Vauxhall Nova – 1.4L Vauxhall

In December 2015, David sent us an update on his & Alistair’s progress with their Nova:


The resulting repairs, plus other improvements, (Comp Starter motor, Rear discs, Hydraulic handbrake, Alloy radiator and Waterless Coolant), took most of the 2015 season, and our only outing this year has been at the Promenade Stages.
Seeded 40, we were 2nd in class, and 27th overall.

Nova after the repairs
Nova after the repairs


Since then we have added the 2013 and 2014 ANWCC championships to the list. That made 5 championships in a row, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014!   October 2014 saw our first real “off” at 3-Sisters, when we hit an oil slick dropped by the previous car! Unfortunately, this flattened all the L/H panels, although fortunately, there was no chassis damage.  

Nova after the off at Three Sisters
Nova after the off at Three Sisters


In early 2013 we fitted GpA driveshafts and hubs from Harry Hockley, and also fitted a Quaife gearchange turret to improve the previously poor change. We had the car dyno’d at Pro Tec, and was pleased to see 140 bhp – as much as could be expected at the current state of tune. In winter 2013-4, on advice, I removed the head to renew the Kent v/v springs, and at the same time fitted an SBD Stud kit.

Pacenotes, May 2013
Pacenotes, May 2013

Pacenotes Clubman Corner interviews Alistair Oram in the May 2013 issue 
Birthday: December 1971
Lives: Northwich, Cheshire
Occupation: Engineering Manager (Ford Motor Co)
Rally Car: Vauxhall Nova 1.4 16v
Road Car: Ford Focus ST Estate, Ford Kuga

When did you first get behind the wheel?
I cannot remember, but i have seen a photo of me on my dad’s lap behind the wheel of his Bond 875 aged 6 months!

Who taught you to drive?
Doug of Doug’s driving school in Rotherham. But in reality i learnt most from being a passenger and then diving with m dad. He was always an enthusiastic driver and this obviously influenced me, i even got my first speeding ticket in my dad’s car with him as passenger on the way to a motorbike meeting at Cadwell Park.

How/When did you get interested in motorsport?
My interest in motorsport definitely comes form my dad, who is a keen motorcyclist. My first experience was a trip to the Isle of Man TT when i was two-years-old. During my school years we spent many weekends at motorcycle race meetings or out in the forests of Yorkshire watching national and international rallies. From that point I knew I wanted to take part one day.

Who are your Motorsport heros?
During my earlier years, motorcycling was my main interest and my hero was Mick Grant. We spent many weekends at Cadwell, Donnington, Mallory and an annual weekend at Scarborough watching Mick battle with Phil Reed, Barry Sheen and Ron Haslam. As my interest switched to rallying, my hero was Stig Blomqvist. I loved the way he ad to battle the hoards of Escorts in his early career at Saab. His wins in the 1979 Swedish and Mintex rallies being the highlight. When he moved to Audi in 1982 I knew he would get the better of Hannu Mikkola, which he duly did and became world champion in 1984. Latterly Colin McRae stepped to the fore and I spent one of the best weeks of my like following the 1995 RAC from start-to-finish as he won the championship. 

What was you first competitive event?
The 061 Road Rally in 2001 was my first competitive event. With a friend navigating on his first event too, we managed to get round the route and win first novice. My first stage rally in a still road rally-spec Nova was the 2004 Weeton Stages, Seventh in class and 28th overall showed me I needed more power, a better gearbox and more importantly more practice!

What drive are you most proud of to date?
I have managed quite a few top ten finishes in rallies at 3 Sisters, which is always pleasing in a 1.4, but my best drive was at last year’s D’Isis Stages where I think I got the absolute maximum out of the car and drove at least 3 perfect stages. I believe there was no room for improvements. This only brought third in class and a top 30 overall result, but I gained massive satisfaction form the event.

We received an update from David & Alistair in December 2012 to let us know that they won the 2011 ANWCC 1400 class, and following the 2012 Neil Howard Memorial Stages at Oulton Park, have now claimed the 2012 ANWCC 1400 class for the third time. 
The car is still running well with the main problems in recent times being with the transmission. The driveshafts and hubs are due for uprating this winter! 

Alistair & Dave at Oulton Park pit garages
Alistair & Dave at Oulton Park pit garages

Tech Spec

Alistair and David have a Vauxhall Nova, originally a 1.3L SR but they have installed a 1.4L 16v Corsa engine with the following specifications: 
Engine specification: 1.4 16V Corsa
Triangular port head fitted in 2008.
ARP bigends and flywheel bolts.
Standard pistons, lightly pocketed.
SBD 1.4 Taper Kit & coil assembly.
SBD swirl pot.
SBD cambelt pulley kit.
Vernier cam pulleys, and Kent Stage 1 cams fitted in 2008.

Home made breather tank, and as recommended breather plumbing, with return direct to sump.
Home made alloy air box with Focus RS filter.
SBD manifold, and self assembled 2.5″ two box system.
Corsa power steering rack, with Saxo pump unit.

Following the failure of obsolete Quaife F10 in 2009, now fitted with new Quaife F13 Dog Box, with home made rose jointed gear linkage.
Light weight alloy flywheel fitted during gearbox replacement.
Group A front suspension, with new LEDA struts (fitted late in 2009), and AVO coil-over rear conversion.

Vauxhall Nova - 1.4L Vauxhall
Vauxhall Nova – 1.4L Vauxhall

Events 2006/2007/2008

Since 2008, with new cylinder head and gearbox, many class wins, and 2010 ANWCC 1400 champions.

The car is used for rallying & they have competed in the ANWCC Tarmac Championship. 
Events & Positions: 2006 first season with new engine: 
June 06 Smartmole Weeton – 4th in class – after repairs to detached radiator top hose!
Promenade Stages Sept 06 – 3rd in class, 30th overall.
K.A.Wood Stages Oct 06 – 4th in class, (1st 1400!!), 20th overall.
Roskirk Stages March 07 – 2nd in class, 12th overall.

Comments: Car runs very well, with the limiter set to 7750rpm. 
Competitive against many 1600 class cars, and only really lose out to high output 1400 ‘screamers’!
Still don’t know it’s output, as we haven’t had it dyno’d.

Vauxhall Nova - 1.4L Vauxhall
Vauxhall Nova – 1.4L Vauxhall