A 1970 Viva 1159cc was my first car. I had two more in following next 3 years. Great memories, much better than the "trendy" Ford Escort of the day!
My first car was a 1973 HC 1300 Deluxe, which I reluctantly sold in 1980. The car was very reliable, starting first putt, even in the harsh winters we have in the North of Scotland. At the time the car kept up with most of it's contempories, but now that I have one again as a hobby, it's lack of power compared to modern day cars is very obvious.
As a footnote... the unjustified Ford 'snobbery/small mindedness' that existed in the 70's still persists today. Last night I was driving north in the late evening when I met up with a very nice looking 1600E in my very nice and shiny Viva... instead of getting a friendly 'fellow classic car owner' wave I got a snotty look and then a very dramatic pull-away from the traffic lights (as evidenced by the clouds of blue smoke!)...some things never change ;-)
1974 1256 Viva HC... All friends of the Viva know its strengths and problems by now. I restored (why? I am not sure).. a 'Yellow Gold' two-door...It is now nigh on perfect. Has anybody noticed the distinctive 'smell' of a Viva?. The engine is a dog... always was...body rotted before your very eyes... but it was our first family car and we love it to death... long live the Viva"
The Viva engine is rubbish, it was made even worse somehow when it was put into Chevettes!
Viva HB/HB Torana 1256cc equivalent.
I have had the car for some 14 years.
Should have retired to the scrap yard in the sky some years ago.
In 2 years it has run properly for about 8 months.
After the 3rd diff, 4th gearbox, engine rebuild, 2nd dash.
The Borg and Beck diff and gearboxes are rubbish.. I have had a mild cam. Have had to replace the rocker springs to stop the rockers from splitting.
Anyone ever succeed in stopping the oil leaks?
Still my worst nightmare. But I will continue to spend money on it.. Why?
Name: Gareth Davies
Car: 1976 HC Viva and seven other projects...
Comments: I recently bought my Viva and apart from some localised rust seems OK. It had been parked under a tree for three years. I gave it a fresh battery, turned the key and it started and ran well. Maybe not all 1256cc engines are as unreliable as the one in my girlfriends Chevette...
My first car was a 1974 Viva 4 door saloon in white. I was refurbishing it constantly and loved it. The 1256 engine that was fitted to my Viva had the offset distributor drive which was a real pain as I fitted endless oil pumps to the dam thing. Eventually I gave in and got another reconditioned engine and 5 months later, you guessed it had the engine out and put another oil pump in it. Ended up selling the car and regretted it ever since. Would like another Viva sometime in the future.
David Rayment - 69 HB Torana
The 1256 engine has died again... 2nd *major* rebuild in 2 years, 10,000km max. Bent the crank (how cool is that), approx 6900rpm, center main thrust bearing grabbed.
Still managed 20km trip to nearest town (and phone). Starts fine and runs for 2 minutes and stops dead with a really loud clang..clank..clunk..
I am videotaping the rebuild anybody want a laugh?
There just seems to be something about Vivas.
It does not register among many in the classic car fraternity, but so what? There are still those of us who love them in a perverse sort of way.
Hardly the last word in performance in base 1,057/1,159/1,256 cc forms, nor the most refined of rides, but driving one shows how much character they had.
They were remarkably successful in their day, with units being exported to the far flung corners of the world - Canada, S Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Far East all took them, in addition to the traditional European markets. They were sold under different brand names such as Holden Torana, Chevrolet 1300/1900 (the latter having an Opel engine), Envoy Epic and Vauxhall Firenza.
I now own a '76 1300L 4dr and am in the process of restoring it. A '73 1300 Deluxe 4dr was my very first car, so I am reliving my misspent youth with this project.
There's no way I'm ever going to get the money I am throwing at it back, so I am part of the (hopefully growing) lunatic circle that intends to keep Vivas on the road forever...
Now March 2010, have had HB for over half my life. Has not left the shed in close to a year.
It's third last trip out, it broke a diff pinion, completely replaced with banjo out of later model Torana.
Then subsequently the gearbox gave way.
Body is rusting away. The seats are crumbling.
The rear main seal was replaced, front main seal replaced.
Seals lasted approximately 3 months, then started leaking.
Has dual carbs, original needles, engine is more zippy.
I remember the first big drive in it, it was an experience.
Well, as a Yank Ford owner just recently becoming interested in all the models developed for the overseas markets, I can promise you I have no snobbery. I love 'em all. Restored and rusty! If I ever get to England (or anywhere else for that matter) I'll wave at ya'! Probably want to stop you and talk about the car.
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