Never Finished: 1972 Chevy Vega

1972 Chevy Vega Notchback

It happens quite often, someone has big plans for their old car that has been running very well. So they pull it into the garage and start working on it. In the case of this Chevy Vega Notchback, the owner decided to drop a 350 V8 with a Muncie 4 speed into it. Well they got the engine in the car and even had a custom driveshaft built and installed, but they never got around to hooking up the clutch linkage. As a result, they never were able to drive it. They quickly lost interest, so there it sat in their garage. After 25 years, they have finally decided it needs to go to a new home with someone who can finish it. You can find it here on eBay in Kelliher, Minnesota with bidding just starting at $200. I’ve not seen many Vega Notchbacks and I have to say, I really like the looks of this car. While getting the V8 running and working in this chassis will still require considerable work, it would be a sweet little hot rod. The seller is even throwing in a Alston roll cage and some replacement interior pieces! So would you finish this conversion or try to put it back to original?

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Comments

  1. don

    another “you finish” my unfinished project car. PASS

  2. francisco

    You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Vegas were junk from the day they got off the assembly line. They usually fell apart before you finished off your 60 month book.

    • Walt

      Somebody needed 60 months to pay off a Vega?

      • francisco

        Hey, we were poor back then. Young people today don’t know what it was like.

  3. RandyS

    Had one just like it n the earl 80’s. Same color even. I have no interest in this one but the ad just brought back some nice memories

  4. Blindmarc

    Wouldn’t be hard to put together. Helped someone build one in the early 80’s. You can still get a kit through summit, I believe. A V8 monza would supply better springs and a arms. And subframe connectors would keep the body from twisting.

  5. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    I for one, like this project – at least the idea of it. Seems like this could be a lot of fun if put together right and the styling has grown on me. Looks like I’m alone though…

    • Doug Towsley

      Its not even the good looking Vega, But its so rare today its in it own class of cool. I knew a lot of people back in the 70s and early 80s who built these cars, Monzas and Vegas were the thing. I was into Nova’s, had a 72 Rally Nova, and a 63 SS and a 64 SS Nova. Ran all kinds of V8s, big block 454 and 427, as well as 283, 327 and 350s. Had Muncies, Powerglides, and TB350 and 400s with shift kits. Insanely fast cars, crappy brakes and poor handling for all of them.
      Current bidding is over $2,000 and naysayers will wonder why, but its worth that and then some. Dunno about that motor. Nothing makes sense what the seller says, 283 heads with 202 and 160’s?? Me thinks he doesnt know what he is talking about. But I will say i LOVE a 283 with power pak heads, mild cam and a 2 barrell, despite all my monster motors thats just one sweet mtr in a small car. But Muncies command top dollar, even more if a rockcrusher. but even a regular muncie w/ Bell housing,clutch, and shifter is worth $1000 to $1500. The cage kits, $300-450. Period ladder bars, and other parts. Sell off the car minus mtr, trans and parts and get most or all your money back and find one of these cheap Chevelles everyone keeps bad mouthing as junk. Then you got something. Heck, have some fun with that Vega, go another direction, swap in a 3cyl Diesel and a 6 speed trans. Run it on BioDiesel smelling like french fries, Onion rings, or Chinese food wherever you go, Buff it out, market it as a “REAL GREEN MACHINE” and sell it for big bucks to the Urban hipsters. Slap on a bumper sticker “F### Your Prius” and a “My kid beat up your honor student” and have some fun. (Or go totally period correct with a huge pot leaf in the back window and a A**, Gas or Grass, No one rides for free” bumper sticker. My buddy had the pot leaf and that sticker on his car back in 1980 and he could never understand why he got pulled over all the time, go figure) Ahh,, memories.

  6. Rick

    There weren’t very many notchbacks around back when these were new. Anyhow, I’d finish the build, and like others have pointed out, there’s plenty of aftermarket stuff available still, so wouldn’t be that difficult to. But all I’d do it get it together and running good – wouldn’t waste time and effort on paint – just leave it, looks fine.

  7. Rocco Member

    I built a ’73GT that was already a V-6 car with a Saginaw 4-speed. It was so much fun I missed it after I sold it, that I built ’75 Cosworth Vega the same way. It was ton’s of fun also. Keep’em stock lookin’ they are quite the sleepers. My buddy kept bugging me to sell, and I went back to my Mustangs. Great memories.
    Both of mine were already 4&5 speeds. I think I used the stock type linkage(?). A Doug Thourly(?) Kit provided headers & crossmember & brackets.
    They already had good radiators and shrouds. Just don’t use the stock fan. It’s pitched for opposite rotation. Mine looked factory installed except for the speed shop fan.

  8. Cassidy

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Vega notchback before. When I was just out high school, it was quite popular to drop V8’s in Pintos, Vegas and Corvairs. Not so much any more, possibly because most of those cars have rotted into the ground. Much has been said about the Vega’s propensity to rust, so its surprising to see one pretty rusty free, in Minnesota, no less! A bit of surface rust on the 3rd member, so there may be more hidden above. Anyone know why the trunk lid has vents cut into it?
    The engine looks like it was pulled from a donor car and then dropped right into the Vega. Makes me wonder how many miles it already has on it.
    If I had the money, I think I would take this project on. I too like the car’s looks but I would certainly peel off the cheesy white letters on the rear!

  9. Chris

    That 350 is a 2 BBL with all the pollution gear there so its not a high HP engine.
    Not sure how much boot (trunk) space you’d have left since you’ll need 2 spare wheels. Fronts are 4 stud, rears are 5.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Yeah I noticed the mismatched wheels too. Swap those out and throw a higher horsepower 350 in there and I bet it would be loads of fun!

      • nxpress62

        With the 64cc heads, the small block would probably be around 9:1 compression, and with that cam would’nt have any trouble making 300hp, would get a little vega moving along nicely..

  10. nxpress62

    Early vegas are pretty high lately, much better looking than the later cars and its getting harder and harder to find Novas, Camaros, and Chevelles..

    Also the 4 lug 5 lug bit, The rearend is a 12 bolt, probably out of an early Chevelle (control arm ears on the center section), and might go for $1000 or more depending on casting and gearing.

    • Doug Towsley

      Good eye, yep some of the parts alone on this are worth the purchase price. Be interesting to see what happens with the buyer. Are they buying it for the parts, IE: Muncie, Rear end, and other parts
      or are they going to build the car?

  11. blindmarc

    Less than a day left, and just over 2500. Wish I had 4k for the car and shipping. This is one of the best buys I’ve seen in a long time. Hope someone builds it…….😐

  12. Blindmarc

    Sold for 2650.someone got a good buy here. I’m going to my room and cry……….

  13. Jim

    This little Vega is tucked away safely in my garage in North Carolina now. It really is in very good shape. Soon enough, it will be back together as a time warp early 1970’s style street machine. Chrome 5 spoke 15″ Cragar mag wheels, probably Hugger orange paint. Should be an easy, fun build.

    Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Thanks for the update Jim! Please keep us posted.

    • Doug Towsley

      Good for you! Yep, I wondered if someone bought it for the parts or to finish it. It would be great to see how it turns out, Also somewhat interesting what the mystery motor turns out to be. There was a lot of good parts there. I may be in the minority, but i LOVE a good orange paint job. Im painting one of my sportsters Harley Orange and Black. Theres a lady at the local HD dealer who wears Harley Orange on her fingernails.
      Good for you on the car deal.

    • ron

      send some photos when done.

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