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As you can tell by my username, I'm into my cars and nothing has been as satisfying as the Novas that I have owned. There are a few types of people that have Novas ; those that are forced to have them as a first car, those young 'uns that think they're 'cool' and those that ADORE them. I am firmly in the latter.
Nova's are by Vauxhall and are becoming rare now. Many were bought by young people a decade or so ago when they were really popular cars to be modified. This meant that a few were involved in crashes and some we sacrificed as donor cars for other projects.
There's so much to talk about when it comes to them that I will focus on the ones that I have owned. I have never had a 5 door Nova or a saloon. The 3 door Novas have ample space inside and plenty of leg room for the driver and passengers. It's a medium sized car with plenty of bootspace. The doors allow the rear passengers to get in and out with ease.
All of my Novas have had a 5 speed gearbox but you do get ones with only 4 gears. They have simple and easy to read gauges. The steering is the same as the modern Corsas or Corsa B/Corsa C. Indeed a Nova is just that ....it's a Corsa A. I think Novas are in a class of their own though and have a much boxier shape than the bubbly Corsa. There's no car I can liken the Nova in looks, it's unique!
1.2 Breeze Blue Nova ~ H reg ~ 3 door ~ nicknamed NORRIS
This was my first Nova on the road and was nicknamed "Norris". My parents bought it for £800 in around 2002 (from Halford's carpark of all places) as my car to learn to drive in. It started first time every time from the day I bought him and I absolutely loved it. It was an ideal first car as insurance was reasonably low due to the small engine size (About £750 Third Party, Fire and Theft which included declaring my modifications) Some Novas do have a 1 litre engine which would be even cheaper to insure!
It was colour-coded (meaning that everything on it, like the sideskirts, were blue). This made it a very appealing car just for that. I changed the wheels to some basic multi-spoke alloys, lowered it every so slightly and changed the headunit to a CD player. When I say 'I' I of course really do mean 'I'..(with a little help from my big brother!) That's the thing with novas as they are so easy to work on and you can learn how to do many things yourself. I bought myself a Haynes manual as could then learn even more. I was officially hooked with the car and would drive miles in it. When I bought it, it had done roughly 55000 miles and it has now got on the clock 102000. It would pass the MOT with no problems whatsoever. It is best to mention now that there are some parts of a Nova that need to be regularly monitored as they tend to be the parts that rust.
*Bottom of Nova doors ~ these tend to bubble under the paint and then rust out. One 'clean' door with no rust used to fetch about £60 on its own!
*Inside the boot ~ this too rusts out so make sure you lift the carpet and take a peek if you intend to purchase one
Norris would still be on the road now if someone hadn't broken into it. They broke the door lock and then the steering column. This is mendable and I will get round to it one day I'm sure but for now, he's safely tucked up in the garage. I had already bought a few more Novas to add to my collection!
1.6 Red GSi ~ J reg ~ 3 door
I had bought this as I wanted to try a bigger engined car and compare it to my 1.2 ... ok,ok, I had got the Nova bug. I had seen it on ebay and travelled to Bristol from Cambridgeshire to pick it up on a trailer. WARNING ~ do not buy a car from just looking at pictures! I paid £400 for the car but it was that many different shades of red I just couldn't count them. Red cars too tend to fade if not looked after properly which had disappointed me slightly but I was more interested in what was under the bonnet.
With it being a GSi, it has a slightly different engine to what I was used to with my 1.2 so left all the engine side of servicing to my dad and brother. (Please don't let that put you off buying one as I'm sure I could've done it had I not been focusing on Norris ~ he was my favourite afterall ;) )
Insurance was about £400 a year (I was now a bit older remember) which I thought was great for it being a larger engine.
This has to be the BEST car I have ever owned in terms of reliability and performance. Yes it may not have looked anything special but it didn't half pick up well and, even with 5 people in it, it still performed well on fuel. (I never have been able to do MPG). My brother went in it all the way to Scotland from Cambridgeshire to pick up his new car up and it never missed a beat.
This car finally ended up in the scrap yard after being stripped for parts. I had fried the engine by using it with no water in it ... completely owner error, don't blame the car!
The black dash sold for £100 on its own and the seats for a similar amount. A few other bits and pieces sold for good money too so after 4 years of having this car I made £500 back from it.
2L 16V silver Nova ~ K reg ~ 3 door ~ nicknamed STORM
I saw this car on ebay too and loved it. It was based in Wales and at this point I still had both my other Novas. Off I went in my blue 1.2 across the country to pick it up. It was superb! The current owner took me for a ride in it and I couldn't believe the power that it had. This certainly wasn't a car for the new driver or for those that didn't respect the car. I handed over my £1440 and my dad drove it home. The smile on his face was immense all the way home (this coming from someone who had raced cars in the past). The lightweight shell meant that the speed that could be achieved was fantastic for such a cheap car. It had no problems reaching over 140mph with ease on a track day.
This was only ever going to be a car for such days but on occassion I did use it for commuting. Petrol consumption was on parr with my GSi...until the accelerator pedal was floored then you just watch that gauge go down.
If you've never been in a 'redtop' Nova and ever get the chance, grab it with both hands! I guarantee that you'll get out smiling. It's completely undescribable. (Make sure the driver knows what they are doing though and understands the power of the car.)
*There are quite a few Novas out there now that have had these engine conversions as they are relatively simple to complete with a little bit of know-how from people that have done it before*
If you do choose to buy a Nova in the future or if you have an interest in them, do join a car forum such as www.novaload.net There is nothing about a Nova that some owners don't know and I've never come across a Nova enthusiast that has refused to help with anything I've asked.
Novas have had a bad reputation in the past for being owned by 'barryboys' and 'boyracers'. It's about time that the truth about these cars comes out and they are seen for the fantastic cars they are.
I have rated the humble Vauxhall Nova top marks for everything but driver comfort. (I personally don't mind as I'm used to them) Novas don't come with fancy ABS, airbags or air conditioning but that's the charm of them. It's back to basics of driving when you know that you are controlling the car and what it does and not a computer doing the work for you.
(i will keep updating this as I go along as I could talk all day about Novas!)
Well im pretty much a petrol head and like many guys in there mid to late 20's, there first driving experience would of been probably the Vauxhall Nova. My first experience was with an F reg 1.0 with an SR bodykit. It looked the part and made loads of noise but didnt really go that fast. I used to go to all th"cruises" nearby but fealt a little outta sorts with my lil baby.
Then it happened. My firsy project/modification. It was out with the old engine and in with the new 1.8 Sri engine donated from a cavalier Sri. Pretty tough but we managed it after a few days, afew turns of the key and up it started. Now i was ready to own the streets, albeit for only a matter of hours, as due to the increased performance i didn't realise that my 1.0 breaks and welded drive shafts would need replacing. Sharp bend and brick wall later, car was history.
