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Vauxhall Viva HC Manufactured between 1971 and 1978 Varients include: Viva - 2 and 4 door saloon, 1159cc and 1256cc engines. Larger engines were fitted. Viva E - 2 door coupe. Viva SL - 2 and 4 door saloon. Viva GLS - 4 door saloon. Firenza - 2 door coupe, 1800cc and 2300cc engines used. Magnum - 4 door saloon, 1800cc and 2300cc engines used. Was as popular as it's HA and HC predecesors both as a family and fleet car, but rightly or wrongly earned a reputation for being unreliable. It also suffered badly from rust, thought to be due to the poor steel purchased from the continent because of stopages and disputes in the UK at the time of manufacture. Some good examples of the Viva are still to be found, but most if not all have seen body repairs and panel replacements. Those that have not are best avoided by the novice DIY car enthusiast as a purchase of a 'modest classic' Handling of the origional model was poor, but could be improved modertely with the modification of the suspension and wider road wheels and tyres. The larger engines seemed to long outlast their smaller cousines, but there seems to be fewer of these engines to hand, despite the use Vauxhall slant 4 engine in early Frontera 4X4 vehicles. Spares for the ngines are still widely available, as the 1256cc engine was also used in the later Chevette. Body panels and windscreen are more difficult to obtain. Various Viva owners clubs can be found and the web. Examples can still be purchased from around 100 pounds for a car neeing major work, to 500 or more for a reasonable if not road worthy vehicle.
I haven't always been the sensible individual you encounter online occasionally. No, in what seems a life time ago, I rear-ended someone <<Shocked looks>>. Hmmmm...I'm wondering what you are thinking now but I will explain in time. Simply read on, McDuff (or be damned, Sherlock) Cast your minds back to 1983. Ye gads, the fluffy, billowing of New Romantic cravats were blowing themselves out whilst I was entering my final stages of puberty as an 18-year-old (medically, it was probably some time before this but I've included this reference for effect). Of course, at this stage in a teen's life, the upwardly mobile, pseudo James Dean type (he he) was looking for a roadster to attract the girlies. I was no exception soooooooooo...one cold, frosty October day, my old man buys me my first car. Now, I seem to recall him paying 500 notes for it but I can't be sure. My memory is not what it was as I hurtle towards my forties *sigh* I can recall being pretty happy and surprised at my dad's profiglecy. One minute I was a spotty erk whose only mode of transport was the local bus, the next I was the proud owner of a dark blue chariot. Yes, it sat there in the road, panting and waiting to go on urban adventures new. At this time, the big car manufacturers included Ford, Vauxhall, Rover and the like in an era when British car production could look to British Leyland and Luton and Dagenham were economies that drew breath from local, mass car production. My particular new incumbent was a Vauxhall Viva, no less. Bizarre as it sounds, it looked like one of those die-cast dinky models of cars that folks used to collect. Boxy in design, it wasn't that dissimilar to Ford's rival Cortina. My clearest memory was of the solid body of the Viva. It was made of stern stuff back then before designers started to weave plastics and the like into more modern body shells. ***Brief historical bit*** Back in 1963, The V
iva was introduced as the HA model. It was Vauxhall's first venture into the compact engine vehicle range for some time. This model was an immediate success. Considered practical rather than anything flashier, Viva was conventional in layout, having a four cylinder water-cooled in-line engine with overhead valves. October 1970 saw the final version of the Viva i.e. the HC. It remained in production for 9 years with 640,863 cars being produced at Vauxhall's Luton and Ellesmere Port plants. The HC was 2 inches wider and 1 inch longer than it's predecessor, the HB, and while mechanically very similar to the HB, it's straighter lines and greater glass area gave it quite a different look. ***My sweet chariot*** At the risk of stealing the England rugby team's thunder (Well done, boys!), my Viva was a short-lived adventure. However, in the time I owned it, I do remember it being a good drive. The top speed of 119mph looks derisory now