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SamAdamsPaleAle
Advanced Driver

Terrible- The Story of the Chevrolet Vega 2/3

Terrible. 

 

Do you know the definition of insanity? Well, it’s doing the same thing over and expecting different results. The year was 1969, and General Motors had another fuel efficient, compact car. The Corvair was on death’s bed and the Nova had become a muscle car that could be ordered with two more doors. One thing you’re going to see throughout this, and eventually my piece of the Fiero, is that General Motors loves to shoot for the stars. Sometimes their innovation pays off, like the Rochester fuel injection system, the 1973 Oldsmobiles, etc. However, and more often than not, GM ends up missing the moon, crashes back to earth, and landing in an alleyway somewhere in downtown Detroit. 

Where was I again? Oh yeah, 1969. John Z. Delorean was now the head honcho of Chevrolet. The Camaro was selling like hotcakes, Chevelles had become the full size muscle car of choice, the Corvette had just hit its apex, Americans were on the moon, it was a good time to be GM. For Delorean, it was terrible.

 

Delorean sat down in his office for the first time. The doors swung open, and on the other side stood three General Motors engineers, sweating bullets. The engineer in the middle held a silver platter with a dome cloche covering its contents. On the cloche was a yellow post-it note. On the note was a simple message. “To Delorean. From: Cole”. The squad of engineers walked up to the desk, and placed the silver platter down. Their collars were drenched, faces red, and Delorean sat there puzzled. Delorean himself wasn’t a fool. The genius behind the GTO, ring leader of Pontiac, he was a man of success. The engineers unveiled what was hidden, and why they were so nervous. One of the men fainted, the other looked away in disgust. Delorean sat there, silent and horrified. Staring back at him was the Chevy Vega, in all of its glory.

 

Is that what happened when Delorean saw the Vega for the first time? I highly doubt. Did something similar happen? Probably. Ed Cole, our buddy from part one about the Corvair, was back at it again, making another experimental econobox. Cole loved to design and make stuff. The SBC was his baby, as well as the Corvair considering he was the driving force behind it. So, when him and a fistful of Chevrolet engineers were tasked with making another econobox, he was all for it. 

 

It took him and his crew about two years to crank out the Vega. Sedans, coupe, Kammbacks, they made them with Cosworth built engines(why?), you could get a Vega in any flavor, as long as that flavor was two doors of course. 

 

For the 1971 model year, Motortrend gave it car of the year, citing its “engineering excellence, packaging, and style” as reasoning, also describing it as “a magnificent automobile without any options.” The Vega took W’s in 71’, 72’, and 73’ when it came to Car & Drivers  fuel economy tests. It seemed like the Vega was a solid option once compared to the Pinto, and it definitely gave it’s real threats, Datsun and Toyota, a run for their money. So why did Delorean get ghost face once it was handed to him all those years ago? 

 

Let's start at the build quality. You think Tesla panel gaps are bad? The panel gaps were terrible. The main reason for this was that the panel installation was done by hand, as opposed to the machine construction for the rest of the car. The paint was so rushed that it came from the factory FUBAR’d as standard equipment. You didn’t even need to curb the wheels or hit your neighbor’s mailbox. To keep the costs low, the car was built with thin sheet metal that was haphazardly sprayed with anti rust. Even in states where rust doesn’t happen, buck shot sized holes are common on Vega’s. Obviously, a lot of the build quality issues boils down to the factory workers getting treated like trash, and going on strike multiple times. The workers weren’t getting treated well enough to give a damn, and as such, the cars came out terrible. 

 

Reliability on the Vega’s, oh lord I think I’m getting sick. There are so many issues with the Vega’s reliability that I’m just gonna lightning round some. The 2.3 litre four pot was way too top heavy due to the cast iron head. The engine vibrated like a toddler after drinking a triple shot of espresso. To fix that, loose rubber engine mounts were used. This meant that when coolant was low, and it often was by the way, the engine would shake more and run hot. Due to the fact the crappy lil four banger pounded oil like white claws at a frat party, the engine would run even hotter and shake harder. And like the domino effect, the engine would shake to the point where coolant would seep into the cylinders. Whoops. This meant that a head gasket failure was basically the death blow. 

 

Congratulations! Your Vega is now dead. Go get yourself a 510, or maybe a Celica if you were feeling sporty. 

 

To add insult to injury, and just like the Corvair, the fix came too little too late. In 1976, a more durable version, dubbed the “Durabuilt” was released. The reliability kinks were all worked out, which is great. It would be even better if those kinks weren’t issues, but it’s GM we’re talking about. 

 

If you were looking for a non-import alternative to the Vega, didn’t wanna get turned into a s’more by the Pinto, and were too good for the Dodge Dart, I’m almost 100% sure the only domestic choice. 

 

I’m gonna get off my high horse when it comes to shredding the Vega. To give credit where credit is due, it wasn’t a bad car. Decent fuel economy, wasn't terribly expensive, the best way to describe the Vega is that it’s a car. But I’ve got a dare for you. Hop on any of the craiglist sites for the Northeastern United states and try to find a Vega that doesn’t look like it took a direct hit from the USS New Jersey.

 

Thank you all for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful day. 



Here are all the sources I used

 

N/A, N/A. “Chevrolet Vega.” Chevy Vega Wiki, 0AD, chevyvega.fandom.com/wiki/Chevrolet_Vega#Development_1968.E2.80.931970. 

Huffman, John Pearley. “The Car That Nearly Destroyed GM.” Popular Mechanics, 15 Feb. 2018, www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a6424/how-the-chevy-vega-almost-destroyed-gm/. 

Huffman, John Pearley. “The Car That Nearly Destroyed GM.” Popular Mechanics, 15 Feb. 2018, www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a6424/how-the-chevy-vega-almost-destroyed-gm/. 

 

9 REPLIES 9
hyperv6
Gearhead

Here is the truth. 

 

This was a Ed Cole project that he was pushing. He got promoted and Delorean inherited this program not of his own free will. He has documented he wanted nothing to do with this car. It set the stage for his leaving GM as it gave the ammo to his detractors that they needed for his rule breaking. 

 

The car its self really was not a bad car but one executed poorly,  The styling was good but the cost cutting is what killed it. 

 

The engine was to be aluminum block with no iron sleeves. This was to save cost and had b even pioneered in the Can Am program. It did not work here and the engine used oil. As for the engine itself it ran well even burning oil.  

 

The car itself lacked the normal rust proofing features that many others used, This saved weight and cost, 

 

The car drove handled, stopped well. It was not the second coming of the Camaro but it was not bad. 

 

Build quality was no better or worse than most of the era. Just look at any GM X body, F body and A body and all had stacks of washers to try to close major panel gaps and bring body lines close. Even the rust thing was not good on these others as my father’s 72 Chevelle had rust though by 1975 with good often washed care, 

 

We has Vegas as winter beaters and you could take one as no matter what it started and ran. We used used motor oil from auto shop since it would burn anyways. One friend saved one from the junk yard drove it several years and returned it to the yard. Someone else rescued it and drove it several more. This was common, 

 

Delorean tried to save it by fixing things but he also has his hands full with Coles other mad dash to add a Rotary engine to the Coming Mazda. But seal issues, oil issues, Emissions issues and loud exhaust noise were all too much. John was able to move to a piston engine to try to save the program. 

 

The Cosworth was just something John tried to help the image of the better Vega but it was too late. Even then the Cosworth was too expensive and not really understood by Americans at this point. 

 

There were much greater failures like the Pinto that suffered nearly all the Vega issues plus safety issues. The Gremlin that rotted out before they left the lots and were so cheap and ugly few people even remember them today. Then you had a whole fleet of Mopars that were forgettable for the era, It got so bad at Chrysler they had to outsource to a even poorer Mitsubishi. 

