Ex-Museum Car: 1975 Chevrolet Vega Cosworth

Update 2/12/20 – After not getting any takers at $8k, this Cosworth Vega has been relisted here on eBay with no reserve!

From 1/4/20 – This 1975 Chevy Vega Cosworth entered into a museum in the 1980s and just recently returned to private ownership. The seller notes it is one of the best-documented examples he has seen, and that the Cosworth is a low production example, being built in the first run of 500 cars. Today, it remains extremely well preserved with some pleasing modifications from stock, including a conversion to dual Weber sidedraft carburetors. Lots of other recent maintenance has been addressed, so it presents as essentially a turnkey example. Find it here on eBay with a Buy-It-Now of $7,950 and the option to submit a best offer.

I’ve had a hard time getting excited about the Cosworth Vega in the past, mainly because for what is considered a limited-production car, they sure do pop up for sale a lot. This one at least has the interesting story of being an ex-museum car (would love to see pictures of it as an exhibit) and some fun drivetrain modifications that should wake up the high-revving Cosworth engine. Of course, some will flinch at the removal of the original fuel injection system, but the seller emphasizes that every last original part is included if the next owner wants to revert back to stock. But why would you?

The interior is in excellent shape, with the driver’s seat benefiting from a new cover to replace the original that had split. The passenger seat appears to retain its original surfaces, which makes the seats appear mismatched, but it also confirms most of the seat time was limited to a sole occupant. The steering wheel, dash, and door panels all look to be in great condition, and the reported mileage of just over 45,000 may be original given the high state of preservation on display here. It’s rare to find a car that’s been driven and enjoyed while still having an interior that looks this good.

The engine bay sports that familiar Cosworth-branded valve cover, but the sidedrafts are obviously a bit jarring if you’re used to a traditional Vega setup. Last year, I converted my barn-find 1980 BMW 320 to sidedrafts and it’s one of my favorite modifications ever; I don’t think I will ever return to the stock downdraft carb, originality police be damned. This Vega Cosworth is right in the sweet spot of being a nicely preserved example with the low production numbers working in favor of its value proposition, while the sidedraft conversion undoubtedly makes it way more enjoyable to drive – yet it’s still reversible if originality is your thing.

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Comments

  1. RCinphill RCinphill Member

    Good car at a decent price. I had a nearly identically optioned Cosworth about 20 years ago. It had about 20k miles when I sold it and it also had the Hutton Weber kit on it. Mine had size 42 Webers that basically spit raw fuel out the exhaust under 4k rpm but was a blast to drive above that. Wouldn’t pass smog in Cali so I sent the title to my dad in Michigan and he sent me plates and a registration. Drove it for a little while and then sent it to him to store for me and we eventually sold it back there.

    This one is a little crusty in a few spots underneath but if it was closer to me I would seriously consider buying it.

    7
  2. Ryan Hilkemann

    Pretty nice, can see why it was in a museum. Clean and pristine.

    3
  3. Dan

    I love these because they are forever an underdog and look great with those cosworth stripes.

    3
  4. Tirefriar

    Not sure but something feels off. The inside of the hood looks like it was repaired, is the radiator shroud missing? I don’t know if this was an optional steering wheel but I prefer the OE 4 spoke wheel.

    On the driver’s side, the paint between the door and quarter panel appears to differ in tone/ polish… I know these are not precision built but…

    4
    • Air Cowboy

      Feel free the call me or ask for more pictures if you’d like something specific. I welcome a better eye than myself and am always open to critique. Correct on the steering wheel, but yes, a new aluminum radiator adorns the engine bay as well. I believe we still have both original parts.
      Best regards,
      PJ

      3
  5. Larry Collins

    Are you sure the owner didn’t write this story? I have a 76 Cosworth Vega and trust me, this thing for sale here has been ridden hard and put up wet. I can see a LOT wrong with this car. At least he’s not asking too much for it.

    5
  6. Larry Collins

    I went back for a second look and I have to take back what I said above… I think he IS asking too much for it.

