1966 Vauxhall Viva De Lux 1.0


A very good small car for its day


Indicator stalk/switch connection broke.

General Comments:

This was my first car; what I would call "red lead" red in colour & immaculate.

On a leisurely test drive with my father, I applied the brakes and came to a very abrupt stop. He had a HB Viva (drums all round) and commented "Brakes are a bit fierce, but we can cure that." It wasn't until we had paid for it (£260; £30 below private list) & took it home that we discovered it had discs on the front & a servo!

It was also fitted with a switch on the lights, which turned off both the dash & nearside lights to save the battery when parking. (Remember, a single light hung over the driver's window was legal at the time, & was the norm.)

As a precaution against rust, I remove the trims that covered the spot welded joint between the rear wing & boot lid surround, & painted the joint with bitumastic paint. I replaced the trim, so there was no external evidence of the work, and rust never appeared.

Most cars of that day still had petrol in the tank when the fuel gauge indicated "E"; not my Viva - when the needle hit E, it stopped! Dad thought it was just my car until he experienced the same with his HB. In 1990, I had exactly the same happen with my brand new Cavalier! Be warned, Vauxhall gauges are accurate.

The HA interior was comfortable and roomy, and the boot was vast for a car of that size. My boss commented that it was bigger than that on his brand new (fastback) Sunbeam Rapier!

The Mini was better in some ways, but for every day living, it was crude in comparison.

My ownership ended when it was written off whilst parked outside my father's house!

A very sad day - RIP FOC 404D.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th March, 2011

16th Mar 2011, 09:01

You wrote a very nice review there sir.

1963 Vauxhall Viva DL 1.1 petrol


Best Vauxhall until the Nova saloon!


Dynamo failed.

Petrol tank leaked.

Fuel pump failed.

Door hinges worn out and repaired.

General Comments:

I bought the car from a back street dealer in the rain at night after I had had a few beers.

Yet it turned out to be a wonderful little car, the first car I owned that kept up with traffic, didn't use oil, and gave great fuel economy.

It was a delight to drive in town with feather light steering, a light clutch pedal and the best gear change of any car I've ever owned.

It wasn't so great at cornering, but I soon learned to curb my enthusiasm.

I also found the relatively large boot space very useful as well.

Looking back it was noisy and not particularly comfortable, but that mattered little to a 19 year old sailor!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th August, 2008

1970 Vauxhall Viva HB 1.2 petrol


If it had not been destroyed in accident, I would probably still have it today!


The differential failed at about 60,000 as the car had been used for towing before I bought it'

The head gasket failed soon after purchase, and while I had the head off, I did a valve regrind and decoke.

The steering column top bush failed the MOT after the first six months or so, replaced with a 'new-style' plastic one.

The exhaust failed, so when I fitted the new one, I made my own mountings for the centre box. The replacement lasted 4.5 yrs, and was still going strong at the time the car was 'written-off'.

Broke down once when the wire came off the CB points.

New carburettor fitted at 85,000 miles because of cold-start problems.

General Comments:

Incredibly reliable, only broke down once with the CB wire coming off. Fixed in minutes.

Handling was superb with 13 x 155 tyres. (I changed the wheels as 12" tyres were at the time more expensive than 13".) Brakes could have been better though, TLS drum front and SLS rears.

Fuel economy was amazing after fitting new carburettor. Best £40 I ever spent!

Parts availability was always good. Most High Street shops stocked parts.

Cheap. Cheap to run, cheap to repair.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th December, 2007