A look back at the cornerstone of British Motoring​​

​One thing we Brits love to do is reminisce, taking a trip down memory lane and obsessing over a throwback. As the Corsa celebrates its 25th birthday this year, we at West End Motors - Vauxhall are reliving our youth and taking a look back at how some of our most popular models such as the Corsa, Astra and VIVA have developed over the years and become a cornerstone in British motoring.


Before being known as the beloved Corsa, the supermini was originally called the Vauxhall Nova, and experienced early success. Available as a two and three-box model, the Nova stood out for exceptional design with a vast range of trim levels and engines. The vehicle was positioned as the perfect Vauxhall for just about everyone.

Then came along the Vauxhall Corsa in 1993. British motoring was ready for a ground-breaking new entrant, and the Corsa rolled forward, bringing features such as power steering, anti-lock brakes and car alarms to the masses.

As Vauxhall evolves with the times, so does the Corsa. Over the years, we have seen a total of four different versions go on sale, capturing the hearts of many UK drivers. Standout achievements include the 2006 model being the very first version to accomplish a full five star EuroNCAP safety rating. It was so successful, it also won the title of “Car of the Year” by What Car? magazine.

The latest model boasts innovative features such as a heated steering wheel, rain-sensitive windscreen wipers and class-leading connectivity with Apple CarPlay – and to think the Corsa originally had a tape deck!


To date, the Astra is the best-selling model Vauxhall has ever produced. The Astra has an iconic heritage unlike any other. Replacing the Viva and Chevette, the first generation of the Astra hit British roads in 1980 and was the very first front-wheel-drive Vauxhall.

In 1983, a year before the first generation model was replaced, Vauxhall introduced the GTE version as a British rival to the Ford Escort XR3 and Volkswagen Golf GTi.

Award-winning has become second nature to the Astra. In 1985, the second generation version was voted European Car of the Year. And in 2013, it was used on BBC’s Top Gear ‘Reasonably Priced Car’ segment, after being driven around the test track by celebrities including Olly Murs and Will Smith.

If that weren’t enough, the current model has won critical acclaim since its launch and has amassed a host of top awards, including 2016 European Car of the Year, What Car’s Best Family Car for under £18,000, as well as a game-changer award from Autocar.

With over four-million (and counting…) Astras produced at Ellsemere Port, there have been many different versions over the years. Each model has seen vast improvements over its predecessor, from side impact bars on the Mark 3 to the Mark 5 being the first to be offered with a folding metal roof.

Today, the Astra is one of the standout models when it comes to innovative safety features, including LED matrix headlights which allow drivers to see up to 40 metres further, making it a firm favourite for families.

What’s more, when it comes to space, the Astra is hard to be beaten in the hatchback category, with the latest model being smaller on the outside but offering more interior space on the inside. Not only that, it’s lighter too. 


At a time when the Beatles were topping the UK charts and drain-pipes were in, the Vauxhall Viva first made headlines when it launched in 1963. Fast forward to the 21st century and this iconic car made a comeback like no other, when the new VIVA arrived.

Whilst its style is timeless, there are several features in the latest VIVA that have come on a great deal since the swinging 60s. These include City Mode Power Steering, which for today’s driver reduces steering effort at the push of a button, compared to a time when a driver’s physical effort was needed to achieve maximum steering control.

And, when maintaining tyre pressure in the original Viva, a driver-powered swift kick was required. Thankfully, clever technology in the latest VIVA provides drivers with an automated tyre pressure display, which is a much more advanced and safer way of checking.

When it comes to keeping sight of what’s going on around you, the VIVA comes complete with electrically-operated and heated door mirrors, which is a major development considering that the old Viva didn’t have door mirrors at all!

Other modern-day optional features include Park Assist, which alerts the driver to obstacles whilst parking, plus there’s an electric glass sunroof and heated front seats.

Whilst much has changed since the launch of the original Viva, one aspect that hasn’t altered is its focus on value. Launched in 1963 for the modest sum of £478, the Viva was famed for being reliable, spacious and inexpensive to run. Step forward five decades and these values remain.

Today’s VIVA still encompasses the original Viva’s clean lines, durability and practicality and brings with it superb design, performance and cutting-edge technology.

This is only a brief look into Vauxhall Motors’ proud heritage. Want to find out more? A friendly member of our team is always on hand to answer any questions you may have. We hope you are as excited as us to see what the future holds for the ever-growing Vauxhall range.

If you’re interested in booking a test drive in any of our family of Vauxhalls, get in touch here