1969 Vauxhall Viva from North America


Great first car for a poor teenager





General Comments:

No matter what we did (my Dad was a mechanic), the brakes would unexpectedly fail. It was my first car, and I bought it in 1975 for $300. The previous owner bought it new, but gave up on it. He couldn't sell it to anyone else but me.

It was great on gas, always started, and only had some surface rust on the leading edge of the hood.

After the brakes failed for the last time... we traded it for a Viva Wagon. I guess my Dad and I just had fun working on them. Lots of memories of a time, it seems, when you were just as happy with a silly Viva, as I am now with my current car... go figure.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 8th November, 2011

1969 Vauxhall Viva Base 55 cu in from North America




Valve grind at 10,000 miles.

Clutch plate replaced 3 times.

Starter solenoid replaced 3 times.

Heater valve stuck open - twice.

Thermostat failed.

Replaced Shocks at 30,000 miles.

Brake linings at 35,000 miles.

Y hose to rad ruptured.

Exhaust system fell off after 3 years.

Air emissions pump failed twice - removed after second failure.

Shifter broke off in my hand.

Air filter filled up with ice on a clear, cold winter day on the highway.

Head gasket leaked after 2 years.

Hand brake light kept coming on.

Gas pedal kept freezing to the floor.

Car wouldn't start on damp days when the temperature was below +40 F (5 C)

Fuel lines tended to freeze.

Fuel pump replaced 2 or 3 times.

General Comments:

This car was a twin of the Viva, called the Envoy Epic (should have been Epidemic) and sold by GM.

All maintenance schedules were followed and the car was never driven above 65 mph.

The car had the best shifting I've ever seen in a standard.

When I got rid of it, It wouldn't go above 50 mph even though everything was checked out.

It was such a pile of junk I won't ever go to a GM dealer to buy a car, never mind a British car.

I still remember the serial number - it was in so often for repairs - 931319E316624.

When I went to a GM dealer to try to trade it, the sales manager basically said it was a worthless vehicle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th January, 2003

4th Sep 2003, 22:25

Must have been one hell of a lemon that you bought!!! Pity that because Vivas were renowned as tough little British cars albeit with a nasty tendency to rust. Parts would probably too have been quite difficult to obtain in the US during that era.

4th Jul 2004, 16:31

My parents bought an Epic for $2000. in the late 60's when I was a child in Canada. I remember standing on the side of the road many times waiting for the car to be towed. It broke down so many times I lost count.

For anybody who thinks this car is anything more than piece of junk I challenge you to show me one - just one of the 13,000 sold in Canada that is still running today. If any still exist they are probably on display at the museum of the worst cars ever produced.

Only 13,000 of them were sold in Canada because a class-action law-suit was launched against GM by many unfortunate owners.

I'm a person who likes a reliable car. I live in Arizona now and would not purchase anything other than an American made car. They are fairly reliable these days and when they do break down the parts are cheap and readily available.

From my experience, British cars are unreliable. I know people who love them, but have to keep a battery charger in the garage.