but it was cool when you were only 18 even if it was never going to seriously trouble a Jaguar at the traffic lights! With a 1.3 litre , OHC engine, my little blue roadster flew along in urban traffic. Not that it mattered but the Viva was the only 3 door car I can ever remember owning with a classic, clock dial style dashboard set up and the most ordinary of seats, front and back, the Viva was no slave to fashion. Steering wheels have come a long way, what with PAS the norm but I seem to remember the wheel for the Viva being large, thin and fairly light with the appropriate level of effort required to turn corners. Yikes, who can forget the speedo with the needle going from left to right along a rectangular set-up with the temperature gauge to the left and fuel indicator on the far right? (Think Dennis Weaver in "Duel") At it's launch, the HC was available in 4 body styles: - 2 door saloon, 4 door saloon, 3 door estate and coupe, partly inspired by the Mk1 Ford Capri. The HC was
a popular choice for many including family man and fleet car drivers alike. Low aquisition and running costs made the Viva a big hit in it's day. At the beginning of it's final production run, 1973 saw Vauxhall decide to only use the Viva name on the 1256 range. The models with the 1800 cc and 2300 cc engines were uprated and re-badged under the Magnum label. The Magnum range came in 2 door and 4 door saloons, as well as the 3 door estate. ***A rear-ending*** Like I said earlier, my Viva didn't last long. It did wait patiently while I crammed myself into a Mini whilst learning to drive (I'm 6 foot tall and Minis are only conducive to people under 4' 6"!) and sat reflectively as I passed my driving test at the third attempt (I'm thick). Having suffered a typical teenage boy's hammering of the accelerator in between driving lessons, on the third occasion in my Viva, unaccompanied, I had a bit of a mishap. Leaving my girlfriend's gaff around 11pm one night, the rain was pouring down as I hurtled down the side of a hill. Clearly travelling a wee bit too quickly, I failed to hit the brake in time and converted a four seater *Maestro into a two-seater Maestro. Actually, that was the only time in my life where I thought I was actually gonna die but I didn't (hooray for me). I did get a £40 fine along with 3 penalty points, though. Sadly, the damage to my Viva was such that I never drove it again. I think I must have written it off or something although the aftermath is hazy. Fortunately, that's the only time I've made a mistake of my own volition leading to a crash and probably accounts for why I never get remotely close to tailgating people! ***The future and the past*** The Vauxhall Viva has found a place in the public's affection. With it's very own owner's club (http://www.vivaclub.freeserve.co.uk), it is still possible to either participate in events, s
wap stories or simply stare and reminisce online at your favourite car from yesteryear. I'm sure that there may even still be a market for Vivas but their time has well and truly gone whilst passing into motoring folklore as one of the nation's favourite, popular saloon cars. Thanks for reading Marandina * I hasten to add that nobody was hurt in this incident as well as during the making of this opinion. Viva specs for HC 1970 - 1979 ----------------------------------- Body Styles: Saloon (2 & 4 door), Estate, Coupe Amount made: around 600,000 Engine sizes (Early)1159cc (70.7 cu in) 1599cc (97.5 cu in) 1975cc (120.4 cu in) Engine sizes (Later)1256cc (76.6 cu in) 1797cc (110 cu in) 2279cc (139 cu in) Weight:1790 to 2220 lbs (812 to 1007kg) Length: 13 feet 7 inches(4.138 metres) Top speed: 79 - 119 mph Fuel economy: 21 - 29 mpg Price then: £700 - £2500 Trim levels: Basic (1159, 1256, 1599, 1800cc) Deluxe (1159, 1256, 1599, 1800cc) SL (1159, 1256, 1800, 2300cc) Viva E (saloon & coupe) 1256cc Viva GLS (1256, 1800cc) Magnum sal/coupe (1800, 2300cc) Firenza (1159, 1256, 1800, 2300cc) Sportshatch (2300cc) **If you want to take part, please include CARS OF MEMORY in the title and include the following paragraph: "This review is part of the CARS/MOTOR BIKES OF MEMORY challenge where members are asked to write about cars/motor bikes which bring back memories. ** Katie says she will hurry through any item requests. If they are flagged "Motors" she will see they go through as quickly as possible. She also asks that they not be "In General". Any which have consumer information will be eligible for crowns. **"