No announcement yet.

1972 Vauxhall Viva

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • [Other Vauxhall] 1972 Vauxhall Viva

    Ahem - the prefix demands this is either a Corsa A, B, C, D - or a traitor. Since the Viva is the last car produced by Vauxhall (all later cars are actually Opel-Vauxhall-GM) I'm a bit miffed at having to label it as a "Traitor Car"

    About 18 months ago I was talking to some guys about the old fashioned parking lights motorists were required to display when parked on a street at night. Like this

    So having found (and repaired) a light I needed a car to go with it, I'd rebuilt a Mk1 Escort which I think is one of the prettiest cars ever built, but they're silly money these days, so I began looking for a Viva.

    This came my way, it was laid up in a farmyard having just run out of MOT having been driven on the road until about two months previously, so you'd expect it to be reasonably roadworthy - alas such hopes were soon dashed when it became clear that the MOT guy wasn't too clear about the rules. Just one example, the previous MOT had no advisories, but the sills where corroded right through and that hadn't happened in 12 months. You'll see the rest of the story as we go on.....

    Vauxhall Viva 1256cc engine, registered 1st January 1972, built at Ellesmere Port.

    The wooden beam is holding the clutch pedal down as the clutch was seized. Two hours on idle and it freed off.

    First glance showed both outer sills perforated and the o/s/r wheelarch was rotten. The inner wings were like crispy tissue paper and crumbled as soon as you touched them. The front wings had been replaced previously with later version flat top wings. This car would originally have had the high top wings fitted.

    A quick poke and that hole got a lot bigger

    Further inspection showed that the steering was vague, the suspension seized solid and the brakes were useless. No footbrake operation at all, and the handbrake had only minor effect on the n/s/r - you'll see why below.

    So I trailered it home on the back of trusty Vectra

    First job was to check out the brakes, steering and suspension. The car has drums all round and no servo. There are two cylinders on both front wheels and a single sliding cylinder on the rears. None of them worked. The brake shoes were mostly in good condition because they'd never been used to touch the drums. Only on the n/s/r was anything happening, and there the shoes were down to the rivets. That drum was badly scored and the rest were seriously corroded. Which was a bit of a headache as they stopped making Viva brake drums years ago.

    This one bolt took me a whole day to get out. The top shocker bolt runs through the upper suspension arm and through a steel sleeve. The bolt rusts solid into the sleeve and has to be drilled out - but access is tricky.

    Lower front suspension arms - one bearing needed replacing

    Upper front suspension arms - one bearing good, one not so good.

    The results of many hours scavenging and speaking to the right people:

    Four new drums (and a couple of waterpumps)

    Some bits! (Spot the odd parts out?)

    Mmmmm - Rostyles

    Technically they're off an MG, so the centre hole is smaller, but they'll fit


    More shiny!!

    NOS front brake cylinders - all needed the bores cleaning and greasing (NB use the red rubber stuff on brake cylinders) Whisky helps.

    More scavenging - some inner wing repair panels there - hard to find

    The back end next....

    n/s/r brake shoe - this passed a MOT less than 1000 miles before

    It's partner has bags of meat left on it so I'll re-use this one

    PlusGas is a wonderful thing! Not a single nut & bolt resisted it. Here's the entire rear suspension.

    This bit fell off - but looking underneath my Vectra it doesn't have one so I don't think it's that important.

    It's flipping heavy though.

    On the other hand now there's nothing to bolt the back wheels to :facepalm:

    WD40 couldn't fix this

    With the rear suspension and axle removed time to get at the rust. To be fair the underside was pretty solid. I think the first owner had coated it with Denso tape and painted bitumen over the top. It seems to have done the job on the main chassis sections.

    Angle grinder with a wire cup and a powerfile fitted with ceramic belts do the job - but it's messy and noisy. If you leave the door between the garage and the kitchen open the missus will express some displeasure and may question your right to be outside of a clinical institution.