Not been deterred, i bought anothe Nova, this time a 1990 H registered GTE. After driving all these years, this is by far my favourite car of all. Painted in Gun metal silver it looked superb. Inside was the standard interior with recaro front bucket seats with a grey and red check. Sitting in the drivers seat, everything is what you expected from a 90's hot hatch. The inside was quite roomy considering its size. The 1.6 fuel injected engine was quite punchy even though it only managed around 100 hp. Top speed was booked at 119 mph (it will go to 126 - tested).
Under the bonnet, if things did go wrong, there is plenty of parts available with good prices and plenty of room to make repairs.
With the hot hatch tag also comes jealous thieves. On several occasions my car was broken into but theft was unsuccessful. The door locks are easily tampered with and once inside, due to one fault or another, the theft is made simple!! 2 quick ways i was affected by was 1) removal of the hazard light switch and replaced upside down and 2) swappinf around the connections on the interior light. Both of these will make the ignition lights come on meaning a simple bump would start your engine.
Love and adoration and all things bad aside, the Vauxhall Nova will always be the car i remember and once i reach mid life crisis point, i am sure i will relive the glory days of my Nova youth.
Quite a personal experience of the car but i hope you can picture yourself in my day
The old stylee Vauxhall Nova MK1 4 door saloon, wasn't the nippiest motor off the block by any means but it was very reliable and got us from A to B when we needed it to.
It began to look rather dated and ungainly after a while, but I am happy to say that it is still going strong as we still see it being driven about around town. So what it lacks in style and looks it must have made up for in reliability.
The Nova was a horrid kind of once bright red colour, which by the time we got the car was totally matt with no shine to it what so ever. Red does tend to fade badly on cars if its not in a metallic paint, even at the best of times, but this was very faded indeed.
We spent quite some time on it trying to get it buffed and waxed, but even after all our efforts it was never the sleek beast we would have liked although it did look a little better.
It did have 4 doors and a decent sized boot which was a bonus and we could fit plenty of shopping etc inside. Being the saloon version made it slightly less desirable to own towards the end of our time with it.
Boy racers had started buying up the neater cuter Nova hatchbacks and they looked 1000 times better than our tank like saloon version. Whilst the car looked like a tank it certainly didn't drive like one and that was a bit of a shock at first.
Once behind the wheel the steering of the car was light, very light! It drove really well, had a light touch which I did feel at times was a little too light for me, but it felt easy to steer and was also easy to park.
If I compare it to the Vauxhall Corsa that we had I can say that the Corsa looked like a compact little car that would drive well, when in fact it drove like a tank. So I do think that looks can be very deceiving.
The seats were really quite comfy to sit in which was another big surprise, they were of a basic and simple design by todays standards yet were not at all tiring to sit in on longer journeys.
The exterior of the Nova was very boxy to look at, with plastic trims that did fade rather too quickly to a matt grey. The bumpers were again in the same faded plastic as was the matching front grill. At the time when we had it, the Nova was a reliable car to own and drive and this has been more than proven seeing as though it is still going strong.
It had no electric windows or mirror and not a sniff of an airbag in sight, though thankfully it had fully working seat belts. The radio cassette player was a bit basic to say the least but at least it worked.
Whilst rust has been a problem with some of the older Vauxhalls, the Nova when we had it, did not suffer from that at all, so it did look tidy when on the road.
Over all the Nova was a good little car, but not a great car. It wasn't stylish and it didn't make a statement, but it got us where we needed it to and thats all we wanted at the time.
So I feel that the car deserves a 4 star rating, due to how well if performed in spite of its very basic spec. Novas are still on the roads and can be bought for very little these days, but the smaller neater hatchback versions are the ones that are most often wanted.
Vauxhall Nova 1.2 Merit my second love at the age of 18 or 19 this was the car back in 1988 when I had one,a 3 year old car that my mum had had from new.It was as new and had done next to no miles,a frw thousand as she only went a few miles up the road and back to the shops.It was a giant leap forward to me after my first car the VW Beetle.You could say it was my first proper car as it could go and stop unlike the antique Bug.It felt rocket ship fast compared to my Beetle,light weight 1.2 engine means Fun! Ok mine was the basic Merit 4 door and no looker but the engine was the best thing about it.A word of caution,I had never heard of cambelts until mine fell off when it reached 40,000 miles a few years later.Luckily it happened just as I stopped and caused no engine damage.Vauxhalls of this vintage need new belts every 40,000 or less so watch out! It was economical,40 mpg or so and cheap to run.It handled OK and took a few knocks very well during my ownership,typical teenage lad,top speed would build and build,faster than you would think for a little shopping trolley! Ok so I would get burned up by XR3is and RS Turbos but it did well down the twisty stuff and was an easy car to handle.Shame they killed it and replaced it with the Corsa,a real mummies car with no street cred.I think they are well sort after especially the sporty 1.6 GTE model but must be rare now.Find one with good service history and few owners will probably be impossible,but if you find one they are a great little car.
Thanks for reading my review and I hope you found it interesting.If this has been useful to you and you take time to leave Your rating it will be appreciated and hope you will take a look at my other reviews sometime.I also leave reviews on the Ciao website about this and other items,many thanks!
I had a Vauxhall Nova for a period of 18 months. I found it to be a very reliable car and very cheap to run and maintain providing up to 40 to the gallon if drove sensibly.
These are around to buy pretty cheap i managed to pick mine up with 6 months mot for £120 tax, and insurance will also be on the cheaper side with the little 1.1 litre model i owned.
Inside the car is nothing special no electric extras, very basic but then they are cheap cars now. They are fairly nippy for a 1.1 easily maintaining motorway speeds although is a bit loud at times, this car also handles really well.
Definately a good car to get your hands on if you see a cheap one maintenance is cheap and easy if you have a slight mechanical inkling. Made for a good quality solid reliable runabout for the 18 months i had it starting everyday without fault.
My experience of having a vauxhall nova. Well, it was my second car my first being a fiesta 1.1, i bought this vauxhall nova off ebay for £350 it was a J-reg 1.2i luxe plus.
When i got it home it smelt of petrol constantly even after scrubbing it inside out. So when i had it on the drive way i noticed something leaking at the back of the car which turned out to be petrol. I then couldn't drive it because it was dangerous. i asked my uncle to have a quick look at it he said get the parts and he will do it.
Now the interesting part for people wishing to get a nova, i went to many breakers yards, scrap yards and i must of rang 30 companies up asking if they had this certain petrol tank in stock i couldn't find one anywhere like gold dust.
