Live Auctions

Buick 4.1 Swap: 1975 Chevy Vega Kingswood

This 1975 Chevrolet Vega Kingswood wagon is described as an 80% finished project that has just 40,000 original miles on the body. The drivetrain has been swapped out in favor of a 4.1L Buick V6 paired to a manual transmission and other upgrades have been made as well. While the 4.1 wasn’t necessarily a hot-rodders choice, it’s a significant step up in power for a Vega. The seller is asking just $2,975 for this unusual project which features a rear gate that opens to reveal a wide opening, perfect for swallowing parts hauls. Find it here on craigslist in Florida and thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat L. for the find.

The body appears to be in excellent condition, despite the thick coating of dust. The seller doesn’t reveal whether the low mileage has allowed the Vega to retain its original paint, but red is a great look regardless for a mildly hotted-up version of Chevrolet’s compact wagon. The Kingswood trim extended to the full range of wagons that Chevrolet offered, and the company touted the fact that the Vega’s tailgate lifted straight up as one piece for maximum room when loading bulky items. This example offers that same convenience with enhanced performance. Chrome bumpers look tidy.

Now, I am curious if the 4.1 swap is a go-to among Vega enthusiasts, as every enthusiasts’ group behind a certain model likes to explore different engine upgrades that boost power without dramatically escalating headaches. As the Vega was Chevy’s economy car option when new, performance was not necessarily a focus – but I have to admit that I’m disappointed the original 40,000 mile engine isn’t still with the Vega. In my opinion, a low-mileage example with its original engine and some subtle cosmetic upgrades is the way to go with a Vega, but the price here is still more than fair for a modified example.

No interior photos are offered, and if I had to guess, it’s because those pieces have been removed – do you see any headrests? The seller doesn’t mention whether the re-assembly of the cabin is part of that 20% he mentions as not being done, but if it is, that’s really not a huge deal. It does get slightly more complicated if you have to source the replacement parts yourself. Other upgrades made to this Vega wagon include 350/S10 gears with a locking rear end, disc brakes on all four corners, and a custom fuel cell. For the asking price, there seems like a huge dollar to fun ratio for the next owner – do you agree?

Comments

  1. Gary Pike

    Does it matter if he has the interior? Those Vega interiors were always kind of “meh”, not having one gives the owner a chance to do a better/more interesting job. The real killer in used ’70s vehicles are the Datsun 500-series truck dashes – every last one of them is cracked in 16 places, unless the previous owner did a custom job gluing shag carpeting on it, then it is cracked with faded crud on top. New old stock replacement or just build a new dash? I dunno….

    • Johnny

      How about the 90.s on up Dodges? They are the worse I have see. ,but its like all of it. Dodge make them as cheap as they can and sale them for high prices. I have a 2001 that I bought in 2002. I wished many times I had left it on the lot and instead put the money into my -78 broncos. ,BUT IT DONE AND SO FAR I have my dash together with Super Glue. The trick glueing it together is. Glue it early in the morning BEFORE the sun starts warming it and pulling the crack apart. My sisters broke apart in many places. I get up early in the morning and park mine in the shade (in the summer time) A friend of mine bought one of thes vegas new.Just like this one –only dark blue. Its in nice shape. Since his wife passed and he retired.He takes it to all these car shows. I don,t see many people looking at it. Makes a person feel sad –that he,ll set around and no one talks to him about it.

      Like 1
  2. Jack M.

    Nice price. If the Buick 4.1 can pull around a full sized Cadillac it should have no problems pulling this Vega around!
    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/blog.consumerguide.com/the-big-v-engine-of-desperate-times-remembering-the-buick-4-1-liter-v6/amp/

    Like 3
  3. Todd Fitch Staff

    Interesting! The 252 is (I believe) the biggest of that generation Buick V6 which is itself, 6/8th of a Buick 350. Kenne-Bell Buick built and drag-raced 252 cars back in the day and sold everything you’d need to pump out 300+ HP. It could be big fun with the Borg-Warner five-speed. Today, however, finding those parts might be a challenge. Nice find and write-up. Thanks, Jeff!

