Having seen General Motors’ influence on the German Opels, was not surprising to see the American giant adopt similar ideas for their British company, Vauxhall Motors. The latest products from this firm are a 3.3-litre-engined Victor called the Ventura and the Viva GT, which uses the s.o.h.c. 2-litre Vauxhall engine. The Viva will inevitably be compared with Ford’s recently announced Escort Twin Cam, while the 140-b.h.p. Ventora is a competitively priced small luxury car. We had very brief runs in both cars shortly before they were announced, spending more time with the more sporty Viva. The engine is a twin-Stromberg version of the 2000 developing 112 b.h.p. at 5,400 r.p.m. Coil springs and shock-absorbers are stronger, while an anti-roll bar has been fitted at the front. The wheels have gaudy embellishments but genuine alloy wheels will be available shortly. Radial-ply tyres are standard while low profile Goodyear A70s on 4½J rims are an extra. Braking power has been increased, from a total swept area of 199 sq. in. for the standard Vivas to 287 sq. in. for the GT. Price is about £1,000.
From the outside the car is distinguished by a matt black bonnet and red stripes on the side of the white body. Such features are becoming increasingly popular on most cars but one can only hope they fade from favour as quickly as whitewall tyres did. Even on some rough roads which we found, the GT sat on them well and seemed quite controllable. Second and 3rd gears were nicely close together and pleasant to use, but top-gear work on the motorway brought out the car’s worst feature when we tried it—the noise level was particularly high. We had similar experience with the torquey Ventura, which is priced around £1,000, depending on the extras.—R. F.