I would just like to say that I have a Viva ha in Canada with 56,000 miles on it,and frankly it is running just fine. I have however done some major repairs.
I'll agree with the other Viva HA owner from Canada, any car that is well maintained will be reasonably reliable, and I know of several Vauxhall Viva's and/or Envoy Epic's on the road here in Canada (they were never sold in the States).
Of possible interest to anyone reading this; check out the North American Vauxhall Registry - http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/northamericanvauxhalls - a registry/informal club to bring together Vauxhall owners from across North America, and even have people from Pakistan, New Zealand, Australia and England joining in on the chat.
I had a viva hc, my first car in 1985. it seemed OK then, but looking back it was a pile of junk by todays standards. but wouldn't any 1973 car be?
Starting in damp weather was a problem & it was very slow.
In 1986 I put a magnum 1800cc engine, gearbox & rear axle on it & it was much more reliable (not quite as slow). ran better with choke out 1/2". nice gearbox.
I learned to drive in a 1969 Viva 2-door, in Canada. We had the car from the early 70's until 1984. It did have trouble with northern Alberta winters, and it absolutely had the finest tranny/shifting action I've ever felt (the Miata is a close second). Wouldn't want one as my only car now, but boy, do I miss it!
My father had one of these, and it was one of the most unreliable vehicles he had ever owned. The instrument cluster had to be replaced 3 times, would only last about 10,000 miles between failures. Car would often refuse to start for no known reason, especially in cool, damp weather. When all was working OK, he considered it a very enjoyable car to drive. Finally got fed up with it after only two years and traded it in.
My first vehicle was a 69 Viva, was given to me by my father who bought it in 1984 for $500 from one of his co-workers whose daughter had driven it for a couple of years. The legend goes that it has been passed around from employee to employee buying it for their teenagers first car. Everyone at my father's work had ended up working on this beast and in fact had been rolled over 3 times by the time I got it. I loved the thing even though I had to use the choke 10 months out of the year to start it and it's breaks were unreliable. My dad told me to use the emergency brake to stop if I needed to! Many fond memories trying to drive up long hills and everyone passing me, especially when filled with 4 laughing teenagers. It was the perfect car for that time in my life!
I owned an Envoy Epic as my first real car. I bought it from a friend for $500 dollars in 1984 and it worked for a total of 3 days.
The choke was so finicky you could barely get the car started.
Heater didn't work, and it was noisy as hell to drive.
Went over a bump and the muffler fell off, probably due to rust.
Gas tank gauge broken - never had any idea how much gas was in it, so you had to keep it topped up.
Final straw was the brake booster died. The shops I took the car to telexed across half of North America looking for the part; new, used, or rebuilt, and could never find anything. Sold for scrap.
Good riddance, piece of crap.
To the poster of 15 Aug, no offence meant, but what were you expecting on a car at least 14 years old when you bought it?
The last Envoy Epics were sold in 1970 and you said you bought it in 1984, which would have meant that it would have seen much use prior to your taking it over.
Actually, the HA SL model was last out. It was launched in autumn 1965 and lasted only a year before the HA gave way to the Coke bottle HB Viva.
We had a '65 HA Deluxe in the family and can claim that they were honest cars, never pretending to be more than what they were - decent, economical family transportation.
I have a 65 Vauxhall Viva. I have had it for 4 years. It is one of the funnest cars I have ever owned. What I don't understand is that it gets better gas mileage than almost any new car out there. If they could do that in 1965, why can't they do it now?
The HA Viva was a light and very simple car, which today's cars are not, owing to the mass of regulations concerning safety, emissions and what not that they have to comply with.
By contrast, today's cars are better performing, more comfortable and refined in operation than the HA.
Still, the HA has its own unique character as compared to most of today's cars, which feel rather devoid of soul.
My first car bought for £400 in 1977, was a 1973 HC deluxe model in Cedar Green Starfire with the weak 3 bearing crank 1256cc engine. It suffered all the maladies mentioned by other postings including, rust (the windscreen pillars were basically isopon and perforated aluminium), poor damp weather starting, icing of fuel line and Stromberg carburettor, leaking heater valve, continually needed points, plugs and tappets resetting, snapping clutch cables, UJs seizing, rear hub seals failing, and the oil emulsion or salad cream buildup within the rocker box.
Oh my God!!! I'd forgotten just how bad a car it was.
It was eventually offloaded in 1983 to some poor fool for £150, and replaced with a Lada 1200. Don't laugh, after the Viva this was a joy to own as it hardly ever went wrong.
I see that old Vivas are now becoming considered classics and prices now are up to three times the original purchase price. Everyone to their own, but I could never bring myself to buy another.
I own a 1970 Viva HB Estate. Been fully restored, and ready for shows in 2012. The first car I owned was a 1968 Viva HB Estate, so when this car became available, I snapped it up.
Granted, not one of the best cars at the time, but looks great.
See the restoration here: