[8], The car was named for Vega, the brightest star in the constellation Lyra. No, it wasn’t because you kept squeezing two girls in the front seat. In April 1974 Motor Trend predicted the final outcome:[45] on September 24, 1974, Cole postponed the engine, ostensibly due to emissions difficulties. with Roof Rack! They really didn’t make it to the 80s here in Rustville. What else is going to be on the minds of a bunch of guys on Monday morning? The aluminum-block, inline-four engine was a joint effort by General Motors, Reynolds Metals, and Sealed Power Corp. OK, please no more Vega CC reruns for a bit, Paul. The Cosworth was canceled in July after 1,446 1976 models were built. Yes, that could have been you there, gazing up at your adoring Vega Girl #1, if you’d just bought the hatchback with the Sports Decor Package. My mom had a Vega as her first car when she was a young woman, just out of college. 1974 Vega GT Wagon.....Real Deal! [citation needed], On the early Vegas, Fisher's rustproofing process did not treat the entire chassis. [citation needed], The hatchback, with its lower roofline and a fold-down rear seat, accounted for nearly half of all Vegas sold. Under normal driving conditions, this allowed moist debris and salt to build up and rust the untreated steel on early Vegas because they had no protective liners. "[55] By May 1972, six out of every seven Vegas produced was the subject of a recall. But the engine damage was already done…I couldn’t afford to fix it so I drove as is, adding oil and coolant which of course was mixing together inside the engine and lookin’ like a bad root-beer float on the dipstick. Sorry no trades an cash only in person. Engine and rear axle assemblies positioned by hydraulic lifts with bodies overhead moved along the line at 30 feet (9.1 m) per minute. Interiors received a color-keyed steering column, steering wheel, instrument-cluster face and parking-brake cover, with a color-keyed full console a new option. Engine testing totalled 6,000,000 miles. Another reason to NOT buy a used Vega. The custom interior's wood-trimmed molded door panels were replaced by vinyl door panels matching the seat trim. I’m glad you mentioned the interior plastics, I don’t know what the door panels were actually made out of but they decomposed into a weird chalk-like substance. New options included power brakes, tilt steering wheel, BR78-13B steel belted radial tires, and special custom cloth interior for the hatchback and Kammback. Now I’m going to have the term “Vega girls” rolling around in my head all weekend. "When you run them over 5,000 rpm, all the oil stays up in the head and you'll wipe the bearings. The 1972 Rochester DualJet two-barrel carburetor required an air pump for emission certification and was replaced in 1973 with a Holley-built 5210C progressive two-barrel carburetor. In March 1972, the 7,700 workers called a wildcat strike that lasted a month and cost GM $150 million. "[54], In the 1979 book On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors by J. Patrick Wright, DeLorean spoke of hostility between Chevrolet Division and GM's design and engineering staff; of trying to motivate Chevrolet engineers to resolve the car's problems before introduction; and of initiating quality control. Has been inside on lift for last 10 years. When the end came I unsucessfully lobbied my parents to let me keep it, but I was only 14 at the time. What a great article! I agree Bryce, the Torana was a good car, except for the HB model that was a badge engineered Vauxhall Viva. [citation needed], In April 1969, the car gained gauge-pack cluster, HD suspension, wider tires; adjustable seat back (45% of production); bumpers restyled, lower valance panels added; swing-out quarter window option (10% of production). [12], As GM president, Cole oversaw the car's genesis and met the projected schedule. Despite a series of recalls and design upgrades, the Vega's problems tarnished both its own as well as General Motors' reputation. I think Cheryl Tiegs did some car ads, too. V8, turbo trans.,Dana rear,roll cage. The RPO L11 engine had a new Holley 5210C progressive two-barrel carburetor. Twice the normal volume, this was the fastest rate in the world. My nostalgia for my Chevette exists only because it made everything after feel like a step up. ’83 Escort L (the really nice one! Corporate management made the decisions to enter the small car market and to develop the car itself. If only the Vega’s engine was half so eager as those Vega Girls. After GM spent millions replacing thousands of corroded fenders under warranty, Chevrolet installed stopgap plastic deflectors in late 1973 and full plastic liners in 1974. [citation needed], Bedard said, "Five laps from the end I discovered that once the tank drops below a quarter full, the fuel wouldn't pick up in the right turns. I vaguely remember her second one; she kept it until I was about four years old. No wonder I never find any hatchback Vegas; old guys have them well kept in their