Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Vauxhall Nova 1982 -1993

This Nova demonstrates a particularly nice shade of brown
After the 1976 introduction of the Ford Fiesta, GM was left shocked and reeling.  Not to be outdone, GM designed their own transverse engined front wheel drive supermini (just like Ford), built their own factory in Spain (just like Ford) and soon hit the streets in 1982 (a mere 6 years after Ford arrived in the market...) with the Nova.  Which, it should be remembered, means "no-go" in Latin-American Spanish.  Thankfully, for the markets outside the UK, they called it Corsa instead.

Despite this inauspicious start, the Nova sold well in Britain, offering the usual Vauxhall complicated array of engines, specs and bodystyles, including a rather odd 2 door model.  At least they didn't try to badge it as a coupé:

Opel badged Corsa A, 2 door saloon or coupé?
My Granddad had one of these unusual 2 door models; he used to take us to the football every week in it.  I remember thinking he was rather brave, as he parked in a scrapyard that used to open its doors on match days, letting people put their cars amongst the tangled debris for about a quid or so.  I fully expected to return from the stands one day and find the dear old Nova hanging from a crane, about to descend into a crusher.  Somehow, perhaps sadly, it never happened.

I also remember how in the early '90s, the Nova was the transport of choice for students with a bit of wedge in their pocket, especially the sportier versions such as the rather desirable GTE, or at least Nova base specs dressed up to look like a GTE!

Looking back to 1994, you could see Novas everywhere in Britain, with nearly half a million of them around then.  These days, there's less than 3,000 left in all, with just 68 GTEs and 1 Nova cabrio, which surely must be an error or a home garage bodge job - I don't believe GM ever made a Cabrio version.  We're losing about 2-300 Novas a quarter to the scrapheap (where, presumably my Granddad's car finally ended up), so don't hang around if you fancy one in your garage.

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