Bargain Rarity: 1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega

As I’m sure long-time Barn Finds readers know, owning a Cosworth Vega is on my bucket list. This one is remarkably inexpensive so far at a current high bid of only $647 without a reserve, but the issues it has may keep most folks away. On the other hand, that makes this car an opportunity for the fan that’s on a lower budget but has time to work through the issues. It’s located in Columbus, Ohio and is listed for sale here on eBay. Let’s delve a little bit into these very unusual cars!

At the time that Chevy first looked at producing the Cosworth Vega, it made all kinds of sense. There were industry movements (spurred largely by the rising popularity of German and Japanese imports) towards smaller cars, and at the same time, Americans had finally started discovering en masse that it was fun to go fast around corners as well as down straights. The newly introduced Vega, named car of the year by Motor Trend in 1971, seemed the perfect platform to produce a sporty version. It had the looks, and in its period black and gold livery it still does!

Although the lack of longevity of the small aluminum block base engine was the eventual downfall for the Vega, close behind were rusting issues that are seen on this car as well. By the time the teething problems with the Cosworth version were past and this car was produced, what started as a powerful engine developed for racing was down to 110 horsepower — not that much better than the 78 or 87 horsepower versions of the base engine. We’re told that this car has covered 123,000 miles and should be considered a project car. It is currently not running but does appear complete and as far as I can tell has all of the rare Cosworth trim items in place. New striping kits are available for once you’ve tackled the surface rust and peeling clear coat on the outside, and the good-looking factory wheels are still on the car.

While the interior looks dirty and I’m pretty sure you’ll want to replace the carpet, I was surprised at how complete and un-butchered it is. The special commemorative plaque is in place showing this is car #1412 of the 2,061 produced in 1975. I need to be careful here as if I’m not careful I will convince myself to place a bid!

Although many cars have been converted to twin side-draft carburetors by now (a prototype running on Webers was reported to have 170 horsepower) I think I’d keep the original fuel injection shown here, at least as a start. Someone else out there has to be fascinated by these factory hot rods like I am — won’t you outbid me? Let us know what you think in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

WANT ADS

WANTED 1973 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 my wife’s first car, red with red interior would be ideal, any locale Contact

WANTED 1984 -1985 Ford EXP Ideally rust free, solid running car w/ man. trans. Prefer ’84, ’85 Turbo model. Or 86 Contact

WANTED 1986 – 1987 Chevrolet El Camino SS or Choo Choo Mint low mileage car , prefer white Contact

WANTED 1968 Dodge Charger running or not Contact

WANTED 67-69 Chevrolet Camaro Looking for an affordable Camaro in need of resto. Something with a solid frame and cowl. Thanks. Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. PDXBryan

    Jamie
    I’m with ya! I’ve always liked Cos Vegas. I love the size and the way they look like mini Camaros. Even though the project basically failed, I always appreciated the fact that Chevy was trying to advance their technology. If I were to take on a Vega project, I think I’d put the engine on a display stand and drop in an Ecotec engine with a standalone harness. Easy 180-200hp and reliability. Leave the rest stock and you’d have an affordable, usable, vintage sleeper!

    Like 15
  2. Steve Gravelle

    I liked these back in the day. A miniCamaro with a racebred motor! Typically inept GM development killed it.

    Like 6
    • Poppapork

      This platform was very successful in Europe, produced till 1988 as Opel/vauxhall Manta B. Yes, performance DOHC version was available

      Like 2
  3. gbvette62

    I love Cosworth Vegas. I know I’ve mentioned this here before, but I ordered a Cosworth when they were first announced in the fall of 73. Production kept getting delayed, because of issues getting the Cosworth through Federal emission testing. In early 74, I was told they wouldn’t be building any 74 Cosworths. When Cosworth production finally began, my dealer offered me the first one they were getting, but by then I had bought a new Trans-Am. I still have the order form and the other paperwork they gave me on the Cosworth.

    I’ve looked at a few, and even driven a couple, and may grab one eventually. This one doesn’t look like a bad one, as project cars go, but I’m not interested in any more project cars. Also, I think I’d prefer a 76 with the 5 speed and 4:10 rear, instead of the 4 speed and 3:73 rear the 75’s have.

    Like 4
  4. Mr. Bond

    Do these have the same sleeveless silica aluminum block the regular Vega had?

    • Gary S.

      Yes they do,same block different pistons and cosworth head.

      Like 1
  5. b-rad jeepster

    For those who like vega cosworths there are two of them in Fond du lac WI for sale #s 1072 and 1925 on craigslist Milwaukee WI

    Like 5
  6. misterlou Member

    Jamie is doing for Vegas what BaT did for E28s

    Like 2
  7. Gary S.

    My Father-in-law has one we are working on now. A 75 model. Fixing rust spots and rebuilding drivetrain. Had the block sleeved so don’t have to worry about gaulding of pistons anymore.

    Like 3
  8. Andrew Franks

    Jamie, I’ve been tempted more than once to get a Cosworth first because of design and next because of the engine. And now I have no room.
    Thanks for this, and Happy Holidays to all Barn Finders.

