Vauxhall Nova SR: Spotted

There are very few cars that define an era of young British car enthusiasts like a fast Vauxhall Nova. It was the hot hatch to be seen in as a teenager, at a time when cars seemed like everything to young lads and lasses. Because the internet wasn't there, and neither were smartphones, and it was likely that your TV had four channels. Or five, post-'97. If you wanted to socialise with your mates, you needed to get out. And to get out, you needed a car. And to look cool in front of your mates, you needed a Nova. It's just how it was.

The combination of potent performance, smart styling and decent value won over hordes to various SR, SRI, GTE and GSI Novas, in much the same way that the Saxo VTR and VTS emulated a few years later. This was the time, moreover, of magazines like Max Power reaching their zenith (because where else would you read about cars in the 1990s?) and the proliferation of tuning parts available for the Nova only heightened its appeal. The Corsa soon followed, but the Nova is the real small Vauxhall icon - it wasn't a Corsa that featured in a song by The Streets now, was it?

While we're now seeing the return of more and more of stuff we thought had been left somewhere at the turn of the millennium - Craig David and Kappa tracksuits to name but two - the same can't be said for the Nova. Any Nova in fact, not just the faster ones. Their cheap and cheerful status, combined with the amount that were stolen and crashed (or scrapped), mean that numbers have dwindled drastically, and seeing a Nova is now a memorable occurrence.

But seeing a Nova like this one, a 1.3 SR with just 16,000 recorded miles, will surely be cause for celebration amongst some. It unsurprisingly looks showroom fresh, paint vibrant, pinstriping perfect and upholstery pert. The advert suggests it could be turned into a show car "with little effort", and there seems no reason to doubt that from here - what a gem!

That said, you don't need us to tell you that nostalgia doesn't come cheap in 2018, seemingly anything that harks back to a simpler, more irresponsible time for buyers carries a chunky premium. That's certainly the case here, the price tag figure exceeding the odometer one at £16,495. Vauxhall Nova 1.3 SR, £16,495. That's not a mistake.

Of course £16k is huge money for a Nova, though this really does look like an unrepeatable car more than 30 years after launch - SRs in this condition simply don't exist anymore, so choice is limited if you simply must have one. Furthermore, it looks like something of a snip compared to the £66k (!) this Nova Sport sold for last year. And let's not forget, either, that Vauxhall is far from the only manufacturer afflicted by a spike in values: PH currently has two Fiesta XR2s from the 80s for sale, one at £14,950 and the other at £16,750. Makes all those 205 GTIs hanging around look like rather good value...

For some, though, it'll have to be the Nova or nothing. Because that was the car that took them to the beach that summer, provided transport for that date or got them to university against all odds. And for that reason, it seems very likely that this SR will sell to someone sooner rather than later - nostalgia is a powerful tool, after all...


Engine: 1,297cc 4-cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
Power (hp): 72@N/A rpm
Torque (lb ft): 74@N/A rpm
MPG: 42.8
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1986
Recorded mileage: 16,053
Price new: £6,881
Yours for: £16,495

See the original advert here.


P.H. O'meter

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Comments (173) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Kenny Powers 20 Jun 2018

    Awesome! These were the car to have, back in my day. Everyone aspired to own the SR.They were super sporty. Pretty incredible looking at it now.

    A proper classic (to me!) laugh

  • HTP99 20 Jun 2018

    Fantastic, this was the car that I lusted after when I was a new driver.

    £16,495 though, wtf!

  • smifffymoto 20 Jun 2018

    I had a banana yellow one,B289LKA.
    The six clock dash was its selling point as my mates cars didn't have such luxuries.

  • smartypants 20 Jun 2018

    Found in ditches upside down up and down the Essex countryside! Great little deathtrap, fond memories smile

    I wanted the GTE, the £4k insurance put paid to that!

  • Kenny Powers 20 Jun 2018

    Fun fact; RHD cars had a steel bar running across the width of the car, connecting the brake pedal to the master cylinder. This bar would twist, making the brake pedal feel somewhat squishy!

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