View Full Version : VW Nova / Sterling

26-06-19, 07:31 PM
Well, I know some of you will be wondering what the hell am I up to but I have decided to have a go at finishing a project I bought over 17 years ago in the hope of getting it finished for Christmas as I originally bought it for my eldest daughter just after she passed her driving test.

Bit of history on the car, it was designed to fit a VW Beetle, unbolt the old Beetle shell from the floor pan, do a few mods to pedels and a few sundry bits and place the new body on to the old unmolested floor pan and away you go. Well not that quickly but that was the basic idea of it. These were also made in America under the name of Sterling

Uncle fad had one that he put a Rover V8 in (Buick 215) many years ago.:tup:

So when I got this I decided to remove the VW engine, I really just don't like them and they sound crap. I bought a Ford Sierra 1.6 really low mileage, for pennies off ebay and fitted an adaptor plate so that the Pinto engine would bolt up to the original VW gearbox, I also fitted the complete Sierra wiring loom which needed cutting about a little as obviously the engine was now in the rear.

I also fitted some projector headlights and corvette C5 rear tail lights in a remodeled rear panel, that was extended and lowered abit plus redesigned for a single exit exhaust and some vents (this should be a two piece affair with the lower section been removable, more on this later).

I also fabricated a new rear engine cover/hatch which replaced a louver affair, this is the second incarnation as the first was smashed with a large hammer when I couldn't get the thing out of the mould I had made (I was really angry at this point:lol:).

Then life and other major issues got in the way and I never finished it, roll on about 12 years to earlier this month and my daughter is doing 6 months travelling in South America so I thought, give it a go.

I removed the Nova from the garage and put it on the trailer because it is easier for me to work on it at that height and had a look to see how it had faired over the years of neglect.
So a few photo's of how it looks now.
I do have both side panels that go front to back as well as the front undertray.

The rear panel needs a remodel again as does the rear hatch as I just don't think they look right to me anymore and also I think my glassfibering skills have got better:lol:

I still have no idea how to post video's up as I don't have a youtube or faceache account, but the first thing I tried was to see if I could get the engine to run, bear in mind that the wiring tags I had fitted years ago had perished so I had to look everything up in the Sierra workshop manual to figure what wires I needed just to get the engine to run. This took some time but worked in the end and the engine ran fine after clearing the carb out of crap:tup:

One of the major items was that I needed to replace the fuel tank, this is the original VW Beetle tank placed above the gearbox and below the rear tunnel of the rear window, there are two options here, remove the whole body or cut stuff about and remove the engine, well the body didn't come off that is for sure:D Not a big problem EXCEPT that I had moulded the two piece rear panel as one unit BUGGER BUGGER and BUGGER again, there is now not enough space to withdraw the engine from the gearbox before it hits the rear panel. Anyway I took the car off the trailer to remove the engine.

Although I am remodeling the rear panel it will not be major bits so I didn't want to beat it to death or cut it up so off came the bottom pulley, timing belt, water pump and alternator.

There was no way the engine was coming out the top so with some twisting and forceful persuasion the engine became a transverse affair and was lowered to the ground, then all that was left to do was lift the whole vehicle up in the air to get the engine from underneath.

Now all I have to do is find the items I had bought for this thing years ago, so far I have managed to loose a piece of the steering box, two Range Rover front wing vents, the sound system, central locking system, reversing camera, side windows and various switches and bits and pieces.
The to-do list is fairly large but not too complicated, the major item is taking a mould from the rear end, cutting off the bits that are there now and extending the back a few more inches so that an engine change is easier. Finish off making the new dashboard, sort out the heater system, rearrange the cooling system (I originally fitted two radiators at the side of the engine but weight in the rear is a concern at the best of times), replace loads of rubber bushes that were new but which have now perished, finish the wiring, decide which hydraulic motor to use for the roof lift, I have an original noisy smiths pump which work really well at keeping the roof in place or I can use a Peugeot cabriolet roof pump I got hold of, this is quiet but apparently doesn't hold the roof down with much force. Re do the braking system as the master cylinder seems to have stuck a bit so need to check everything. Do the bodywork, spray it and complete the interior.

Now time will tell if I get it done or not:beuj:

malamute john
27-06-19, 12:44 AM
My goodness... youre a brave man! :tup:

27-06-19, 09:17 AM
Glutton for punishment seems to spring to mind!
Good luck :tup:

27-06-19, 06:22 PM
you have to do it, its very different to anything I have driven, inc the poser cars. Its weird, I loved those wheels and still think they are very cool.



27-06-19, 08:10 PM
Thanks chaps, Brave - NO. Gluten for punishment - more than probably. I also like those wheels you had, I have four sets for this particular project, a set of BMW M series wheels of my old 7 series daily from years ago, a set of magnesium "minilite" wheels that I bought for a car only to find that the two for the front which were 14" would not pass over the brake calipers (no such issues on the beetle) as well as the Weller steel wheels it has at the moment oh and a set of Wolfrace slots.
I have conversion spacers for the rear to go from VW 4 stud to Chevy/Jag and BMW 5 stud as well as two sets of front disc's, one set VW 4 stud the other set Chevy/Jag/BMW 5 stud.
All the sets of wheels are different offsets and sizes so when it is rolling again I can decide what to use.:tup:

27-07-19, 08:10 PM
Although this is outside and not under a workable cover I recently managed to get a few hours to play with it between rain showers. I had made a dash arrangement years ago, moved all the instruments to the centre rather than in a binnacle that normally sits on the dash in front of the driver, main reasons for this is that the daughter is not the tallest in the world and also other owners have all moaned about the poor visibility of some of the instruments.

So I need to make some of this lot.


fit to this lot


Well after writting everything down that I could decifer from the workshop manual wiring diagrams and trying to work out what wires are needed for the instruments that are not from the donor car, I think I may have cracked it:tup:

So all the wires that I need are marked up again and I am in the process of making a dash area wiring loom with the use of some connectors I have cut out from a car I am breaking up (have you seen the cost of these connectors new!!!):lol: Well this is meant to be a budget build so any saving are good.

Hopefully the next post I do will see that the dash wiring loom has been completed and then I can get on with fitting the new/secondhand petrol tank.

28-07-19, 12:30 PM
If you want me to delete my pics just ask. I don't mean to hijack your thread, just trying to help.

The central air vent was useless until I made the rear window openable (thats not a word but you know what I mean). The de-mister slot in the top of the dash actually worked quite well and with such a big screen it was needed.



28-07-19, 06:16 PM
No need to delete photo's uncle fad, I see your demister vent is probably placed better than the one I have created, I think I might have put it too close to the bottom edge, I have two small vents either side of the dash as well but doubt that they will do much. I got hold of some Audi TT face vents so will see if I can fit them anywhere.
Going by what I have read, demisting the screen is a pain in the backside, however, as my one, like your one, is water cooled I'm hoping this will not be such an issue.
Rear opening window would have been the way to go but I've created a lockable storage area where the rear window tunnel is so that is out of the question, but I do have opening side windows so hopefully that will help with air flow through the cabin.
The weather was a bit drier this afternoon so I managed to get the dashboard 85% wired up, no photo's as it would be slighty more boring than the stripped T chassis in the other thread:lol: