EXCLUSIVE: Our 1976 Cosworth Vega Project!

UPDATE: The Vega has sold and will be headed to Massachusetts. Thanks Paul!

Here’s another one from my personal collection. We found this cool Cosworth on our local craigslist. It had been parked for a while, but I just had to drag it home! It had been in the same family for decades so it was hard for the seller to say goodbye. His father loved this car and there’s a thick folder full of receipts and Cosworth club newsletters to prove it. These are rare cars and this one has a nice option list so it’s definitely worth restoring. It’s located in Boise, Idaho and I’m asking $3,500. Please use the contact form below if interested.

The Cosworth Vega came out in ’75 and black over black was the only color scheme offered. In ’76 they added a few other paint and upholstery options though. This particular car came in a gold hue with this wild patterned interior. There were only a handful sprayed this color and few of those came with the extra-cost cloth seats. Cosworths received a unique metal turned dash with extra gauges and a number plaque. This car is also outfitted with the optional 5-speed transmission and pop out side windows for extra ventilation.

You’ll need that extra airflow because these cars weren’t ever offered with A/C. They were meant to be high-performance machines and things like compressors and condensers just slow you down. One look at the engine is all it takes to know that this is something special. It has four cylinders, two cams, and electronic fuel injection. This isn’t the type of thing you’d expect to see in the engine bay of an econo car from the seventies. The exhaust manifold alone is a work of art!

A fancy engine and some cosmetic upgrades weren’t the only things that made the Cosworth special though. Underneath you’ll find thicker anti-sway bars and heavy duty suspension. The blue and yellow Bilstein shocks are even more proof that someone really loved this car. The Positraction option box was checked too so this was about as close to a canyon carver as you were going to find in the GM stable.

This thing is going to need a lot of work before you are going to do any carving though. The body is actually very straight, but there is some rust in the front fenders, battery box, and at the bottom of the windshield. Other than that, it looks pretty good for a Vega that spent some time outside. The engine turns over by hand and there’s still fluid in everything. The fuel tank needs to be dropped and everything cleaned out. Plan on replacing all the consumables and doing some deep cleaning. These things are on their way up so here’s your chance to get one cheap before they take off. Hopefully this one goes to a good home!

Contact The Seller

Fast Finds


  1. karu

    Best to keep it out of snow/salt belt states.

    • Smittydog

      Absolutely, I watched the fenders fall off a lot full of them at the proving grounds as they sprayed them every day with salt water! My sister and mom had one each, they were junk.

  2. Pdxmetalman

    If that’s in Boise, it could be the one Larry Barnes Chevrolet had. If so, I remember the car. My dad was District Sales Manger for Chevrolet corporate then, and we lived there. Barnes ordered some unique cars. Like the 76 Caprice 2dr that was Yellow w/White Vinyl top, Black interior, and Blackwall tires. Or the 77 Monte Carlo. Base model car with an inline 6cyl and 3spd manual floor shift with a bench seat. Right on up to a Titan 90 cabover semi, custom painted and called “Terrible Titan.” I got to ride in the Titan. Was pretty cool at that time!

  3. Dave Wright

    Lots of low mileage examples of this car around………… they wouldn’t run very long.

  4. Don

    Kind of like the Delorean ,great plan ,that did not work out right ,cool looking car cool looking engine but still week 🚗

  5. Don

    O hell John had a hand in the cosworth to didn’t he 🚔

    • JDSport

      …and the GTO, which was a huge success.


    A great car in theory. $500 less then the price of a new Corvette (twice the amount over a regular Vega) With double the price you got an extra few horsepower. Those are expensive gold stripes

  7. Dave Wright

    Being an old formula car racer, I was so excited when these came out and so disappointed with the car in practice. Cosworth was the name assigned to the top racing engines in the world, how could these go so wrong……Cosworth redeemed itself some with the great Mercedes 190E 16V engines. The Mercedes were dominant in road rallies throughout the world until the advent of the 4X4 cars.

    • Jesse Staff

      I owned a 190E 16V for about a week. Now that was a nightmare! This is a simple machine compared to that Benz with all its stinking vacuum hoses.

      • Dave Wright

        You are really willing to compare a 185 HP 2.3 engine…….detuned from the original 320 HP to these junk Vegas?

