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Vauxhall Viva HA

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Vauxhall Viva

Vauxhall Viva HA

1963 - 1966
Country:
United Kingdom
Engine:
4 cyl.
Capacity:
1057cc / 64.5 ci
Power:
44 bhp @ 5200 rpm
Transmission:
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
76 - 80 mph
Number Built:
303,738
Collectability:
3 star
Vauxhall Viva HA
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3

Introduction



Introduced in 1963, the HA Viva represented the first small car to be released by Vauxhall since the war. The Viva was a car much needed by Vauxhall, it having lost ground to many competitors. The competition in this sector was fierce, with the Ford Anglia, Morris Minor and Austin A35 battling it out for sales superiority.

The Viva was based on the German-made Opel Kadett (another GM subsidiary) and was therefore rather conventional in design. However, the Viva was more powerful than its European counterpart and some of the body panels were substantially different. General Motors-Holdens started assembling the car in Australia mid 1964.

The Viva was available in England with de luxe or standard trim, but there was only a two-door basic body. At the time, Vauxhall claimed that the Viva would seat four people in comfort, with a luggage trunk capacity of 10.5 cubic feet. However, with a rear seat width of only 51 inches Australians were soon to realise that it was only feasible to carry a child in the back as well as two adults.

Although very similar to the power plant of the Opel, the Viva's engine had bigger cylinder bores to increase the cubic capacity to 1057cc., from which 50 b.h.p. (gross) was developed at 5200 rpm. Maximum torque - 62.3 lb./ft. - was developed at 3000 rpm. Surprisingly, the crankshaft ran on three main bearings instead of the five more usually found on four cylinder cars from the era.

Arguably a backwards step, perhaps it is explained in that the stroke was short - 60.96mm - compared with the bore's 74.3mm. Wedge shaped combustion chambers were used and the compression ratio was 8.5:1. The carburettor was a single downdraught and had a manual choke. The cast-iron engine, which weighed only 227lb. dry, was coupled to a four speed, all synchromesh gearbox with a floor-change lever. Top gear was direct, driving through a 4.125:1 final drive to 12 inch road wheels.

Vauxhalls claimed a top speed in excess of 80 m.p.h. with a 0-50 acceleration time of just over 13 seconds. The steering was rack and pinion, and had a turning circle of 27.5ft. – making it one of the tightest in the business. Drum brakes with a swept area of 125 sq. in. were standard, but servo-assisted discs were optional equipment for the front wheels to increase the swept area to 199 sq. in.

Unusual Suspension



Superficially the suspension seemed conventional, however for the time it was remarkably sophisticated. At the front a three-leaf transverse spring with wishbones was attached to its sub-frame by rubber mounts at two widely spaced points. It was claimed in Vauxhall press releases that this system offered a progressive resistance during hard cornering. Semi-elliptic were used at the rear in conjunction with a solid axle. However, the springs were attached to forward projecting pivot arms welded to the axle housing. From the centre of the axle casing a short torque tube ran forward to a rubber mounting attached to an underbody cross member.

During hard cornering the pivot-relationship between the spring and the axle was inoperative. However, the spring action would remain neutral so that roll was minimised and the ride was soft. Road bump absorption was claimed to be remarkably good, because the springs had a much softer rate than their theoretical figure due to the leverage action of the pivot arms. Vauxhalls said they took considerable care to ensure that the front and rear roll angles were controlled to maintain satisfactory directional stability during hard cornering.

The actual body/chassis construction of the Viva was fairly simple. It was made up from a large number of small pressings to provide the rigidity necessary with the large glass' areas and the thin roof pillars demanded by the design. The platform section had two longitudinal box sections which ran the full length of the structure. Front extensions of these longitudinal’s carried the front suspension's cross member and the engine mount brackets. Vauxhall bodies in England were finished with the "Magic Mirror" acrylic lacquer which General Motors-Holdens had been using locally since 1962.

When it first hit the UK showrooms the 'Deluxe' commanded a £32 premium, at £468, over the standard 'Saloon'. Both became immensely popular, so much so that an additional production line was opened at Vauxhall's Luton facility in Bedfordshire. The pick of these early Viva's however is the SL model, which was released in the British summer of 1965 after sales of both the Saloon and DeLuxe had exceeded 100,000.