I was then told by someone that this certain model the luxe plus 1992 the petrol tanks were different to a normal 1.2. so my hunt continued after 3 weeks of getting the bus to work, getting up earlier for work i had found one it cost me £90 it was a replica of the original tank. i then asked my uncle to fit it which took 3 hours of hard work and hey presto my nova was back on the road.
i then wanted to fit my bass box,amp etc which was a simple ebough process, it was at this point that i discovered that when my engine was started i could take my key out and it would still run which meant that i had to stall it to cut it out. this was not a major issue. so there i was with my barnd new petrol tank, my amp and sub and my jvc face off driving round the streets of wythenshawe.
Until one day i came out of my girlfriends house and it was like where did i park my car, someone had stolen it. cut a long story short i ended up getting my car back and my stuff because i knew who took it. i ended up selling the car along with my fiesta for £150 which was a bargain only to hear 2 weeks later that the nova then got stolen and burnt out a sad day for my little nova.
so there we have it folks if you buy a nova luxe plus then please check the petrol tank and also put as much security on it too. apart from my bad experience i think that they handle well, pick up quite easy and they are reliable for an old car which is all you need to get from A - B.
Well what can I say, what a car?
I only had this car for about a year, this wasnt because the car let me down or anything like that but I got a good offer for it off my mate and I was looking for a faster car, seen as I am a self confessed speed addict. This was however my first car, it was a simple Vauxhall nova 1.2i spin. Even this model is a fairly nippy car, this is mainly due to the weight of the car, as it is a light car the 1.2 engine is perfect for getting it around.
I would say that the 1.2 size is ideal for a couple of reasons:
 It is very fuel efficient, if you start to go for a bigger sized engine you will begin to lose its fuel efficiency.
 This model is also ideal for young drivers as it is insurance friendly. It is around category three.
As it is a Vauxhall, the parts are fairly easy. If you do need any parts always try local scrapyards first, as it is an old car chances are most scrapyards will have at least one. If you cant find the parts you can always order them direct from Vauxhall although they will probably charge you more.
If you do decide to buy this car beware of rust, this is a major problem on any Nova. Before you part with your precious money, check all over the car for rust especially the bottom edge of the doors and the rear arches. The rear arches are major rust points and can be quite costly to rectify. Also watch out for if the car has a parcel shelf, as I found out these are like golddust, its like they dont exist anymore because people have ruined them cutting speaker holes in and then just throwing them away.
Vauxhall ended production of the Nova in 1993 and only the models made in 1993 (usually K reg) have a catalytic converter as this was when it was made a legal requirement for cars to reduce pollution. This can be a point to watch out for as they can fail on their emissions during an MOT if the cat is worn out as it will be old being an old car, unless it has been replaced which is a costly replacement at about £200.
My advice would be to stay away from the saloon version. In my opinion the saloon is one ugly car but the hatchback even today can look the part. For all the boy racers out there you can find lots of modifications for the Nova including various bodykits.
To sum it up, for me the Nova was an ideal first car. I was soon convinced by its practicality and suitability and would recommend it as an ideal first car. Mine cost me £600 for a Vauxhall Nova 1.2i Spin, it was in perfect condition and didnt need any work on it the whole time I had it. So even though it is an old car if you can find one in good enough condition and ideally a hatchback version you to could have your own Super Nova.
Fed up of getting the bus to uni everyday with the great unwashed ("Ey! 'Dis bus smells like an ale'ouse la!"), I decided to get myself a cheap car. I ended up with a C Reg Nova 1.2 Merit, which was bought from an old family friend and mechanic! It was in Everton blue! It had 1970's Opel Manta Alloys! It had a full service history! It was £300! Perfect! For three glorious years the Nova ferried me and my student buddies all over Liverpool, the North and North Wales, I never had a problem with it on the road. The one major disaster being that its camshaft went on 95000 miles, outside my house, and was replaced for £45. Apart from a few minor problems such as rust - Ive never seen a car with as much on a roof as mine had - a broken window winder (solution? duct-tape, an elastic band and a brief to all passengers to not attempt tp open it!) and a drivers side windscreen wiper failure (new wiper arm cost £2 from a scrapyard), I never had any other major problems with it! It flew through every MOT despite its "rustic" external appearance, was (comparitively) cheap to insure for a Liverpool based teenager, was in the lower tax band, and was returning diesel style fuel economy and cost £35 to fully service! Marvellous! Alas, one fateful night in the rain, a lamp-post leaped out at me and crunch! Front axle bent, I limped it to its resting place of 6 months - the driveway of Wandy's student house, much to the annoyance of its shrieking banshee of a landlady. I've never met anybody with, in my opinion, as odious a personality as her. So odious in fact, that her tenants told her I was in Spain (a blatant porkie!) and so the car couldn't be removed. But I digress.... It stayed there for many a month, being used as an emergency bedroom for drunks who couldnt find the front door key, a shed, a home to vagrants, as a parts bin for friends Nova's and finally as a trampoline for drunken Welshmen called Lia
m, before being towed away by a remarkably oily gentleman to his breakers yard. An injust and premature end to a faithful companions life. The ghost of my Nova returned to haunt me when the DVLA said I hadn't renewed my tax or declared a SORN. So, despite the fact the car didnt even exist anymore, it still cost me £25 notes to finally put it to rest. Was that a car review or a short story? Ah, who cares? So, to summarise - Nova's - theres still a few good 10 year old ones around - if your'e a poor student and need a cheap, reliable old banger, then buy one. If youre the sultan of Brunei, then get a Ferrari you cheapskate! What are you doing reading about Vauxhall Novas?!
