Collecting Cars

1986 VAUXHALL NOVA 1.3 SR - 23,456 MILES FROM NEW

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An unrestored, low-mileage example of a 1980s junior hot hatch, this 1986 Vauxhall Nova 1.3 SR is finished in Carmine Red with a classic grey check cloth interior. Having covered just 23,456 miles from new, the car is in fantastic condition, remaining original and unmodified throughout.

As a PistonHeads article concluded in 2018, “There are very few cars that define an era of young British car enthusiasts like a fast Vauxhall Nova”. The SR model was the first of the sporting variants, powered by a 1.3-litre naturally aspirated inline-four producing 69bhp, paired with a five-speed manual transmission. Given that it tipped the scales at less than 800kg, the relatively modest power output meant that the SR was something of a featherweight flyer.

First registered in April 1986, this example was supplied new by Forest Road Garage in Coalville. There are just three previous registered keepers on the log book, and it has evidently been cherished throughout its life. The car has been owned by the vendor for around four years, in which time around 800 miles have been covered.

Finished in Carmine Red, the body is in great condition for a car of this age. There are some minor age related marks as shown in the extensive photo gallery, but overall the car presents very well with crisp shut lines, tidy door shuts and a very clean engine bay. The black plastic trims on the car have faded slightly, which is common and easily remedied. The correct 14-inch three spoke alloy wheels are in good condition, with only some small scuffs.

Moving inside, the grey check cloth interior is in superb preserved condition. The seats show no visible wear, with the whole interior appearing showroom fresh. Unlike many Novas of this era, the car has not been modified and is correct even down to the glass, etched with the car’s registration number. Even the boot area presents superbly, with spare wheel and tool kit intact. This example also has a tilt-and-slide sunroof, which works perfectly.

Given the remarkably low mileage, the service history is unsurprisingly not annual, but the car has nonetheless been well maintained throughout its life. In June 2020, at 23,451 miles, the car received an oil and filter service, replacement cam belt, and four new tyres at Holbrook Motor Services in Coventry.

The previous owner, far from keeping the car laid up in storage, had it in regular use. Between September 2013 and September 2016, the car covered nearly 5,000 miles, with a fastidiously detailed log of every fuel fill up and mileage.

The car was MOT tested on 22 June 2020 with no advisories, and as mentioned has been fitted with new Avon ZT7 tyres all round. Accompanying the Nova is a complete and original book pack, including the stamped delivery and maintenance record, a raft of invoices and receipts, the log book kept by the previous owner, and two keys.

This Vauxhall Nova 1.3 SR is a period-perfect junior hot hatch, presented in astonishingly original and unmolested condition, having never needed restoration. It would be extremely hard to find another example in such good order, not to mention with such low mileage, so this is certainly a very collectable modern classic.

Summary of service history:

  • 24 Apr 1986 – Pre-delivery
  • 18 Oct 1986 – 2,606 miles
  • 12 Jun 1987 – 6,181 miles
  • 6 Jan 1993 – 12,300 miles
  • 18 May 1998 – 14,832 miles
  • 22 Jun 2002 – 16,003 miles
  • 27 Feb 2008 – 17,089 miles
  • 22 Jun 2020 – 23,451 miles

All cars and motorbikes on Collecting Cars are run through an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and has no finance owing.

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