91 Original Miles! 1976 Cosworth Vega Survivor

As a museum piece survivor, this 91 original mile (and do you believe the claim?) 1976 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega must be one of the ultimate examples of this rare and controversial (at least in our comment sections) car. It’s now located in Orlando, Florida and is listed for sale here on eBay, with a classified ad price of $35,000 but offers are welcomed.

Apart from the large bumpers, I’ve admired the later Vega styling for a long time. The Cosworths even look better with the great wheels and classy pinstriping. Yes, I know you don’t all like these 1970s Chevys, but you can at least admire the pristine condition of this one.

For these later models, the hatchbacks made them that much more useful. As you might expect, the weather stripping still looks great as well. The car must have been stored properly. I had to chuckle, though, when I looked closely near the ID plate in this picture, you can see a spot of surface rust. Yes, under it all it’s still a Vega!

Here’s that twin overhead cam version of the Vega engine, complete with fuel injection in this case. They don’t come more original than this–the tires are even vintage 1976, and still look great after over 40 years of holding air! My problem with a museum case like this is that I like to drive my collector cars, not just look at them, and you will quickly lower the value of this one if you drive it. I’d be better off for myself if I were to find a nicely taken care of car rather than this piece. I’m curious–I’m sure some of you readers have low-mileage survivor cars–what is your attitude towards driving them or not? I’ve only been in that situation once in my life, and I chose to drive the heck out of the car (had something to do with it being my only transportation as well–the only way I could afford to own it) and don’t regret the decision at all. Let us know how you feel about this issue in the comments–and would you like this Cosworth?

 

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Comments

  1. Andy

    How does a car get 91 miles in 40 years? I have to say, the Vega wasn’t a bad looking car, and I’m not a fan of most of what GM did in that period. It’s really a shame they were such junk. If I were going to drive it, I’d definitely want one with at least 30-40,000 miles on it. This one is so low mile that probably nothing that made them so unreliable has been addressed. And as soon as you start making it reliable, it’s not original anymore.

    • Pablo

      I put 91,000 miles on my Cosworth. Went through two clutch cables and scheduled maintenance during my ownership. Still looked almost new, and had great engine compression when I sold it.

  2. half cab

    A friend had a V3ga back in the late 70’s and never had any trouble out of it. Kept goin n goin n goin 🚶

  3. DrinkinGasoline

    I’m more a fan of the earlier “flat-nosed” Vega as well as the early Pinto over the “slant-nosed”, later models (If one was to be a fan of either). That said, these are kinda cool little cars. At the supposed mileage listed, a fine tooth comb would be in order.
    If I were to purchase a Vega, it would be something like the above.

    • cyclemikey

      I second that, Drinkin. The early Camaro-like front end was much more appealing to me. That blue one you pictured is just about perfect.

      I suppose at some point even non-Cosworth stock Vegas will appreciate as collector pieces. There are almost none left, and haven’t been for years, as a result of the rust and engine issues. The few remaining nice ones are becoming rare as hens teeth.

  4. Luki

    Chocolate teapot.

  5. Dolphin Member

    Hard to take that 91 mile claim at face value without some documentation and a closeup shot of the ODO. Like Andy said, it’s just too hard to get why a performance car like this has only 91 miles after 4 decades.

    Anyway, these look really good, they handle terrific for a ’70s econo car, and they have the touch of the hand of Cosworth Engineering. But when I drove one back when they were new the N-V-H was way off the high end of the scale, so I could never own one.

    A girlfriend who had the Pontiac version of the regular Vega, an Astra, had all kinds of trouble with hers. Bought new but the dealer couldn’t get it to stop leaking rain around the windshield….and this was the Pacific NW, so that was a big problem.

    I can’t see anyone who has ever driven one buying a Cosworth version and keeping it under wraps without even getting some transportation out of it for 40+ years, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

    But a $35K payout now? I doubt it.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      I get what you are saying but, if I could offer one of many possible explanations…When I discharged from the service after 20 years,I went to work for a local Buick dealer as a Parts Manager. The dealer principal was the son of the original owner, circa 1932. He had a separate building with no less than 30 Buicks ranging from 1932 to 1985 that ALL had under 50 miles on their odometers ! He had on payroll, a BMD ASE Certified Technician that did nothing but maintain those vehicles ! So from first hand experience…..stranger things do happen. :)

      • Texas Tea

        DrinkinGasoline, I always enjoy seeing your comments. You have been around the block a few times, and your knowledge shows it.

        I’ve been around the block maybe once compared to you. I do know what A.S.E. certified is ( I was seven out of eight A.S.E. certifications), but what is BMD?

        Thank you for your Military Service Sir…………….

      • RJ

        Buick Motor Division

      • DrinkinGasoline

        Thank You for the compliment and confidence Texas Tea :)
        And You are more than welcome for the service as it was my honor to serve the people of this great nation.

  6. Dutch 1960

    The black with gold trim works on this car, but the Pontiac posted just below “owns” the look in a big, bold way. If you go in for that sort of thing, go all-in. Same with the interior and the engine room.

    This one has the “never seen in the wild” thing going for it, but it also doesn’t really have the performance chops of, say, the Lotus Cortina, or even the Datsun 510, which built great reputations at the racetrack.

  7. jwinters

    35 Grand for a vega.. what has the world come to. Pretty soon pigs will be flying and hell is going to freeze!

    • Tim Rusling

      Pink Floyd and Hell, Michigan about now.

