1980 Vauxhall Viva L 1.3 cc HC petrol


A cheap runabout with a bit of style


34K-Badly repaired clutch cable broke.

43K-Head gasket and piston rings went (replaced engine + g/box)

47K-Head gasket blew.

General rust and rot repaired as and when required/discovered!

General Comments:

The car goes alright - in a straight line. Any help or advice on how to improve the handling relatively cheaply would be greatly appreciated.

I ran a mk2 Astra before this Viva (my second one) and although the Viva is slower its so much better made and more solid I'd have one instead of an Astra anyday.

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

Review Date: 22nd May, 2002

9th Oct 2005, 03:30


If you want to make the Viva be sportier to handle, I would suggest the following:

A) Get a set of wider rim wheels with the same PCD (pitch circle diameter) and offset, as fitted to the Vauxhall Magnum (essentially a larger engined, more luxuriously appointed Viva) that will allow the fitment of larger section radial ply tyres.

The car corners better on 175/70 x 13s i/o the skinny 155 x 13s originally fitted. You could go for 185/70 x 13s as well with the wider wheels, but be careful of fouling the arches under full load.

B) Fit anti-roll bars front and rear.

C) Have your shocks checked - they could be worn and causing the car to roll and pitch markedly.


1972 Vauxhall Viva Firenza 1.3 petrol


An unreliable wreck - but it's got attitude!


Too many things to explain fully.

I had fitted a 1256cc Chevette engine to replace the original 1159cc Viva engine.

The AC Delco distributor was forever playing up, and the internals rattling about resulting in unwanted advance and retard of the ignition timing.

The starter motor kept wearing out, so I cut new grooves between the commutator segments - resulting in getting much more wear from the original starter.

The fuel line and/or fuel tank ALWAYS blocked and the car broke down. I removed the tank and line for cleaning on several occasions, but it never solved the problem.

An overflow bottle previously fitted to the radiator exploded on the motorway, and the temperature went off the gauge.

The pushrods stuck through the tin rockers, and a couple weeks later a piston cracked.

The car always suffered from severe suspension and steering problems, simply because the parts were all so old and worn.

Rust was becoming an increasing problem, especially in the sills and wings.

The gearbox and rear axle always whined, and jumped out of gear with a loud crunch if you tried to accelerate to hard in reverse.

It had a fuel leak from somewhere which I never got around to fixing. Resulting in economy as poor as 12mpg.

General Comments:

Although it broke down 'frequently' (it once broke down ten times in one day), I loved the car to bits, and always felt inclined to fix it.

It was slow, but the engine (until the end) was mechanically tough. It seemed to be the ancillaries which let it down.

The car was comfortable, and quite a smooth ride, which you would expect from a rear wheel drive.

Being the coupe model (in black) it looks great, and is a real head turner, but the interior is a bit spartan, with the bold 60's/70's styling.

I still have it in my drive, awaiting a complete rebuild.

I have since owned a Triumph Acclaim for one year, which has been totally reliable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th May, 2002

1976 Vauxhall Viva 1300L 1.3


A good bargain saloon


Not much at all!

General Comments:

Big car, small engine, but it accelerates as if it was a F1 car!

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

Review Date: 28th April, 2001

29th Apr 2001, 13:15

Don't know about that acceleration, but definitely a classic. I had a '76 vintage 1300L, which by the time I'd inherited it was fourteen different colours and half steel/half fibreglass resin body repairer. Ended up hand painting it in what I thought was close to the original yellow; final result owed more to a New York checker cab, but never mind. It was my first car and it never let me down, but finally the scrap yard called and off she went...