's Great British Cars – Vauxhall Viva

Sun 20th May 2018

Great Britain, great cars. The UK motor industry is respected the world over, and though many of the vehicles are actually owned by foreign manufacturers, there can be no doubting of the fantastic heritage of the British motor.

To celebrate Britain’s famous history is launching a series looking back on some of the most famous vehicles the UK has ever seen.

Vauxhall Viva
Whilst Morris and Ford dominated the market in the 1960s with their Minor and Anglia models, Vauxhall were left looking for a niche in the market - they found it with the Viva.

Essentially a compact family car, the Viva was Vauxhall’s first new small car produced since the Second World War, the first since 1936.

The HA Viva, came with a 1,057cc four-cylinder engine and was offered to the market as a two-door saloon. Its popularity owed much to its lightweight design and easy to operate controls, which came with a slick shot gear change, lightweight steering and clutch pedal , great visibility and relatively nippy performance. All this allowed the Viva to be marketed towards women, who it was believed would enjoy the easy driving style.

The Viva was certainly a winner. Vauxhall produced 100,000 HA in the first ten months of production and by 1966, three years after launch, they had sols 306,000 of the vehicles.

Despite the success of the Viva HA, Vauxhall rewrote the design manual when they launched the HB Viva in 1966.

The HA style of the Viva did live on in the form of the Bedford HA, which was a van version of the Viva. Differing from the Viva in that it was taller and came with van sensibilities in the back, rather than passenger seats. The Bedford HA became a standard for British industry and was adopted by British Telecom, British Rail and the Post Office, which pushed production of the iconic design all the way through to 1983.

Unfortunately, the passenger version of the Viva did suffer from corrosion problems and there are very few of them left on the roads to this day. However, Vauxhall did relaunch the Viva brand in 2015, adding it to its small car range in 2015 alongside the Corsa and the Adam.

Years of manufacture: 1963-1966
Price when new:£539
Price now:£500-£6,000
Engine:1,057cc 4cyl petrol, 44bhp
Top speed:80mph

Why not try Vauxhall’s range of small cars? has Adams and Corsas available to be delivered to your door today.