 

It was not a great era for cheap disposable car no matter the brand. even the Toyotas and Hondas have faded from sight. 

vegavairbob
Pit Crew

The Real Story of the Chevrolet Vega (not  a retrospective opinion)

Part 1 Awards & Accolades

The Vega was popular with the automotive press, winning awards and praise for its innovative engineering, timeless styling, and sports car-like handling. Chevrolet's advertising for the Vega included ads promoting awards won by the car. Motor Trend Classic, in the Fall 2010 issue said, "Chevrolet spun the Vega as a more American, upscale car. And let's face it, the car looked hot. So can you blame us for falling hook, line, and sinker for the Vega and naming it 1971's Car of the Year?"

 

Road and Track editor John R. Bond praised the Vega in a 1970 "Technical Analysis & Driving Impression" saying, "I think the Vega is beyond a doubt the best handling passenger car ever built in the U.S. It has many other good qualities, but the roadholding impressed and surprised me most of all."

 

Motor Trend awarded the Vega 1971 Car of the Year.
MT: "The base Vega is a magnificent automobile without any options at all." "...It is appropriate that the final choice was a car that reflects Detroit's timely response to the people's needs instead of a copy writer's idea of what they should need. So, the Chevrolet Vega 2300 is Motor Trend's 1971 Car of the Year by way of engineering excellence, packaging, styling and timeliness. As such, we are saying that for the money, no other American car can deliver more."

 

Car and Driver readers voted the Vega Best Economy Sedan in 1971, 1972 and 1973 in C&D's Annual Reader's Choice Poll.
C&D: "In 1971, the Vega's first year on the market, it managed to unseat the incumbent import, breaking its eight year winning streak."

American Iron and Steel Institute awarded the Vega in 1971 for–Excellence in design in transportation equipment.

 

Service Station Management and Motor Service magazines in a 1972 survey, the Vega was voted –"Easiest to service, least mechanical problems and best overall in its class" by independent servicemen.

 

Motor Trend nominated the 1971 Chevrolet Vega to the "Motor Trend Hall of Fame" announced in 1973. Motor Trend's 21 Car of the Year selections—1949-1973 were nominated.

 

Motor Trend awarded the Vega GT 1973 Economy Car of the Year.
MT: "The best version of the Vega came out on top matched against the best versions of its competition."..."The Vega was judged solid, warm and comfortable, with a good finish." Pleasing the American car buyer is a delicate task. Economy really means economy with an illusion of luxury. This time Chevrolet won the guessing game."

 

Car and Driver selected the '76 Cosworth Vega one of the "10 Best Collectable Cars" (1976-1986) in its fourth annual "Ten Best" issue in 1986, saying: "We're talking about historical significance here."

 

Super Chevy magazine included the 1975-'76 Cosworth Vega in their 2011 list of the "100 Most Significant Chevys Of All Time."