    4
  7. frozenbird

    For a so called previous “museum piece” it’s a pretty crusty car under the hood and on the undercarriage

    2
  8. jimmy the orphan

    I wonder what museum this rig was in or maybe the term museum means some thing different to me than others. Later……………………JIMMY.

    2
  9. John Oliveri

    Mud creek museum maybe, low tide museum, Sea World? Crusty underneath, engine compartment, original radio gone, dash cut, pretty desperate museum, nice car for the price, but abstain mention of museum history at all car events, or crowd will begin to chuckle

    1
  10. John

    A Vega Cosworth in a museum! Ha!
    Museum of crappy cars? Museum of cars built by disgruntled hippies?

    2
  11. Easy Money

    The Socastee zoo near Myrtle Beach S.C. had a “car’ museum in a barn with a crappy concrete floor…maybe this was there?? Given that Vegas began rusting on the showroom floor it’s not in bad shape underneath but I would have thought they would at least have the factory steering wheel and gas cap! I just see a $3500 pos that would be a blast to cruise around in.

    1
  12. Bob McK Member

    BEWARE of museum cars! They usually are pretty, but they are not usually mechanically maintained.

    5
  13. Superdessucke

    My God. Did every single one of these things survive until 2020? From e-bay and this website, I certainly believe that is a possibility. I understand that they probably sat on their respective new car lots for a long, long time (possibly years) but that’s still pretty impressive given the propensity of the Vega to dissolve like Tang if exposed to any kind of inclement weather.

    2
    • AMCFAN

      Yeah I think somehow they did. They cost about as much as a Corvette and only about 30 hp over a standard Vega engine. What a deal.

      I have seen quite a few. None seem to still run. One a guy was begging $750 original window sticker and all.

      GM had planned 5000 but only 3700 and change were made. The left over DOHC engines were scrapped. If they only had the Quad 4. Wow instant super car.

      Really amazing to think that GM moved ahead with the Cosworth project at all due to the ruined reputation of the Vega. No one said hey remember the Corvair? They did the exact thing with the Fiero.

      1
      • John Oliveri

        GM, famous for, the Cadillac 8/6/4, the Northstar, the Oldsmobile Diesel, the Corvette w crossfire, the Oldsmobile 307/403, all Junk, proven track record, that’s why America drives Toyota now

        2
  14. Air Cowboy

    Feel free the call me or ask for more pictures if you’d like something specific. I welcome a better eye than myself and am always open to critique. Correct on the steering wheel, but yes, a new aluminum radiator adorns the engine bay as well. I believe we still have both original parts.(radiator and shroud) I didn’t think it necessary to repaint the bottom of the car and prefer the surface rust over new cover up paint. My own preference, maybe on the next one. The museum was in Illinois. Just passed that along with the car.
    Best regards,
    PJ

    1
  15. Bear

    The ORIGINAL Cosworth Vega concept would have been a game changer!!
    But the US smog regs required that they lower the planned compression ratio SIGNIFICANTLY + added on all kinds of smog equip that robbed the engine of any remaining power.
    For the mid-70’s it was still a pretty impressive car.
    BUT it could have been incredible IF it had been allowed to run in the concept’s original “European trim’.

    “wudda, cudda, shudda…..” :-(

    3
    • Gary S.

      I agree i read up on the history and this motor originally had around 200hp before EPA got their mitts in it. Too bad…

      2
      • AMCFAN

        Not sure you guys understand. The EPA didn’t sink the glorified Vega. For a manufacturer to sell anything in the United States it has to pass emissions. Thankfully the EPA knows we and future generations have to breathe. Thank you EPA for looking out for us.

        It may have started with a good idea but GM’s lax of development to compensate the EPA restrictions isn’t the governments fault. You also can’t take a race bread engine and make it compliant without any work. Another one of GM’s half ass attempts. You also don’t leak incorrect information to the public months before you release a vehicle. But GM still does it today. Look at all the hype over the rear engine Corvette, The fantastic American car that is 20 years past due. Now they are advertising electric trucks? How will this turn out? A Tesla Truck? A GM electric? It will cost too much. Won’t sell. Have problems/recalls and will quietly be dropped. Leaving the owners hanging with another worthless POS.

