The Truth About Cars » Chevrolet Nova http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 12 Sep 2014 23:54:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Chevrolet Nova http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Thieves Take Students’ Project Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/thieves-take-students-project-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/thieves-take-students-project-car/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 01:30:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866634 The students at Los Angeles’ Norwalk High School learned about the 1978 Mark Hamill movie “Corvette Summer” in the worst possible way this week when the 1969 Nova that they spent seven years working on was stolen from its parking spot in front of their teacher’s house at around 3 AM Monday morning. According to […]

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The students at Los Angeles’ Norwalk High School learned about the 1978 Mark Hamill movie “Corvette Summer” in the worst possible way this week when the 1969 Nova that they spent seven years working on was stolen from its parking spot in front of their teacher’s house at around 3 AM Monday morning.

According to witnesses, the car was picked up and taken away in just seconds by a dark colored tow truck in an operation that closely resembles those used by repo men. The car, which was purchased by auto shop instructor Ken Cook as a rolling wreck for just $600 several years ago, had been transformed through the work of more than 400 students into formidable street machine that Mr. Cook claims is currently worth between 25 and 30 thousand dollars.

News of the theft hit the local airwaves Monday evening when Los Angeles’ CBS affiliate KCBS ran a story on their PM newscast and then posted to their website. The car was last seen where it had been parked and is missing its hood, which had been removed while students worked to resolve an overheating issue. The license number is NHSRACE. Anyone with information on the car’s whereabouts is urged to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Pico Rivera station at 562-949-2421.

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A Special Sort Of Mediocrity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/a-special-sort-of-mediocrity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/a-special-sort-of-mediocrity/#comments Sun, 10 Nov 2013 13:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=646266 My 1974 Nova was as utilitarian as they come. It was a low optioned base model with a 250 CID inline six mounting a one barrel carb and backed by a three speed manual with a column mounted shift lever. It had so few options that on the inside it had a rubber floors, vinyl […]

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Photo courtesy of curbsideclassic.com

Photo courtesy of curbsideclassic.com

My 1974 Nova was as utilitarian as they come. It was a low optioned base model with a 250 CID inline six mounting a one barrel carb and backed by a three speed manual with a column mounted shift lever. It had so few options that on the inside it had a rubber floors, vinyl seats and a pegboard for a headliner. Outside there was no decoration, nary a pinstripe nor so much as a strip of trim to protect the car’s flanks from door dings. It was a plain, gutless, spiritless little car that inspired no passion or love from anyone other than the 17 year old boy who owned it. To me it was, and still is, one of the greatest cars ever built.

We see them everywhere, plain, utilitarian tools that carry people to and fro without a bit of drama. Although our eyes register them we seldom pay them any real attention, but if we took the time to really look we would be shocked at just how many there are. They are all around us, owned by respectable people who need a good, solid car and nothing more. If other, better, cars are like fine food and drink for the connoisseur, these are the cars that fill the bellies of the masses. They are the bread and butter, the meat and potatoes of the road.

Image courtesy of zazzle.com

Image courtesy of zazzle.com

Looking over the list of cars that I have owned over the years, it turns out that most of them fall into the meat and potatoes category. Oh sure, sometimes I added some ketchup or steak sauce to the meal– the turbo on my otherwise proletarian Dodge Shadow, for example – but for the most part I have always stayed true to my working class roots. I have never owned a Porsche, a Mercedes, a Jaguar or an Audi, nothing exotic at all, really. I did for a time own a JDM Twin Turbo Supra, but, truth be told, it was old and thanks to the odd way the Japanese used car market works, I only paid around $600 for it. No, most of the time I have owned fairly pedestrian, middle of the road, mass market cars. That’s a sad thing for an auto enthusiast who writes for a car blog to admit right? Bullshit, I’ve had a good time and I’ve owned some great cars.

A car that hits all the right spots is a glorious thing. It doesn’t matter if it is old, out of style, under-optioned or unpopular, if it gets the job done and makes you smile it is something to be enthusiastic about. I remember getting up the day after we brought that Nova home and looking out the window to make sure that I hadn’t dreamed the whole thing. I’ve done the same thing almost a dozen times since and, no matter what was in the driveway, each time I’ve thrown open the curtain it has been like Christmas morning.

See anything interesting in this photo? Image courtesy of fineartamerica.com

See anything interesting in this photo?
Image courtesy of fineartamerica.com

Novas like mine once graced driveways and garages all across middle America. When their original owners moved on, they were passed to kids like me. Some were hot rodded, some were crashed and some were simply used until they could no longer be used. Over time their numbers dwindled. Most of those that have survived into the present day have been performance variants, and plain Jane, straight-six three-on-the-tree cars like mine are a rare breed. It’s sad, but oddly appropriate too. Like the people they served, us average work-a-day Americans who struggled through life, who have had our ups and downs, raised our families as best we could and worked to be, above all else, dependable good citizens, they made the world work. Like the greatest generation, they are remembered as a group for all they have done and those remaining individuals are now respected senior citizens who garner praise and admiration wherever they go.