vegavairbob
Pit Crew

The Real Story of the Chevrolet Vega (not  a retrospective opinion)
Part 2 Aluminum Engine
Was it one of the worst engines as Randy Fish of Hot Rod claimed online August 23, 2004? Hardly. There were over two million Vegas built in seven years. The 2300cc (140 cu in) aluminum block OHC-4 was installed in every one excluding the 2000cc (122 cu in) all-aluminum DOHC 4s installed in 3,508 Cosworth Vegas.
The 2300 was the first all-new engine from GM in many years and featured the first aluminum block without pressed-in cylinder liners. The GM Rotary, a $60 million dollar investment, was destined for the 1974 Vega as a powertrain option but was shelved in 1975 due to its mediocre 15 mpg fuel consumption compared to the Vega 2300's 29 mpg!. So, in reality the 2300 took the rotary out.
When properly finished, hypereutectic-aluminum cylinder bores present a surface to the piston rings that's roughly equivalent to glass The resulting engine has lower friction, excellent sealing, improved dimensional stability, improved heat dissipation, reduced weight, better recyclability, lower manufacturing cost and higher durability - compared to the traditional aluminum block with cast-iron cylinder liners.
© 2020 Sunnen. All rights reserved.
The 2300 was improved annually with development continuing throughout the Vega's lifespan, including two revisions of the head gasket (the first one early on, with a switch to a stainless steel material) 8% of 1971-'72 engines blew head gaskets according to a Road & Track Vega Owners Survey from June 1973. R&T said, "..we also have 16%, a better-than-average percentage, of cars with no trouble at all. The design and the concept are sound, just as Chevrolet intended and as the buyers hoped." .
I'm sure the coolant recovery unit added in 1972 and the low coolant warning light added in 1974 (both installed retroactively to all Vegas) saved more than just a few engines. GM engineers, brilliant as they were, could've had some foresight and included the coolant recovery tank and low-coolant warning light from the very start. Revised cooling passages, cylinder head revisions, water pump and thermostat revisions found there way into the 1976 "Dura-built" 140.
The cause of oil consumption in 1971-1975 Vegas? Not the sleeveless block. The actual cause was deteriorating valve seals that tended to drop off when worn. If more owners had replaced the valve seals at 75k miles or so, (and not overheated the thing due to low oil and/or coolant levels) they might've gotten an extra 50k miles out of their engines.. Granted, it took a year to get the bugs out, but they did. '76 Dura-built engines also had improved valve seals that reduced oil consumption by 50%. By then, GM had enough confidence in the reliability of the engine to include a 5 year 60,000 mile engine warranty on 1976-'77 Dura-built 140-equipped Chevrolet, Pontiac and Olds H-Body cars, longer than anything at the time, domestic or foreign made.
In 1977, Pontiac offered their Iron-Duke 151 cu in OHV 4. as an Astre option but only 147,773 Astres found buyers from 1975-'77 compared to the Vega's 446,693 units for the same period. You read that right. The Vega's final three years on the market it sold nearly a half-million units regardless of increased competition from newer, smaller more fuel-efficient models both from GM (Chevy Chevette, Buick Opel Izuzu) and foreign manufacturers (VW Rabbit, Honda Civic, Datsun B-210 & others), not to mention competition from upscale Vega variants sold by Chevy, Pontiac, Buick and Oldsmobile some of which had the 140 engine as standard including the 1975-'77 Chevy Monza & 1975-'77 Pontiac Astre / 1976 Sunbird. Even Oldsmobile had enough confidence in the 1976 revised "Dura-built" 140 to make it standard equipment in the 1976 Starfire, making the V6 engine optional.
The sleeveless-aluminum block technology developed by GM for use in the Vega engine is used today by Mercedes, Porsche and others.. But GM engineers beat the Germans to the punch. The Vega 2300 was first, 50 years ago.
 
