History of the Nova.
The Nova kit car was designed, developed and manufactured in England, but was also produced in Europe, America (under the name of Stirling), South Africa (under the name of Eagle), Australia (under the name of Purvis Eureka) and New Zealand (under the name of Scorpion).
No other body conversion has been as successful in so many countries. None gets close or has the unmistakable staying power of the Nova marque. It was clear from the start that the body was anti-ordinary and seemed destined for relatively great things right from the outset. The prototype produced by the designer / developer - Richard Oaks and Phil Sayer in England late in 1971, went on sale as the Nova in early 1972. The car soon generated a demand that hasn't yet abated. It was instrumental in boosting the career of its talented designer and stylist Richard Oaks who scored a highly prized and prestigious scholarship sponsored by Rover, giving him a unique opportunity to study automotive and other design at the Royal College of Art.
In the tradition of contemporary and classic styling, the car is beautiful at rest, in motion and from any angle. The head turning, stir-the juices styling are comparable only to a Ferrari Boxer. Every detail smacks of an exotic, coach built car from stables of Bertone, Lombardi or de Tomaso. This exotica look-alike with the vital ingredients of a a ?150,000 super-car; in particular, its arrow shape, low height (only one metre), and evocative lines, with its race-style cockpit with lie-down seats, swept-back windscreen, bonnet that slopes away to nothing in front of you and big Le Mans-style single wiper that sweeps the screen. The idea was to give it an apparent velocity of at least 100-mph just sitting at the kerb.
Out on the tarmac it turns heads like tennis players do and rides like a racer. The scenery outside comes rushing up to the panoramic glasswork like a space game in a pinball parlor, and it turns into corners like Mighty Mouse. The chunky sill is above hub height, yet there is no trouble or indignity putting your leg over and slipping smoothly and comfortably behind the steering wheel and into the ultra-supportive, contoured bucket seat. Driving position is classic long-arm. Forward visibility astonishingly good - almost too good when you see the road rushing up so fast, and in such minute detail. Side and rear views are another story - as drivers of S-type Jags, are only likely to appreciate. However, the general feel of the car is such that you accept these minor irritations and make allowances without misgivings.
The power plant which is usually VW, even in standard tune, with the slippery body superior aerodynamics and very low coefficient of friction give the car more poke than you'd ever expect with a Vee Dub. Add to those the very healthy power to weight ratio and you see well over 80 mph (130 kph) on the clock with a fuel consumption of 40 mpg! Drop in a hot engine, and things really start to get interesting. With a high performance engine, you can quickly push the car to its limits. Performance figures are very respectable. Even with the stock VW, you can usually win the intersection Grand Prix and stay ahead of the traffic.
So, why didn't the Nova merely boom and bust like so many other kit cars of its kind? It was because it wasn't just another boring bolt-on body for the Volkswagen Beetle chassis platform. That's what the body was and is of course, but it had features that stood it apart from its peers and assured its continuing success.
The secret of the Nova's success was because it was well planned, well made and very well finished. Having a futuristic, daring and trend setting style far advanced of anything-available even from the Italian specialists. Never was the humble Beetle so dramatically and completely disguised. There but for its mundane underpinning might go some fabulously exclusive design by Ferrari, Lamborghini or some other exotic marque.
And if its devastatingly impressive lines weren't enough, there was always the piece de resistance . . . the use of a one-piece up-and-forward cockpit canopy instead of doors. That was the clincher. Although the canopy wasn't really the optimum means of opening and closing the cockpit, it was a feature that made the Nova different and stamped the driver as one prepared to forsake some practicality for the sake of style and individuality. With the insertion and turning of a key into the external key-switch, the entire lid zooms up in one smooth Star Wars style action. The occupants drop in like space cadets, and the canopy reseals like a jet fighter. Vroom, vroom, your roar away, leaving the audience gape-mouthed.
Yet another bonus with this vehicle is - safety! A lot of safety researchers believe fibreglass has two to three times the energy-absorption qualities of metal. So in the event of a collision, you can expect to come out in front in most cases. We do not recommend taking on an 18-wheeler lorry though. Just drive underneath them.
In conclusion, for Ferrari-status motoring at mini-car prices that puts fun back into motoring, Nova is the car for YOU!
(Thanks to the Nova/Avante club for the use of this History)
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