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.
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.