vegavairbob
Pit Crew

The Real Story of the Chevrolet Vega (not  a retrospective opinion)
Part 3 Styling
MOTOR TREND-
"Styling is well balanced with some very distinct traces of the Camaro, including the grill."
"The wagon body style is good looking."
8/70
"So, the Chevrolet Vega 2300 is Motor Trend's 1971 Car of the Year by way of engineering excellence, packaging, styling and timeliness.
2/71
MOTOR TREND CLASSIC
And let's face it, the car looked hot. So can you blame us for falling hook, line, and sinker for the Vega and naming it 1971's Car of the Year?"
"Well-maintained examples are great looking, nice-driving, economical classics—like Baltic Ave. with a Hotel, the best ones can be had for $10K or less."
Fall 2010:
CAR AND DRIVER
"The Vega was a hatchback coupe with crisp, uptown styling that makes it one of the most visually appealing small cars on the market."
'72 buyers guide.
"Vega GT...all surrounded by the sleekest styling package this side of Turin."
"If looks alone determined the best Super coupe, the Vega GT would win hands down without ever turning a wheel."
12/71: super coupe comparison test.
"The plain Vega sedan is as good-looking a car as you'll find in its class".
'71 Yearbook
ROAD TEST
"Vega's styling is..non-controversial and a sure-fire success."
11/70
"the styling and general outward appearance of the Vega line is probably the best of all the compacts."
12/71
"The GT version of the Vega wagon is highly styled, but there's no mistaking the fact that it is a Chevrolet, at least from the front. The black, Camaro-type grill dissected by the high front bumper readily identifies the GT Vega as a Chevy Sportster."
7/72: GT wagon
"When you've got a winner, why change? That was no doubt the question across the table at the '75 design conference for the Vega, and one which brought out the obvious answer."
10/74
HOT ROD
"The car never looks like something you had to buy...It's the kind of car we'd buy to look good in, work on, add to, and wash once a week."
3/72: GT wagon
POPULAR IMPORTED CARS
"Fastidious attention to detail that's typical of General Motors makes it one of the best appointed small cars, one of the best-looking inside and out."
1/71
SUPER STOCK
"The Chevrolet stylists have clearly done it again with the GT package."
'72
CARS INTERNATIONAL
"The styling, or for that matter the design of the overall exterior and interior package, is the best we've ever seen on a small car."
"The wheel arches are beautifully flared."
'72
TRACK & TRAFFIC
"Clean, uncluttered lines give the Vega a handsome profile."
"...Chevrolet design theme is carried out with commendable restraint."
4/71
SMALL CARS '72
"We liked the styling of the coupe. It's clean and sporty."
ROAD AND TRACK
"A few years ago we criticized the irrational flamboyance of the Corvette. now we must applaud the sensible, if conservative, Vega."
"What is surprising is that GM should produce a car with such "engineered" (as distinct from "styled") body lines; this suggests an appeal to intellect rather than image."
"Vega wagon has extremely simple but pleasant overall shape."
"Will the real Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 please stand up? Vega coupe has roof, window, and deck forms extremely-and not accidentally-similar to those of Italian luxury car."..
9/70
"The plain Vega sedan is as good-looking a car as you'll find in its class...with the Vega they've turned out one of the finest-looking compact sedans in the world."
'72 road test annual.
"Chevrolet's Vega is the heaviest, longest, lowest and most stylish car of the group."...."All five drivers thought it was the best-looking of the group, a subjective triumph."
1/71: 5 car comparison test.
"The 1973 Vega is still the stylish, somewhat sporting economy car it was when new, but improved."
"it's a pleasure to report that the current Vega is attractive, respectably quick, and frugal....Well done Chevrolet."
6/73: GT coupe
"The Vega vies with the Pinto for "most stylish of the group."
10/73: "a dozen small wagons"
"The restyled nose....is clean and interesting....although many Vega enthusiasts prefer the older front end."
'74 fuel savers annual
"The Vega, even the most basic model, is one of the most stylish economy sedans."
4/74: "25 mpg & over"
vegavairbob
Pit Crew

The Real Story of the Chevrolet Vega (not  a retrospective opinion)
Part 4 Handling
Nothing like circulating good Vega press to alter the landscape of the biased internet.
"In normal driving, with curves of the type you'll find on mountain highways, the car has a refreshing neutral steering that escapes beautifully from the normal understeer rut found in many compacts. It is so pleasant you begin to feel the togetherness with the car..Some cars get a little scary the faster you push them; this one is just the opposite, the handling improves. Everything is always pressed down flat in the corners, there's no roll steer of any kind, tied in with car's refreshing neutral steering give the GT some exciting handling characteristics;" "In summary the Vega GT comes close to what a racing GT car should be, in handling, performance and comfort. Because it's basically a low-priced compact, the results are all the more surprising and rewarding."
Bill Sanders, Motor Trend, August 1970.
 
The wagon's moderate understeer is easily compensated by quick steering and once a line is established through a turn, the car follows quite politely. As in the base sedan, the roll rate is constant and does not generate any last minute surprises in the turn.
Jim Brokaw, Motor Trend August 1970.
 
"As a final observation, I think the Vega is beyond a doubt the best handling passenger car ever built in the U.S. It has many other good qualities, but the roadholding impressed and surprised me most of all."
John R. Bond, Road & Track, September 1970.
 
"Chevy engineers say that in a steady state cornering situation a Vega equipped with the handling package will generate a one G lateral acceleration with a roll angle of only six degrees. Wow. These figures are fantastic — even better than a Corvette."
Car Life September 1970.
 