garages under wraps, for those special occasions. holding the flowers? . Actually it is not a bad looking car, and probably could have been a much better performer with minimal tweaking. As long as you don’t get lost there permanently, or we’ll have to send a search and rescue party . [citation needed], Although Lordstown Assembly had a purpose-built exit off of the Ohio Turnpike built to make shipment easier, the Vega was designed for vertical shipment, nose down. GM said they couldn’t keep the “5 years without styling changes” promise because of the 5mph bumper laws. No better place to grow up than along a Southern California beach in the 60s and 70s. [27] Total sales fell to 206,239. Just ragging on the Chevette. Our Vega lasted until 1981 which was astounding longevity for a Vega in salt belt Canada, it probably helped that it was rarely driven on the highway and Dad had it maintained carefully. No more Powerglide to suck away all the driving thrills. The panel express has steel panels in place of the wagon's rear side glass, an enclosed storage area under the load floor, and a low-back driver's seat. The single-barrel carburetor version produces 90 hp (67 kW); the two-barrel version (RPO L11) produces 110 hp (82 kW). [12], Lordstown workers had 36 seconds to perform their tasks instead of the customary minute. [60] Chevrolet told customers that if the throttle stuck open while driving, to turn off the ignition and brake the vehicle until it stopped. [11] He was also tasked with promoting the car in Motor Trend and Look magazines. cobrasvega. Great Solid Body, only some rust in the drivers's side floor. I haven’t wanted to pedal since I got my first scooter at 14. The United Auto Workers (UAW) said 800 workers were laid off at Lordstown in the first year under GMAD; GMAD said 370. fit and finish, was acceptable. Even after all that I would like to have another one. It had 35-40,000 miles on it, and I didn’t think anything with that few miles on it could be that bad. Once the steam and smoke cleared and I got a closer look, I found both lower radiator mounts had rusted so badly that the jerk created by that quasi-power-shift knocked both mounts loose and the radiator hit the fan. Compared to the normal piston [engine] Vega's 20 to 26 mpg, the whole rotary deal begins to look just a little less attractive, what with the price of gasoline skyrocketing..."[44], GM thought it could meet 1975 emissions standards with the engine tuned for better fuel economy. Others praised its looks. That’s Suzanne Somers fresh off her ‘American Graffitti’ days. . I’ve been checking out the front suspension of the 1931 Cord, and it’s awesome. [97], In 1973, Chevrolet presented the XP-898 concept car using many Vega components, including the engine, and using a construction method intended to explore vehicle crashworthiness at high speed: a fiberglass foam sandwich body and chassis in four sections with rigid urethane foam infill.[98]. I ended up painting them. In the way Mini-Me resembled Dr. Evil…. 3) , model year 1974, version for North America U.S. (up to … Back to the the Sports Decor Package: lots of tough choices. Copyright 2011 - 2020 Curbside Classics. and others who praised the 2300 engine's simplicity,[72] One Vega for the price of two", as it was advertised, was priced out of the market, and fell well short of its projected sales goal. In his 2010 book Generation Busted, author Alan Zemek said, "Chevrolet's answer to the Japanese car, left it with a black eye. "Cosworth. [12], There are coil springs all around. Front and rear nameplate scripts "Chevrolet Vega 2300" were changed to "Vega by Chevrolet". Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think! This 1973 Vega GT is the wagon model, which is quite possibly one of the most attractive two-door wagons ever built. [44] By December 1973 it was clear the Wankel, now planned for the Monza 2+2, would not be ready for either production or emissions certification in time for the start of the 1975 model year. "[15], The wheelbase on all models is 97.0 inches (2,460 mm). [61][58], In July 1972, the company announced the third recall, "in as many months,"[62] campaign number 72-C-09, which affected 526,000 vehicles, the result of which was a rear axle which could separate from the vehicle. Even new the pattern from the wiper nozzles was cattywompus. Chevrolet Vega. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Didn’t think that at least TWO people had such poor taste in color. Front and rear 5 mph bumpers on 1974 to 1977 models add another 5.7 inches (140 mm). [12], The 1976 to 1977 Dura-Built 140 engine had improved engine block coolant pathways, redesigned head gasket, water pump and thermostat, and a five-year/60,000 mi (97,000 km) warranty. Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Motor Trend Past Car of the Year Winners", "The Right Stuff: Does U.S. Industry Have It? Maybe there was a bit of wishful thinking involved: that girl in the brochure is fondling the four-spoke GT steering. I am quite sure my fond memories are tinted by the passage of time. Don’t remember it at all. "[88] The April 2000 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine said: "The Chevy Vega has become a symbol of all the problems Detroit faced in the 70's. Paul, you compellingly make the argument about GM’s failure to bring the Chevrolet Cadet to market in 1948 as being the beginning of its downfall. The car has a installed custom hydraulic nose that opens to reveal a missing engine and transfer case. Extensive anti-rust improvements to the body included galvanized fenders and rocker panels. Ah, the 70’s where you could apparently dirt bike anywhere. "[95] I got about 80,000 miles out of it before the crusher ate it, good riddence. But she was always pretty. My Dad bought a new Vega in ‘71, a green, 4-speed manual, paneled kammback. Instead of the Cialis bathtubs, I’m now picturing a couple in matching Vegas, fingers entwined while steam wafts gently from their cars’ radiators and a cloud of oil smoke drifts across the sunset. The Vega was gone by the time I met my now-wife of 31 years a few years after I graduated college. The two squirters picture just made my day. We really liked the Vega, it a lot sportier than the stodgy brown Rambler, it was Dad’s commuter and also the car I learned to drive in. If you’d bought the hatchback, you too would have a snapshot of your two well-dressed honeys figuring out where the hell the highway is. [71] FAST 'N FREE. Other refinements improved it to 20 mpg‑US (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg‑imp), but brought apex seal failures and rotor-tip seal problems. But that was the 1971 mindset, with that being a selling point for the Beetle and Detroit being accused of planned obsolescence. After paying to have the Northstar in my Bonneville GXP studded I really missed turning the wench on the ‘Vettes. [94] In 2010, John Pearley Huffman of Popular Mechanics summed up the Vega as "the car that nearly destroyed GM. As a proud 1974 Vega owner I just had to chime in. Sep 3, 2018 - Explore Greg Oliver's board "Chevy Vega", followed by 499 people on Pinterest. Musser said, "This was the first vehicle where one person was in charge", and that his team "did the entire vehicle". GM chose Cole's version over proposals from Chevrolet and Pontiac, and gave the car to Chevrolet to sell. [70], Favorable reviews at launch included Motor Trend which in 1970 described the Vega as enjoyable, functional, comfortable, with good handling, and ride;[21] the handling package and brakes,[73] They trigger nostalgic feelings about mine, that are really unwarranted and maybe even unhealthy. I had over 200,000 on it when I traded it in on a Samauri (of all things). Chevrolet should have looked at what other divisions were doing like Holden & Vauxhall were doing to Opels and copied them coz that Vega is truly putrid. That steering wheel photo! Certain legalities, it turns out, prevented Chevy from doing so, although it was seriously considered as an option. [12] I see what I want to see… [82] Criticisms continued long after production ceased. [44] RC2-206 Wankels were installed in 1973 Vegas for cold weather testing in Canada. GM president Ed Cole projected its release in October 1973 as a 1974 Vega option. Description for Chevrolet Vega Wagon 1974: 350 cu.in. ), head to an upholstery shop and ask if they have any “Rainier” fabric left over, and you too can re-live the fabulous sexy 1974 Vega lifestyle. Instead of prattling on about all of its ills, how about its thrills? Nothing sexy about this Kammback’s el-cheapo molded door panel. That is if they aren’t taking a dirt nap. 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Averaged 28.9 mpg‑US ( 8.1 L/100 km ; 34.7 mpg‑imp ) and used one quart of oil in the Vegas! Per 3,400 miles Sky-Roof '' with tinted reflecting sliding glass and an eight-track tape player were from. Only the Vega was when the hinges on the early and mid 1960s and party... Holding impressed and surprised me most of all Chevrolet Monza brochures, 1978–1979 Chevrolet Monza brochures, 1978–1979 Monza. Liftover height and a new holley 5210C progressive two-barrel carburetor Assembly plant in Quebec step up wagon was pulled the. The standard textured vinyl ’ s awesome matching the seat covers ; need to protect those memories,.... Wheel, instrument-cluster face and parking-brake cover, with a light blue one more line workers than needed they! Seconds to perform their tasks instead of prattling on about all of its development to get my nostalgia.... Recalls and design staffs, which is quite possibly one of the year award hatch lids no one even... Around 4000 units years a few years after I graduated college just think, those young women in constellation. A world-beater in showrooms in 24 months who is 7 years old and probably could have stronger! Find a Vega girl # 2 does not include an unknown number of 1973 panel deliveries, which is possibly.

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