Introduced in 1963, the Viva marked the first return of Vauxhall to the one-litre class since the Second World War, where it would compete with BMC’s 1100 range and Ford’s Anglia. The Viva was produced at the new Ellesmere Port factory, close to Liverpool, although initially some were built at the company’s Luton plant.
The Viva was renowned for the ease of gear change and its light controls. Available only as a two door saloon (although there was an estate car conversion called the Bedford Beagle), the Viva shared many of the mechanical specifications of the Opel Kadett which had been released in Europe in 1962.
The de Luxe model was distinguished by stainless mouldings around the windows, on the roof rain channels and along the waistline of the side panels. Additionally, a fresh-air heater, screen washer, hinged rear side windows, carpets instead of rubber mats, a sun visor for the front passenger and interior courtesy lamp were all included over the standard model.
The HA was only produced for three years, with over 300,000 rolling off the lines. The van version continued for many more years, being popular with Post Office telephone engineers and utility companies alike and remained in production until 1983.