To identify a Deluxe over the standard Saloon model, look for a chrome strip running the entire length of the car. The SL can be spotted by its unique colour flash, along with a re-designed grille and tri-design rear tail lights. If you are lucky enough to come across an SL model, you will better appreciate the cars collectability when you learn that, of the 303,738 HA Viva's manufactured, only 11,794 SL's were amoung them. While the HA production officially came to an end in 1966 with the release of the HB, the commercial derivatives continued on until the early 1980's.
Vauxhall Viva

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Vauxhall Specifications
Reader Reviews page 1 of 1
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Nige
Posted 689 days ago
I had two vivas, one with a good body and the other with a good engine. I bought the bomb for 100 dollars and swapped out the engine. The bomb hadn't been started in more than a year but with a new battery it started first time. This combination never stopped. It started first pop every time. It was great on dirt roads, and I often took it up steep rocky forestry tracks to ridiculous places. I guess first gear was pretty low. Great car for adventures.
Kuiyaki
Posted 932 days ago
Hi, am Kenyan,East Africa. have Vauxhall viva sl90 1966 model and well looked after. But the big problem we have in Kenya is no where to buy spares. please is there some one who can assist me get the spares. Cell phone +254722362900. Email. dkkuiyaki@yahoo ***
Dickson kuiyaki
Posted 1115 days ago
hi, from nairobi,Kenya and i have a sl90 1966 and still in good shape.but in kenya no spares for it please if there anyone who can assist i will be glad. thanks
carl
Posted 1356 days ago
Hi i from australia have been looking for upper & lower control arm bushes for viva ha . finding hard to find. if any one can point in the right direction would appreciate
Donelle
Posted 1373 days ago
Hi from Australia, I've had my Vivy since 1983 2 previous owners we've been through some weird and wonderful times together. But now I am able to restore her and that will be from the ground up, she has been a very reliable faithful friend and deserves the best.
gerry
Posted 1561 days ago
I drove one of these for two years while going to college. The air breather had a tendency to ice up in winter resulting in the engine being unable to breathe! I carried a spare air filter, would place the iced specimen on the tranny hump and the heater would cure the problem. These cars had a serious clutch cable problem...poor design. Great on gas though.
Brandon
Posted 1710 days ago
I recently found a 1966 HA sitting at a friends junkyard, its in mint condition with 64k kilometers. All i need to do is go through government because there is no original registration
Diane
Posted 1757 days ago
Hi Sean, I am looking for a left hand steering arm for a HA. Do you have one amongst your spares.
sean
Posted 1810 days ago
hey, i got a HA 1966 deluxe its my first project car, i bought it with heeps of spares and most i dont even need so if any one needs help with parts get in contact thanks
Phil
Posted 1823 days ago
Am lucky enough to have HA sl. Belonged to my mother in laws mother, she traded it in on a lc torana. The bloke who brought it sold it back to my mother in law about 15 years ago. Hasnt been registered for 10 years. Pulled her out of shed awhile back and decided to do the car up, shes in better condition than I thought. Needs a few parts, so if any one can help please contact me.
Paul
Posted 1832 days ago
Hi,
Had an HA for 4 years. My first car and it was bullet proof.. Sold to my bro who ran it for a further 3 years before selling out of the family. It then burst into flames on the road side (for no reason) when parked. We both think it had lost the will to live and suicided.. RIP HA
Cheers
Dave
Posted 1856 days ago
I am lucky enough not just to have a rare SL, but an even rarer SL90.
These were produced during the last 6 months of the HA outwardly similar to the SL they featured a 'red engine' this had a 9.0:1 compression ration, 60bhp, stromberg carb, modified inlet manifold, servo disks as standard and a twin downpipe exhaust.
It is difficult to get spares, also difficult for modern drivers to appreciate that this old innocuous looking car is still pretty quick, happily over 85, and stops much harder than they expect.
There was an even faster variant - the 'Brabham' HA, this cost a lot extra as Brabham came out to your home, altered the engine and suspension a lot, gave you 80bhp, over 100mph and 0-60 in just over 10secs - in 1966 from a 1057 cc engine this was (still is) stunning - I don't know of one left - maybe someone does.
 
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