Nicest One Left? 1975 Chevrolet Vega Cosworth

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It is common for major manufacturers to turn to companies with a motorsport background to improve vehicle performance. Lotus has provided suspension tuning expertise to many companies, but Chevrolet contracted Cosworth to inject some excitement into its fairly pedestrian Vega range. The result was a car that offered impressive performance for the era, but its high sticker price meant it didn’t achieve the sales volumes the company expected. We’ve seen a few of these gems at Barn Finds, but this 1975 example could be one of the nicest ones left. It is listed here on eBay in Ocoee, Florida. Bidding sits below the reserve at $4,850, but plenty of time remains in this auction for interested parties to throw their hat into the ring.

Chevrolet released the Cosworth variant of its Vega in 1975, with buyers restricted to Black paint with Gold stripes and decals. The appearance was reminiscent of the JPS Lotus combination, which is unsurprising considering the Cosworth connection between both organizations. This one presents beautifully, with no significant panel or paint flaws. The stripes and decals look crisp, and the unique 6″ alloy wheels are spotless. Rust can be an important consideration, but not in this case. The panels show no evidence of problems, while the underside shots confirm the floors are rock-solid. The trim sparkles nicely, and I can’t spot any glass damage.

Few people will claim that the 1975 Chevrolet Vega is an exciting machine. One unkind motoring journalist described it as being as exciting as watching paint dry and that the only time it set an owner’s pulse racing was when they received the inevitable bill from the repair shop. Chevrolet identified a significant shortcoming in the Vega’s image, contracting Formula 1 powerhouse Cosworth to develop a bespoke engine. Initial testing saw the DOHC four produce nearly 260hp, but reliability and the inability to meet emission requirements saw the company detune the motor for practicality’s sake. However, the fuel-injected 122ci four that eventually occupied the engine bay produced 110hp. That figure is modest by modern standards, but considering a standard Vega GT made do with 87hp, the improvement was profound. It launched the car through the ¼-mile in 18 seconds, a full second faster than the GT variant. This Cosworth is in excellent mechanical health, running and driving extremely well. The seller claims it has a genuine 45,000 miles on the clock, although they don’t mention verifying evidence. Considering the enormous collection of documentation included, that evidence could be hiding there somewhere.

Most Vega Cosworth buyers in 1975 chose to order their car with the standard Black vinyl interior trim, although a few opted for the optional cloth seat inserts. Around 16% desired something striking, selecting White vinyl to make a bold visual statement. This is one of those cars, and its interior condition is impressive. There is no evidence of significant wear or discoloring and no physical damage. The carpet might be slightly faded, but the lack of wear means the winning bidder could leave it untouched to protect the Vega’s survivor status. There is no UV damage or crumbling plastic, with the gold machine-turned gauge fascia worthy of particular note. The lack of aftermarket additions is welcome, with the factory radio occupying its rightful place in the dash.

The 1975 Vega Cosworth promised so much, and its performance was impressive for a four-cylinder vehicle produced during The Malaise Era. However, the killer blow for the car was its price, which was comparable with a Corvette. Only 2,061 buyers were prepared to hand over the cash in 1975, with that figure dropping to 1,447 in 1976. Chevrolet saw the writing on the wall, dropping the ax well short of the planned production run of 5,000. Many succumbed to the rust problems for which the Vega became renowned, while others were driven hard and fast before ending their days in a scrapyard. This car has avoided that fate, and with sixteen bids submitted, a few people like what they see. If you focus on pint-sized performance, this Vega could be the right car for you.

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Can tell you Cosworth didn’t have anything to do with jacking up the suspension on this car. Got up close and personal with a couple of of the first cars sold and they weren’t that high off the ground. Too bad that the whole deal didn’t work out for almost every body, especially the folks who bought the cars. Done right they could have been fun cars to own.

    Like 5
    • Ed Stembridge

      GM raised the ride height of the ’76 about an inch and softened the springs a bit. I agree, this ’75 is sitting too high to be stock.

      Like 2
      • JoeNYWF64

        Possibly new overseas springs are to blame, tho it is now ready to accept larger 14 or 15 inch alum wheels & tires to fill the wheelwells.
        The 13″s look just too small to me – can’t believe the 1st mustangs had 13″s – even the v8s!

