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Vauxhall were among the first manufacturers in Europe to offer what were termed "White Sale" cars. The name originated in the US where in 1878 John Wanamaker, of the Philadelphia department store fame, decreed January to be the time for a "White sale". Bed linens, which were available in white only, were sold at a discount. This was done to increase sales for these items at a time of the year when sales were normally slow. Today, “White sales” usually revolve around household items. However, they no longer only involve items that are white in colour, and they are not restricted to take place in the month of January. "White sales" should not be confused with sales on "white goods", which is to say durable goods such as refrigerators, freezers, stoves, washing machines, and similar large appliances. In marketing parlance a “White sale” is a marketing strategy in which a store steeply discounts its merchandise to increase sales during a short period of time.
As far as selling cars the idea was to take a standard model and offer it with special items such as metallic paint and lots of extras for a special discounted price.

1. VIVA GOLD RIBAND - Launched November 1971

The Viva Gold Riband was the first "White Sale" cars to be offered by Vauxhall. It was based on the Viva Standard 2 door Saloon but added Rostyle wheels with 155x13 radial tyres, cloth seat trim, wall to wall carpeting, heated rear window, servo assisted front disc brakes, hazard warning lights, 2 speed wipers with electric screenwash, reversing lights and a cigarette lighter. It also came in 3 metallic colours. The price was only a few pounds more than the Viva De Luxe 2 door Saloon which was very basic by comparison. There were no options available and a total of 5500 were produced which at the time worked out at 4 per dealership. The car was a very good seller.

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2. VIVA X14 - Launched May 1972

The second Viva special edition came with the cheesy name of X14 which was because it came with 14 eXtras. It was again based on the Viva Standard 2 door Saloon and as before added Rostyle wheels with 155x13 radial tyres, cloth seat trim, wall to wall carpeting, heated rear window, servo assisted front disc brakes, hazard warning lights, 2 speed wipers with electric screen-wash, reversing lights and a cigarette lighter plus a twin coac-hline and rear wheelarch spats (which were actually on the Gold Riband but not listed as an extra). It also came in 2 metallic colours or bright yellow. The price was again only a few pounds more than the Viva De Luxe 2 door Saloon which was very basic by comparison. This time there was also an 1800 Automatic available and a total of 6000 were produced which at the time worked out at just over 4 per dealership. The car was also a very good seller.

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3. VIVA S/74 - Launched March 1974

By comparison with the previous 2 special Viva models the S/74 was a bit of a let down. Once again it was based on the Standard 2 door Saloon but all it added was houndstooth cloth trim, carpet and two special colours - Coppertone Starfire and Ivory Beige. To be fair it was cheaper than the De Luxe 2 door but the S/74 did not even have front door armrests. Only 3000 were made and were fair sellers.

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4. VAUXHALL VIVA DS - Launched July 1974

During the 1960s more and more people were learning to drive at an earlier and earlier age. The HA and HB Viva had proven popular with learner drivers because of their compact size, light controls & steering as well as one of nicest gear changes available any car. By the 1970s the learner driver market was big business and all the major car manufacturers were trying to get a piece of the action. Vauxhall were no different but up until 1974 the large driving schools would deal with Vauxhall's fleet sales department to buy Vivas in bulk and then the Schools would have them converted for instruction use. The problem was this did not really cater for the owner / instructor of which there were now thousands up and down the country, so with this in mind Vauxhall launched the DS Viva. This was the first factory built driving school car that could be equipped, on the production line, with all the additional equipment that were required for tuition and go straight into service as a driving school car. 

Vauxhall had done their homework on this one and the car was the result of a joint effort with representatives of the Motor Schools Association, British School of Motoring, RAC, Society of Authorised Driving Instructors, Approved Driving Instructors of Scotland Ltd and the Department of Transport. Each organisation gave input on what was important in a tuition vehicle and from this feedback Vauxhall put together a package based on the Viva 1256 De Luxe.

In planning it was called the L School Viva but when it went into production in April 1974 it was called the DS Viva. It came in 2 or 4 door saloon versions and was available in non-metallic colours only, in addition to the usual De Luxe equipment and features the DS added a heavy duty battery, door-mounted rear view mirror, a second interior rear view mirror on the windscreen, mud flaps, drivers foot well light, radial tyres, reversing lights, hazard warning lights, front rubber mats, first aid kit, instructor's writing light, inertia seat belts, an auxiliary horn button, bumpers with rubber inserts (i.e. Magnum), the standard ashtray was replaced by the Magnum warning lights and Magnum ashtray, dipping rear view mirror, side repeater flashers and then the option of Porter dual controls factory fitted, fire extinguisher and a wind deflector for the driver’s door.

The last three items were listed as options because some instructors would already have dual controls etc. in their current car and would want to change them over. The factory fitted units were also easily removed for when the car was to be sold - probably to some poor sod who didn't know it was a driving school car!

What wasn't mentioned in any of the press release was that in fact the DS Viva had one other significant difference with the normal car – the pedals. Vauxhall had come in for constant criticism for the height of the brake pedal in relation to the accelerator, on the DS Viva this was changed but didn't get sorted on the normal HC until 1976.

The car was an instant hit and within days of announcement BSM ordered 100 and the RAC negotiated a lower insurance rate for RAC registered instructors using the car of up to £20 per year - which was a lot of money in those days sonny!

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5. VAUXHALL VIVA S - Launched February 1975

The Viva S was the only Viva ever sold with a radio cassette as standard, 1975 tech at it's finest! A vinyl roof, chrome wheel trims, cloth seats, chrome wheelarch lower mouldings and sill trim, twin door mounted mirrors, special coach stripe and available in 2 special metallic colours - blue or green. 6000 were made and all sold very

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6. VIVA E Coupe - Launched August 1975

The last and arguably the most famous Viva special edition was the result of two completely seperate events that could not have been predicted. Times were tight in 1975 and new car sales were getting harder and harder. Ford came up with, dare I say it, the brilliant marketing idea of stripping out an Escort Mk2 and calling it "Popular" harking back to their historic £100 car although this time it was £1299 and there was the "Popular Plus" for £1399. Vauxhall had to respond but they also had another problem - the slow selling Magnum Coupe was being withdrawn which meant a surplus of body-shells - problem solved and the Viva E Coupe was born at £1399 and came with cloth reclining seats, carpet and was available in White or at extra cost Bronze Gold Starfire or Blue Fire metallics. The car sold out within weeks, trouble was Vauxhall couldn't make any more so the E trim name was later used on the basic Viva (and Chevette)

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