1986 Chevrolet Nova 1.4L from North America


The little car that could


Wiring Harness caught on fire (faulty spring on Clutch pedal determined to be problem)

Rear shocks gave out.

Interior dissolved in sun (21 years old what do you expect)

Clutch Master and Slave cylinder gave out periodically (probably parts dealer problem)

Air flow knob was poorly designed and broke.

Undercarriage rusting out now.

Broken Gas gauge. Trip odometer no longer works.

Plenty of Rust. Windows difficult to crank with Age.

General Comments:

The car is amazing. I bought it to compensate for a lack of anything else for $500. This car has always performed. Biking trips, helping people move, going off road (probably more than most SUV's), handling in the snow, teaching my nieces/nephews/brother/friends how to drive and a few road trips (California, Goblin Valley, Moab, etc) this car has always performed. The engine was built by Toyota and even after all the miles doesn't burn any oil, nor does it leak, and the transmission works like a charm.

All upholstery in the car is falling apart. At the time I bought it the ceiling had fallen in and the sun visors would lend you their dust out the holes that had rotted in the back. The back seats weren't much better. All vinyl in the car had become extremely brittle and would shatter if hit too hard. The stock radio did not connect to the rear speakers.

Since I bought the car the only time it hasn't gotten me home was when the wiring harness caught fire. There is a spring connected from a frame portion under the dashboard to a stub-out on the clutch pedal arm. This had popped off and lodged itself in the wiring harness from the steering wheel pinching the wires and eventually arcing. 20 bucks and a lot of wire crimps later I fixed the problem.

Finally didn't pass emissions. I'm good with mechanics, but not engines. Probably needs coolant flushed and a carburetor. Handles pretty good, and can be quick off the line if need be.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 31st May, 2007

1986 Chevrolet Nova Hatchback 1.4 from North America


Keep it happy and it won't fail you


A small spring on the Clutch pedal popped back into wiring harness causing sparking resulting in a harness fire.

Alternator went out, but the one I replaced was a replacement itself.

Replaced both rear struts.

Replaced driver side CV Axle.

Heater controls broke and needed to be replaced.

Emergency brake cable broke and was replaced (best at a junkyard as the dealers seemed clueless)

Keep on your alignment, something big can knock it out.

Mine seems to be abnormally strong on Front brakes.

General Comments:

The 80's Nova was a Toyota Corolla import. That said my particular car has been very reliable. It's showing it's age, but only once hasn't gotten me home. The keys are worn down and I can remove them with the car on. I locked myself out and 1 coat hanger and 30 seconds later I was back in (Not that safe). The headliner I just tore out as it was falling on my head, I replaced the sun visors as they had rotted out, and the car is noisy on the road, the seats are deteriorating, and rust spots and the lack of a clear coat give it a definite "American Pride" color. It hates the cold and will only live on the second try. Now that all the bad has been said the car is completely reliable. I have taken it from Utah to California and back, on camping trips to State parks. I've hauled a canoe on top with 4 people in the car and it still happily went 75 mph on a flat freeway (and 60 up a small canyon). I've had fun dusting pimped out Civics at the lights with their loud mufflers (I wasn't even trying). I've stored two bikes inside the car with it's fold down seats and two bikes on the back and driven up steep canyon roads. It's turn radius is to die for, and even at 20 years old it's getting 30 mph in the City and 35-40 on the freeway.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 4th December, 2006

27th Dec 2010, 14:54

I have a Nova that only gets the farm treatment, and it does everything I ask it to. It starts up every morning, and runs until you tell it to quit at night. All in all, it is a great car. I will give it 5 stars.