On this day in auto history - July 20th

Tue 20th Jul 2021

It was on this day in 1971 that the Vauxhall Viva was in the headlines when the one millionth model rolled off a production line at the company’s Luton assembly plant.

First introduced in 1963 as a small saloon, the Viva was credited with restoring the fortunes of a then beleaguered Vauxhall company after years of decline.

Having held its own against big-selling rivals in the segment such as the Austin A40, Ford Anglia and Morris Minor, the Viva underwent three major styling facelifts but remained popular throughout its 16-year production run.

Though praised for their light controls and robust engines, Viva’s were equally maligned for their poor handling and chronic rust-proofing issues and, following slowing sales, the decision was taken to discontinue the vehicle in 1979. Its successor was the even more enduring Astra.

In 2015, the Viva name surprisingly made a comeback when it was revived by Vauxhall to replace the Agila as the company’s offering in the compact city car segment.