beneath the 25.5-cubic-foot trunk is the 16-gallon gas tank.

The first time Mr. Batchelder took his teenage daughter, Kelly, for a ride in the new acquisition, he asked her how she like it. “Where’s the radio?” she asked. Father pointed to the blank plate on the dashboard where a radio would have been installed if one had been ordered.

Later, on a vacation to the New Jersey shore, Kelly learned to drive the manual three-speed transmission.

Now that she’s a senior at Thomas Edison High School she has decided that she prefers cars with automatic transmissions.

The dashboard is a study in simplicity.

To the left of the two-tone steering wheel are two knobs that control the lights and wipers.

To the right of the steering wheel is the ignition and four knobs which control the lighter, blower, heater, defroster. Under the dash is the hand brake.

In the three years that the Batchelders have owned the Nova they have added about 7,000 miles to the total on the odometer.

The appearance of the well-cared-for car belies the fact that it has been driven 122,000 miles - so far.

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