Today I will fire up my little Pontiac Torrent and go somewhere. I don’t know where yet, but when I do I’ll do it atop scratchy cloth seats and surrounded by hard plastic. It won’t be a remarkable experience, but my trip will be completed in economy, warmth and relative comfort. I’ll do the same thing tomorrow and the day after and for years to come until the Pontiac becomes so worn and unreliable that I am forced to move on to something newer. Perhaps then I will pass it on to my son or one of my daughters. If we do our jobs right, it might even live to see the day when just seeing it makes people smile and remember that better, simpler time in their lives when their government really listened to them, politicians were honest and children were respectful. Until that time comes, I’ll be sure to give it a little pat on the hood once in a while to let it know I appreciate it in the here and now. We are, after all, the same.

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Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast, he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Chevrolet Nova Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1987-chevrolet-nova-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1987-chevrolet-nova-sedan/#comments Thu, 28 Jun 2012 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=450426 The fifth-gen Chevy Nova was built at California’s NUMMI plant for the 1985 through 1988 model years, prior to becoming the Geo and then the Chevrolet Prizm. The Nova was really a rebadged AE82 Corolla, and so most of them managed to survive into the turn of the 21st century. By now, however, a NUMMI […]

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The fifth-gen Chevy Nova was built at California’s NUMMI plant for the 1985 through 1988 model years, prior to becoming the Geo and then the Chevrolet Prizm. The Nova was really a rebadged AE82 Corolla, and so most of them managed to survive into the turn of the 21st century. By now, however, a NUMMI Nova is a rare sight; we saw a trustifarian ’87 hatchback in California last winter, and now this well-preserved sedan has appeared in a Denver self-service yard.
Just over 100,000 miles on the clock, which comes out to a mere 4,000 miles per year. The car doesn’t have That Distinctive Dust-and-Rodent-Whizz Smell™ that usually accompanies cars that sat for decades before getting scrapped, so perhaps this was just an around-town transport appliance that was driven very sparingly. Or maybe it spun a rod bearing in 1994 and has spent the last 18 years in a climate-controlled garage.
One difference between the Nova and the Corolla is the Delco stereo that went into the Chevrolet. In 1988, Novas and Corollas went down the same assembly line together at NUMMI.
Another example of the workhorse 4A engine, which powered everything from AE86 Corollas to MR2s.
Like the Corollas we dread renting today, this was a perfectly competent refrigerator-white vehicle with bland semi-comfortable interior and a low Fun Quotient. Still, a significant piece of automotive history.

Chevrolet’s marketers made the connection between the ’77 Nova (of the same sort that I once drove) and the ’87 in this ad. The tone of the ad is (non-GTS-grade) Corolla soporific, which seems appropriate.

19 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Chevrolet Nova http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1987-chevrolet-nova/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1987-chevrolet-nova/#comments Wed, 22 Feb 2012 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=431899 When the GM Fremont Assembly plant took on Toyota managers and became NUMMI in 1984, the same supposedly inept lineworkers who hammered together sub-par Buick Apollos suddenly started building Corollas that were at least as well-made as the ones made by their Japanese counterparts (you are free to draw your own conclusions about GM management […]

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When the GM Fremont Assembly plant took on Toyota managers and became NUMMI in 1984, the same supposedly inept lineworkers who hammered together sub-par Buick Apollos suddenly started building Corollas that were at least as well-made as the ones made by their Japanese counterparts (you are free to draw your own conclusions about GM management in the 1980s). The initial round of GM-badged Corollas were given the Chevrolet Nova name, prior to becoming the Geo Prizm; you still see Prizms around, but the 80s Nova has become a rare sight on the streets and in the junkyards. Here’s a Nova I spotted in an Oakland, California, self-serve yard earlier in the month.

