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Author Topic: Chevy Nova Myths???  (Read 674 times)
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BillO
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« on: Aug 17, 2017, 08:45AM »

/derails the thread further... I guess that's why they sold about 1/10th of them that they thought they were going to and the revolutionary processes for making and shipping them were completely scrapped.  The Corvair was a fun car to drive too and not as dangerous as was made out to be.  Doesn't make either of them a success.

Doesn't mean there aren't good elements to the design that people find attractive.  A 10H is a really fun horn.  If you like a 6H, I highly suggest that you pick one up.  I don't suggest that you make it your only horn or bring it to a first rehearsal with a new band.  Still pretty much failed in the market.

Cheers,
Andy
Andy, I'm not sure where you are getting this from.  I was around during the heyday of the Chevy Nova.  They were a commercial success.  Maybe you are referring to the apocryphal myth that the Nova did not sell well in Latin America because 'no va' is Spanish for no go?  Well, that myth never happened and I personally have no idea who created it.  Certainly not the Spanish who also use the word nova to mean exactly what it means in English.

Even GM would not make a car model for 17 years straight if it did not sell.

Rather than me go into a lot of details that will require time, I'll let these sources do it for me.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Chevy_II_/_Nova

http://www.snopes.com/business/misxlate/nova.asp

https://www.thoughtco.com/chevy-nova-that-wouldnt-go-3078090

http://zapr.blogspot.ca/2008/05/people-who-love-telling-chevy-nova.html

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2017/04/07/fact-check-the-nova-did-not-sell-poorly-in-latin-america-due-to-its-name/
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elmsandr

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« Reply #1 on: Aug 17, 2017, 12:11PM »

Borrowed from the other derailed thread...

Or are you possibly referring to the Saturn, and not the pretty successful Nova? 

Nah, I mean several items in the manufacturing side of the Nova.  One of my favorites:


Neat idea, but just didn't work out.  They had a couple of other 'game changing' items within body assembly that were similar... complete disruptions of the conventional way of doing things, but did not solve the basic problems.

The basic problem was a lack of standardization and waste within the process.  Huge technological leaps to disrupt the market only work when the house is in order.  When it isn't, it is just different and incompatible with the rest of the market.

Cheers,
Andy
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 17, 2017, 12:28PM »

Nah, I mean several items in the manufacturing side of the Nova.  One of my favorites:
Those are Vegas, not Novas.

Just in case it's not clear from the pic, they actually loaded the Vegas into the shipping containers vertically.
https://petrolicious.com/articles/there-s-no-wrong-way-to-transport-a-classic-car

The Vega DID have some serious issues, including the notorious unsleeved aluminum cylinder block and a propensity for rust.
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 17, 2017, 12:44PM »

I'm curious about that pic.  Shipping them vertical like that was common? Were they somehow bolted to the fold-out panels?
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BillO
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« Reply #4 on: Aug 17, 2017, 03:17PM »

Those are Vegas, not Novas.

Just in case it's not clear from the pic, they actually loaded the Vegas into the shipping containers vertically.
https://petrolicious.com/articles/there-s-no-wrong-way-to-transport-a-classic-car

The Vega DID have some serious issues, including the notorious unsleeved aluminum cylinder block and a propensity for rust.
Yes, the Vega was definitely a dud.
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« Reply #5 on: Aug 17, 2017, 04:10PM »

Yes, the Vega was definitely a dud.
It got better over the years, but (with the exception of the Cosworth) never could shake of the stigma of the early problems. Pity. It really was a good-looking car by the standards of the day.
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 17, 2017, 07:11PM »

Those are Vegas, not Novas.

Just in case it's not clear from the pic, they actually loaded the Vegas into the shipping containers vertically.
https://petrolicious.com/articles/there-s-no-wrong-way-to-transport-a-classic-car

The Vega DID have some serious issues, including the notorious unsleeved aluminum cylinder block and a propensity for rust.
D^^%#^%# it.  Vegas, not Novas.

