When the original Viva was revealed in September 1963, it's single claim to fame was that it was the smallest Vauxhall to be released post war.

A far cry from the full scale saloons that the company had made their name on during the Fifties.

Although they did their best to cover it up, GM, Vauxhall’s parent company soon were forced to admit that the Viva HA was virtually a mechanical clone of the West German produced Opel Kadett of the period, although the Kadett was not imported to the UK.

Opel was also a GM subsidiary, and these two cars shared the same underlying platform, front and rear suspension, engine, and transmission, though the all-steel unit-construction shell of the Viva had its own two-door body style.Powered by an understated 1057cc engine capable of generating a modest 44 bhp, matched up to a small new all-synchromesh four-speed gearbox, with a diaphragm clutch, the Viva HA was an excellent first-time family car, competing nicely with the BMC 1100s and the Ford Anglia.

Spartan on the inside and bland on the outside, the Vauxhall Viva earned its market share through offering first class value for money, ease of maintenance and above average fuel economy.

The HA was an undoubted workhorse, yet for reasons that remained in the Vauxhall boardroom, an estate version was never launched.

What did come out of the first Viva was a light parcel van, marketed by Bedford that was to remain in production till well into the Eighties, long after the HA had been phased out and outselling it at a ratio of three to one.

independent front suspension was by Opel-type transverse leaf spring (rather old-fashioned, but cheap to build), but at least there was rack-and-pinion steering.

The HA's rear axle was partly located by a short torque tube and rode on half-elliptic springs.

Four-wheel drum brakes were standard, but front-wheel discs were optional extras.


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