Vauxhall Heritage’s restoration of its Monza Red Viva GT (HB) is complete. It will be shown publicly for the first time at the 2016 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, held at the NEC, on 11-13 November.
The Viva GT will be unveiled at 11am on Friday, 11 November on the Vauxhall stand in Hall 5 (near Entrance 5.1). It will form the centrepiece of Vauxhall’s multi-themed stand this year, celebrating 50 years since the Viva HB was launched.
The 1970 MkI½ GT is believed to have been registered by Vauxhall as one of its company cars back in the day (its ‘YXD’ suffix makes this likely). It was purchased by Vauxhall from the partner of its late owner, Steve Walton, in June 2014. It was restored over a two-year period by Andy Boddy and Terry Forder (with assistance from their Apprentice, Chris Smith).
A ‘labour of love’
Many HB panels, especially around the chassis, inner wing areas and in the boot floor, are difficult to source. So, specialist Keith May was brought in to painstakingly craft new metalwork from scratch. He was helped by the Heritage Centre’s Apprentice, Chris Smith.
After a final visit to Enviro Strip for a further acid dip and etch priming, the body was prepared for paint, including long-blocking the shell. It was then sent to BASF’s training facility in Milton Keynes, where the team there spent over 60 hours applying the primer and final colour coats, using R-M refinishing products.
Indeed, such was the Vauxhall Heritage team’s attention to detail, that they tasked BASF – their regular supplier – with applying the Viva GT’s Tasman Orange stripes. These aren’t mere graphics, they are actually painted on.
In the meantime, back at the Heritage Centre, the GT’s 2.0-litre engine was being overhauled by Andy and the team, ready to be reunited with the rest of the car. The race was then on to have the GT ready in time for the show.
‘We’re now on the finishing straight with this restoration,’ said Andy. ‘It’s been a real labour of love for the team over the last couple of years, and sometimes quite a challenge when we have 70 other vehicles in the collection to maintain, too.’