My apologies to the esteemed Nova.
Andy
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 17, 2017, 07:14PM »

The earlier Corvairs with the swing rear axle, one u join at the trans, was a poor design.  Take a corner too fast and a rear tire could tuck under enough to pull the bead off the rim in the middle of a curve.  Not good!  Later Corvairs with joints at both the trans and at the spindle - yes, they were good cars.  Typical GM - they make a new vehicle, but once they work out the bugs and have a really nice car they pull the plug.  Corvair, Pontiac Fiero, Cadillac Allante for three.  
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BillO
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« Reply #8 on: Aug 17, 2017, 07:34PM »

It got better over the years, but (with the exception of the Cosworth) never could shake of the stigma of the early problems. Pity. It really was a good-looking car by the standards of the day.
You're right, but by the time they had worked out the issues I, and many other had moved on.  I was motivated.  My dad had bought a Pontiac Astre in 1974.  Bad memory's.
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BillO
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 17, 2017, 07:35PM »

D^^%#^%# it.  Vegas, not Novas.

My apologies to the esteemed Nova.
Andy
No harm done Andy.  All good nostalgia.
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« Reply #10 on: Aug 19, 2017, 08:19AM »

I'm curious about that pic.  Shipping them vertical like that was common? Were they somehow bolted to the fold-out panels?


Yes, vertical. 

I see these transports a couple of times a week on a rail line near me. I researched the rolling stock because it looked so unusual.
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« Reply #11 on: Aug 19, 2017, 08:32AM »

So all these flawed cars seem to have problems that only came out with daily use apparently

Was pre-production testing that limited or were these anomalies that skipped the process somehow?



Quote
Take a corner too fast and a rear tire could tuck under enough to pull the bead off the rim in the middle of a curve.


Or is the problem that people were using cars in excess of what they should reasonably do anyway?
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« Reply #12 on: Aug 19, 2017, 09:37AM »

My first car was a 77 Pontiac Ventura (which was pontiac's version of the Chevy Nova), and it was a very reliable car that I put a lot of miles on.  I drove it until the body literally fell apart.  At the time Chevy Novas were a tremendously popular car, especially the SS model. 
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 19, 2017, 06:11PM »

So all these flawed cars seem to have problems that only came out with daily use apparently

Was pre-production testing that limited or were these anomalies that skipped the process somehow?

Or is the problem that people were using cars in excess of what they should reasonably do anyway?

Nope.  Bad design. The early Corvair’s real Achilles heel was not oversteer, but another side effect of the swing-axle rear suspension: jacking. In a hard turn, the halfshaft of the outside rear wheel would drop below the pivot point of its universal joint. As cornering forces increased, the halfshaft then acted as a lever, forcing the tail upward. As the tail rose, the outside rear wheel would “tuck under,” assuming an exaggerated positive camber angle that would weaken and eventually break the tire tread’s already-tenuous grip on the pavement.

The result of this progression was a sudden burst of non-linear oversteer. It was not always easy to predict at exactly what point the tail would break loose and catching it was not always easy. (This behavior was by no means exclusive to the Corvair. Most cars with swing-axle rear suspensions suffered it to one degree or another, the most notorious example being the Mercedes-Benz 300SL “gullwing” coupe. The early (1961–1962) Pontiac Tempest also behaved similarly for the same reasons.)
 
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« Reply #14 on: Aug 19, 2017, 06:33PM »

So all these flawed cars seem to have problems that only came out with daily use apparently

Was pre-production testing that limited or were these anomalies that skipped the process somehow?




Or is the problem that people were using cars in excess of what they should reasonably do anyway?
Most of the problems with the Vega popped up after they'd been in service for a while, and less-than-optimal maintenance was sometimes also a factor. Case in point: overheating. The Vega's cooling system was adequate when topped up with coolant, but not if it was low. No coolant returns back then, so the you had to check the level regularly, and some people didn't. Most other cars of the era could tolerate that kind of neglect; the Vega couldn't.
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« Reply #15 on: Aug 20, 2017, 03:19AM »

Another problem with the Corvair was a lack of tire pressure understanding by the typical gas jockey. At that time, you has full service gas stations where an attendant checked the oil and tire pressure while filling the tank. Front engined cars require about the same tire pressure in front and rear tires, but rear engined cars like the Corvair required considerably more pressure in the rear tires. Early on, the gas jockeys were using the wrong pressure resulting in poor handling and some of the swing axle problems.

My brother in law still has the Nova he bought new in 1972.
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