Canada’s Unique Autoscape, Part 2
Vauxhall’s new HB Viva debuted in 1967, followed by a new FD Victor in 1968, with respective Epic and Envoy models following. The new HB Epic followed a similar format to the previous, with a more expensive exterior trim than its Vauxhall brethren. However, it was a little easier to tell Canadian versions of both the Epic and Viva from their European counterparts this time, as the Canadian models featured quad round headlights in place of the single rectangular units of the European models that were illegal in North America at the time.
Sales were dropping but remained strong (even outselling the aforementioned Acadian brand in 1967). Unfortunately things looked worse for the sleek new FD Vauxhall Victor and Envoy.
Although attractive new cars, the VX4/90 variant, that was previously used to set the Envoy apart, had been dropped in its home market for this generation. Although there were slight changes to the now cheaper-looking grille, the Envoy and Victor were now essentially clones. This lack of differentiation and ever climbing prices did little to help sales. The Vauxhall Victor, and the Envoys that were based on it, were discontinued following the 1970 model year. Its death wasn’t completely forgotten, however. Vauxhall launched a new Viva GT in 1968 (which Canadians also received, as the Epic GT), spurring interest in another sporty Vauxhall Victor VX4/90 in Europe. Vauxhall rushed to fill the void, fitting the Viva GT engine into the Victor and capping it off with the now defunct Envoy grille. A new VX4/90 was born overseas; its Canadian connection unknown to many.
The Vauxhall Viva and Envoy Epic (and therefore the Envoy brand) would also disappear after the 1970 model year in Canada, replaced by the new Vauxhall Viva based Firenza and new American built compacts like the new Vega. But more on that in the next installment.
Continue this story on page 15.