    Like 2
  9. Tirefriar

    The beauty of the CV is under the hood. Therefore I’m not sure why anyone would get a CV just to have engine replaced by something else. I too have a soft spot for a CV and this would be a great place to start. Unfortunately no time and space precludes me from delving into this project. One day I hope to have one in my garage….

    Like 3
  10. Mark

    I’m a Vega fanatic. I have 4 Vega projects, 2 cosworths a 75 and a 76, and 2 GTs, again a 75 and 76. I’m hoping to have one completed this summer with a modified original 4 cylinder 4 speed. GM was ahead of the times with both the Cosworth and standard Vegas. Computer designed, sleeveless aluminum blocks, electronic fuel injection were all forerunners of today’s designs. While many malign the Vega for poor performance, reliability, and rust issues, truth be told, they were no worse than most cars in their class at the time. The oil consumption issues of earlier models were not a result of the sleeveless cylinders as many like to think, but was in fact an easy fix with new valve guide seals. Further, the rust issues were addressed when inner fender liners were added in the 2nd year of production. Blown head gaskets were no more common than in other cars of the era and by simply checking fluid levels regularly, the problem was avoided. Basic maintenance would keep a Vega running as long or longer than other cars in the 70s. You can’t deny the styling either, they’re one sharp little car and with their neutral steering would corner with the best of the European sports cars out there. While not a 6 figure Barrett-Jackson show car, I guarantee my uncut non-V8 Vega will garner more attention at a show than most of those trailer queens.

    Like 4
  11. Claudio

    Im gonna get attacked for this one !

    Find a cheap ls , clean it up and instal , drive with a smile …

    Like 1
    • Poppapork

      Yep let us know how the trans and diff hold up

      • claudio claudio

        I had a 75 or 76 monza with a 305 auto ,car was stock and never had a problem with it …even after I threw a rod ,burnouts with a knocking engine were hilarious ,it never died ,I ended up junking it cause it had no use for it after upgrading …so ,an ls with a used tranny would do ,when the diff goes ,you replace it with another used componenent,mustang third member would be sturdy

  12. Andrew

    Saw one on a trailer on Route 1 in southern Chester county in PA this afternoon

  13. One of Three

    I just bought a 75 Cosworth that was sold out of Columbus, OH in 2013. It runs, but I am replacing 40+ yo parts. Parts are available online. My car has a history of sitting in the weather for its first 38 years, but was brought back to life 6 years ago. It was sold in KY, then went to IL, then LA where it was repainted, then OH and finally the long trip out west to UT under its own power, ending up with only 10,250 original miles to date. So far the car looks like it will run for years more. NO RUST. I’ll be replacing the carpet in the next few months and adding 1/2″ foam carpet padding. Then I’ll move on to the AM/FM radio. The car does corner better than my 2 GT’s (1972&1977).

    Like 1
  14. Tommy H

    Well good day all you Barn Finds fans ! I just wanted to check in with you all and let you know I was the one who won this diamond in the rough Cosworth Vega car #1412. I bought this car sight unseen just going with my gut and the few pictures that was posted on eBay .
    Funny story I was just messing around one night on eBay going down memory lane from my high school days and thinking how cool it would be to find another 75 Vega GT like I once had in High School. Low and behold bam there it was this project car. I said to myself I must have this car . The bid was only up to 800 bucks so I threw a couple of bids at it and waited . Well I stopped at 1500 and said I wasn’t going to go any further but I couldn’t resist. I paid a fair amount for the car for what it was . I figured even if it was a total rot box I could sell the parts and make my money back . Well I won the bid called the seller and made arrangements to have it shipped to my home. I was expecting the worst and hoping for the best ! This morning at 830 am the transporter pulled up to my friends shop and to my amazement the car was as solid as a 45 year old Vega could be . The car had a repaint a long time ago and the clear is peeling on the upper surfaces. I guess they didn’t get the memo that those cars were single stage lacquer from the factory and clear was not OEM finish .
    The interior was all original and un-molested down to the AM Radio .
    The Cozi unfortunately does not run as I was told there is a problem with the fuel delivery. This does not scare me as I know the little secret of these cars that the secondary electric fuel pump in the tank is probably the culprit.
    Battery is as dead as a door nail but that’s is to be expected.
    I’m going to get a fresh battery, drop the tank , flush the lines and new filter , pump and fingers crossed she fires up . I promise to keep you all posted with pictures of the progress. My plans are to fully restore the Barn Find to a show winner in short order . In closing if anyone may have any history or information that may help me rewind the hands of time on this barn find please reply to this link .

    Like 2
  15. Mark

    Tommy, I’m actually the Northeas Regional Director for the Cosworth Club (CVOA) and can see if it’s registered. Shoot me an email at nizerm@yahoo.com and we can chat. Also I’d recommend joining the CVOA if you’re not a member yet. Only place to buy new parts and invaluable info through the club. Congrats on your purchase, looking forward to your progress.

    Mark

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.