Ahhh. I like Novas. People always seem to look at me strange when they ask what my next car will be and i reply "a Nova". I'm currently the happy (ish - come on to that later) owner of a 1991 J reg 1.2 Nova Merit, and have been since October 2000. Purchased with about 54k miles on the clock, it's now pushing 91k and so far the car has done me no wrong - it's reliable, nippy, economical and looks good too (I *HATE* round cars like the corsa!!). And more important of all it gave me that bug for modifying cars. The car had been sitting on my driveway for about 4 months before i bought it, as my sister owned it before I did (she'd taken to driving her boyfriends Citroen Saxo, then bought one for herself later on - see my other review on it). She'd already fitted some 15x7.5 Oz Evolution Alloys and a new JVC stereo with pioneer speakers on the parcel shelf. In fact my first modification came before any money had changed hands - some nice bosche laser blue headlights, as the standard ones were a bit lame. Considering I had come from an older 903cc Fiat Uno to this, i was expecting a car with more power, comfort and smoother ride quality. All of these i got, but it wasn't until i later compared the Nova with driving other cars i realised just how good it was. Although the ride was nice and smooth, the car did have a lot of body roll round corners. This was soon rectified with some lower springs (nabbed from a Corsa) and new bushes from vauxhall which tightened things up greatly. The gear change has always been very positive on the car, you can feel exactly where the gate for each gear is, and although there is a bit of free play, it's not so much that would make the gears fee sloppy. On mine the clutch was hard to get used to - it might not be like this on all 1.2's (it's certainly not on my mate's 1.3SR) - but there was a lot of travel in the clutch and the 'b
ite' was very high up. This lead to problems when my foot was resting on the pedal, sometimes it would push it down just enough to pull the car a little way out of gear. However, i soon found this clutch very easy to drive with, and especially easy to hang the car on the clutch (as in hill starts etc). For a 1.2 the car has got plenty of power under the bonnet. Although official figures from vauxhall say it is around 55bhp (remember it's not the later 45bhp injection model), it feels much more than that. It can easily match 1.3s and even 1.4s, and give even the GTE/GSi's a bit of a run for their money. It acclerates well up to 60 in just a shade over 10 seconds (again, vauxhall figures say 14) and will keep pulling in 3rd well up to 75-80. Rumours of 1.2's going over 110 are true... and i did that with a passenger....!! However, the brakes on the car are it's weak point. To get some decent reaction on them you really do have to stomp on the pedal, and in normal driving there is what could be a rather un-nerving, to someone who is not used to the brakes, amount of free play on the pedal. This is why it's a common find to see lower spec Novas with performance disc & pads, GSi brakes, or even Astra items, all of which are a marked improvement over the standard stoppers. Steering on the road with the standard wheels is very light, probably due to the lack of weight from the engine. However, with the alloys on it becomes heavier - yet still light when driving, and lighter than other cars i've driven with alloys. Beware that with wider tyres the car does have a bad tendency to follow the road, and lumps or bumps can pull the car sharply to one side. Although the car is not fitted with power steering, personally i don't feel it really needs it anyway, especially if you are running on standard wheels. You get a lot of feeling from the road below through the steering wheel, but not so much that it drives you rathe
r than you driving it. Economy is great, i can fill the tank from totally empty for about £28, and from that I'd expect to get around 350+ miles, around 43-50mpg. Reliability is also good as long as you look after the car to a certain degree - there are plenty of people who talk about Novas breaking down, but i bet these are all unserviced and hammered ones. The 1.2 engine is pretty strong and can take a fair beating but being a 4 speed gearbox model it doesn't like prolonged periods of high speed. Yet it will cruise along quite happily at 60-70mph with no trouble and some power left for over taking. Parts are also cheap and easy to fit. Second hand parts can be easily obtained from scrapyards, and it may be a good idea to go take a look for any higher spec models to graft parts off. Even new parts are relatively cheap from Vauxhall. Fitting parts is quite a simple task as the majority of the car can all be unbolted with a couple of spanners (as opposed to many other cars of the age which were welded together all over the place). My dad and I once managed to recondition and refit the head in the space of one afternoon (ok he's a trained mechanic but even I knew what we were doing!) for a total cost of under £120, and that includes skimming the head and a number of new parts such as cam belt, water pump, oil filter, distributor, etc. Insurance can be expensive, so i wouldn't generally recommend them to people as a first car *especially* if you're going to perform the odd tweak and tuck here and there. I'm insured with CIS and pay about £550 fully comp (20, 3 years no claims). Although they don't charge extra for bodywork and internal modifications, they will rack up the premium of you do anything to the engine. If you have the money, and are dead set on modfying the car I'd recommend companies like Adrian Flux, Liverpool Victoria and HIC (the latter who do agreed valuations as well - handy if you've spen
t a fair £££ on the car). Internally the car is (in my opinion) much improved over earlier Mk1 Novas. No more nasty brown interiors, and the whole thing looks much more modern and brightened up a bit. The seating is quite comfy and there's plenty of legroom up front. In the rear, there is no centre arm rest as found on some other cars and little legroom if the front seats are far back. I also found that if you're tall or have long legs (like me) you might find your legs rubbing on the underside of the steering wheel. The dashboard is well laid out, in this model there is no rev counter so you have a nice big speedo in the centre which is easy to spot without taking your eyes off the road. The stereo slot has also been moved down towards the gearstick from it's high position on the Mk1 Novas, it's just at arms reach and a little more out the view of people looking in. Externally, the look of the car is somewhat more modern and sleek looking than the earlier Novas. However, the bodywork quality can vary greatly from car to car. Novas are well renowned for their rust, although in Mk2's (90-93) it's not quite so bad as made out. The arches are one of the worst places, especially if it's been fitted with alloys - some people just slap in bigger wheels which rub the arch and let in rust, whilst others just grind or fold the arches out, leaving exposed areas underneath that the rust eats into. Ideally the arches should be properly rolled back to accomodate larger wheels, if in doubt check for any receipts to prove a good job. Other areas for rust are the underside of the doors; in the engine bay (along the inside edge of the wheel arch), and the boot & spare wheel well (take out the carpet and have a look underneath the wheel and check along the back of the boot). Security is another poor part of Novas, they are very easy to get into even without any tools (speaking from being on the receiving end here). An
