I bought this Vauxhall Viva HB in 1988 as my daily driver. It was my third car and I continued to use the Viva daily until 1997, when I bought my first house and didnâ€™t have the finances to keep running it. Sadly it was laid up in a garage block and each year I said to myself that I would get around to getting it fixed and back on the road, but I never got round to it.
As the years passed the Viva slowly deteriorated and needed more and more work doing on it. When we bought our current house it had a garage, with a power supply, to the side and so there were no excuses. In 2013, after being off the road for 16 years, I started to work intermittently on the car.
I started by stripping the brakes, fitting new brake cylinders and brake pipes and cleaning up the shoes and springs before replacing. I fitted reconditioned callipers and new pads to the front and, of course, renewed the brake fluid.
Various other jobs needed doing, such as replacing the gearbox mounts and the control rod bushes.
The biggest problem I faced was getting the car welded â€“ I had one quote for over Â£3,000! Fortunately I found a mobile welder, who agreed to carry out the work for a fraction of the cost as long as I did the preparation work and some fabrication. This meant a lot of cutting and grinding, but it was rewarding when done.
The original engine had broken piston rings and so it was replaced with an SL90 unit, which a member of the Viva Ownersâ€™ Club kindly rebuilt for me.
The car is not concourse and she has blemishes here and there. I havenâ€™t carried out much work on the interior either, so she truly is a 70s car. Itâ€™s great to be driving the Vauxhall Viva again, itâ€™s like being in a time warp!
I now use the car mainly for shows and she is kept garaged when not used.