On this day in auto history - September 26th

Sun 26th Sep 2021

It was on this day in 1963 that Vauxhall officially launched the famous Vauxhall Viva - the first compact car it had made since 1936.

A small, family saloon, the Viva could be purchased for as little as £528 and proved popular from the outset, more than holding its own against big-selling rivals such as the Austin A40, Ford Anglia and Morris Minor, as it racked up over 300,000 sales inside three years.

The Viva underwent three major styling facelifts during its 16-year production run, whilst estate models were added to the line-up along the way. Its enduring success was critical to restoring the fortunes of a then beleaguered Vauxhall company after years of decline.

Though praised for their light controls and robust engines, Viva’s were equally maligned for their poor handling and chronic rust 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.

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