1986 Chevrolet Nova from North America


If you only have $500, buy this car


Rust began to creep in on fenders and bottoms of door panels.

The fuel guage would read 50% when full, but would function normally once the fuel level fell below 50%.

Rear struts went, but that's expected after 100,000 country miles.

The radio flickered on and off after 100,000. Sometimes it would come back on after kicking it.

General Comments:

This little car is literally indestructible. It was my mother's old car that I drove for an interim period to save some money. I did nothing to care for this vehicle except maintain the oil levels, since I knew I would be moving on. I did everything to this poor car except defecate in the back seat, and it just kept going like a bionic cockroach.

My other friends with their nice new cars would moan about a $500 repair cost here and a $1000 replacement there. I never paid a cent for anything except new tires. Granted, there's not much for components actually IN this car, so not too much can go wrong. That's the beauty of it.

It started flawlessly every frigid New England morning. Negative 4 degrees? Didn't matter. Pumped the gas a few times and I was on my way.

Accelleration is non-existent, but once I was up to speed on the highway, I zipped along at 70mph just like everybody else.

Fuel economy was fantastic.

My only fear was that it felt like a deathtrap, should I happen to get in an accident. Maybe 20 years ago it wouldn't have seemed as dangerous, but I'm sure a head-on with an Escalade would be bad news. Then again, knowing the resiliency of the Nova, it wouldn't surprise me if it just sort of bounced off while the Caddy burst into flames.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th August, 2005

1986 Chevrolet Nova 1.4 from North America


This car was a legend in its own time


For the first 250k, nothing much more than basic maintenance issues.

After the odometer reached about 250k miles, the head gaskets started leaking, the engine would frequently run hot in the summertime and the gas gauge broke.

But I really can't complain because the car was not given the maintenance and TLC it deserved.

General Comments:

This car was actually a Toyota Corolla (it was a joint venture between Chevy & Toyota). After owning this car I became a big fan of Toyota.

When I bought this car new in '86 I paid $8,900. for it.

For a period of nine years when I drove this car, I lived 75 miles from work. Hence each week I put between 750-1000 miles on the car.

The car was extremely dependable, especially when maintained properly.

For a small car, it was very comfortable. I am a relatively large man 6'2" 200+ lbs, and I never had a comfort issue.

The body stayed in good shape until its untimely demise.

One night my wife and I were watching TV, when we heard the sound of bottle rockets outside. I looked out and there was the engine of my Nova up in flames. I hosed it down, the fire dept came, but it was too late. My 11 year old Nova with 350,000 miles was nothing, but a burnt memory.

My family (wife and 4 kids) loved that car. It served us very well.

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

Review Date: 28th March, 2005

29th Mar 2005, 12:09

Your car made it to 350,000 miles only to be destroyed by bottle rockets.

A sad end indeed.

29th Mar 2005, 12:43

I'm curious, how did your car catch on fire when it (presumably) wasn't running? I suppose things like that do happen on occasion, but still, it's odd.

29th Mar 2005, 22:16

I also have an 86 Nova. Mine has been consumed with rust and now I'm afraid to re-plate it again, as I'm afraid I'll have to get it inspected before I can put it back onto the road. Everyone I've spoken to, has had problems with the head gasket, btu I guess that's to be expected, especially at such high mileage.

26th Aug 2010, 21:29

Hey, I live in Montreal Canada, and my grandfather has recently given me his Chevrolet Nova 1986. I have been waiting to have this car for a very very very long time. It's basically like driving a go kart on the highway haha.

As for the comments I have just read, this car has little to no rust whatsoever, and the car only has 82k. Yes I understand that I am 18, but I am taking care of this car on a weekly basis.

I am surprised the body of the vehicle has held up very nicely, due to the fact that winters are long and rough. The salt was my biggest concern, because over time, it will start to eat away and corrode the body itself.

Thanks for listening. I would love to read some of your comments.