One Owner! 1976 Chevrolet Vega GT

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Although more than two million Chevy Vega’s were built in the 1970s, you rarely see them today, except for the occasional Cosworth. They got a bad rap early on for production flaws which meant that many of them quickly headed to the scrap yard. Yet here we have what seems to be a nice 1976 Vega GT that also happens to be a one-owner car. It’s been off the road for a few years and will need some mechanical tinkering. Located in Ames, Iowa, this Chevy is available here on craigslist for $4,000. Our thanks to Gransedan for this Bow-Tie tip!

A lot of thought went into making the Chevy Vega, but its failings were mostly operational. The car had its share of innovations, like a 2.3-liter, overhead-cam, aluminum-block engine (with no cylinder liners), and a cast-iron cylinder head. The suspension was more like what went into European sports cars, and they were shipped vertically in specially designed rail cars. But poor testing and some labor issues caused the car to stumble right out of the gate in 1971 and sales may have only stayed brisk for a time due to the OPEC oil embargo in 1973 that sent buyers scurrying for gas-sipping automobiles.

This Vega is the sporty GT edition, and it has held up well over the years although more photographs would help us to confirm that. Fewer than 70,000 miles are on the odometer, but it has sat up for some time. We’re told the carburetor will need work along with the brakes. Rust is said to be at a minimum and the Firethorn Red paint and white stripes look okay. No photos of the interior are offered, but we’re told it’s generally okay. This Vega sports brand new tires on Cragar aftermarket wheels and a bunch of extra parts will come with the deal. Would you take a chance on this Vega at four grand?

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  1. Claudio

    It really doesn’t need much
    Engine , cooling, transmission, suspension, brakes , differential and interior
    Ohh and don’t forget to reinforce the frame …
    But the look and size of these were just right !

    Like 2
  2. Big C

    Not a bad price. I’d pull that junk engine ASAP. This car cries out for a small block swap.

    Like 11
    • Matt

      Reminds me of the ’77 Vega I had yrs ago with a 400sbc, turbo 400, & Ford 9″. Being from a small S TX town it seemed like LEOs knew immediately when I fired it up. Car was a blast to drive &, even though I’m 6’3″, was surprisingly comfortable.

      Like 1
  3. GT750

    How is this not sold already!

    Like 5
    • PRA4SNW

      True, especially since it is a one owner car.

      Like 1
  4. Paul

    76 vega have steel sleeves in the block im know my friend had one in high school and lasted forever

    Like 3
    • Psychofish2

      There were improvements in ’76 but steel cylinder liners were not among them.

      “The 1976 to 1977 the engine received a new cylinder-head design, incorporating hydraulic lifters to replace the taper-screw valve adjusters, improved coolant pathways, longer-life valve-stem seals, a redesigned water pump and thermostat, and a five-year, 60,000-mile (97,000 km) engine warranty. The engine’s name was changed to Dura-Built 140.” -Wicki

      A nice little aftermarket existed for people who wanted the cylinder liners. Some dealers did them under warranty repairs.

      Like 7
  5. Mercuryman

    So nice to see a good example. But…… I wouldn’t do a small block swap. There are so many alternatives. 2.8, 3.8 or 4.3 V6’s, newer 4 cylinders like a Solstice drive train….. I remember driving a 350 swapped chevette when I was in high school. Quick in a straight line but terrible as a daily driver. You could build a nice, balanced driving car. If you have ever driven Forza Motorsport 7 there is a Vega you can get and it is a hoot to drive. Just my 2 cents worth.

    Like 6
    • Psychofish2

      Yes. More clever. More appropriate and more timely given that gas prices are only likely to get worse in time.

      Even an Iron Duke out of a Monza should the original engine die.

      But this is the improved Dura Built 2.3 of 76-77. A lot of the previous problems were addressed that year.

      Like 3
  6. Psychofish2


    This has the improved Dura-Built 2.3 engine in it built from ’76 to the end of the run

    Should have been done far earlier than 1976.

    Well kept car. Good price.

    Like 2
  7. RickyMember

    Gas prices have been continually going down for months now. $3.24 in Lubbock, TX today.

    Like 3
    • Bob P

      Still $6 and change in Palm Springs.

      Like 1
      • Mike

        $5.25+ in Las Vegas, NV

        Like 1
  8. 19sixty5Member

    Tougher to find these days but an 86-87 GN drivetrain would be awesome, or an all aluminum LS would provide a better balanced package.

    Like 3
  9. Lynn DockeyMember

    $400 and u got a deal

    Like 0
  10. Howie

    Yes it looks good, but only 4 photos, and no engine and interior photos.

    Like 2
  11. tomo bullum

    cool cars. neat with a rumble under the hood. i have to let my 75 V8 swapped kammback go though. too many cars.

    Like 0

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