35k Mile 1976 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega

I am always surprised by how many of Cosworth Vegas have survived. This 1976 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega is located in Arlington, Texas. It is listed with a Buy It Now Price of $13,500 here on eBay. The seller has included the option for a buyer to make an offer. There are 13 days remaining in the auction. The seller claims that this car has only traveled 35,143 miles in its lifetime. Chevrolet produced 3,508 examples of the Cosworth Vega over two years. This black and gold example looks to be in excellent condition.

The Cosworth Vega cost almost twice the cost of a base Cosworth and was almost as much as a new Corvette in 1976. The interior on the Cosworth Vega is not much different than that the standard Vega which included bucket seats and a Camaro rally steering wheel. This car boasts a 5-speed manual transmission and a 4.10 geared positraction rear end.

I remember when the Cosworth Vega was brought to market and there was a lot of hype in car magazines about its all-aluminum, dual overhead cam inline four-cylinder engine. The early prototype was said to produce 170 horsepower and breathed through dual Weber carburetors. That would be good power for a 2,800 lb car. However, by the time the car made it to the market, the fuel-injected Cosworth was rated at 110 horsepower from the factory. Chevrolet built 1,447 of the 3,508 production run in 1976. This car is numbered as #3,470 so it was later in the run. I think it is safe to say that it was a limited production specialty vehicle that started out as a great idea but the final product ended up having a lot of compromises.

This car looks stock except for the traction bars under the rear springs. I am not sure why this car would need that with 122 horsepower but to each his own. My brother owns one of these cars and just loves it. I wish the photography was better but the car looks nice and probably has a few dings. I hope it finds a new home with someone that drives it and enjoys it.

Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Bruce,

    Your brother’s must be the only one NOT for sale.

    Like 6
  2. alphasud Member

    I think back in the day people thought they would be a future collectible so many were squirreled away. I remember people talking about them in the early 80’s as something special. I also imagine they were hard to move and many languished on dealer lots and were sold at discount. Maybe someone can give comment on that. I wish they didn’t have the ugly bumpers. Really spoils the lines of the car.

    Like 6
    • Steve Clinton

      True of every car of that era, thanks to our ‘big brother’ government.

      Like 3
    • Lynn Dockey Member

      I know of one that was traded to a mopar dealership and they had no clue as to what it was and sold it as a regular Vega.

      • Steve Clinton

        Ignorance was bliss…for the buyer.

        Like 3
    • JCA Member

      My brother also had one back in the 80’s and I was not impressed with it all all. Just not a fun car to drive. I liked my beater 83 GTI much better. Now that everyday GTI with 35k miles would be worth twice what this numbered collector cars value is. They say you should buy and hold the cars you like. That’s more important than holding on to a future collectable just because it’s rare and numbered.

      Like 2
  3. Steve Clinton

    Nice car, nice condition, nice price!

    Like 3
  4. Matthew Hafer

    I owned one when I was young. 45 years ago, loved the car then and love them now.
    The traction bars are there because when you would give it a decent amount of gas and dump the clutch they would wheel hop so bad it was unreal. I had a set on mine too plus I think they’re cool looking.
    The prices on them now make them ridiculous expensive for what they are bit if I had the money this one would be the one to buy.

    Like 8
  5. Edward

    It was a great idea. High power. Great handling. Unfortunately, GM bean counters made it not so high powered and not much better handling. Oh, . . . what could have been!

    Like 2
    • Eric B

      Don’t blame the accountants. All they do is crunch the numbers and say “If you produce it for $X and you sell it for $Y, you will make $Z profit.” Accountants don’t control the cost or the sales price. That would be the COO and the CMO and ultimately the CEO. Hard for a CEO to explain to his BOD that he knowingly built thousands of cars that he knew were going to loose money from the beginning. This is a car that was an interesting prototype, that they never should have put into production since it had such limiting compromises.

      Like 1
  6. Lynn Dockey Member

    I think a problem developed with the durability of the engine, it couldn’t pass the 50,000 mile emission tests. Chevy had to lower the compression and that lowered the horsepower

    Like 1
  7. Bmac777

    The biggest problem with the Vega’s was the all aluminum engines.
    Sure, race cars have them and they work fine, but they also are constantly maintained by professional mechanics and have heavy duty cooling systems.
    They weren’t able to handle years( in some cases months?) of everyday driving by people that never lifted the hood and sat in traffic for a couple hours everyday in 95 degree heat.
    I remember when Cadillac came out with the 4100 and thought , didn’t they learn anything from the Vega? Same problem.
    The first time the “engine hot” light came on , that was it. Even if you were lucky and didn’t kill it then, the damage was done, it ran a little different and progressively got worse until finally it wouldn’t run anymore.

    Like 3
    • alphasud Member

      Sure GM had their issues with the Vega and Northstar engines but that statement can’t be applied to all cars. Porsche and Audi got it right as well as others. Back in 77 with the new 928 they were using all alloy with special bore etching. One of the most robust designs so aluminum can and does work. Naturally aluminum moves more so if you run the engine out of coolant major damage. Unfortunately most modern engines are very unforgiving to that type of abuse.

      • Charles Sawka

        Rolls Royce/Bentley V8’s were always aluminum, damn things seem to run forever.

      • Bmac777

        Very true,
        I should have added the foreign aluminum engines to the race cars, But it does show that it could be done and that GM just didn’t do it right.
        BTW the 4100 is not and is no where near a Northstar

    • D

      The problem wasn’t the all aluminum engine, it was the iron head and aluminum block engine, the components would heat and expand at dramatically different rates causing warping and cooling problems

  8. JoeBob

    A lot of motorcycles have all aluminum engines that seem to work well.

    • Bmac777

      If you really look into it , you will find a few “subtle” differences between a motorcycle and a car.

  9. Phil

    My father bought one of these new in 1975. His was number 0037 out of production. It was plagued with problems. The somewhat local (50 miles away) only mechanic in the area that would touch it said – remove that injection system and put on Weber carbs, and everything will be fine. But it was number 0037, and there was insistence to keep original. Over time, it rusted, and the equipment from GM for testing and diagnosis became unavailable even to the few GM shops that would work on it. Ultimately my father told someone here is the title take it away and I never wan to see it again. I used to joke with my father about the car, but it was clearly not funny to him anymore. He used to say they knew they had problems with the Cosworth Vega when the aluminum bumpers were rusting on the lot.

    Like 2
  10. JoeNYWF64

    Sitting a bit too high. Guess you can fit bigger wheels now.
    Too many wrinkles in passenger bucket seat?

  11. John

    AIR injection pipes are missing: How many miles?

  12. John

    Oh no, another one. These things are a plague on BF lately. Crap cars built by disgruntled hippies, featuring disposable engines.
    Please stop!

    Like 1
    • Steve Clinton

      John, You must have seen the Chevy bus with the Dodge van stuck on top. LOL

      • John

        Uh, thanks Steve, I hadn’t til now. Interesting shed that someone attached to the back of it!

        Like 1
  13. John

    Steve Clinton- no, I haven’t learned anything from hippie lib either!

    Like 1
    • Steve Clinton

      lol!

      • John

        🤡

        Like 1
  14. D

    The problem wasn’t the all aluminum engine, it was the iron head and aluminum block engine, the components would heat and expand at dramatically different rates causing warping and cooling problems

    • Steve Clinton

      I wonder why GM engineers couldn’t figure that out.

  15. Chas

    Took one for a ride , underpowered junk , I think the regular vega had just as much power

    • Lynn Dockey Member

      The cosworth certainly wasn’t worth the 1 Vega for the price of 2 ad that Chevy used to have. They should have doubled the horses if that was the case.

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