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1975 Chevy Cosworth Vega: No Thanks, Dad


If the seller’s story is to be believed, what a good one it is. Dad bought this 1975 Chevy Cosworth Vega that’s listed here on eBay for his son’s 16th birthday. Turns out, his son never bothered to learn how to drive stick (lazy kid!) and the car sat, possibly a blessing in disguise considering what 16-year-olds are known to do to any type of vehicle, let alone a hot version of an ordinary car. The Cosworth Vega has always gotten a mixed reception at Barn Finds, likely due to the fact that many of them are priced ambitiously despite not offering a similar return on performance capabilities. This one, however, has low mileage and seems fairly priced at $7,499 – not to mention in what appears to be near-original condition. This Cossie has escaped the death sentence of teenage ownership; now, it’s time to find a new home. What do you think it should sell for?



  1. Jason

    I have always thought these were ugly as sin.

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  2. Chris A.

    The Cosworth build quality and performance hype never matched the price premium. I often think the standard Vega’s poor build image hurt the Cosworth version more than it should have. I’ve seen a couple of these after owners have made a strong effort to fix them up and then maintain them and they can look nice. This one looks like it has needs not reflected in the asking price.

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    • rdc

      What needs beyond a really good engine cleaning and detail? I am not knowledgable enough to see what you mean. Thanks.

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  3. JW

    I like the Vegas / Pintos / Gremlins and this would be a cool original car for someone just NOT ME as being a modifier this car would stay original about as long as it took to trailer it home. So for the sake of purists I would have to pass.

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  4. PaulG

    Cosworth Vega aside, (not a big fan but respect the effort…) I’m going to comment on the fact that someone bought this for a 16 yr. old. Again, I respect the guy for trying to get his kid in a different car, and maybe into the car hobby. But this would be a terrible vehicle to start out on, even back in 1985 Southern CA.
    The tiny outside mirror (yes, only ONE) just for starters.
    I realize that times were different, but my opinion is that almost every kid should start out in a 4 door sedan. Back then the choices could have been: Cutlass, Skylark, Torino, Granada, Dart, Valiant, etc.

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    • rdc

      Yep, a 4 door sedan is what mine had. Good move. Except none of them are car people. :) Only their father.

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    • That Guy

      A fellow student I knew in college (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) had gone to a private academy in the Monterey area for high school. He drove a Vega wagon which his parents bought new for his 16th birthday. He told me he had been very proud to drive his new car to school, but felt pretty outclassed when Bing Crosby’s son drove up in his 16th birthday present – a new Pantera.

      I wonder how long that car lasted. :-)

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      • PaulG

        Funny thing is I live in a small town, and have two teenage daughters getting ready to drive. My current vehicles are:
        ’98 Mitsubishi Montero w/ 33″ off road tires (full size, not sport), ’88 Chrysler Conquest TSi (stick), ’90 IROC Camaro, ’91 Corvette ZR-1 (stick), and my wife’s 11 Kia Sorento.
        The only one I’d feel good about the kids driving is the Sorento…
        Once they’ve driven for a year or more, and show responsibility, maybe the option to drive the others will arise!

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    • Barry T

      I have a son and a daughter so it was exciting when they got their drivers licenses. My son had 3 speeding tickets and 2 accidents in the first 6 months and my daughter ripped the front fender off one of our cars backing out of our driveway (major damage to our neighbor’s new car also). So happy those days are in the past.

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  5. Mark E

    Sorry, but that story smells too much like the little old lady who only drove to church on Sunday. And why should a car with only 38k miles need the repairs mentioned? I’m highly suspicious this car has been treated very well, always garaged and is NOT such an awesomely great deal at 138,000 miles! Remember, being a native CA car, the rust should be about what it is at that mileage and if it were garaged that would protect the paint and interior…

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  6. Rick

    The loser kid across the street from me had one of these brand new (I say loser because he had to wait until he was 18 the get his driver’s license because he was too stoopid to take driver’s ed, but I digress) anyhow his parents bought him a new Cosworth Vega and he let me drive it more than once,and all I can say is imho that is was really slow, not much faster than a stock Vega

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    • Randy

      The Cosworth Vega didn’t make real power unless it was revved above 4000rpm. Even then it was nothing to really write home about. The 0-60 was around 10 seconds and much faster than a Vega GT with the 110hp Iron Duke. A 0-60 time of 10 seconds was faster than a 1976 Camaro with a 350…..(see 1970’s perspective please).
      What the Cosworth Vega is, is history. No other US manufactured car at the time had DOHC’s, Fuel Injection, Header from the factory. It is a piece of history.