        Like 0
  2. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    This is one Vega I wished I owned. I had a 76 Vega wagon auto . Slow but reliable. Me and my brother would hot rod this Cosworth Vega. I know we could of gotten over 200 HP from it. Taking apart the engine changing the camshafts bumping the compression. Etc. Those were the days. This one is nice and stock. Good luck to the seller. 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 1
  3. Big C

    This car, with 260hp, would have been an amazing performer. But GM could never have done this, when their flagship Corvette was wheezing out barely 200hp out of its V8. Luckily, our govt. was just starting out tryin’ to save the planet, and made it easy for Chevy to strangle the Cosworth.

    Like 3
  4. TomP

    I hope no one sees this sale ad, because some clown might want to buy it to rip out the engine and put in a V8… Every time I see a Cosworth Vega for sale with a V8 I want to kick the seller in the apples. With over two million Vegas sold, they couldn’t have picked another Vega to destroy.. It just doesn’t make sense..

    Like 9
    • Ron

      Thinking maybe you should buy them all up so they get treated how you want instead of how someone else wants, nah that would be kind of selfish or vindictive wouldn’t it…

      Like 4
    • Joe

      Their money and their car.

      Like 2
      • duaney

        Maybe, but a car hobbyist’s we should care about automotive history

        Like 1
  5. Scooter

    A very good looking car! It’s too bad it was born in 1975. I think it would be a great collectible if the engine did produce 260hp. But in reality, it is no more than a good looking car with no go!

    Like 3
  6. Moparman MoparmanMember

    I learned to drive a manual in a Vega, and I ALWAYS liked the styling. This a very nice & beautiful example, and it has the swing out rear windows! In looking at the underneath shots in the ebay ad, I see that it’s going to need exhaust work; I wonder if losing the cat-con would enhance the performance?? GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 3
    • Tony Primo

      Losing the cat always helps with performance, but don’t ask me how I know!

      Like 3
      • Big C

        I live in a free state, so, after 25 years, no EPA bs to deal with. They’re the first things that come off my old cars.

        Like 2
  7. FrankDMember

    Asking $32K and at $6K on ebay. No chance of seeing $30K. Nice car, BUT!

    Like 1
  8. Anthony Patrizio

    I grew up driving Vegas and when I finally got me a 75 Cosworth, I thought it was the ultimate Vega. However, I soon discovered that the factory headers turned this machine into a sweatbox. It was always 20 degrees warmer in the passenger compartment than it was outside. I had to get rid of it because it always felt like a sauna inside this thing. Still love the lines, like a mini camaro

    Like 1
    • Jack M.

      Today you can have headers ceramic coated. Really cuts down on the heat.

      Like 2
  9. Howie

    The seller has 19 other sporty vehicles for sale.

    Like 1
  10. Steve Weiman

    I got very excited getting the chance to drive one of these back in the day. Any level of excitement was completely gone after the test drive. While that engine looked mighty impressive under the hood it was nothing more than just another mid 70s wet sponge pushing the go peddle. Now admittedly, this was it Denver‘s high altitude, but still……..
    It’s just a shame the technology wasn’t there at the time to take advantage of such a great engine platform. Which of course leaves me wondering what it would be like to add that technology with a good high-efficiency quiet exhaust system today. It doesn’t seem like it would be all that difficult or expensive(?!) seems very possible to double the original horsepower figure and still have a Otherwise original great example.

    Like 0
  11. TomP

    Yes, un-Cosworth a Cosworth Vega.. That’s a great idea… Why not just buy yourself a Hyundai and save the headache.

    Like 0
    • Steve Weiman

      TomP – I should have been more clear: The idea of adding modern engine mgt. and FI to the original Cosworth engine.

      Like 0
  12. John VanGorder

    Not the nicest one left. I actually have a white 76 Cosworth with black interior, 5 speed and 8346 DOCUMENTED original miles. Also have the window sticker and all the associated documents.

    Like 0
  13. jwaltb

    Hahaha!

    Like 0

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