1987 Vauxhall Nova Merit 1.0 from UK and Ireland


Good performance for the money. Ideal first car


The thermostat switch on the radiator broke, which prevented the fan coming on. It cost £11.75 to replace.

General Comments:

This car performs very well, considering it is a 1.0 litre engine.

The interior in this car is very dull. It has a brown centre console and some brown/yellow seats.

It looks good when modified.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th September, 2001

1987 Vauxhall Nova Antibes Special Edition 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


Still one of the best small, cheap and fun practical cars out there


The head-gasket blew due to serious mis-fire (dodgy distribitor), and burnt a hole in the top of one of the pistons! I fitted the larger 1.3 engine from an SR, which I was going to do anyway.

Seized front brake calliper, but was planning on up-graded to GTE spec, so I did so.

Rusty rear wheel arches - very common on Novas, but easily repaired.

Damaged head-light, only £12 from a scrapyard.

General Comments:

It was always a great car with the original 1.2, but with the 1.3, it's a completely different car. It really is amazing the difference. Add a Peco exhaust, and a K&N filter and it's even better, getting very close to GTE territory. Also, lower it, fit 15 inch alloys with 195-45-15 tyres, anti-roll bars from a GTE, and it handles like a go-kart. Great fun.

It's been extremely reliable, apart from the engine problem, but that was due to my negligence of the problem which eventually caused the bang!

I love the Nova. This is my second, and I'm getting another one next - GTE or GSi.

Would have been expensive to do all I've done, if I'd paid someone to do it - handy if you know how to do things yourself, which you can't do with modern cars. Simple design, and very easy to work on yourself.

I've had over 47mpg out of the 1.3, and 49ish from the 1.2.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th December, 2000

18th Jan 2001, 18:28

That's my entry!

It's now winter, and the 1.3 engine is proving to not be as reliable as the original 1.2 was! BUT, that's because I've got a carb from a 1.2 on it, so it's under-fueled. Will be fine with the proper carb, but for now,I've turned up the mixture to make it a little richer, and that seems to have done the trick.

It took a lot of warming up, and kept cutting out. I could also do with a hot-air kit for the K&N as I think the carb keeps suffering from freezing up (a common problem with bolt-on K&N filters)!

I fixed my rusty arches, and added more mofifications, and it's better than ever, and once warmed up, the performance is great.

29th Jun 2009, 09:59

Me again!

Well, it's a few years since I left those comments on my Antibes. I now work in the motor trade at a Vauxhall dealer. I get to drive Insignias costing over £20K, Astras, Corsas, Merivas, even Movanos, not to mention various other makes and models. My point I'm trying to make is this, even compared to all these modern cars, my Antibes was still fantastic fun to drive! I miss it and often wish I'd never sold it!

I've had a white GTE since, which I sold for a MKII Cav SRi, then I got an Audi 80 Sport, then finally onto another Nova, a Met Black GSi. I've got the GSi off the road now doing a full body restoration. I just love Nova's and would recommend one to anyone. I would say though, if you're thinking of buying one, go through an owners club and online forum for the best advice.

1987 Vauxhall Nova Club 1.2 from UK and Ireland


Fun hatch


Ignition coil and discs, pads and sliders replaced due to overheating caused by the sticking sliders.

General Comments:

Extremely reliable fun car. Can hold 90mph between Scotland and the Midlands without any problems (480 miles). It has done this trip 9 times now with no sign of problems.

The seats leave a lot to be desired after sitting in them for seven hours.

Excellent in the snow.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st December, 2000