Product Type: Vauxhall cars
Newest Review: ... 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 'boyra... more
Place in my heart for Novas
Member Name: novagirl291
Date: 03/01/11, updated on 29/12/12 (209 review reads)
Advantages: cheap to insure, easy to maintain, different engine sizes available, ideal first car
Disadvantages: becoming rare, considered 'old-fashioned' ,
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!)
Summary: Buy one, buy it now!
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