    Like 4
  4. Steve R

    It’s cheap, but doesn’t run and needs an indeterminate amount of time and money to get it on the road. The quality of the work is shown in the pictures is questionable. The asking price is is in the range of a 94 and up Mustang GT or early 90’s LT1 powered Camaro/Firebird, either of those would likely make a better choice in the long run.

    Steve R

    Like 2
    • Tony Primo

      It is definitely worth the extra trouble to stand out from the bellybutton cars that you mentioned. There is one running around my town with a hot V-8 painted like the Wonderbread funny car.

      Like 9
      • Steve R

        Fine if you are interested in standing out. That doesn’t interest me. I don’t like or go to car shows, even if I did, the quality of the work on display in the ad suggests you won’t get much respect. As for the bellybutton cars I mentioned, they aren’t particularly common anymore and would likely provide a far better driving experience for significantly less money than this car once it’s finished.

        Steve R

        Like 3
    • RTS

      Just what everyone doesn’t want! The 94 and up Mustang GT or the LT1 Camaro/Firebird! It’s not so much about wanting to stand out, but more like not wanting to be like everybody else.

      Like 11
  5. Gaspumpchas

    40,000 miles was a lot for a stock vega eng. This swap is interesting and I’d check the craftsmanship of the build. Not many of these left and there;s a reason for that. Chevy’s supercar. Good luck, could be a cool cruiser.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 3
  6. 8banger dave Member

    Get Rid of the Goofy Chevy S-10 wheels!

    Like 4
    • Moparman Member

      I happen to think that the S-10 wheels look good on this project…a nice, mildly agressive upgrade, from the same family; but as Sly Stone said “Different strokes for different folks!” :-)

      Like 14
      • Glenn Schwass Member

        I noticed the wheels too. I always liked them. I remember the dash’s rusting on these which was wild…could be fun if the 6 had any guts…

        Like 3
    • Little_Cars

      I was actually thinking Ford Explorer…but you’re right they’re from an S-10 or small Blazer. Not the greatest look on this car.

  7. Bob S

    I agree with GPS, after owning a few Vegas, 40k is a lot on the original 4 cylinder. I’ve always fantasized about putting in the 3800 from a late model (late 90s, early 00s) from a Camaro or Firebird, with a 5 speed manual. Would be bulletproof, an more than enough power to carry that wagon around. Price isn’t bad, but it’s unclear in the Craigslist ad if he ever got it running, and finishing someone else’s project can lead to a lot of headaches.

    Like 2
    • Johnny

      The BIG improvement on the v-6 in the 84 Buick Regal I had was gut the converter. It seemed like the power tripled and the gas mileage went to 31 mpg–with a automatic.

  8. jerry z

    Body is in good shape as seen in the pictures. Nice that it has the 5 lug conversion already.

    Like 6
  9. Troy s

    It’s intetesting, the use of a Buick V6, but I always get a kick out of hearing one of these running a small block chevy. One down the street from me now, primer grey hatch, V8 swap. Can be heard for several blocks.

    Like 3
  10. Miguel

    Since when is a Vega called a Kingswood?

    I remember they were called Kammback but not Kingsewood.

    Like 9
  11. Comet

    Nothing says “cobbled together” like sloppy wire runs and brake lines.

    Like 5
  12. Paul L Windish

    Back in the day, we got a new ’74 Vega Kammback with 4 cylinder and 4 speed. The car was fun to drive and it was big enough for a family with two small kids. The aluminum engines in the Vega had tons of problems, so its not surprising that a v-6 got swapped in. I’ve seen a regular Vega with a SBC in it. Wall to wall engine and I’m sure it had plenty of power.

    Like 1
  13. David G

    Vegas are cool little cars, like a mini-me version of the Camaro. Their engines, not so exciting or durable. I would do a 4.3 Chevrolet V-6 swap with a five speed manual from an S-10 truck. Still have plenty of room for factory A/C, and the stock drive train would not desintigrate. Handling would stay fairly good, as the engine weight is considerably less than the weight of a SBC.

    Like 2
  14. Lc

    These Vegas had the same front window as the Chevrolet Chevette. I used to own a 76 Chevette, and the window looks identical. Even that side door looks the s@me?

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