d, on the '90-91 models (early Mk2's) there is a supposed fault which can bypass the ignition and start the car.... So it's definately worth getting a decent alarm & immobiliser fittted. Ok so that's a bit about the general features of the car. But what about those of you who want one to modify? The 1.2 is a good place to start being (relatively) cheap to insure and run, and with a little tweaking it can outperform 1.3 and 1.4s. Sticking a decent filter on can help, but beware that although K&Ns are popular they don't actually give all that much of an increase in power on the Nova. Lowered suspension is a must to help the car corner better, and anti roll bars can be taken off SR/GTE/GSi's and bolted on to stiffen things up a bit. There are still plenty of styling options for the car - not bad for a design that is essentially 20 years old - although beware that not all of them are a straight fit. The bodykit on mine took a lot to get it to fit, most of which my dad and I did after the bodyshop guy couldn't figure out how to get it on (then charged £500 for just painting it all! Cheek!), but being a bolt-together car, it only took about 5 minutes each time to take all the bumpers and grille off, and modify certain bits with a hacksaw and drill :) I said at the start i was happy-ish with the car, the reason being that i'm never going to be completely satisfied with it until i've tweeked or tidied nearly every part of it at least a dozen times, and of course being such a simple car to work on this is quite an easy task (hence why they are so popular amongst modfiers). Overall, the car has a lot of potential either as a small runabout or modifier's project car. Although cheap to buy, run and maintain they are however let down by the high cost of insurance. When serviced properly and regularly it can last for miles and miles, or with a bit of tuning the performance can easily match SRs, AX's,
205's and those nasty blue oval badges. And of course there's the stigma of having a boy racer car as well... but some of us can put up with that one :)
On passing my driving test, on 30th September 2002, my mum finally let me have her old Vauxhall Nova merit. Its a kinda mint green, 5 door, F reg (1989),1.4 My mum had it due to economy of petrol, cheaper tax, generally cheaper to run. My mum brought the car for £500, and gave it to me for free, fully MOT'd. So, after finally getting my tax (cheaper due to being a 1.4), and insurance (£600, third party) I went out in my car. Its a very good runner. My car had only 4 gears and a choke, which takes a while to get used to. However, once you get used to it, its not problem. Accelleration is great, you put your foot on the gas, and it goes pretty well. I've raced 2 litre cars off traffic lights and won (i know you're not supposed to, but hey, what can i say!) On the motorway, i have easily reached 90mph, and have also done 100mph (just testing, only done it once, honestly!) The interior of the car is beige-y. It goes well with the car. The car seat covers were quite dirty, but its on its 3rd owner, so they havent done bad!! It got car seat covers for chrismas anyway!Its not overly comfortable, but is ok for short journeys. Sitting in it for hours would probably get a bit uncomfortable. The exterior is light, minty green. I have a silver wing, due to a little accident with a post!! I didnt think it was worth getting a wing the same colour, as it would have cost more than the car is worth!!!! There are amber repeators on the side. Anyway, after starting the car in the mornings, bit more difficult in the cold, it warms up quite quickly, and runs well. It doesnt like cold or wet weather, as is common with old cars. A bit of dampstart on it does the trick. HUGE advantages to this car are that it is very cheap and economical, a full tank of petrol is about £25, and that lasts me personally just over a week, doing a 12 mile round trip to work every day, and other l
ittle journeys in between. It is very, very easy to park. It always amazes me how small it is in the space!! Disadvantages however are rusting. Novas are well known for how much they rust, i dont have too much on my car at the moment, but its starting on the wheel arches, and around the petrol cap. Having a choke is a disadvantage also, because getting used to it is a quite tricky, especially if you, or no-one you know has had one before to help you on your way!! There are no extras such as central locking or a sunroof, but considering its age, i wasnt surprised. Its also quite loud, especially when going fast. Again, its expected from an old car. Nova's also have a tendancy to drink a lot of oil. so be aware of this and remember to check it regularly. I really love my car, and wish i didnt have a accident with a post, so it was still all the same colour, but never mind, at least it wasnt an expensive car. I would definately recommend this as a first car to anybody, even the prospective boy racers, as it is easy to add too, especially if you can get hold of the sportier models, that do have spoilers, sun roofs, and possibly central locking. The speed is there, but can also be used as a little car to run around in, as its cheap on petrol. So far, touch wood, nothing has gone wrong. When my mum was the owner of the car, she had to get the brake pads replaced, which wasnt expensive, due to parts being very easy to get hold of. I had to replace my tyre, when i had a disagreement with a post, costing me £20, as they are tiny!! A new wing, and fitting cost me just under £100, in case anyone ever needs to know. Unfortunately my car isnt a common colour, so i had to get a different colour wing from a scrapyard!! 06/02/03 - My car was due to go in for a service at 2.30pm, after work. Worked 6am-2pm. Been having a little problem starting my car in the mornings. When I went to leave work at 2pm, my car wouldnt start at
all, wouldnt jump start or push start.Had to call out the RAC (definately worth getting!!) and I managed to get my car to the garage, for its service. Found out that my car will cost too much to fix, and its not worth it, so RIP to my car, and I am now looking for a new one. If anyone has any suggestions for a small, economical car, I would really appreciate it. X
My name's Chris. thompson. I first bought a 1ltr Nova in 2000. It was my first car and was a low milage G reg mk 1! I learned to drive in that car and once I had passed my test I started to modify it. The car never faultered once in the 2 years of ownership and made way for a modified Nova GSi! in 2002! I would recomend a Vauxhall Nova to anyone and would certainly say that they are the best car, standard or modified available. My first car had lowered suspension and an uprated exhaust. i fitted the alloys from a Nova GTE and it was the coolest car around! I joined the Performanec Nova Group and met loads of other Nova mad drivers. Everyone I have spoken to, who has owned a Nova, has commened on how it has never let them down! My GSi has had a performance air filte (k&N) Performance plugs and leads (splitfire) and a Magnex exhause. It is lowered 60mm and rides on mirror polished 16 inch Speedline Allisos. It is an incredibly fast car (proven 114 bhp on a Well Lane Turbo Centers rolling road) and I have had no problems with it since buying it! I would recomend a Vauxhall Nova to anyone, be it a 1ltr base model or a top of the range GSi!!!! I have owened them both, and theyve both been perfect!!!!!!!!!!!! For anymore details visit my website in honour to the mighty Vauxhall Nova, www.novas.5u.com Hope you will be another Nova ownewr soon!!!! Chris ;-)
