The lowly Chevy Nova finally has its (movie, TV) moment?


Every now and then in various corners of the South, I’ll see a guy taking his fully-restored 1969-79 Chevrolet Nova out for a Saturday AM spin, maybe a run to a car show.

And I’m not going to lie. I always feel a little sorry for these men. Of all the cars to pour money into fixing up, of all the “first car I ever owned” nostalgia to be misplaced, they’re clinging to this?

This was one of the ugliest big “little” cars from an age that some Internet wags (and Facebook groups) dub “Malaise Motors.” With good reason.

In college marketing classes, Hell, even in Spanish classes, the story of how Chevrolet pitched this model (which dates from earlier in the ’60s) to the Americas and the world, how they didn’t realize “No va” is Spanish for “Won’t go” is legend. 

But damned if these tiny tanks aren’t turning up every couple of days in something I’m watching or reviewing. Thanks to “Stranger Things” and “Peanut Butter Falcon” and “Snowfall” and “Cry Havoc” and “The High Note,” this butt-ugly (especially the butt) Detroit “compact” is having a moment.

“Stumptown,” “The Evil Down the Street,” even the animated “Bojack Horseman” feature a Nova, here and there. Jared Leto drives one in “The Little Things.” Hey, all the best serial killers do. What’s down-and-out, “poor decisions” queen Jena Malone drive in “Lorelei?”

Nothing says “poor decisions” like owning a Nova. It goes back to the Ugliest Nova of them all. What do his pals do to send “Good Will Hunting” on his way? They buy him a beat up, piecework 1971 Chevy Nova.

Damned if the bank-robber Tom Holland plays in February’s “Cherry” doesn’t meet a street drug dealer driving a late-run 1978 model. Shoot toot, here’s one in “F9 — The Fast Saga.”

Everywhere I look. Marcia Marcia Marcia, Nova Nova Nova.

Go figure. Am I being too harsh about its looks? Look at the pictures above and tell me I’m wrong.


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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