        GM did a great job on their own on to sink the Cosworth. You can’t expect the public to be duped by GM by trying to make an exotic limited edition in a few colors with another all brand new motor and ask double the price over a standard Vega. Many who bought them thought they were a collectors item and sure to retire off the capitol gains. That is why many survive and still look nice. The people who tried to drive them suffered the most. When they quit running they were done. This is the 1970’s era of everyone collecting everything from antiques, figurines. Remember those collector plates? It’s nice to understand history so we do not repeat the same mistakes.

        1
  16. djjerme

    Have a buddy who is a huge Vega fan, even had one of these. They are pretty cool little cars. Though I wondered if you could shave the head/block down some to get compression back up, remove the smog garbage, and maybe get it close to the HP output that they got on the race motors.

  17. 370zpp

    A good friend way back in the seventies was so taken with the Cosworth Vega, he took his own well worn standard Vega, added a $100 black paint job, located the Cosworth decals/badging along with a set of “mags” and made himself a Cosworth clone. Unfortunately, nobody noticed.

  18. Del

    Too much input here.

    Just give the seller his money.

    Its not that much and it is pretty good.

  19. Stan Marks

    You can fix up a turd, it’s still a Vega.
    YUK!!!!

    • Ike Onick

      Hey! I knew your cousin “Skid” !

      • Stan

        He was my
        uncle.

        1
  20. Frank Sumatra

    I see a lot of these on BF and this is my first comment/question

    What makes these attractive to a buyer? rarity? performance? I fail to see the reason to purchase one, apart from people can do what ever they want with their money and it is none of my business.

    • Tirefriar

      Frank, I think it’s a mixture of several things. I’ve owned a ‘74 Vega GT back in the day. I owned much better cars before and after. Doubtful I would even consider a Cossie off the showroom floor as given how close it was in price to the Vette, and with higher MSRP than a slew of much better rides (although mid-70’s wasn’t exactly the best era for domestic sport cars).

      Mechanically mine was a bastard, converted from stick to auto and still had a dead clutch pedal dangling. With exception of tires the rest of the car was mint. I liked the shape of the Vega, it had good ergos.

      What is appealing to me is the entire history of how the Cossie came to be, it’s engine and the overall view under the hood, the color black with gold accents, machine turned dash a la Trans Am… Many enthusiasts from older generations still have a soft spot for CV because they knew this car back from their youth days, with its positives and negatives. Younger gen enthusiasts like them because they like what they see and may not know the negatives…

      My daily driver is a Saleen but I would really like to have a CV for those Weekend drives through the canyons and along the PCH. Unfortunately my garage space is all taken by the Saleen and my bikes. CV is close to the top of my bucket list, perhaps when my situation will allow it….

      2
  21. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Very confusing EBay ad, this one.

    It’s been relisted again, after being sold for $6888 and non-paying buyer.
    There is now a Reserve again, yet the ad says there isn’t.

    • Tirefriar

      Quite possible some shill bidding is going on. I was going back and forth on this one but now would definitely pass without a physical. That was my original hunch after seeing the listing and photos for the first time…

  22. Air Cowboy

    You sir are incorrect. Twd **77 had the high bid on the car and could not come up with the funds. I thought it odd when he has a 4617 positive paying myself. . 2nd person didn’t respond to a second chance offer in 24 hours, so I relisted it. The third person on the original listing has the highest bid at $5900 now. If you have any questions feel free to ask.. eBay did the relisting and they are the one who put the reserve on the car as they used the initial listing to relist
    Best regards,
    PJ

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      You should remove this from the auction:

      “This is a no reserve auction. Car will be sold. ”

      Probably left there from the non-payer auction.

  23. Air Cowboy

    Already have an offer that exceeds highest current bid. eBay lowered the reserve to the next bid. They relisted it as it didn’t sell. You’re right, the car will sell. That’s the best they could do without me paying another $117.00 to relist. it is what it is..

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