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Vauxhall Viva, the British Kadett

Vauxhall Viva
The Viva was also there as a service car
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Vauxhall started as a car manufacturer in 1903. Despite the good sales, in 1925 the management agreed to the acquisition proposal of the American automobile group General Motors (GM). And then English car builders thought that in order to survive as car builders, they had to make cars that would have to be sustainable, sound, cheap in maintenance and economical. That seemed to be the British automakers and tight plan.

Vauxhall and the market analysis

The existing models had to evolve to perfection. Or did the helm have to change radically in order to achieve perfection in one magical turn? Questions, questions and more questions.


England would not have been England if it had generally not been decided to stay with the current state of affairs as much as possible. Because market studies had shown that quite a lot of customers were quite satisfied with the current state of affairs at the time. The road to perfection could therefore be walked step by step. And then we suddenly talk about the Vauxhall Viva. The British version of the Opel Kadett from the fellow GM company from Germany.

The collaboration with Opel

From the 1960s, Vauxhall started working more intensively with Opel, also a subsidiary of GM, but based in Germany. The Vauxhall Viva, a copy of the Opel Kadett, was introduced in 1963. To prevent competition between the two brands, Vauxhalls were only sold in the UK and other British Commonwealth countries.

Simplicity graces the Viva

The Vauxhall Vivas were uncomplicated cars of good quality at the time. They were a bit silly under-motorized, but that changed when the Viva's from 1974 became 62 hp. The new engine not only delivered more power, it also delivered significantly more torque. That made driving a Viva much more relaxed. After all, the driver no longer had to constantly stir the gearbox.

For the rest, the Viva remained what it was: slender, rather impersonal, rested sober and with seats that were better than they looked. Funnily enough, the Viva was noticeably more comfortable when there was more than just one passenger on board. The Viva was really a family car. The driving comfort received a considerable boost thanks to the mounted radial tires.

To return to the market research that was carried out: Driving in the Viva you got the feeling that you were driving in a thoroughly tested car. A hassle-free car. A tool of choice. No dream car for petrol heads. But the Viva was not made for that. The basis was the Standard and the Special. People who went for the top chose the DeLuxe or the SL. Because in addition to enjoying a good car, they also had an illuminated lighter, rear window heating, rear ashtrays, panic mowers, decorative strips and more things that made the Vauxhall richer, but certainly not decadent.

Oh yes: There were also double muscular Vivas with 2300 cc blocks. But they were still quite far away from civilian obedience ...

Vauxhall Viva
The Viva is easy to maintain

Vauxhall Viva

10 Comments

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  1. Actually, it was only in 1973 that the Opel Kadett and the Vauxhaul Chevelle became interchangeable. The Viva and the Kadett literally did not fit together.

    The potent Vivas were called Firenza and they would do a lot of damage to the Vauxhall name. Because these small-series cars had to contend with fatal problems such as brake failure and spontaneous engine fires, in addition, the parts supply was poor.

    As a result, a Dissatisfied Firenza Owners Association was formed with the aim of keeping buyers away from Vauxhall through the press and public demonstrations – of course financial compensation was demanded, it was all about money. After two years, a Firenza had only a quarter of the new price as a trade-in value, making it an unsaleable car.

    VauxhallFirenza1

  2. My father has had three Vivas and three Victors. I think they had little in common with Opel. The Victor's he had were equipped with a 2 liter four-cylinder and the last 2 a 2.3 four-cylinder, angled to keep the bonnet low. Quality in itself was reasonable. Only if you cannot get a new exhaust due to strikes, or if you buy a new car with a hanging door with a color difference, the fun goes off. At that time it was quite beautiful cars

  3. I also think the Vauxhall Viva is a nice car Opel Kadett B also by the way. Just a decent car with reliable technology. If the rust wasn't there, we still had them. But yes, then we should have had very large sheds, because there were are so many nice cars from the 50,60,70s, 80s, XNUMXs and XNUMXs. Nice piece of Dolf and fun, that you also think of the normal cars.

  4. Fun subject Dolf.
    My parents used to have several Vauxhalls. 2 Vivas and 1 Chevette. The Vivas were then produced in England and Belgium. If you had bought an English version that had made the crossing on the boat above deck, chances were that it would have been completely absorbed by nature within 2 years, like their first Viva.
    The ones from Belgium against this were considerably better. This was their 2e, a station.
    I still remember that we were one of the few people in a station. I still remember the license plate number, 22-00-NK.
    After 12 years, they exchanged it for a Chevette. A yellow man who, through his pointed nose, looked more beautiful than his brother de Kadett. But yes, opinions can differ here.
    What a super Chevette was that was a silver with red, white and green stripes. A kind of rally version with an 2 liter engine.
    I don't know what it is, but I keep finding nice models.

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