Question. 1. What was the best thing Vauxhall did? 2. What was the worst thing Vauxhall did? Answers. 1. Introduced the Nova 2. Changed the Nova for the Corsa! Answers that a lot of people would give when asked those 2 questions. And with good reason. Vauxhall’s baby, The Nova. Let lose on the Roads in the UK in 1983, and was set to take the hatchback market by storm, and soon became a leading contender in the hot hatch market. Vauxhall, which is General Motors UK, took an Astra and Cavalier, chopped it up a bit, added a few tweaks, and out popped the Nova, Opel Corsa, GM Minivan (that’s what I have been told It was called in the States. Personally, I don’t even know if it was released there. Be interested to find out if anyone knows). When released, the range included the popular 3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, and the not so successful, 2 and 4 door saloon models. Each showing off a 1.0, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.6 litre, 4 cylinder OHC engines. Back then the OHC engine (that’s over head cam) was quite a new thing, and not seen in many cars of its era. Vauxhall used its increased performance to their advantage and the result was a car that could outperform most OHV (that’s over head valve) engines of the same capacity. For example, and this is personal experience, but when I first purchased my Nova it carried a 1.2 engine. This Nova, before I set lose on it with my credit card, out performed a Ford Fiesta XR2! Not bad for a 1.2 I’m sure you will agree. But that isn’t due to engine alone. The 1.0 only had an OHV engine fitted and was frankly not worth much. All engines above that used OHC. As well as engine choice, you had model choice too, ranging from the standard L version, up to the Sri and GTE models, all offering various trim options and features. Later the range was added to with the 1.4 and 1.4 injection coming out, and the 1.5 diesel. The Gsi was the sort aft
er Nova, boasting a sporty 1.6 multi point fuel injection engine, and all manor of interior fittings and trim. With very sporty body styling, that still fits in with today’s hot hatches. Not many were produced and this made them all the more special, and sort after. Power figures produced by the various engines are as followed: 1.0 - 45bhp 1.2 - 55bhp (up to 1992) 1.2 – 45bhp (after 1992) 1.3 - 70bhp 1.4, this gets complicated: The carburettor model produced 72bhp The injection produced 60bhp The multi-point injection produced 80bhp The 1.6 pumped out 100bhp and I believe the Gsi topped that, but I am not sure of the figures for that. Those figures look small compared to hatchbacks today, but its worth remembering, in their time, you didn’t have fancy engine management systems, complicated fuel maps, and the design you have in engines these days. Those engines were basic, as it stands lumps, and it was more about what you could do with them, rather than what a computer can do with them, like today. They were, and still are, very nippy little cars, with their lightweight design and very good gearboxes, they out performed a lot of the competition. So, why am I a fan of the Nova still? Well, even though I have gone up in the world and joined the world with the modern day car and systems, I still have my baby. A Nova 1.4SR sitting in my garage. I just can’t part with it. I brought the car about 3 years ago. I paid £250 for her, and it was a bog standard 1.2 L which had been smashed into in a supermarket car park. I already had a Nova identical sitting on my drive, which had been written off the week before by someone running into her from behind. So a quick swap of doors and damaged body panels, engine parts etc, before the insurance company came along and took her to the great scrap yard in the sky, sorted the new one out up to a drivable standard. I did all this ove
r Christmas too, spent a pleasant Christmas day, taking the doors off! After far to much money, and far to much time, it now stands as a 1.4SR (that’s the 3rd engine swap it has had) and in a ‘different’ Purple colour, with a unique body styling scheme set on it, incorporating parts from all over the place from different cars. Performance of her now stands approx.: 102bhp 0-60 8 seconds 60-0 4 seconds Top end of 115mph (anything after that, and it can get a little hair raising) That’s not up with a lot of your hot hatches today, but she still gives a lot of cars a run for their money, and often annoys the BMW driver off the lights. So. Pros and Cons of the Nova? Well being Vauxhall and their reputation, it had very good DIY friendly build. All panels etc were bolted on, instead of the favoured weld. This meant changing panels was easy and cheap. And engine work was easy with a lot of major jobs capable without having to remove the engine. A feature that is non-existent today, in favour of charging you the Earth to have them do it for you. Also because of its simple design, and similarity to the Astra and Cavalier, it meant customisation was a snitch. With most parts from the 2 cars dropping straight on, with little or no modification. Parts were also interchangeable through out the range. For instance the bumper from the Gsi fits straight onto the early 1.2 with very little work needed. Also, because the Astra and Cavalier were the roll models for a lot of the cars Vauxhall produced the years after, meant even more choice in parts. The common one being the 2litre lump out of the Calibra, which can be fitted to any Nova fairly easily. Who discovered that? That’s what I want to know. Practically every manufacturer of modifying parts produces parts for the Nova, even today you can still get new designs of body kits and engine mods, for the Nova, and still will be able to in ye
ars to come, because the Nova is not going out without a fight! Parts from almost any car could be chopped and modified to fit the Nova. I have seen Novas with front and rear bumpers off the Renault Clio fitted, and Cosworth body kits chopped and changed to fit. If it will come off the donor car, it will go on the Nova. The biggest mod I have seen anyway, being the 2.4 engine fitted. How he did it, I will never know, but lets just say, it gives Ferrari a run for their money! Cheap insurance. This was the nice thing about the Nova, it wasn’t advertised as a ‘Hot Hatch’ and so it was fairly insurance friendly, as long as you left it alone. The trouble started when modifiers got a hold of it and started modifying it. Insurance companies then realised they could ripp off young drivers even more, and so it jumped up a group. Only 1 insurance company would insure my Nova, that was Priviledge, and I was paying £750 3rd party F&T! When you consider I am only paying £790 for my Calibra now, that’s a steep insurance quote. But they could charge what the wanted. Safety Well it has to be said the Nova is not the safest car on the road, as standard. Forget your airbags, ABS, Traction control etc, it just wasn’t going to happen. The standard stoppers on the Nova would stop the car, eventually, and that was about it. However, there was no reason why vented discs and 4-pot callipers wouldn’t fit, and they did. I run vented discs and Callipers from the Gsi on my Nova, and they have saved my life! I have even seen ABS fitted to some Novas. It’s a task, but possible. The thing about the Nova is It is hard to say what a great car it was, when looking at standard cars, because, it just isn't standard. Very few Novas are running on the roads today standard. The standard ones died out a long time ago. And so any problems the Nova had, have been improved by the drivers, not by Vauxhall. Vauxhall gave up a
