They Don’t Come Better! 1976 Cosworth Vega

v4

Quick pop quiz: how many of you knew Cosworth Vegas came with a red interior? I sure didn’t! This absolutely pristine survivor is up for sale here on eBay and is currently located in Phoenix, Arizona after having spent most of its time in Florida and Illinois. No rust on this car, though! The buy it now is $11,900 while bidding is currently about $3,000 below that figure.

v5

This car has obviously been coddled and loved from its original purchase. All (and I mean ALL) documentation is included. You are looking at original paint and later in this post you’ll see the most incredible original interior I’ve ever seen in a Vega. I know Cosworth Vegas are polarizing, but even you nay-sayers have to admit this car is in unbelievable condition and is as good an example as you’ll ever find. The 25,000 miles are completely believable.

v1

Thankfully, the seller has given us a set of really pretty photographs of this car. It’s equipped with the Sky Roof option, a factory sunroof that I haven’t seen on any other Cosworth. These late Cosworths also have a five speed, not a four speed transmission.

v2

Wow! As a fan of red interiors, this pushes all my buttons. I really didn’t know you could get a Cosworth with this color inside! Oh, how I want this car! Out of my budget at the moment, though. Not saying it’s not worth it, just not for me. Absolutely fabulous, though!

v3

Under the hood, you’ll find the one deviation from stock. The occasionally troublesome electronic fuel injection has been replaced with a pair of side draft Weber carburetors. This was quite common at the time, and the seller tells us the work was performed in the early 1990’s by Hutton Motor Engineering, who’s mentioned in the Cosworth Vega Owners Association web pages. Of course, the receipt for the work is included as well. And guess what? The original EFI setup is included as well, should you want to go back to 100% original specification. I’ll tell you now, if I had the money for this car, I wouldn’t be posting it, I’d be bidding on it!

 

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Comments

  1. angliagt

    I like these,but wouldn’t spend $5000 + for one.
    These look much better without a sunroof,or the
    rear spoiler.

    • RandyS

      Love the rear spoiler!

      Like 1
  2. Kenny

    I hate when people lie on these listings, ” ONE FAMILY 2 OWNER CAR”, then goes on to list 4 different owners.

    I would never buy it just for that reason.

  3. Mark

    It’s certainly the only Vega car that is worth collecting! And this is certainly a fine example of it.

  4. P

    I remember the ad.
    Cosworth. One Vega for the price of two.

  5. Van

    I’d rather have the engine in an English sports car, MG, Triumph. Maybe a TR3, MGA or spitfire.

  6. erikj

    this cosworth looks a little out of sorts for some reason. white with red int. and gold wheels. The only ones I remember where black and gold. But I cant say I,ve seen them all.

    • moosie Craig

      They came in a Dark Green Metallic too.

    • Dick B

      They came in 9 different colors in ’76

  7. DAN

    but…………..still a vega with no V8

    Like 1
  8. macvaugh

    I wonder if any prospective purchasers are turned off by the “Wallace for President” bumper sticker?

    • Mike P

      But his running mate was General LeMay.

  9. Mr. Bond

    Mine saw some rougher roads living out in the country. The unibody wasn’t really that strong and the camber couldn’t be adjusted, or adjusted enough to compensate for it. I couldn’t imagine how it would hold up with a heavier V8. I love the dohc and webers, but still think the backbone is weak in these. I’ll stick to my old Alfa!

  10. Howard A Member

    I just don’t know anymore on the mileage. Sure is sharp. It’s rare, I’ll give you that. Only 1446 units for 1976. February 1976 was the 1st non-black Cosworth Vega. Unless the light is hitting the wheels odd, I think this car was “freshened up”.It would totally be worth it for a dealer to that. Always felt, if the regular Vega was a plain donut, the Cosworth Vega was sugar glazed with sprinkles. I don’t have any experience with Webers, not sure if drivability was compromised, but truly, a Vega on steroids. I’d say, one of the nicest small cars offered. Too bad Vega had such a bad name ( and expensive. These were $400 less than a Corvette) Very cool find, regardless of the mileage.

  11. Ron

    I would pull that 4 banger and put in a nice mild 350 with a/c, a 700r4 trans and have a nice good looking driver.

    • 68 custom

      A cosworth Vega is to cool to modify with a SBC, leave this one alone and find a regular Vega to V8! this car should be made 100% stock/original, IMO.

      Like 2
      • Terry J

        Absolutely. I’d never think of V8 ing a Cosworth. If it had a junk engine, I’d pass on the entire deal, letting a Cosworth fan club member bring it back. :-) Terry J

      • Rando

        There is one in our town now – black Cosworth decals, but V8 power. Looks nice enough from 20′ away. I have seen it several times recently, so it’s at least getting driven.

