Vauxhall’s first post-war small car was something of a late arrival to the party, but it was well worth waiting for. And not just by those employed in Ellesmere Port to build it at its state-of-the-art new factory.
By the time it was launched in 1963, rival cars such as the Triumph Herald, Morris Minor, Austin A40 and Ford Anglia 105E were well established and selling like hot cakes to new drivers, getting into their first cars.
Despite the late entry, the Viva HA did well during its four-year production run, selling more than 300,000. The Viva owed a lot in terms of styling and design to its cousin, the Opel Kadett A, so it was very finctional in appearance, lacking in some of the flair of the opposition. The mechanical package was spot on, though – with a four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox, rack-and-pinion steering and disc brakes up front as an option.
It was revised to become the HB in 1966, and civilised further in 1970 to transform into the HC Viva, Magnum and Firenza. A much-loved family car mainstay, now on the endangered list.