    For some reason this reminds me of Darth Vader's space fighter.
    Last edited by Dave; 10-07-2013, 03:15 PM.
    1972 Viva restoration thread -

  • #2
    Originally posted by Taurus View Post
    Ahem - the prefix demands this is either a Corsa A, B, C, D - or a traitor. Since the Viva is the last car produced by Vauxhall (all later cars are actually Opel-Vauxhall-GM) I'm a bit miffed at having to label it as a "Traitor Car"
    Fixed this for you Paul
    |> Spec2 R33 Skyline GTS-T <|


    • #3
      A bit of history of the car. It remained with the original buyer for 30 years. During this time the rot must have begun, he had the front wings replaced and set about the chassis rails with Denso tape and bitumen. The next owner had it ten years and I don't think it was ever serviced. One or two running repairs were done, but they were pretty shoddy jobs. When I got it the oil was the consistency of treacle.

      At some point the points had come loose so someone had shoved a self-tapper through them. This had both mangled the mounting hole and fouled the vacuum advance plate underneath.

      I retapped the hole but it means the points have to be filed out to make them fit. I have since sourced another two distributors (offset drive) and a brand new vacuum plate.

      Sometimes you have to look for bits off other marques - the rear brake seals were perished and none are available. I discovered Triumph Spitfire seals are nearly identical, just need a little trimming to fit.

      Some holes


      The good news - when I took the carpet out the original build docket off the assembly line was still under there. Nice and dry with no rust marks.

      Which meant that the floorpan is in superb condition for a car that's older than most members of this forum

      Back on its wheels again

      I had it put through a MOT pre-test just to check the brakes etc are all OK. It's all spot on apart from the welding, which is in progress.
      Last edited by Taurus; 01-01-2014, 04:35 PM.
      1972 Viva restoration thread -


      • #4
        Lovely to see this project again Taurus

        Top man


        • #5
          "This bit fell off - but looking underneath my Vectra it doesn't have one so I don't think it's that important.

          It's flipping heavy though.

          On the other hand now there's nothing to bolt the back wheels to"

          That's made my day that part, looks absolutely brilliant thou, my parents had an old Mk1 Astra Estate and that seemed to go forever, old school vauxhalls never die


          • #6
            I want one! Just not the responsibility of fixing it and restoring it as haven’t a clue!
            Vauxhall Vectra 1.9 CDTi SRi - New Car
            Black 1.2 Corsa SXI Project - Sold
            Aruba Blue 1.0 Corsa Project - Sold


            • #7
              Half the fun of old cars is finding bits - so this evening's discoveries:

              Hydraulic unions, flasher units, voltage stabilizer, thermal overloads

              Stromberg 150 (unused)

              Fasteners - nice if you want it to look original, & washer bits

              1972 Viva restoration thread -


              • #8
                Where do you find this stuff?


                • #9
                  Random places to be honest. Some stuff I've found via various forums, some from local guys who know I'm doing the Viva and they remember they have a bit lurking in their shed. This lot came from a guy who used to work at the Ellesmere Port plant and ran a couple of Vivas back in the day. Mostly its random guys in a pub who suddenly remember something they've held onto for years and are glad someone can use it.

                  Viva parts aren't in plentiful supply so there's a good community who share bits with each other at sensible prices. Like that carb won't fit mine, so it'll go to someone in the club. Unfortunately the trade has picked up on Vivas becoming more popular and any cars being broken are getting snapped up and the parts sold at silly prices. There are still some people buying them to modify, which is slightly better than letting the banger racers have them. But generally the supply of good spares within the club goes to keeping cars in original spec on the road.
                  1972 Viva restoration thread -


                  • #10
                    i think banger racer should be in the swear filter. it makes me happy knowing my 3 cars wont have that fate.


                    • #11
                      cant beat a bit of retro , done some cracking work there


                      • #12
                        Ive come across a grill and some rear windows and seats for a viva if any use to you


                        • #13
                          Sorry to have been away from this for so long - life has been hectic.

                          Anyway - the good news is that it has passed its MOT again.
                          1972 Viva restoration thread -


                          • #14
                            Nice Taurus

                            Did it sail through?


                            • #15
                              Good to hear
                              |> Spec2 R33 Skyline GTS-T <|