It’s been eight months since the last Minor Details update, so without further ado, here’s another one.
This week, Vauxhall has proudly revealed that its forthcoming MINI and Fiat 500 rival will be called the Adam. No, this isn’t a typo, that is what Vauxhall are genuinely going to call their ‘premium urban car’. Make of that what you will, but I fail to see the name catching on. Renault can kind of get away with it with the Zoe, as the Z.E reference is quite logical. I even have a fondness for the Nissan Cedric, Nissan Silvia and Datsun Violet. But Adam? No.
They would have been far better off sticking with the ‘Junior’ codename that has been used during testing. And quite what this bizarre comic strip is all about, I have no idea. Answers on a postcard to the usual address.
But it’s the ‘Junior’ reference that has reminded me of the launch of the Vauxhall Nova which was announced almost 30 years ago this very month. Car magazine gave the Nova the front page treatment, proclaiming the car to be ‘Vauxhall’s Metro!’. They went further by predicting it to be ‘next year’s Metro/Fiesta basher’. There’s no doubting the impact it had on the UK market, going on to sell nearly half a million cars by the time it was replaced by the Corsa in 1993. But maybe it’s just me, but I would have expected something like the Nova to have sold a million. I was also surprised to see that there are still 3.5k Novas on Britain’s roads with a further 3.9k currently registered as SORN. So there’s certainly no shortage of stock.
The Nova also had the codename ‘Junior’, so Vauxhall’s decision to lift the lid on the modern-day ‘Junior’ this week is either rather astute or purely coincidental. Had Vauxhall chosen the name ‘Adam’ for the car that eventually went on sale in 1983, I’m sure there would have been direct references made to Adam and the Ants. At the time, Adam Ant was at the peak of his career and could arguably claim to be the nation’s most famous Adam. But whilst Adam and his Ants disbanded in 1983, the Nova went on to enjoy a decade of success.
But why does the Vauxhall Nova deserve a place on PetrolBlog’s Minor Details section?
Well it’s none other than those flared rear wheel arches of course. Car referred to them as ‘eyebrows’ and they remain one of my favourite details on any car from the 1980s. Naturally, the 5-door models didn’t get them and they’re certainly not available on the Shatchback, but on the 3-door cars, especially the SR and GTE editions, they just look perfect. So simple and yet so right. I’m sure it’s a petrolhead thing and most people wouldn’t notice them, but that’s half the appeal.
In the UK, the Nova suffers from a damaged reputation following its tendency to be the car of choice for the ‘chavved-up’ brigade in the 1990s. But today its stock is rising. Find an original and unmodified example and you’ll have yourself a nicely proportion, economical little runabout. You’ll also have a set of the best rear arches this side of the Golf Rallye. It certainly beats hanging around with Adam, doesn’t it?
The Vauxhall Nova’s rear arches get classed as a Minor Victory.
For the verdict on the Jeep Cherokee, see this earlier review.