"The most impressive part of the trip was the cornering power of the three Vegas. None of the other cars could begin to keep up. (Chevy Vega coupe, sedan and wagon, Ford Maverick, Toyota Corona VW Beetle 1600)
Car Life September 1970
 
The Vega in standard form rides and handles very well indeed." "Although as we said the standard Vega handles well, the optioned one is just that much better and the enthusiastic driver will want to specify this $131 option. The wider tires and wheels contribute extra cornering power and the front-rear anti-roll bars are tuned to give less body roll and a crisper feel without affecting the lovely neutrality of the handling characteristics."
Road & Track, November 1970
 
Our test car in corners was almost completely neutral. On straightaway ride over fairly rough roads, you were vaguely aware that you weren't far off the ground. Leave it be with that statement. The Vega felt more like a typical small sports car than a Detroit sedan, however small." "With the inexpensive handling package, our test car has no peers in the cornering department. Fast turns are level, safe and normal."
Road Test November 1970.
 
"Handling is one of the Vega's highest points. It squirts through high-speed turns or around sharp corners with almost neutral steering, although foolish executions or sharp changes will bring on understeer. While the front wheels are still in command, the most predominant feel is one of oversteer. It is only a hint, but a welcome one."
Hot Rod November 1970
 
That you can actually purchase a normal car that will handle nearly as well as the higher priced GT version, the straight-as-a-plumb-line-stopping disc/drum brakes and all. And, in the U.S. of A. it's been very hard to find that in the last ten years."
Motor Trend, February 1971
 
"There's one thing the Vega will (hopefully) do for the North American driver, and that's to educate him on the joys of good handling. He might not be persuaded to buy the Vega for this reason, but once behind the wheel, he'll discover something not known in his previous Impala/Galaxie/Fury. The Vega just might have a hand in an automotive renaissance."
Road and Traffic April 1971
 
"The Vega was the quickest around the skidpad (0.75G) by a good margin and it is a very tolerant car at its limit. It is closest to neutral of all the Super Coupes." (Vega GT, Pinto Runabout, Opel 1900 Rallye, Mazda RX-2, Capri 2000, and Toyota Celica)
Car and Driver December 1971
 
"Out on the ride and handling course at Raceway Park, the Vega could come storming around bends flat out in a four-wheel drift in a completely neutral attitude with very little lean thanks to the front and rear sway bars."
Small Cars Road Test, 1972
 
"We were surprised to find the GT Kammback didn't handle any better than the car we had last year. It really didn't bend around corners as well. It seems softer sprung and we know it has a higher ride height..The GT Vega is controllable and predictable. About the only thing that could really make the car handle poorly would be a heavier engine and/or 300 horsepower."
Hot Rod, March 1972
 
"The Vega's handling is excellent even without the optional suspension package. The car is inherently well-balanced and, at 0.75G, was matched only by the Opel on the skidpad." (Chevrolet Vega, Datsun 510, Dodge Colt, Fiat 124, Ford Pinto, Opel 1900, Renault 12 TL, Toyota Corona, and Volkswagen Super Beetle)
Car and Driver, May 1972
 
"We had chosen a Vega as the (tire) test car because it was one of the few Showroom Stockers with handling balanced enough that we could be sure it was the tires we were testing and not some quirk of the car. For example, some of the other SS Sedans are limited on the skidpad because they lift an inside rear wheel and consequently wouldn't circulate any faster even on Can-Am tires."
Car and Driver, June 1972
 
The Vega GT has an awful lot of good things going for it in the chassis department, as well. The car was engineered from the beginning to handle and stop as well as possible for the size and price class its in, and the engineers did the right thing in almost every area.""On banked turns, flat tight turns, and curves, the Vega handled beautifully with a minimum steering effort."
Super Stock, July 1972
 
"As for the handling...you've got a car that'll run curves around any other station wagon and put many an import in the weeds." (Vega GT wagon)
Cars International, 1972
 
"To our surprise it even handles on a par with European style family sedans — and of course it accelerates better than European or Japanese rivals at the price due to the 2.3 litres."
Wheels, January 1973
 
"For those who feel that sheer raw cornering power is an essential ingredient to make an interesting car, a stint behind the wheel of a well equipped Vega will be a real eye opener. There they will learn what sheer raw cornering power feels like." "The Vega could be thrown into just about any kind of turn with full expectation of making it through;" "the cornering force developed was far beyond expectation." (Vega GT)
Road Test, August 1973
 
"The suspension roll resistance has been redistributed toward the front to give more understeer than the standard Vega handling package—anti roll bar diameters are 0.900 in. front, 0.625 in. rear vs 0.875 and 0.750—to keep the car tame with its greatly increased power. It works—the Cosworth Vega corners flat and fast and its simple work to corner in just the attitude one wants it to."
Road & Track, October 1973.
 
