posted 2 years ago

Viva new Vauxhall

The story behind the return of a classic name

The forthcoming Vauxhall Viva has been nominated for the What Car? Reader Award, in which the public vote for the car they are “looking forward” to most in 2015.

Many of them might remember that the new Viva borrows its name from a forefather that was built – over three generations - between 1963 to 1979.

Its purpose was to rival the Morris Minor, Ford 100E and Austin A35.

Mark I Viva

The Mk1 Viva – known as HA – rolled off the production line in September 1963. It was followed by a further 100,000 by July 1964 and by December 1965 there were 250,000.

Mark II Viva

The Mk2 Viva HB followed from 1966 to 1970. This was longer than its predecessor, had more flowing lines and rectangular headlights (rather than circular). 500,000 were built.

Mark III Viva

The Mk3 Viva HC was produced from 1970 to 1979 and – despite being mechanically similar to the HB - had more angular styling. About 640,000 found homes. Throughout the three generations, the Viva was available in 2/4-door saloon, estate, coupé and van form.

Mark IV Viva

The 2015 Viva will compete with city cars such as the Ford Ka, Renault Twingo and Hyundai i10. It will have five doors, a hatchback boot and be available with 4 or 5 seats. Further details are sketchy, but it is likely to be powered by engines borrowed from its sibling, the Vauxhall Adam. These include a 1.0-litre, three cylinder, turbocharged petrol. Vauxhall says that its new city car will come with a “range of trims and equipment” with “extremely attractive” pricing. The starting point is likely to be about £8,000.

Peter Hope, Vauxhall’s Marketing Director, says: “This bold, radical name will attract attention and engender curiosity in the car.” 

*The What Car? Reader Award 2015 winner will be announced January 7th 2015.

 

I doubt the new Viva will emulate its ancestor. The HA Viva was just about the cheapest car to repair and service on British roads at that time. Frugal on fuel, easy to drive and easy to work on and genuine parts at the lowest prices the Viva was a good basic family car although much shorter-lived than the van version, the Bedford HA van, which served countless businesses, organisations and individuals for years longer. The estate car version wasn't as popular, probably because it was named, not the Vauxhall Viva estate as might be expected, but the Bedford Beagle. The "coke-bottle" or Viva HB was even easier to work on and the parts just as cheap was probably the best model of the line-up. The HB and HC were departures from the HA philosophy in that they were designed to be "world cars" and have a wide variety of engines and trim levels available in the range, first from 1159cc to 2000cc in the HB and then 1256cc to 2300cc in the HC. The only "improved performance" variant available in the HA was the Brabham modified model. The coupe version of the HC Viva range was dubbed Firenza and the remnants of those less-than-popular cars were released at the end of production as the Viva E. The Viva was replaced in the Vauxhall catalogue by the Mk1 Cavalier. The short-lived 1300 version was powered by the Viva 1256 engine and was a car far superior to the Viva except in matters of access and parts prices. The other models in the line-up were merely re-badged Opel models. The 1300 was soon replaced by the Mk1 Astra. It is interesting to note even at that time it was possible to overhaul a Viva engine for less than the price of the Astra camshaft that was being replaced wholesale almost as soon as the first cars were sold.

I remember looking under the bonnet of the viva HC i could not believe how tiny the motor was ! you could get under the bonnet with a sleeping bag the engine was so small but so much room. The viva was not all that bad for its time but the chevette what a nightmare of a car that was. I still have scars to this day trying to change a starter motor on a chevette i hope that car is never reborn.

showing my age here.... I've owned just about every model of these (estates, 2 door, 4 door versions and the van version of the HA, known as the Bedford beagle) in my driving life, and loved them all... but the best was the first one, the HA which I bought off a neighbour when I turned 17.. being the engineering type guy I always have been I played with It a bit to improve performance using the original 1065cc engine, the interior was very basic, covered cardboard door trims, no dash padding and flat tubular framed seats (though they where vinyl), pretty poor by todays standards but did the job.. by the time I finished it could give a 2ltr gt Capri a good run for its money, and out handle it by miles (but then the Capri was a bit twitchy on the back end) cost me a few bob in repairs though.. got through 3 diff's, 2 gearboxes and a couple of head gaskets in the 2yrs I owned it.. lol..

I purchased a Viva Dec. 1963.My 2nd car. I thought it was fantastic, after a 12yr old Morris Minor. Traded in after 12 mths for a Ford Corsair.

Since when was the Viva a classic. Most examples have rotted away. Good Riddance.

Just pull out the old Moulda and Templates and reproduce a tuned up version of the old ones "Viva Retro", and they'll sell like Hot Cakes!

Be nice if you could show a picture of the H/B, I was lucky to have owned a 2L G.T version.now that was a cool car,but not as cool as the drop snoot Firenza 2.3, I later acquired.Happy memories of my youth!....

Be nice if you could show a picture of the H/B, I was lucky to have owned a 2L G.T version.now that was a cool car,but not as cool as the drop snoot Firenza 2.3, I later acquired.Happy memories of my youth!....

Be nice if you could show a picture of the H/B, I was lucky to have owned a 2L G.T version.now that was a cool car,but not as cool as the drop snoot Firenza 2.3,I later aqquired

Be nice if you could show a picture of the H/B, I was lucky to have owned a G.T version.now that was a car cool