(C) R. Jones 2013.
1964 HA Viva Deluxe.
Parked at the roadside is a '64 Vauxhall Viva, with an earlier Wolseley 1500 peaking in behind. The 1057cc HA first appeared at Vauxhall dealerships in 1963, and returned Vauxhall to the small car market, a segment that they hadn't featured in since the Vauxhall 10 of the 1940s. Rather than at Luton, Vauxhalls installed a production facility for the new HA Viva at Ellesmere Port, the first car being built in June of '63. Demand would lead to production being added to the Luton facility the following year. Rival cars at the time came from BMC (the A40 Farina, the Mini, and the Minor), and Ford, with their 2dr 105E Anglia. The HA saloon was available with a 2 door bodyshell only, with two versions being offered: the basic saloon, and the De-Luxe. In 1965, the 'SL' and 'SL90' versions were introduced. Differences between the models were few, and centred around trim revisions in the main. The SL however had a slightly tuned engine, and had a side flash on the body to distinguish it from the basic HA. The Deluxe made do with a the standard engine, and a thin chrome strip down the side, as on the car shown above. The SL also benefited from a different grille design, with revised rear lamps.
To please owners of small businesses, a commercial variant based on the HA was offered. The boxy Bedford HA van was available in three separate ratings - 6cwt, 8cwt and then 10cwt, and production of this handy little van continued long after the HA saloon was pensioned off, into the 1980s in fact, with British Telecom being one of their bigger customers. An estate version was also marketed, based on the van and badged as the Bedford Beagle. Diminutive ice cream van and even a camper version would also see light of day, although from third party companies rather than Vauxhall themselves.
An HA-based pickup truck for developing nations.
"Vauxhall Motors will manufacture the major mechanical components of a durable, low-cost general-purpose vehicle designed especially for assembly and use in developing nations, which was introduced today by General Motors.
The vehicle will be on display on Friday May 19 for inspection by shareholders prior to G.M.'s annual meeting in Detroit.
It consists basically of a 4 cylinder overhead valve engine, 4 speed synchromesh transmission, suspension, rear axle, and steering system manufactured by Vauxhall Motors Limited, and a locally produced ladder-type frame on which a variety of simple bodies can be mounted to carry people and cargo.
Production of the new-type vehicle will begin later this month at General Motors Malaysia in Tampii, State of Johore Bahru. Subsequently the vehicle will be assembled and marketed in other developing countries.
The price will be well below the least expensive vehicle now produced by General Motors anywhere in the world, and will benefit from lower duties and taxes in many areas because of the low level of imported content.
Announcing the new project, E.M. Estes, General Motors Group Vice President in charge of overseas operations, said "The basic transportation vehicle will appeal to people in emerging nations who need dependable motor transport at minimum cost. It is rugged and versatile and economical to operate. It is easily assembled and repaired. Its availability will not only provide low-cost motorised transportation but will provide employment and help to accelerate the creation and growth of supplier firms".
Mr. Estes explained that the new unit has been engineered so that in general all components except the engine, transmission, suspension, rear axle and steering system can be manufactured in developing countries. For G.M. subsidiaries and dealers producing the vehicle, General Motors will provide blueprints and instructions for fabricating parts such as the frame, wings, cowl, under-bonnet, seats and bodies.
All that is required is basic sheet metal equipment generally available in the developing countries. No sheet metal dies or other complicated or expensive tools are required. In addition, such items as radiators, batteries, air cleaners, leaf springs and tyres can usually be obtained locally. As a result, foreign exchange requirements will be low and the amount of local content using local labour will be substantial.
"Vauxhall will be able to supply the power train at low cost because the components are already produced in large volume for the Bedford light van" Mr. Estes said. He added that they are in use in more than 100 countries around the world served by Vauxhall Motors and that replacement parts are stocked in many areas.
The vehicle's 1256cc, 76.5 cu. in. low compression engine develops 37 net bhp at 4600 rpm. The vehicle is designed with a wheelbase of 91.5 inches, and can carry a useful load of 1300lb."
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