1965 Vauxhall Viva HA
Just two owners and 43,500 miles from new; rare survivor in commendably sound and original condition
Launched in 1963, the Vauxhall Viva entered the highly competitive small-to-medium sector of the motor industry, set against the likes of the Mini and the BMC 1100 series as well as the well-established Ford Anglia and Morris Minor.
The first variant, the HA, was Vauxhall's first serious step into the compact car market after the Second World War. The simple clean lines of the Viva were in stark contrast to the rather bulbous shapes of the previous decade and the design was considered quite modern compared to its contemporaries.
A simple self-contained unitary front steering and suspension system was used featuring a double wishbone arrangement with vertical telescopic dampers, in combination with a transverse leaf spring. At the rear things were more conventional, with longitudinal semi-elliptic leaf springs and telescopic dampers.
The Viva HA was powered by a 44bhp 1,057cc ohv four-cylinder engine driving via a 4-speed manual all-synchromesh gearbox to the rear wheels. Just two body styles were available initially, Standard and Deluxe versions, although Bedford also used the basic structure of the Viva HA to create a light commercial van. By 1965 a more luxurious SL (Super Luxury) variant appeared, together with an enhanced-performance version, the 54bhp Viva 90.
Over 100,000 Vivas were built during its first ten months of production and by 1966 the HA had achieved a total of over 306,000 sales. As with many British cars of the period, the Viva did have some corrosion issues, particularly in the boot and rear floor areas, and many didn’t stand the test of time so Viva HAs are relatively rare today.
This Viva HA was bought new in June 1965 from City Motor Co. of Oxford by local man Ernest Belcher of Headington who kept it right up until 1993 when the current keeper acquired it, also an Oxford gent. It has covered only 43,500 miles to date, as warranted by no fewer than 33 old MOTs back to 1968, the majority of them carried out by the same testing station, Slade Garage of Headington.
There is no real service history with the car, but a few invoices show that it had a repair to the o/s/f wing in 2007 and repairs to the o/s and n/s quarter panels in 2009. Other than that, the car appears to be in remarkably sound and original condition throughout. It also comes with an original owner's handbook and a period Vauxhall/Bedford dealership directory.
Starting easily and running sweetly as we have moved it around on site, it must surely be one of the most original survivors remaining. It now only needs a proud third owner to continue to cosset it in the manner to which it has become accustomed.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
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