1976 Vauxhall Viva 1300L 4dr 1.3 OHV from Australia and New Zealand
Often overlooked and now becoming rare
Not much as it is used sparingly (restricted mileage classic cover).
Did not have much of the dreaded tin worm on acquisition, as one of its previous owners loved it for more than 22 years, and the three long term owners it had, had it for 27 of its 29 years when bought.
Had the usual worn carpets and splits in the dash top; both since rectified.
Had a tendency to run out of fuel owing to the top of the original 8 gallon (40 litre) fuel tank being caved in by a heavy load one of its previous owners hurled in. Since rectified by fitting the larger 12 gallon (60 litre) tank from the more expensive OHC models. This has a protective steel plate above it, rather than doing duty as the boot floor, as with the smaller tank.
New rear shocks and trailing arm bushes put in.
New steering rack boots needed.
Usual service and maintenance jobs, though like all Vauxhalls (and most other British cars), the engine does leak oil. Don't take one on if you like clean drives.
This car was saved from a used car dealer's lot in Christchurch.
I was surfing the Net while having a house painter in for work, and stumbled upon it. I decided to go have a look, and bought it on the spot, as it appeared to be a straight car for its age.
It was taken on as a project, as I had a '73 Viva Deluxe as my very first car.
Since then, it has received more attention and work done to it than what it can fetch were it to be sold on, including a full down to the metal respray in modern two pack, an engine rebuild and having had lots of original parts from more expensive Viva/Firenza/Magnum variants grafted on - the complete seven dial dash set up, front headrests, a working rear demister, full depth door trims and so on.
Although I use it sparingly, owing to the difficulty to get parts, it has been reliable enough for longish runs (up to 200 km a pop), and is surprisingly frugal on fuel.
It gets lots of looks from other road users (maybe they all think I am crazy?), and the sight of any good Viva is much rarer than say, an Escort or Morry Minor.
It has fairly decent handling, and that short, snappy gear shift that I remember from my original Viva, although highway runs do see the engine turning over at a high 4,000 + rpms.
Overall, a model that has often been overlooked before, but is now starting to gain some welcome attention. Save another before they all become extinct.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 15th August, 2007