    • SR

      I’d take the Vega, Cosworth redeemed itself with the Mercedes 190E 16V? Wouldn’t idle right, took a calendar to time the acceleration, there’s piles of these 190E in salvage yards across the globe. One question, what’s the resale on a Mercedes they shoved this boat anchor of a engine into?

      • Dave Wright

        A good 16V is in the 30K range……….about 25K more than the best Vega.

  8. angliagt

    My Friend Mace went to England (1979?),
    & visited Cosworth.He said they told him of putting
    this engine in a “big” car (referring to the Vega).
    I guess this would be big,compared to an Escort.
    Still,sounds like an affordable way to get into these,IF
    you do all of your own work.

  9. Howard A Member

    These were cool cars, a Vega on steroids. I liked the Vega, and this was the coolest one.I realize the irony of a “cool Vega”, but it showed, you could still buy a car that was fun to drive. Trouble was, it was expensive. Oddly enough, this is probably the price when it was new, and in today’s money, this is a steal. With some work, one could enjoy a car like this, that in ’76, was out of their price range. I’m sure someone beat the snot out of this car, they weren’t meant to putt around, get a regular Vega for that, but this could take it, and no reason why it could do that again. If it was a wagon ( did they make a Cosworth wagon?) I’d do it. Best of luck. This will go a lot faster than the Spitfire. Thing I don’t get, is how could you part with stuff like this??? ( no they didn’t, but one guy made one)

  10. erikj

    Howard A, I like your comment. I also had a few reg. vegas and I have to admit they where fun to drive. Back in the late 70,s a friend had a early vega and it had a make-over to v-8 and what was neat was it was badged as a black and gold striped z-28 Camaro even with a split front bumper. That vega was wicked fast and done so nice that if you didn’t know better you would have thought it was factory done. Coolest vega I have ever seen to this day!!

  11. Bob S

    If ever you wanted to rebuild a Vega, this is the one to do it to. I bought a great car that came out of Idaho.

  12. Moparman Member

    Evidence of excessive moisture and rust on interior components are always a concern for me. I have always loved Vegas, (learned to drive stick in a ’71!) and this one presses all the right buttons! Alas, it’s too far away, and I don’t need any more projects!! :-)

  13. flmikey

    I love these Cosworths…and the Vega styling…quick true war story told like a math problem… totaled 69 Z-28 + new 74 Vega bought by dad to teach son a lesson + 3 high school friends with wrenching and welding skills =fastest car in town…

  14. Jesse Staff

    The Vega has sold and will be headed to Massachusetts. Thanks Paul!

    • Jeff Staff

      Congrats, Jesse. I always dig cars with unusual color/interior combos, so I’m sure this Cossie caught the eye of more than a few enthusiasts. I’ll keep an eye out for Paul!

  15. Paul B

    That was the tragedy of the Vega: it was a fine little car to drive, until you smoked the engine and the body fell in a heap of rust around you on the street. I test drove a GT coupe new with four-speed at a dealer, and liked it so much I tried to get my dad into one when he wrecked his ’68 SAAB 96. He was unconvinced, didn’t trust Chevy, and bought another 96, a ’72 that was tough as a tank. That was a stroke of luck because the Vega would have upset him greatly once it started falling apart. The Citation was another great car in concept that Chevy managed to ruin in execution. My mom had one with a 4-speed after Dad died. It was roomy, comfortable, very competent with a well-assembled strong body — and broke down a lot. She swapped it for a Plymouth Sundance that ran and ran.

  16. Mercuryman

    In the city my dad lives in there is a dark brown Pontiac Astre that is absolutely mint. Perfect beige interior. The owner has put it up for sale every summer for the last 3 years. Wants $5000 cdn for it. No buyers yet that I know of. The Cosworth Vega always interested me. My idea would be to buy a car like the Astre and put in the Solstice driveline. Upgrade the suspension and brakes, put on decent sized sticky tires and collector’s be damned. Just drive it and enjoy it. Of course I also want to drop a Duratec 2.3 from a ranger with a Miata 6 speed into a Pinto. I guess I just like thumbing my nose at people. Good thing I don’t have a lot of money.

  17. Frank magaro

    Had 72 GT hatch in late 70’s, early 80’s. used as truck to haul all kinds of stuff.Was lucky, didn’t have a lot of miles and ran well.

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