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Worth The Work? 1976 Cosworth Vega

1976 Cosworth Vega

The seller of this Cosworth Vega seems to overestimate the amount of restoration work it appears the car will need. Sure, you could do a full restoration, but it doesn’t look to be necessary. It was found in a barn in the high desert, which one, we don’t know. However, I don’t see any rust that would cause concern, just lots of oxidized paint. I’m not sure, but you might be able to polish the paint back to a shine! The seller has already collected some of the needed parts to fix it back up, so this could turn out to be a great project! Find it here on eBay in Mooresville, North Carolina with an opening bid of $1,500.

1976 Cosworth Engine

The Cosworth Vega is a rather unique vehicle, as it has a Cosworth tuned 2.0 liter engine. Prior to making it street legal and capable of passing emission standards, this engine was being used in Chevron and Lola race cars with around 260 horsepower, but once the engine was tuned for street use in the Vega power was down to just 110 hp. It offered only marginally more power than the standard Vega engine, although it is significantly lighter and far more rev happy. The first prototype reportedly produced 170 horsepower, which would have given the car the perfect balance between handling and power. The seller doesn’t offer any information about the current condition of this car’s engine, but states that it’s the original. They also have a spare engine that is included. Hopefully, that doesn’t mean the original engine is beyond repair, but we don’t know.

1976 Cosworth Vega Seats

There aren’t any photos of the interior provided, but from what can be seen from the outside of the car there appears to be missing pieces and the white vinyl seats don’t look to be in very good shape. The seller is including a set of black vinyl front seats that look to be in decent shape. Apparently the rest of the black interior is here and included as well, so as long as your alright with switching interior colors, you’ll already have all the pieces to fix the interior up. I’m guessing the interior came out of the same donor car that the engine came from.

1976 Cosworth Vega Project

Response towards the Cosworth Vega here on Barn Finds always seems to be a mixed bag. Some people are extremely fond of these cars, while others could care less for them. I can actually understand both standpoints. They are actually very well handling cars, but not the rocket ships that many Chevy fans expect. Of course, it still is based on the Vega, a car built to compete on fuel efficiency, not all out performance. If this one turns out to be as rust free as it appears, it could actually turn out to be a great project. So do you think this Cosworth will be an easy on to bring back to life? And in the end, is it worth the work?


  1. Avatar photo Stephen

    I remember that these were among the most interesting cars of that era. Wonder if there are some tweaks that will wake up that engine?

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    • Avatar photo George Member


      Engine was an expensive complicated dog, because GM cheaped out on it like every other aspect of the Vega.

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  2. Avatar photo Vince Habel

    After 3500 RPM these came alive. They were much more powerful than the regular Vega at that point. Sill they were not worth the cost new. I was selling them at that time.

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  3. Avatar photo Joe

    Not sure what these are worth but came across this one a couple of weeks ago and it also looks like a barn find Cosworth Vega.


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  4. Avatar photo p

    I recall an ad for this car back in the day…

    “One Vega for the price of two.”

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  5. Avatar photo Rando

    In 1985,I had a regular 73 GT that looked as good as this one. HOWEVER, it was FULL of body filler – rusted all the way through. So look closely and take a magnet along to check the body completely. Still, might be a good/fun car to have.

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  6. Avatar photo Rick

    The main challenge of selling Vegas back in the day was getting them out of the showroom before the front fenders rusted off.

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  7. Avatar photo mark

    Well worth the opening bid.

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  8. Avatar photo dave

    I have had about a dozen Vegas and Pontiac Astros in the 80s living in Detroit. I didn’t have rust issues because I kept them clean.

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    • Avatar photo George Member

      Most Vegas were rusting before they arrived at the dealers. It had nothing to do with keeping them “clean.”

      My front and rear windows had to be removed and replaced within six months because of rusting around the frames


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  9. Avatar photo randy

    I agree mark, and I am sure you could put some racing parts back on the detuned engine and have a peppy little sleeper.

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  10. Avatar photo sir mike

    Keith Duckworth and Mike Costin must be laughing from the great beyond…

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  11. Avatar photo Pete Koehler

    By the 1976 model year many of the earlier Vega faults had been corrected. It was too little too late and the next (best) year was the last year for the Vega family. Even the addition of a 50k mile warranty on the engine wasn’t enough to save it. I had the enviable job of working as a Chevrolet Wholesale Service Rep toward the end of the Vega years. They even made me the Cosworth “Expert” for the local Chicago Zone. Must have worked on every Cosworth in the area. Twice…

    I think another stumbling block to the success of the Cosworth Vega was the asking price. For just a few dollars more a month you could be cruising in style in your new 350 V8 Corvette. Let’s see; a Vega or a Vette. What would you have done???

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    • Avatar photo randy

      Chevette? Sorry, I could not resist.

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  12. Avatar photo piper62j

    That engine puts fear into my mind.. How would you know what to do with it??

    The car should be worth while if you know what your’e doing and have a handle on the mechanics.. Body looks fair and I agree that a little wet sand & buff might bring the finish back..

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  13. Avatar photo p

    Duckworth passed.
    Costin is 86.

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  14. Avatar photo dj

    I think if you really wanted one of these is to find a running example that won’t cost a lot more than that. Meaning by the time you attempt to fix the engine, do the work and get it road ready, you can buy one cheaper.

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  15. Avatar photo HeadMaster1

    Great Little cars and the engine can easily be woke up with a set of high compression pistons and dual webbers….Just find a rust free one, if possible…

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  16. Avatar photo chad

    True MR.HM,
    rear end gears, machine the head, peppier carbs’n cams, extractors…

    Like 0

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