Beetle V8 60s Saloons

UK Special Saloon + Modsports Historical Database

Viva HB ( mk.2 ) + HC ( mk.3 ) drivers

Vauxhall Vivas wernt just about Gerry Marshall`s legendary expolits. This page explores those others who represented the Griffin-brand with distinction. Gerry's career will be noted elsewhere on the site as is the V8 version.


Viva drivers enjoying the spoils at the end of the 1971 season : Des Donnelly, Jim Thompson, Bill Dryden and of course Gerry Marshall. Thomson won the 1971 Castrol Hillclimb Championship

Robert Ryan raced in several club races in the first half of the 1970 season with the Prestage Racing Viva ,the Vauxhall dealers based in Birmingham and Bedford. usually at midlands circuits like Mallory Park and Silverstone.


Robert Ryan

John Elliott

Jeff Allam

Mike Newman

Mike Newman

Dick Adams


Donnelly flew the Vauxhall Griffin flag succesfully on the emerald isle winning the big class 6 times in 1970 ( 2-litre car ) 8 times in 1971 ( 2.3 ) and repeated it with another 8 in 1972 plus a further 6 in 1973. Des gained the newer HC version with 2279cc engine during 1971 .His last Viva race seems to have a very creditable 5th in the wet 'Westwood Cup' at Silverstone ,Oct 1973.

Des was the son of Charlie Donnelly who set up a Garage in Dublin in 1939 and Racing brought good publicity to the business. They are still going today.



John Pope

Chris Sims

Robert Ryan - Viva 2.0 known races 1970 :

Des Donnelly

Bill Dryden

Viva Ryan Viva Donnelly71

Des got his new Viva and won again at Mondello August 1971

Des Donnelly - Viva 2.0 known races 1970 :

Edinburgh's Bill was a loyal Vauxhall man and represented the badge with distinction in his native Scotland in Vivas and later Firenzas. His white with red chevron Viva was part of the fixtures and fittings at Ingliston became the SMRC ( Scottish Motor Racing Club ) Chairman. His race career went back to the 50's as an Ecurie Ecosse single seater man.Bill had the G2 Blydenstein Viva for club and the British Saloons ( supporting Gerry Marshall ) for 1970 but fared better the next year with DTV focusing on club racing and gaining the 2.5 unit to beat the Escort opposition and become the 1971  'Hartley Whyte' Champion . Bill ,regarded as an underated driver then raced the Firenza winning the championship again.

Car then raced in Ireland by Jackie Patterson 1972 entered by Fortfield.

Sims ( b. Chipping Norton - 4th July 1947 ) was a Newquay-based Photographer got the bug sprinting and hillclimbing his Viva road car in 1972. This lead to him building his own Viva special saloon for 1974 with the 2.3 engine and sponsored by  'Newquay Publicity' racing mostly in the south-west. Described in Autosport as 'Immaculately prepared by his mechainc Stew Edwards'. Chris progressed to a Firenza special saloon for 1976 in which he would win his class in the BRSCC-SW Championship , winning again in 1980. Owner of his own company Sirch Engineering ( 1980 ). Chris was able to prolong the cars career in the 1981 BRSCC modified saloon car championship with at least 4 class wins.


( b. Leatherhead- 19th Dec 1954 ) went on to become a legend in saloon racing. Backed by his father's Allam Motor Services , the Epsom-based Vauxhall dealers Jeff was only 19 when he made a name for himself in the 1974 special saloon season. The team's HB used the 2.3 unit and also ran the John Elliott car. An outright win at Cadwell in the Forward Trust a highlight.

Jeff went into production saloons ,then BTCC with Ford ,TWR Rover in the mid-80's and then a works Vauxhall driver alongside John Cleland in the 1990's in the Cavalier.

Almost 200 BTCC races to his credit.


Another driver backed by a Vauxhall dealer was Mike Newman ( b.Blckburn May 12th 1951 ) and the Holden + Hartley firm from Burnley. Mike raced in 1975 mostly at northern circuits in a very smart HB with Blydenstein power. Mike like others on this page then raced a Firenza.

Backed by Burlington Wall Coverings of Darwen Mike raced a Ford Capri 3.0 in the BTTC ( 1983-84 ) ,BMW 635CSi ( 1985-87 ) before joining the Graham Goode Listerine team racing a Sierra RS ( 1988-90 ). Approx 75 BTCC races. Mike also co-drove for Tony Sugden in Thundersports in the Esprit-Cosworth 1985/86.


Mike Newman - Viva known races 1975 :

Newman braking for Tower at Croft 1975

Dick Adams - Viva 2.3 known races 1975 :

Entered by AD-Bacon Trailers + Metal Fabrications Dick Adams raced in to high profile Super Saloon rounds in the summer of 1975 againgst the cream of the supersaloon crop finishing both rounds in 9th. The Silverstone race had 6 Vauxhalls with Dick backing up 4 Firenzas and the Magnum. The Viva used the 2279cc engine. No results found yet outside of 1975 or if the car was previously raced by other drivers featured on this page.

Photo left believed to be taken in 1981. 



Chris Sims - Viva 2.2 known races 1974 :

Chris Sims - Viva 2.3 known races 1975 :

John Elliott - Viva 2.3 known races 1974 :

Elliott won the BARC Forward Trust opener March 1974 by inches. Entered along with young Jeff Allam under the 'Viva GT Equipe' banner John was running in a new Blydenstein prepared fuel-injected 2279cc unit and took the flag but only just having blown a gasket and nearly caught by Winter's Mini. Elliott concentrated his efforts in the Forward Trust and had at least 5 good finishes in 1974 retaining his association with Allam all season and the Allam Motor Services team.



March 1974 Elliott and Allam ( behind ) at Thruxton

Chris Sims - Viva 2.2 known races 1981 :

Chris Sims - Viva 2.2 known races 1982 :

Viva Newman-andycleggpic

more results to be added...

Dryden 40393527_10214891720540401_8622647777345667072_o Donnelly Viva Newman-andycleggpic Viva VIVA80s2 VIVA80S VivaPope AdamsViva81


Viva Mars Bar

In the latter half of the 70's this strange object appeared in 1300cc special saloon races. Nicknamed 'Mars Bar' this was a HA Viva raced for fun by 3 pals. It was reputed to be a former Driving School car and Pete Duggan ( from Rainham ), Brian Wright ( Downham Market ) and Derek White ( Romford ) steadily modified into what became a very distinctive race car. It also used a Ford 1298cc unit.

The HA was the Viva mark 1 built from 1963-66 pre-dating the other Vivas on this page and in road used a humble 1056cc engine.

Photo note car with Rivet Supply and Wendy Wools stickers suggesting 1979.



not forgetting...

Des Donnelly - Viva 2.3 known races 1971 :

Des Donnelly - Viva 2.5 known races 1972 :

In November 1971 at a televised race at Lydden two of the Blydenstein ageing ex-Marshall Vivas collided head on in an embarrassing first corner accident. Mike Crabtree in the old G2 Viva and Roger Bell in the club-spec car. Often misleadingly reported as being written off in fact the damaged club car was sold to Gerry's pal John Pope ,whom legand has it straightened the car out using his Tractor !

By March of 1972 John was able to win outright from pole at Snetterton ,the car now straight and still painted 'works' colours. Gerry borrowing it a week later to win at Mondello. Sprouting spoilers it finished 2nd in class in the 1973 Forward Trust before being advertised for '74.