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      • Mike V

        The Vega GT never came with the Iron Duke. Some later H-body Lordstown built cars (like the Monza) were avaiable with the Duke but that never a Vega.

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  7. roger

    What kind of kid turns down a gift from their Dad?
    Pretty low thing to do.
    I like the vega myself.
    Had 2 V8 vega`s back in 80`s .One was 4 speed other was automatic.
    Would like to have this one,but it is waaaaaaaaay to overpriced for me.

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    • W

      Went to school with a kid who’s dad bought him a Z28. Kid turned it down telling his dad “Chevys suck, I like Fords.”

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      • JamestownMike

        My response to that would be…….okay, I guess you can walk!

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  8. don

    not buying the 38k mile story, ugly cars, my aunt had a two door station wagon, with the fake wood grain on the side, auto and a/c,pb/ps.

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  9. JamestownMike

    I’m not sure why a 10 year old 1975 Cosworth Vega with a 4 speed manual transmission and inline 4 cylinder 110 horsepower engine would be a bad choice for a 16 year old boy in 1985??…….I can see a V8 Camaro being a bad choice………or a Corvette being a REALLY bad choice for a 16 year old! I think the 4 speed manual (I call a “stick shift”) makes the driver pay more attention to driving (which something a 16 year old can really use help with)……..and everyone should know how to drive one! My Mom bought my sister her first car for high school graduation when she was 18 in 1979. My sister wanted something “cute”……..her first two picks (drum roll please)……..a Ford Pinto or AMC Gremlin. She settled on a used chocolate brown Ford Pinto with an inline 4 cylinder (like the Vega) and an automatic transmission……..which she managed to total shortly thereafter. I personally would of tried to get him into a full size 4 door sedan (aka TANK) until his driving skills were honed……..but most kids wouldn’t want that kind of car.

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  10. Jose

    Hey, Roger. What kind of kid turns down a gift from his dad? To paraphrase Rick, a “stooped” one as opposed to a stupid one. Been there, done that. Just wish my dad were still alive.

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  11. grant

    @ Rick maybe your neighbor kid didn’t take drivers education, but YOU are the one who can’t spell “stupid”… just sayin…with that said and in response to Jose, when I was 16 my dad offered me his 80 Pinto wagon before he traded it in. I turned him down. Wish he was still around to laugh about that with.

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  12. jimbosidecar

    The car is way overpriced. All my kinds got cars with a stick when they got their driver’s license. Mainly, I didn’t want their friends wanting to borrow their cars. Most of their friends couldn’t drive a standard. My youngest is getting his permit 3 month from now. And the only 4 wheeled vehicles I have are both automatics, a Ford F150 and a Ford F1 (1950), He’s been riding a motorcycle since he was 4, so I don’t think a standard tranny in a car or truck will give him any trouble.

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  13. blindmarc

    Too high a price for me, but the only Vegas I ever drove were V8’s.

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  14. james boyd

    My buddy Greg has aVega GT that his 18 yr old begs to drive,but it’s a tube chasis car,454 BBC/powerglide w/t Sonny Leonard heads,21.5×33 sportsman’s and 5″ exhaust. Oh and it’s street legal,but the 4500 stall makes it very friendly with every gas station it passes.

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  15. Grr

    @everyone – I think Rick was being ironic when he spelled ‘stupid’ as ‘stoopid’.

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  16. Phil Bates

    My dad bought one of these new. As a matter of fact, I remember it well. It was number 0037. It was never a even a good car. It would die at random. Injection system was the issue, and no one wanted to work on it. The best solution was to convert it to carburetors. It wasn’t fast. The pre-emissions specs looked good, but by the time they went into production, emmissions control strangled them. My dad won’t even talk about the car anymore, it was so bad. He gave it away for free, telling the guy that took it he could have the car and title if he promised to never bring it back. Granted it had some rust, and age issues. His last comment about it was that GM knew what a bad product they had made when they found rust on the aluminum bumpers in the showroom. I kind of liked the car, but the carb conversion might have helped, and having 0037 stamped in the dash, dad didn’t want to modify the car.

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    • Jason

      “having 0037 stamped in the dash, dad didn’t want to modify the car”

      And yet he gave it away for free?

      Like 0

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