I do have a broad taste in cars, have owned a few and hope many more will come. But once upon I time I just wanted a Nova. Confession time!
Really, really broad taste, in fact. Currently my garage amongst others houses an Interceptor Mk3, Alpine A310 and a Volvo PV445 and that says something, I think. I once sold my BMW 628CSi in favour of a Mini. My favourite car ever is either a Lancia Stratos or a Maserati A6G 2000 Zagato (in grey) and I never shy away from a good debate over virtues of these compared to say a Cord 812 or a Nissan Skyline GTR. It’s complicated.
But many years ago I just wanted a Nova – a kit car based on a Beetle-chassis.
And now it is very possible that some people will splutter over their morning coffee with an expression of displeasure that it should be associated with punishment by stoning when you mention Stratos and Nova in the same sentence. To those I would like to say that the original Stratos (Zero) was in fact not that far from a Nova anyway: Fiberglass in an extreme wedge shape with engine from a production car and a ridiculous door construction – here are the two candidates below (it’s the Lancia on the left , the one with the nice picture…):
Note that you can not completely dismiss the fact that there are similarities between the two, right? But I admit that this is a post-rationalization: Back in the late eighties, I may in fact not have known the Stratos Zero at all. But the Nova – that one I had read about. And I thought it was bold in its own right. Of course I knew very well that there was a regular VW Beetle underneath. I even recognised that the engine in its standard form would make the Nova the automobile equivalent to a giant rolled-up sock in a pair of tight jeans. But I also knew very well that it was somewhat affordable, and I had even at the time heard about tuning. And didn’t a hundred horsepower do the trick? Then it would have the same power-to-weight ratio as the Stratos Zero!
Of course, that would still not suffice if you read the various headlines that Nova themselves posted about the car and its various license-produced versions about the same theme – such as the claim to be “the finest VW-based kit car in the world”. Oh, maybe I forgot to mention that you had to build your Nova yourself? I myself skipped that detail easily back then, although today I am very aware that it would be the Nova’s biggest Achilles heel for me: in reality I don’t want to build a car and probably couldn’t anyway. But back then I went much further into details such as planning (well, not really, more like dreaming) how during the painting it was important to tighten the fiberglass edges up with razor blades, so that the car’s beautiful body became sharp in every detail. Pure theory, but I knew how to do it – if one were to do it.
I did not give the interior much thought, on the other hand – and I had probably not heard of wiring at all in the late eighties. Rims and tyres, however, I thought a lot about and the color as well, but to make a long story short it was first and foremost the shape of the Nova that did it all for me: I was entirely captivated by the “door”! The funny thing is that today, years later, I can barely understand my brief fascination with the Nova: Seen in the clear light of hindsight, I already think in its day that real car enthusiasts looked askance at this travesty? At least it is also several years ago that I have given it a thought, and I consider it very much a chapter over for me, now that I confess to the originality police and would rather have a Karmann Ghia (with the same engine , that is, the one hopped up to the aforementioned hundred horsepower …… just forget the originality police for a while).
The great thing is that neither with a Stratos nor a Nova do you have to worry about rusty wheelarches, since fiberglass, as you know, does not rust. Incidentally, this is now also a post-rationalization, because rust was maybe one of the things I least of all considered in the late eighties. My first Triumphs learnt me that it is a factor not to be ignored, though.
But now I have publicly admitted that I once dreamt of a Nova – so now I would like to hear what embarrassments you others dreamt of, dear readers: The comment field is open.