The Vega GT had the quickest lap (Lime Rock Park: 1 minute, 17.4 seconds)
"Handling is the Vega's strong suit. The car corners strongly with neither awkward roll angles nor the heavy understeer that keeps many more powerful Showroom Stock Sedans in back of the pack." (12-car comparison - Vega GT, Fiat 124TC, Mazda 808, Dodge Colt, Opel 1.9-Liter Sedan, Subaru 1400 GL, Datsun 710, Fiat 128, Honda Civic, Datsun 610, Datsun B-210, and Toyota Corolla 1600.)
Car and Driver, 1974
 
"With optional handling package and radial tires, (which improve fuel economy) the Vega takes to the skidpad nearly as well as the Jaquar XJ6, select company indeed."
Road & Track, April 1974
 
"What we have here is a car that will cut and run with the best of them. It is a natural on a road course, sure footed and fleet, with a sense of balance that you rarely find in a sedan. A most vivid measure of the Vega'a handling is that it was third fastest (2:01.25) around Riverside and yet the poorest of the group in acceleration. It is the best-handling of all the Super Coupes" (Mazda RX-2, Opel Manta Rallye, Toyota Celica GT, Capri 2800, Vega GT and Mustang II Mach I.)
Car and Driver May 1974
 
"With these tires (BR70-13) the Vega does better on the skidpad than every other car in our test summary except the Jaguar XJ6, very select company indeed. It also outdoes the '73 Corvette on its radials in this particular test."
Road & Track June 1974
 
"The selection of the (tire) test car was staightforward. The Cosworth Twin Cam Vega is specifically designed for sporting driving. The well-balanced suspension allows investigation of the individual tire characteristics at higher speeds and under more varied conditions than would be possible with almost any other small car."
Car and Driver June 1974
 
"Handling-wise the Vega GT has it all over its competitors. It corners flat, has excellent directional stability and its front and rear sway bars really keep the act together."
Chevy Action, 1975
 
"The lone Vega outran every single Opel, Colt, Pinto, Datsun, Toyota and Subaru on the starting grid." " this Vega GT faced off against 31 other well-driven showroom stocks and it had finished first You have to admire a car like that. If it wins, it must be the best, never mind all of the horror stories you hear, some of them from me."
Patrick Bedard, Car and Driver, January 1975
 
"The outstanding feature of the Cosworth Vega is its excellent balance..Roll-stiffness distribution is ideal, with little understeer entering a turn, and just the right amount of drift from the tail as you put your foot down to exit."
Car and Driver, October 1975.
 
"After a few gentle miles, I begin to understand how this car won its awards and comparison tests."
Frank Markus, Motor Trend Classic, Fall 2010
JimR
Instructor

😂 As soon as you get off your Rocking Horse tell us more about the Rochester FI system and the 73 Oldsmobile. 

hyperv6
Gearhead

The harsh truth of this era is this. Any of the cars that were low cost vehicles that were intended for high mileage are mostly used up and gone. 

They all rusted they all had noisy 4 cylinders and if you tried to find one in the Midwest most s are unable to be found. Be it Pinto Gremlin or a number of Asian imports that are even forgotten at this point in these areas. 

They all cut corners and made mistakes that led to some really crappy cars.

JimR
Instructor

^Yep. No need for a dissertation.   I think it goes like this…
*The Vega car was as good or better than anything else in it’s class in that era.
*The aluminum 4 cyl engine…maybe not so much. 
*I wish I had a Cosworth Vega. 

                  Done

JimR
Instructor

You know, as I recall a couple years later the Vega-based Monza showed up…and it could even be had with a V8. I had a friend that had one and, for those gas shortage times when everyone was running around in Pintos and B210’s, it seemed pretty fast.