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Shooting brakes are obviously insanely cool, and considering that they are most often based on a sportscar or GT-car of sorts, they’re also relatively practical. Proper estates on the other hand are hugely practical – that’s after all their initial reason for being. But classic estates have also become rather trendy as of late. So what do you get when you cross an estate with a shooting brake? Well, besides something really neat, you get a Vauxhall Viva HC Estate – of course! Heh, bet that wasn’t the answer you were expecting…

Now I recognise that I’m unlikely to receive standing applause for such a claim. In fact, I foresee a fair few readers strongly disagreeing with me: “No seventies Vauxhall can possibly be cool – and especially not a run-of-the-mill Viva”. But hang on a second good Sir – let’s put aside our preconceived assumptions, and have a look at the Viva HC estate with fresh eyes.

When the new Viva HC was launched in 1970, it was mechanically largely identical to the preceding HB which was introduced four years earlier. However, it was a little larger than its predecessor – especially on interior space – and the styling had been brought up-to-date for the seventies. It was a handsome looking car too, even if the two- and four-door saloon was still just a common three-box design. Its greatest visual feature was probably those super stylish and slim rear lights which truly made it stand out compared to its period competition. But from a design perspective, the highlight really had to be the estate version.

Having already made the comparison to the fabulous shooting brakes of the sixties and seventies, I suppose it’s only fair to acknowledge that the Vauxhall Viva HC Estate is more estate than it is shooting brake. But give it a chance. It was those fresh eyes I was on about. Just look at that roofline and the rakish rear. This isn’t just another ordinary family estate – this is a sporty and highly stylish estate; even if it is just a Viva. It’s the best of all worlds! All the sensibility of a mass-produced saloon, the practicality of an estate, and the style of a shooting brake.

And on that massive push for another one of yesteryears everyday heroes, have a look at what we’ve found for this week’s Prime Find. A seemingly very well preserved and highly original 1972 Vauxhall Viva 1800 Estate. Bodywork presents beautifully in golden metallic while the tan interior is equally impressive with perfect seats, spotless carpets and uncut doorcards. Being a ’72, it’s even a pre-facelift model, so it retains the charming speedo-tape dashboard. The selling dealer claims a mere 50,000 miles on the clock and continues to explain that the Viva is rustfree and drives superb.

Short of being a rare HP Firenza Droopsnoot, no Viva is ever going set the tarmac on fire. However, the sporting pretentions of this stylish estate aren’t entirely lost. Luckily, it’s not the entry level 1.2-litre, and the stronger and torquier 1.8-litre should be more than sufficient for decent performance – even with four people on board and the boot packed for your holidays. To help you continue that fantasy, here are a few pictures borrowed from the dealer’s website:

The Viva is up for sale with Cherished Classic Cars Ltd. just north of Leicester in central Great Britain. They’ve just serviced the Vauxhall including a new cam belt and a fresh MOT, so it should be ready for new adventures. The pleasure of this shooting brake estate will cost you all of £ 5,995 – currently equating to approximately Euro 6,950. Needless to say, any classic car should be thoroughly inspected before purchase, but it sure seems good value to me. If you’re tempted, here’s a link to the full advert: 1972 Vauxhall Viva 1800 Estate



With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to

3 Responses

  1. Tony Wawryk

    A neat and reasonably priced ’70s classic, in a classic period colour, and I suspect not many left on the roads ( doesn’t differentiate the estate, unfortunately). I know I’ve seen no more than a handful at shows over the past few years. My sister ran a saloon HC in the early ’80s, which was sadly quite troublesome. I also recall renting a 4-door saloon (in yellow, would you believe) back in 1976 – even with four strapping male passengers, the 1256cc engine provided enough poke.
    Would I buy it? I prefer the HB series, which is a genuinely pretty car, especially the estate – indeed, I feel the same about the equivalent period Vauxhall Victor/VX 4/90 and Ventora; while the later cars look more modern, the earlier (late ’60s) Vauxhalls look more stylish to my eyes – and are even harder to find.
    Nevertheless, this HC Estate/Shooting Brake looks like a potentially bargain way to enter the classic car world – and family-friendly, to boot.

  2. Anders Bilidt

    @tony-wawryk, it’s interesting – if we’re looking at the Viva saloon, then I too prefer the older HB. Especially of course if we’re looking at the rare Brabham model… :-)
    But with the estate, I actually think the HC looks decidedly better than the HB. Which is really somewhat odd for me, as I more often than not prefer the cars from the sixties than I do those from the seventies.

  3. Dave Leadbetter

    It’s remarkable the difference a set of rostyle wheels make to a Viva, making them look much more purposeful. It’s a pity that the market for three door estate cars has gone, or at least nobody makes them anymore. The Viva’s design was quite ambitious when you consider how large those side rear windows are. That’s a lot of glass by any standards.


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