nd launched the Corsa. Nuff said! Handling It has to be said, the Nova could handle. Its short wheelbase made it great for corners, and when lowered handles great. I can’t get the back end of mine out, even in the snow. Being Front wheel drive gives you great control, with out the risk of sliding when you put the power down in a bend, and if you do happen to get into a spin, you can usually recover from it easily, which you cant in a rear wheel drive. However, as standard, the lightweight, flimsy body shell, did make the Nova roll a lot, and that was often the cause for them going to the scrappy. But again, uprated suspension and strut braces sorts out that little problem. Body work Well, the Nova was not the most aerodynamic car on the road, hence its name the ‘shopping trolley’, It does show a resemblance. It has a square front, and square back, and everything in between is, you guessed it, square. But, once again, a call to Deamon Tweeks, sorts that out, and sets the Nova off, once again, into the smart stylish car you see today. Rust was another thing that often killed the Nova. Because of its flared arches, and sills, it has a lot of water traps. So the dreaded rust sets in and starts to eat away the car. Care and attention can prevent this, but once it has started, it is very hard to stop it. However the ‘bolt together’ body panels mean if the front wheel arch starts rusting, whip it off and bolt a new one on, jobs a gooden. Security This also was not top of Vauxhalls priority list when developing the Nova. It is very easy to break into and have away with. Often a sharp knife is enough. With no alarm fitted as standard, and the door locks being child’s play, it made for a very easy target for the low life scums out there. This also bumped insurance up. But yet again, a good after market alarm system protects your Nova, a lot better than most standard alarms fitted t
oday. You can’t pick the locks on my Nova, because I don’t have any! I took them off You cant smash the windows and unlock them from inside, because, security film on the windows, and the absence of anything to unlock them with inside, makes that method useless. Ultra sonic, current sensing, tamper sensing, shock sensing, nasty hair cut sensing, the works, all controlled by a little black button on my key ring. You can fit any number of security devices to the Nova, easily and cheaply. So what’s with this Corsa then? Well, the Nova has always been the Corsa. The Corsa you know today is not a new car, it is a Nova, just sporting a major overhaul. Like I said at the start, the Nova was called a Corsa in many parts of Europe, and the launch of the ‘new’ Corsa, was just making the UK, one of them countries. How does the Corsa match up to the Nova? Badly, that’s what I say. Now I know a lot of you will be shouting at your computer screen singing the Corsa’s praises and how bad the Nova is. But the hard facts are the Nova just out performs the Corsa. Check on-line, or in magazines, no end of head to heads have been carried out on the 2 cars, and the Nova wins almost everytime. (can’t wait to read the comments on this now). The main advantage the Nova has over the Corsa, is their modifying bonus. The Corsa joined the world of computers and Welding, making engine modifications and body modifications a lot harder, and people just don’t waste their time anymore. Better to go buy hatchback that already has the styling and engine and save the time and money, because the Corsa is not practical. Now I know a lot of people do spend the time on the Corsa, and have produced some very nice cars, but how many modified Corsas are on the road, compared to Novas? And how many variations of the Corsa do you see? Very few, because not as many parts are available. Max Power did
a good comparison of the 2 cars a little while back. Putting any Corsa, up against any Nova. The Nova won hands down and it shows that although it has been discontinued for a few years now, it still knows how to perform on roads today, and will do for years to come Long live Vauxhalls Baby
Our 1.3 Nova 5 door was a nightmare, we bought it brand new from our local main Vauxhall dealer and were very disappointed. It wore out brake pads every couple of months, the windscreen wiper link broke, the rear windscreen washer broke, the driver door bent! it developed serious rust problems at the bottom of the doors, around the front and even inside around the bottom of the back seat area. The sunroof always leaked rain in, the camshaft wore out in 18 months, it used a pint of oil every 3 weeks, it was difficult to start in the cold, it would never tick over properly and every couple of months blew brake light bulb?s.. This was all inside 2 years from brand new? I nearly forgot, when jacking the car up to change a wheel (puncture) one day the jack broke! As if these points weren't bad enough it was often totally dead electrically (we never did find out why, neither did our dealer) and I had to go through most of the electrics several times just to get any power? The Vauxhall dealer was atrocious and kept saying there was nothing wrong, they fixed the rust but it came back, they wouldn't listen about the bad starting or tick over, they didn't care about the camshaft sounding terrible, they weren't interested in it using all that oil and they didn?t want it back for a trade in! When out of the useless manufacturer warranty our local back street garage told us that the dealer had never changed the oil, it was still on the original oil filter and the ignition timing was a mile out.... Having said that, on the odd occasion that it was actually working and when no parts were actually falling off, it was a nice car to drive, it was fairly nippy and handled well, on it's expensive low profile tyres.
Well it wasn't exactly champagne but I couldn't resist the title! My old, dear, departed Nova was certainly a super car though, lasting well past it's 200,000 mile. I am not one for giving a car a name, but I had my Nova so long that I did get almost affectionate towards it, I said ALMOST! I bought 'her' in 1991 for a mere £3,600 when she was a sprightly young 2 year old with just 60,000 on the clock, having been a company car. I only got £100 trade in for my silver dream machine of a Princess (titter ye not!) but it turned out to be a bargain. Now at the time I was concerened that the mere 1.2 litre engine was not going to be able to propel me to the awesome speeds I had been accostomed to in the mighty 1.7 litre Princess of Doom, this is tongue in cheek ok? Wrong! Sure she aint a super car in terms of performance, but it certainly isn't a slough either. After the Nova I had a Rover 214 Sli (16v etc) and the Nova felt quicker, you will be pleasantly surprised by the performance, I imagine the SRi (or whatever) is pretty impressive to drive. The car handles well through corners, in that there is surprisingly little body roll, my Nova didn't have it's suspension lowered either, or blacked out windows! If you do go a little too adventurously into a corner, the car is quite forgiving, you will find it drifts rather than giving under or oversteer. You must be careful when it's wet though. My saloon model had a scary tendacy to lock it's rear wheels if brakes were applied vigorously when wet. Cadence braking sorted that out, but it was certainly a wake up call! The most impressive feature of the car was it;s reliability and economy. I regularly got 50 mpg even when the car was getting old(er). No matter how stupidly I drove, even around town I always got around the 40mpg mark. It only let me down once, when the cam-belt snapped. Other
than that it needed three new exhaust pipes which were around £60 and MOT's. I serviced it myself maybe once a year when I could be bothered and washed it sometimes too! OK so the interior is spartan to say the least. Very few mod-cons but that means there is less to go wrong with it. Our 7 year relationship ended when the MOT was going to cost about £300 which included a new windscreen as the existing one was cracked. I gave the car to my half-brother who is a mechanic and it is still going strong to this day! Fingers crossed! Overall this car is superb for anyone looking for a cheap and reliable first car or second car if you know what I mean!
