1967 Vauxhall Viva HB 1.1 petrol


Questionable British Quality


The main bearing in the gearbox collapsed in third while I was out driving.

It cruised OK all the way home, although starting from intersections was challenging.

The generator died and had to be replaced. The brake system had to be overhauled. The engine blew out copious amounts of smoke.

I went through four litres of oil a month.

General Comments:

This was my first car after getting my licence I paid $850.00 NZ for it The car ran OK for a year before I got sick of paying for repairs. It wasn't the most tidy car around, but it was mine.

One other thing that happened that wasn't really the car's fault; my mother broke her arm on it after going into the garage to get something; she tripped and fell against it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 21st June, 2008

1964 Vauxhall Viva HA 1.1


Rough and untidy with bundles of character


Rear leaf springs needed urgent attention third month of ownership.

Clutch replacement forth month.

Rear main leaked oil.

Differential leak.

Very rusty sub-frame.

General Comments:

The little Vauxhall was my first car and despite its ware and age by the time I purchased it in 1987, I will have very fond memories of my Viva. A Melbourne car dealer advertised it in the Age Newspaper on a Saturday for a mere $200 and as I was an unemployed uni student, I considered the possibility of a purchase. Later that week I had a look at the Vauxhall. It was soft green in colour with a turquoise roof. The viva appeared to be in very good condition; who would complain with a $200 negotiable price tag?

Initial months with the little Viva was arduous however she soon became a reliable if not a little eccentric Melbourne run about for the next 2 years. My Vauxhall developed major oil leaks and stained the uni car park and home driveway as well as all my other regular haunts around town. The cabin was often filled with books and paper and leaky pens and was more of an untidy bachelor's dorm than a car interior.

The Vauxhall died in 1989 after a car T-boned it at a round-a-bout in an outer suburb of Melbourne. I drove around in my Vauxhall Viva for 2 months after the accident with the passenger side doors roped up, but water soon drenched the cabin and the car became unusable. I drove it to a wrecking Yard called Pick-a-Part. There it stayed in the yard until most of it was cannibalised. The yard gave me $200 for her.

My Little 6 year old daughter loves to hear stories about the Viva she never saw. I have only a couple of photos of it and my daughter sees some magic in it which I sort of understand.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th September, 2007

1976 Vauxhall Viva 1300L 4dr 1.3 OHV


Often overlooked and now becoming rare


Not much as it is used sparingly (restricted mileage classic cover).

Did not have much of the dreaded tin worm on acquisition, as one of its previous owners loved it for more than 22 years, and the three long term owners it had, had it for 27 of its 29 years when bought.

Had the usual worn carpets and splits in the dash top; both since rectified.

Had a tendency to run out of fuel owing to the top of the original 8 gallon (40 litre) fuel tank being caved in by a heavy load one of its previous owners hurled in. Since rectified by fitting the larger 12 gallon (60 litre) tank from the more expensive OHC models. This has a protective steel plate above it, rather than doing duty as the boot floor, as with the smaller tank.

New rear shocks and trailing arm bushes put in.

New steering rack boots needed.

Usual service and maintenance jobs, though like all Vauxhalls (and most other British cars), the engine does leak oil. Don't take one on if you like clean drives.

General Comments:

This car was saved from a used car dealer's lot in Christchurch.

I was surfing the Net while having a house painter in for work, and stumbled upon it. I decided to go have a look, and bought it on the spot, as it appeared to be a straight car for its age.

It was taken on as a project, as I had a '73 Viva Deluxe as my very first car.

Since then, it has received more attention and work done to it than what it can fetch were it to be sold on, including a full down to the metal respray in modern two pack, an engine rebuild and having had lots of original parts from more expensive Viva/Firenza/Magnum variants grafted on - the complete seven dial dash set up, front headrests, a working rear demister, full depth door trims and so on.

Although I use it sparingly, owing to the difficulty to get parts, it has been reliable enough for longish runs (up to 200 km a pop), and is surprisingly frugal on fuel.

It gets lots of looks from other road users (maybe they all think I am crazy?), and the sight of any good Viva is much rarer than say, an Escort or Morry Minor.

It has fairly decent handling, and that short, snappy gear shift that I remember from my original Viva, although highway runs do see the engine turning over at a high 4,000 + rpms.

Overall, a model that has often been overlooked before, but is now starting to gain some welcome attention. Save another before they all become extinct.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 15th August, 2007