AutoMemory #2 – Vauxhall Viva LJP406K

P83

The only specific journey I remember taking in our green Viva was on the day Dad brought it home. It was – get this – a brand new car, and the whole family went for a drive.

(Do people do that any more – just “go for a drive”? I have a vague recollection of it happening more than once – probably on a Sunday afternoon – even when we hadn’t just got a new car…)

Well, the route of our family test drive escapes me but what remains with me is the incisive yet concise review delivered by my Mum – that the Viva had “a funny little gear stick and a horn like a raspberry”.

Jeremy Clarkson would have been proud.

What Mum’s review lacked in detail – it said nothing of handling, brake horsepower or maintenance intervals – it made up for in accuracy. For compared to the Ford Cortina (see AutoMemory #1), the Vauxhall gear lever was indeed noticeably stubby. And her description of the horn wasn’t unreasonable either.

With those two less than enthusiastic observations one could be forgiven for thinking that Mum didn’t much care for the Viva. I’d like to think, though, that in true Clarkson fashion, the real verdict would have been quite the opposite – yet only revealed, with a cunning verbal twist, in the closing moments of the review as the driver slams the door and the car heads off into the sunset.

*** To be read in Clarkson-esque fashion ***

“So. It’s not especially powerful. It has a funny little gear stick and a horn that sounds like the driver’s blowing a raspberry. And I guarantee that you’ll need to claim on the six-year anti-perforation warranty several times and have both front wings replaced within the first week or two.

It is, however, a fine family car and highly suitable for driving around Lancashire in the early seventies. I say – viva the Viva.”

While I accept, knowing Mum, that she probably never would deliver an extended car review or, in fact, impersonate Jeremy Clarkson, it’s a nice thought. Mind you, we did have both the front wings replaced so Jeremy (had he been on telly at the time) was right about that.

Mum – thanks for the memory.

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