  8. SFM5S

    Wow…for $35K you could buy one of the many 1978 Silver Anniversary Corvettes that were stashed away with the plastic seat covers and window stickers still intact.

  9. sparkster

    Found another like this one with 13,000 miles on craigslist San Francisco for less than half the price

  10. gbvette62

    I ordered a Cosworth in 74, when they were first announced. After waiting months for it, I got a call from the dealer saying that they had been notified by GM, that the Cosworth had been cancelled due to issues getting it through the Federal emission process. I got my deposit back, and bought a 74 Trans Am.

    Around June 75, my Chevy dealer called saying that “my” Cosworth had come in, if I was still interested in it. I did go drive it and was quite impressed, but I then I had gotten a job where I was given a company car, and had no need for the Cosworth.

    As far as a Cosworth verses a 78 Silver Anniversary Corvette, I’ll take the Cosworth over the Corvette any day. Chevrolet made 15,000 78 Silver Anniversarys, and another 6,500 78 Pace Cars, while only building a total of 3,500 Cosworths in 75 and 76. The Cosworth easily equaled the Corvette’s mid 7 second 0-60 times, and is much rarer. I’ll take a Cosworth over a 78 Corvette, any day of the week, and I’m a Corvette owner, collector and enthusiastic.!

    For years, I’ve kicked myself for not buying that Cosworth. I still have all the paperwork, and information about the Cosworth, that the dealer gave me.

    • Pablo

      No disrespect to Corvettes, but at the time, I never encountered another car made in the USA that could out-perform the Cosworth on reasonably smooth, tight mountain roads in the 30-55 mph range. At least that was the way I justified paying almost the same price as a Corvette at the time. But it was true.

  11. sparkster

    gbvette62 , don’t leave us hanging . . . . what happen to the 74 Trans Am ? Color ? options ? Do you miss it ? Still own it ?

    • gbvette62

      The TA is long gone. It was Admiralty Blue (dark blue), with the standard black vinyl interior, 400, and a 4 speed. It was a pretty basic TA, with only 5 options: white lettered radials, the hood bird decal, bright drip gutter trim, tilt column and an AM/FM stereo (PS and PB were standard). It didn’t have AC or a console….just a black carpeted tunnel and a Hurst shifter, in a black rubber boot.

      I put Appliance Wire Mags on it, recurved the distributor, blue printed the Q-Jet, removed the block off plate from the shaker scoop and added a set of H.O. Performance high ratio rockers. With those few mods and on 70 series radials, the car ran mid to high 13’s.

      In May 1975, I got a job where they gave me a company car (a loaded, cream colored, 350 2V, Nova LN 4 door with bucket seats). A friend of mine who was a wholesaler, sold the TA for me. About a month later, my TA turned up on a local Pontiac dealer’s used car lot. A little over a year later, I again found it on a dealer’s lot, but this time it was at Paul Olds in Warminster PA. Paul Olds specialized in used muscle cars, and was associated with Hurst Performance, as they were right across the street from Hurst’s headquarters on Street Road in Warminster.

      A few years later I worked along one of the main roads to the South Jersey shore towns. Every Friday evening in the summer, I’d see a blue 74 TA, with Wire Mags and PA tags, heading toward the shore. I knew it was my old TA, because there were very few Admiralty Blue ones (most were either red or white), and even fewer with Wire Mags.

  12. Vegaman_Dan

    20-25k max if it is in showroom prime condition.

    I never liked the grill or taillights of the 76-77 models. I really liked the slotted tail lights of the Pontiac Astre.

  13. steve

    For some reason when I see a Cosworth Vega for sale, I want to buy it and build the engine the way it should have been.

  14. Ralph Terhune

    91 miles or not, this car is way overpriced by 20K.

    • Jesse Staff

      Actually these are on their way up Ralph. A nice one recently sold at auction for around $25k, so this one might be priced high, but not as much as many of you think. These are underappreciated right now, but don’t be surprised if they skyrocket in value over the next few years.

  15. tom buhrke

    I bought a Vega, with Gt stuff but ordered no emblems on it. Plain inside. Gt engine and suspension. I beat the heck out of that car and raced it at track… No problems with car. I most have been one of a few that had a Great one. I should have never sold it. No leaks, no overheating a great little car!

  16. George B Member

    POS Vega with a complicated engine that failed to live up to its hype or development costs Double the price of a standard Vega with 10 more horses?

    Cars that were unloved commercial flops seldom “skyrocket” in value.

    How many surplus Cosworth engines were thrown away unused when the program was canceled???

  17. landt

    Author Jamie said “My problem with a museum case like this is that I like to drive my collector cars, not just look at them, and you will quickly lower the value of this one if you drive it.”

    Agreed! For me, there’s little extra value in a car whose value is tied up in super low miles. I’m reminded of the Ford GT40s coming to market with 300 miles on them. If I bought one, I’d want to drive it, but each additional mile depreciates the car maybe $100? That’s a heck of a weekend jaunt!

    There are cars, and there are museum pieces.

  18. Larry

    I worked at a Chevrolet dealer when these cars were delivered. NO bottom end, however once over 5500 RPM they came alive. Unfortunately, at the end of the day it’s still a Vega. 35K, I think not.

  19. David Miraglia

    high priced Rustoleum. Never liked the Vegas.

  20. Loco Mikado

    Must be the water in Florida.

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