1973 Vauxhall Viva Base 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


Mechanically crude and poorly built


Replacement cylinder block after 500 miles from new.

Front wheel bearing collapsed.

Brakes grabbing and pulling.

Found that a dent had been repaired prior to delivery.

General Comments:

I bought this car new and I had oil contaminating the cooling water after 200 miles (2 days ownership). The dealer diagnosed a blown cylinder head gasket (!) and I was without the car for a day. After collecting the car, the problem was still there - back to the dealer. This time they said that the cylinder block was faulty and oil was being pumped into the cooling water. This after about 500 miles!Another few days without the car.

Someone pointed out to me that a dent had been repaired on the wing. The dealer denied all knowledge.

A few months later, the front n/s wheel bearing collapsed whilst driving on the motorway. The recovery company dented the bonnet hitching it up.

The car was slow and boring to drive.

I sold the car after 6 months of ownership totally disillusioned with British 'conventional' cars and went back to my third German NSU.

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

Review Date: 10th September, 2005

10th Sep 2005, 14:28

If you'd kept it longer you would have also found they rust like fury too.

17th Sep 2005, 02:59

Actually, the Viva resists rust better than some of its contemporaries (and I am not referring to Fiats and other Italians).

As for boring to drive - if the original comments are anything to go by, life with his/hers was anything, but, in the wrong sense of the word.

9th May 2006, 16:36

I have a Viva and I'm just 23 years old, I've had a similar problem to yours, but they are certainly not boring to drive!

12th Jan 2007, 04:30

A Viva was my first car back in 1983 when I first passed my test. I had never thought about buying A Viva nor did the car appeal to me, but one came up cheap at £180

I didn't intend to keep the car for more than 6 months, but 3 years later I still owned it. It was totally reliable, different and unfashionable!!! compared to everyone else who owned 1600E's and Escorts. Everything about the car is simple to work on and yes, it's not exactly a luxury car, but we are talking about Vauxhall in the 1970s - hence why they rust

I only sold it in the end as I wanted a change - the guy I sold it to had many continued years use from it.

Even now I look back fondly on my time with my Viva and if could get a Firenze in decent condition, would happily own another - Viva's are affordable, usable classics now.

1973 Vauxhall Viva 1300 Deluxe 4 door 1,256 cc from Singapore


A rough diamond


Front windscreen leaked on passenger side.

Clutch cable snapped once.

Left front indicator seal perished.

Left front steering boot leaked oil.

Cylinder head required decoke.

Timing chain wear.

Spare wheel well in boot leaking.

Clutch judder.

Minor corrosion on lower front wings near front doors, as well as on rear lower front passenger door.

General Comments:

My first car, thanks to my parents, who wanted me to piddle about in something larger than a Mini and something more solid than the rather flimsy Japanese offerings of the day.

I was the third owner, the second being the wife of an airline pilot. It was metallic orange/red with a black vinyl roof and looked quite sporty.

At that time, most popular European models were assembled locally and this Viva was no different, being done by the same company that did Mercedes-Benz models and it displayed quite a good quality of finish, unlike earlier models done by another contract assembler.

Performed quite well, but rather temperamental at times. Economy average to good, depending on traffic conditions and moreso whether the aftermarket air-conditioning was in use.

All black vinyl interior rather stark, no rear armrests, just strap door pulls. Cars were basic then, this one had no reclining seats, water temperature gauge or rear door courtesy lights either.

Furthermore, the black interior and black top made it a scorcher when parked in the open.

Being my first car, it was inevitable that it was accessorised while I owned it, and so Minilites, a radio/cartridge player, additional instruments, stick-on white coachlines to emulate the UK spec and a stick on full-width rear window demister were added. Eventually, air-conditioning was retrofitted too, but this really blunted performance and economy when in use.

Despite everything, I really miss this car and wish I had another like it again, as it really has character missing from today's similarly sized family offerings.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th March, 2003