The big story 30

Viva la Vaux­hall!

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Contents -

While the clas­sic mar­ket gets it­self into a lather over Ford Es­corts, more clued-up pun­ters are wis­ing-up to the charms of its long-term ri­val, the Vaux­hall Viva.

The ear­li­est ver­sion, the HA, was launched in 1963 and pre-dated the Es­cort’s ar­rival by five years, go­ing head-to-head with the Anglia. The HA was re­placed by the more suave HB in 1966 and come 1970, the HC took its bow, sur­viv­ing un­til 1979.

A fam­ily and com­pany car favourite, the choice of car ren­tal com­pa­nies and – with later mod­els – po­lice forces, sim­ple me­chan­i­cal un­der­pin­nings and good looks saw all three gen­er­a­tions mo­tor­ing out of Vaux­hall show­rooms with ease. The HB’s looks were clearly in­flu­enced by Amer­i­can mod­els from Vaux­hall par­ent, Gen­eral Mo­tors, and ar­guably has a slight first-gen­er­a­tion Ca­maro air. The HC Viva’s front took its cue from late-1960s Pon­tiac mod­els, the pointed bon­net de­sign be­ing more dar­ing than its Es­cort ri­val.

Vi­vas aren’t a reg­u­lar sight at auc­tion, but Barons’ last sale of­fered a 1965 37,000-mile HA sa­loon that had been in the ven­dor’s fam­ily since 1988. Es­ti­mated at £2500-4000, it failed to sell.

His­torics’ As­cot auc­tion of­fered two HB mod­els a few weeks be­fore Barons’ sale– a 1967 SL90 and a 1969 two-door DeLuxe. Both were of­fered with­out re­serve, a wise move that fired up in­ter­est with pun­ters look­ing for a well-pre­sented 1960s fam­ily sa­loon lack­ing the clichéd im­age of a Morris Mi­nor or the in­flated value of an Es­cort.

The 1967 car, in white with a red in­te­rior, had full his­tory, three own­ers and was in first-rate or­der, the auc­tion­eer say­ing that the spot welds in the rear whee­larches were vis­i­ble. It sold for a pre­mi­u­min­clu­sive £4928.

The younger model was owned by its first owner un­til 2002 and looked very smart thanks to rust re­moval and new steel, while the Pam­pas Green paint and Rostyles added to its looks, and was away for £6832.

Top Viva price at auc­tion this year so far goes to Anglia Car Auc­tions’ re­stored 1968 HB Brab­ham es­tate, which sold for £8300. It had been very well looked-after and keep­ing it in that or­der wouldn’t re­quire too much ef­fort.

Of­fer­ing a great way into clas­sic mo­tor­ing but also equally en­joy­able for those with plenty of clas­sic miles un­der their wheels, a Viva of any gen­er­a­tion rep­re­sents great value for money – it’s sim­ply a case of wait­ing for one to come along.

Barons’ 1965 HA DeLuxe failed to sell, but was sen­si­bly es­ti­mated at £2500-4k. Tidy 1969 HB Viva made a sen­si­ble £6832 at His­torics’ 20 May sale – well bought.

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