My Car Quest

December 11, 2018

The Sterling – A Car Model You Likely Will Not See In Person

by Mike –

This is a 1972 Sterling kit car which is based on the British Nova kit car. It is a fiberglass body designed to fit on a VW Beetle chassis.

Designed and engineered by Richard Oakes and Phil Sayers the Nova was introduced to the US in a 1973 issue of “Car & Driver”.

Sterling Kit Car

Americans Norm Rose and Cecil Robertson struck a deal to manufacture the Nova in the US under their company name California Component Cars. The car model name had to be changed because Chevrolet already used the Nova name.

Production of the Sterling began in San Lorenzo, California in 1973 with a total of approximately 875 cars produced by California Component Cars.

Sterling Kit Car

Sterling Sports Cars is in business today in Pennsylvania and there is a Sterling owner’s club.

Versions of the Nova have appeared in movies, including “Cannonball Run II”, “Death Race 2000”, “Winners and Sinners”, “Condorman” and “Mani Di Velluto”.

Sterling Kit Car

I ran across this example, perhaps my first sighting of a Sterling, at a local car show last weekend. These cars and many other fiberglass kit cars were designed to allow the fantasy of owning a super car when one could not afford a super car.

Sterling Kit Car

Look at that “door” – even Lamborghini does not have anything like that!

Sterling Kit Car in Road & Track

From Road & Track – July 1975



 The Sterling - A Car Model You Likely Will Not See In Person
Article Name
The Sterling - A Car Model You Likely Will Not See In Person
The very unusual Sterling kit car is an attention getter.


  1. Georgeg20 says:

    I’m trying to place original source of the tail lamps but have a hard time. Triumph TR7? I guess this looked much better20 years ago. Bit too much body deformation especially at the front

  2. Claus T. sent this email message to me,

    How about this one for sale in Denmark?

    • georgeg20 says:

      A much better execution. Ferrari badging and what appear to be adhesive bling vents detract but can be removed. What’s the price? At 3100 DKK its just under $600. Maybe it’s 31000 DDK?

      • It is DKK 89,900 or $16,330.

        • Georgeg20 says:

          At that price it will need to find someone who is looking for something “unusual”. There are very few performance merits to the VW 1.6L. If it had a 2.0L turbo on the other hand….and a suspension to match….

  3. the...Cecil Robertson says:

    Actually production began on San Pablo Ave., Oakland, Ca., we later moved to San Lorenzo, Ca. (if you would like to check details…feel free to contact me.

    • Hi I bought one from San Lorenzo, 100’s one made. It was a life experience. Wish I still owned it. What a fun car.

    • i just found one out of grass valley , ca. made in 1970 by sterling sports cars oakland, ca. with door/body id tag #SO85 and yes i do have photos of the car and the id tag showing at is out of oakland, ca. it also has chey corvair motor with about 15k miles and it was last driven back in 1980!! i got it for about $5k, but now it need some work!

  4. How the hell can I buy one of these. Serious buyer here, looking to buy one, or build with engine and other customizations.

    • bernie meservey says:


  5. Tom, keep your eye on the marketplace page of my website. I try to update it as often as possible to reflect what I find for sale across the country. Full kits are no longer available, just replacement parts. Most cars appear on Craigslist and eBay.

  6. Looking to buy one can u guys help

  7. Responded on the dune buggy page to your question. See answer above.

  8. Alfonso Cocoros says:

    very good publish, i actually love this website, keep on it

  9. I have S040. Restoration well under way and moving fast. Hope to have it road worthy this month. Love this car!!

  10. I just picked up a roller for next to nothing. I am 6’2″, so I might flip it. Make offer!!! Located in Sacramento

  11. Paul Garrison says:

    Hi . I just purchased one of theses cars I would like to know if there is parts book available . I’m either going to fix up my car or flip it for the right kind of money .. my vin # is ccc133 its got a tag from Oakland ca, any in fo on my car would be cool ty .

  12. I just saw 11 of these in the middle of nowhere Australia, ELEVEN. Had to do some googling to figure out what they were. The canopy helped me identity them

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