1976 Vauxhall Viva Reviews

1976 Vauxhall Viva 1300L 4dr 1.3 OHV from Australia and New Zealand

Model year1976
Year of manufacture1976
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 1.3 OHV Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.3 / 10
Distance when acquired90000 kilometres
Most recent distance97000 kilometres


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.

General Comments:

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

1976 Vauxhall Viva 1300L 1.3 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1976
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 1.3 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.5 / 10
Distance when acquired34000 miles
Most recent distance35000 miles
Previous carRover - Austin Montego


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...

Average review marks: 7.4 / 10, based on 2 reviews