LATEST: Here are the pics of my Nova after my near death experience...point your browsers to: http://novapics.cjb.net UPDATE: My little Nova is no more - I mis-judged a bad corner at around 50mph last Friday (27th April 2001) morning and it ended up going head-on into a wall. It is now rather crumpled and there isn't much left of it. Oh well, at least I was lucky enough to escape with only a few injuries and that I wasn't hurt too seriously... R.I.P. Vauxhall Nova (January 1992 - April 2001) ------------------------------------------- I had been saving all my pennies for years until earlier this year when I went on the lookout for an ideal 'boy racer' type of car to put my CD player, amplifier, and 12" sub-woofer into. Whilst looking around at different cars, I came across a wee white Nova (1992 'J' reg.). I ended up buying this car on February 8th 2001 for £1050. I can remember the excitement and anticipation...after all, I was 'upgrading' from a 1-litre Nissan Micra to a Nova 1.4 SRi. Being a typical 18-year-old boy racer, I was dying to get it out on the road to show off to my mates. First of all though, there was the small matter of insurance - ack. I had received many quotes from around the internet, most of which being absolutely extortionate (some were even asking up to £3500 for fully comprehensive cover) for the size of engine the car runs on. I eventually however came across a cheap(ish) quote compared to any other I had been offered - this was from CIS (Co-operative Insurance Services). The quote came up at £1094.70 per year for fully comprehensive cover under my own name - a rather nice improvement from some of the other recent quotes. I immediately phoned up my local CIS representative, and was visited by him just 1 hour later. He confirmed that the quote I had received was correct, verified my details, handed me my cover note, and off I went - cruising the street
s in my 'new' motor. Now, I will firstly outline the good points of this car...there really are quite a lot. <br> Firstly, the engine seems to run really well for its age - considering it has done just over 100,000 miles. It also seems to be very high in performance for such a small engine size (1389cc). Below I have compared the statistics shown in a popular car magazine with my own self-proven statistics of my car... --------- 0-60MPH --------- Magazine: 14.5 secs Self-tested: 7.5 secs ----------- MAX SPEED ----------- Magazine: 96mph Self-tested: 125mph on the flat (Goes off the clock to about 135mph going down the M8) ----- BHP ----- Magazine: 60bhp Self-tested: N/A, but I would say it is at least 40 more than stated. And there you have it...I don't know where they find these so-called 'factory' statistics, but my little Nova seems to out-perform them anyway. Another good point about the Nova SRi is that it comes with electric windows, central locking, and sunroof as standard - quite a nice touch for an older car, especially seeing as no other model of Nova has these features. In addition to this, the fuel economy on these cars is quite outstanding. My car can run for a good while with only £5 of petrol in it (around quarter of a tank). As far as boot space goes, it is pretty average for a car of this size - there would be ample enough room for the weekly shopping, but that doesn't matter to me, as long as my amplifier and sub-woofer fit in! The comfortability of this car is pretty average, but I didn't expect it to be too fancy seeing as how it was an older car. The front seats are comfy enough and hold you in quite well as they are shaped like 'bucket' seats. The interior in my Nova is almost spotless, with only one tiny hole in the corner of the front passenger
seat. The steering wheel feels good on the hands when driving, this is due to it being the SRi specification steering wheel - this being a little smaller than standard Vauxhall steering wheels. The dashboard contains white dials for the speedometer and rev counter - however I am planning to get them for the fuel and temperature gauges also. I can't think of much else to say about the interior apart from that I've got a Magic Tree hanging from my rear view mirror! The SRi spec Novas also come with body-coloured wing mirrors and clear indicator covers at the front - a nice improvement over the standard SR models. A nice, tidy but not too large rear spoiler also adds to the sleek look of the car. All I wanted now was for my car to be the dog's b*llocks, and so I began to ponder on what modifications I could give it to help it along the way to being a supernova... Seeing as the car had already gone through a few upgrades, such as lowered suspension (60mm), full sports exhaust system (Sportex), 14" 3-spoke alloys, and had been de-badged at the front grill, the next step for me was to get my money saved for an induction kit. I managed to pick up a top of the range induction kit from a local performance motorsport store (http://www.motorspeed.co.uk) - it was a K&N 57i kit and cost me £48. I took the kit to a local garage who fitted it for £8 and off I went with my car sounding even better than it did before - and pushing out an extra couple of bhp too. However, shortly after this (about a week later), before I had the chance to give my car any new modifications, some problems began to emerge... The first thing to go wrong was the rear shockers. I had noticed my car had not been handling as well as it used to whilst driving round corners etc, as there was a considerable amount of bodyroll - which there hadn't been any of before due to the stiff suspension and shockers, so I took it in to a local garage so th
at they could have a look at it and maybe diagnose the problem(s). It turned out that one of my oil shock absorbers at the rear of the car had burst and the oil had ran out of it - meaning I had to buy new rear shockers. I was informed by the mechanics that I would be better replacing the oil shockers with gas ones, so, after the mechanic phoned up for a quote on the parts I needed, I got the new shockers fitted for a total cost of £44.98 - not a bad price at all. However, my next problem appeared when the mechanics were fitting the new shockers - they noticed that the exhaust needed some welding done to the middle pipe. I was told this was due to the exhaust hitting something when I had been driving (ie/ a speed bump or the like - remember, the car is rather low) and had therefore been dented. Well, I had no choice but to go ahead and let them carry out this necessary work also - costing me another £20 on top of the fitting of the new shock absorbers. Well, off I went again, as happy as could be with my little white speed demon...that is...until the next problem arose... I noticed that water had been literally running out of my car from somewhere underneath the bonnet everytime I turned my engine off. Worried about the health of my poor little baby I hurried off to the garage again. After some testing by the mechanics, the problem was found to be at the water pump - yes, you've got it...it needed replaced. AAAHHH!! Yet again I had no choice but to get the pump replaced, along with a new timing belt, costing me around another £100 altogether. Once again I set off in my pride and joy... "Uh oh"....click click click click click - "I don't think this is supposed to happen..." click click click click click...NOOOO!! My handbrake just wasn't working at all, forcing me to leave the car sitting in gear everywhere I went. Yet again, I drove the car down to my local garage. It seems that the problem was worse than I
had first thought - when the mechanics were checking the handbrake cable, it was discovered that my entire braking system needed replaced..yep...new brake pads, shoes, and wheel cylinders were needed all round as they were all worn rather badly. This now meant that I had to get this sorted before my handbrake problem could be resolved. What a nightmare this car had been so far. I got all of the necessary parts ordered and fitted within the next couple of days which added up to a total of £122.06. Now, onto the handbrake problem...it seemed that I needed a new handbrake cable and nut. By the time these were ordered and fitted, it had cost me another £30. By now I was beginning to wonder if anything was going to go right with my wee white chariot. The wondering was soon over as yet another (small) problem cropped up. This time the problem was with one of the hoses going to my radiator - it had become very weak and was swelling up quite severely, thus threatening to explode and cause REAL damage to my engine. I had to get onto this problem ASAP, so I drove 20 miles to my nearest Vauxhall dealer (I was told by the mechanics at my local garage that this would be the only place to get a hold of this part) to get a price for one. It came up at £12 for the new hose, which had to be ordered and picked up the next morning by me, meaning another 20 mile each-way journey. After all of this hassle, I fitted the hose and there was no more swelling. It is now April 18th 2001 and it seems that, at last, my car is running alright (touch wood) - and so it should be with the amount of money I've spent on getting it fixed up. As my parents have said, it's basically a new car with the amount of parts I've replaced! Well, maybe by now, if I hadn't had to spend so much on fixing the car I would have had myself a nice re-spray (Tahiti blue in colour) and a set of shiny new 15" alloys slammed onto it. Oh well, it seems that I'll just have
to save up again for a while before I can give the car anymore modifications. This opinion is only written on my personal experience so I can't really speak for anyone else who owns/has owned a Nova. One thing I can say however, is that these repairs have still been relatively cheap when compared to what alot of other car manufacturers and models would cost to get the same problems sorted. Overall, I am now quite happy with my wee Nova and have some nice plans for it in the future (maybe even a 2.0 litre 16-valve Courtenay-tuned engine *grin*), but I would recommend anyone who is thinking of buying a used car - especially a Nova - to get someone to take a look at it before diving straight in with their hard-earned cash. Even through all of the problems I've had with my Nova, I would probably still buy another one if I saw a strikingly handsome one for sale. Well, I think I've gibbered on long enough now about my car, so off to bed with me. Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did fixing my car! :-P