I had a summer job in a warehouse specializing in pumps and filters in 1989, and one of my duties was a weekly run to deliver boxes of paint filters to NUMMI. The place just smelled efficient, nothing like the horror stories I’d heard about Camaro abuse at GM’s Van Nuys Assembly plant, and I was impressed by the orderly ranks of new Corolla FX16s and Prizms. Every time I see a NUMMI-built car (which is frequently, given that I look under a lot of Toyota hoods during 24 Hours of LeMons inspections), I am reminded of my visits to the plant.
This Nova’s final owner was, apparently, a student at Mills College, an extremely expensive private university for women, located on the edge of a hardcore donks-and-drive-by-shootings neighborhood of East Oakland. I lived in this neighborhood during the height of the early-90s crack wars, and it was disconcerting to have this beautifully landscaped college campus, with its famous Julia Morgan architecture, side-by-side with homies getting cold blasted over disputed prime cavvy-dealing turf.
This car’s owner, who was either a slumming trustifarian gaining hipness points through use of a last-legs cheapo car or an honest-to-god broke student racking up vast amounts of student-loan debt, clearly moved in the same social circles as the owner of the East Bay Gig-Rig Ranchero we saw a few months back.
Then, one sad day, the reliable old Nova (which I’m guessing had an affectionate nickname, as such cars do) broke down and wasn’t worth fixing. Or perhaps it racked up $10,000 in parking fines from the Suede Denim Secret Police who run parking enforcement in San Francisco and Berkeley and wasn’t worth rescuing from the impound yard after getting towed.
Either way, this Corolla-by-another-name ended up in The Crusher’s waiting room. Perhaps GM will revive the Nova name once again, but for now this is the final one.

29 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 01 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 02 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 03 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 04 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 05 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 06 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 07 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 08 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 09 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 10 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 11 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 12 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 13 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 14 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 15 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 16 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 17 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 18 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 19 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 20 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 21 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 22 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 23 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 24 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 26 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 27 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden 28 - 1987 Chevrolet Nova Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'NUMMI' Greden nova Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Chevrolet Nova Hatchback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/junkyard-find-1973-chevrolet-nova-hatchback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/junkyard-find-1973-chevrolet-nova-hatchback/#comments Tue, 12 Jul 2011 13:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=402295 Remember the early Nova hatchbacks? They didn’t sell very well, probably because the hatch cost $150 more ($810 in 2011 dollars) than the Nova coupe with a traditional trunk. I can’t remember the last time I saw one, and I wouldn’t have noticed this one in my local self-service yard, had it not been for […]

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Remember the early Nova hatchbacks? They didn’t sell very well, probably because the hatch cost $150 more ($810 in 2011 dollars) than the Nova coupe with a traditional trunk. I can’t remember the last time I saw one, and I wouldn’t have noticed this one in my local self-service yard, had it not been for the sharp eyes of the Tetanus Neon LeMons team co-captains, visiting Denver from Houston and stopping at the junkyard on their way to the airport for some Neon throttle-body shopping.

This car, while reasonably rust-free, is probably too beat to have been worth restoring; while the Nova hatches of this era are rare, they aren’t worth enough to warrant pouring lots of money into a project car.

The 307 small-block-Chevy was the standard V8 available with the ’73 Nova, although there’s no telling how many engine swaps this car endured during its nearly four decades on the road.

This car was surrounded by a moat of icky, oily mud (Denver is in the grip of an unseasonably wet and humid July), so I wasn’t motivated to climb into (or under) the car and check for the presence of a Powerglide transmission. ’73 was the last year of the ol’ two-speed automatic in the Nova, which would make a Powerglide-equipped hatchback an interesting mix of 1950s transmission and 1980s body style.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Oldsmobile Omega http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/junkyard-find-1979-oldsmobile-omega/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/junkyard-find-1979-oldsmobile-omega/#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2011 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=399994 The folks in Dearborn spent many decades making Mercuries that were just slightly flashier Fords, and so the car-shopping public had no problem with a Comet that was obviously a Falcon (or Maverick), or a Marquis that was obviously an LTD (or Granada). Not so with GM, whose divisions mostly did a pretty good job […]

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The folks in Dearborn spent many decades making Mercuries that were just slightly flashier Fords, and so the car-shopping public had no problem with a Comet that was obviously a Falcon (or Maverick), or a Marquis that was obviously an LTD (or Granada). Not so with GM, whose divisions mostly did a pretty good job of building cars that camouflaged their connections to corporate siblings… that is, until the Malaise Era. By the time Carter was President, you could buy a Chevy Nova with Buick, Pontiac, or Oldsmobile badging. I found this example of the Olds Nova at a Denver wrecking yard yesterday.

Alfred Sloan’s “a car for every pocketbook” idea, with a GM buyer progressing from Chevrolet through Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac as he climbed the ladder of success, had largely been discarded by The General’s bosses by the time this Omega hit the streets. However, a late-70s GM loyalist could have done an all-Nova pocketbook-progression sequence: Chevrolet Nova, Pontiac Ventura, Oldsmobile Omega, Buick Apollo… and then into the pinnacle of X-body success: the Nova-based Cadillac Seville.

Just like yesterday’s Malaise Era Junkyard Find, this car has the good old Buick V6. By 1979, GM had made an “even-fire” version of this engine, so Oldsmobile drivers could experience some semblance of quiet luxury.

There’s really no hiding the Nova here, but the Oldsmobile Division did the best they could on a shoestring branding budget.

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