1987 Vauxhall Nova Merit 1.2 petrol

Summary:

Suprisingly quick, cheap and fun

Faults:

Usual suspension and running gear replacements, hoses. Nothing unusual.

Fuel sender unit broke.

Seats got very saggy, and rust around spare wheel well and arches was an issue.

General Comments:

For a 1.2 engine, it's a quick car, and I could surprise many much more powerful vehicles. 0-30 is very quick.

A 5th gear for motorway cruising would have made for quieter motoring.

The engine is foolproof, a great piece of engineering.

Transmission taut, pedals feel great, steering responsive. Modern Vauxhalls are sloppy and slow by comparison.

It's poor points are rust and interior trim levels.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th February, 2011

1987 Vauxhall Nova Saloon L 1.2

Summary:

Great budget car

Faults:

Distributor vacuum advance failed.

Tyres, brakes and exhaust all replaced.

General Comments:

Keeps up with traffic easily.

Uses very little fuel.

For a small car it has a huge boot.

Somewhat noisy at motorway speeds but quite bearable.

Adequately comfortable but not much legroom in the back.

I used the car for several years then gave it to my sister - she and her husband are delighted with it, they have had no trouble apart from the thermostat needing replacement.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th August, 2008

1987 Vauxhall Nova Antibes 1.2

Summary:

Remarkably capable..

Faults:

Rust on rear arches, sills and bulkhead (hey, it's an Eighties Vauxhall!!!)

Thermostat jammed open, so engine took ages to warm up.

Daft woman pulled out in front of me, causing me to adopt the expression of someone in an electric chair for at least an hour afterwards - just about stopped in tyre-smoking time from 40mph, but the force caused a front brake caliper to seize. I stupidly tried to get home, but the drag on the engine blew the head gasket a bit further up the road! Cheap fix though - new caliper and gasket was about £200 fitted...

General Comments:

I bought the Nova for £400 as a runabout after I was involved in an accident in my much-loved 1985 Astra 1600SR. The idea was for cheap transport for a few months until I could get the Astra back on the road; such is my financial situation though, work on the Astra still hasn't begun and the Nova's proving to be very capable transport.

It had been neglected somewhat by its' previous owner, so I spent a bit of cash on a full service, new thermostat, new Firestone tyres all round and new brake fluid, which helped things no end, and also repaired most of the rust (new sills are surprisingly cheap!) Aside from the above, the car's proved very reliable, starting first time in all weathers and happy to do regular 250-mile round trips on the motorway. The Antibes spec - which gives you a few SR bits, such as a rear spoiler, sports steering wheel, attractive red interior and six-dial instruments - looks the part without looking "boy-racer-ish" and I've updated it with central locking, electric windows, a third rear brakelight, decent stereo and - most of all - an alarm/immobiliser. As a result, it's now very usable...

The engine is the highlight; typical Vauxhall OHC motor, free-revving, smooth and punchy, with more performance than its' size suggests. It happily cruises at 80 and even 90mph on the motorway (I mean 70, officer...) and can keep up with modern traffic. The seats are very comfortable, and it holds the road quite well despite its' tiny weight.

Downsides? Well, the brakes still aren't great (like most Novas apparently), the ride's awful (but so are the roads in this country) and the gearbox is typical Vauxhall - tough, but never likes going into first gear. I can live with that though, and these are minor gripes. These old cars are remarkably good, even by modern standards, and they have a lot more charm than the more modern Corsa.

Why anyone ever bought the rattly old Mk2 Fiesta is beyond me!!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th April, 2004

10th Sep 2006, 21:28

I had one of these as my first car way back in 1997/98, fantastic motor, shame the Sainbury's car park pavement didn't have the opinion as me, needless to say it was wrecked!

Can anyone suggest where I can get some decent photos of one?

17th Nov 2007, 16:09

And I had one as my first in 1992 a grey antibes E489OFD if anyone still has it was last in the leeds area.

15th Jan 2012, 17:02

The enquiry is complete.

The vehicle details for E489 OFD are:

Date of Liability 01 12 1997

Date of First Registration 17 09 1987

Year of Manufacture 1987

Cylinder Capacity (cc) 1196cc

CO2 Emissions Not Available

Fuel Type PETROL

Export Marker N

Vehicle Status Unlicensed

Vehicle Colour GREY

Vehicle Type Approval Not Available.

This vehicle can be licensed at a DVLA Local Office without the V5C Registration Certificate.

Sorry mate, looks like it bit the dust in 1997 :-(