Monday, October 11, 2010

Vauxhall Viva

My second car was a Vauxhall Viva, a clapped out old banger I bought from my sister for about £100. The other day I got thinking about that one and some of my friends old cars in the late seventies and early eighties. Unlike the Viva on the left, mine was dark green, and in pretty poor condition.

What strikes me now is how even kids' old bangers look new compared to old cars a few years ago. I remember the Viva not having a radio, so I had a friend fit one that sat on brackets we screwed under the dashboard. Wires then went to speakers we screwed onto the back shelf. Clumsy mates getting in  the back would often disconnect the radio when their feet caught the wiring.

It didn't have a heated rear window either. So we had to buy a piece of plastic that we stuck onto the back window, about 2' by 1', that we then wired up to the electrics somewhere under the dashboard. It then heated up and thawed the window. Every small car spares shop sold them, and there were lots of them too, before Halford's put most of them out of business.

When the radiator sprung a leak we bought stuff called Radweld. Gunk that you poured into the radiator that found the hole and stuck onto it, thus sealing your leak. We also had gunk to plaster over the holes that appeared in the wings and other parts of the body, holes that appeared when even the rust had rotted away.

There was also a kind of first aid kit for exhausts. When a hole appeared you put some mesh over it, wound a bandage type thing over it then some tape over that. You then started the engine so that the heat of the engine melted the tape to secure the repair. Hey presto, good as new.

But the most frustrating thing about my old Vauxhall Viva was when the engine cut out if I drove through a puddle. That really was annoying.


Anonymous said...

my first car was a 1971 viva sl in matalic green with a black roof. i bought the car of my dad for about £300. the car served a purpose but was slowly rotting away. on a trip to London from Nottingham one day the engine blew up at Luton. The RAC bought me back to Nottingham and my dad payed to have a recon engine fitted. I used the car for a further 2 years and sold it for £200 in 1983. all in all my viva was great,I travelled to many places in her and even did a little courting !!!.

Gregg said...

Happy memories. Thanks for sharing that.

Talking to my dad yesterday and his cousin had three wheeler, Messerschmidt I think, just after they finished National Service in about '52. If he went too fast into a headwind the front wheel took off. A wheelie in a three wheeler!