1966 Vauxhall Viva De Lux 1.0 from UK and Ireland


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.

1966 Vauxhall Viva HA 1.1 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


A cheerful urban commuter with character


Clutch failed.

Brake master cylinder failed.

Generator failed.

Syncromesh on second gear wearing.

Frequently seems to suffer from water getting into the fuel.

General Comments:

The car has definite character, and innocent and cheerful styling with excellent visibility.

The steering is light, direct, and communicative, performance is adequate for a 1.1 liter engine of 1960's vintage, the brakes are reasonable, and the short-throw manual gearbox is an absolute delight.

However the transverse-leaf front suspension and leaf-sprung rear end leave the little car with a determined case of under-steer, and mid-corner bumps have it jumping and bouncing all over the road. Easy does it!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th April, 2004