  12. speedster47

    When are the Politicians and Bureaucrats of California stop being Stupid on Purpose and allow late seventies cars with marginal/no smog like this one into the state as collector cars with mileage limits, say 5k yearly and then they can get their sales taxes, license fee’s, gas tax, etc.(think 308 Ferrari, Lancia Delta) and we can have here what every other state in the union can buy?? Help

  13. guggie

    Norvell Chevrolet had one , it went from show room to back room , two years later still no sale ,reason only a Vega with a premium price . Resale would suck. It disappeared , some say it went out west !!

  14. Terry J

    Memory cells awake: The Vega engine was very exotic for the time, just not a good production engine esp. for the entry level market. The aluminum 427 Chevy Can Am race engines also didn’t use sleeves, but had silicone (molecules) in the aluminum alloy. The last stage of machining the bores required an electronic etching device to draw the silicon molecules to the surface. Silicon is very hard, approaching the hardness of diamond. It was an effective development for a light weight race car, however entry level buyers and typical dealers were not knowledgeable in the care and esp. repair/reboring of such sophisticated metallurgy since it took special equipment, so they were a dismal failure. Interesting none the less. My brother Dale had a Cosworth Vega with the stock fuel injection. In his estate, we found it difficult to sell, with the most knowledgeable buyers disappointed because it didn’t have the Weber conversion. It was black with gold accents, tan interior I think. HEY BF READERS: Got any editing to offer on my exposition of that engine? :-) Terry J

    • Terry J

      My point is that the 427 Can Am engine / silicon bores led to the basic concept of the aluminum Vega engine, which was the same block used in the Cosworth, but with a different head etc.
      Since the Vega block couldn’t be rebuilt by shops as designed then they were usually sleeved with iron sleeves, but that didn’t work well. The famous drag racer, Grumpy Jenkins used the Vega for his V8 1/4 mile cars, and started that trend, with full conversion kits available from lots of sources to install sbc V8s into the Vega. :-) Terry J

      • Nick Maher

        The concept of the silicon infused cylinder bores in the aluminum block was shared between the Can-Am blocks and the Vega but that is as far as the goodness went. The (non Cosworth) Vega had a cast iron head on top of that aluminum block, a monumentally bad engineering and marketing decision driven by cost considerations only. Think about that. Vegas engines didn’t die after rebuilding (done correctly or not) they died within 40,000 of leaving the showroom floor because they couldn’t keep a seal between the head and block and leaked coolant and or oil.

      • Rocco

        Doug Thorouly(?) made V-8 kits for these also. I did two of these back in the day, a ’73GT in ’79 & a Cosworth with a stolen eng. in ’81. If I’m not mistaking, the Cosworth eng. was a smaller displacement for SCCA racing. Prod. Vega 140ci. Cosworth 122ci.(?).

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Terry, I had a friend that had a new Vega GT (’74?) and followed the oil change schedules religiously, like every 2,000 miles, I think and didn’t have any issues. I think the biggest problem for the regular Vega motor, was American’s weren’t used to 4 cylinders.My old man with his big V-8’s, he rarely changed the oil, and you could get away with that with a big V-8. We were just coming off the super car era, and small cars were driven hard ( foot to the floor) I’ve had many 4 cylinders, of all kinds, even today in my Sonoma pickup has one, but that’s a story for a different time, and if they’re babied, I’ve had great luck. I thought the Vega was the nicest small car of the time.

      • Terry J

        Nice lines I always thought. I had an old beater Vega once and though it used oil, it ran good for a long time. Always wanted to get a kit and do a V8 , but never did. The kit included motor and tranny mounts and special headers, plus there were a lot of options to that including 5 lug front hubs for those who would swap out the rear end, bigger radiator, etc. It was thought that Chevy engineers designed the car with a V8 conversion in mind, since here was plenty of room for it. A 327 or 350 created a VERY fast car on the cheap.

        The cast iron/aluminum mating issue was a problem with a lot of later cars, and then repeated when manufacturers went to plastic intake manifolds etc. Odd that my Datsun B210 with the cast iron block and aluminum head was not commonly known for sealing problems even at very high miles. :-) Terry J

  15. Car Guy

    The original finish on these wheel is a dark gold, not the greenish gold pictured.
    The rear spoiler was not a factory option. The “Sky Roof” I am not familiar with, but to me it detracts from the car. The White with Red interior color combo is great. I was not aware the Cosworth could be ordered like this. I only rember the Black/Gold and Maroon/Gold exterior combos.

    Even with the Webers these were not that fast. The Vega had gained a lot of weight after 73 with the 5-mph crash bumpers I easily outran a Weber equipped Cosworth with my 215 V8 1973 Vega GT swap. It still had working factory A/C which was not even available on the Cosworth.

  16. John

    I suspect a Cosworth clone. I had a bad case of lust for one of these. I studied every picture and article and drove the local chevy folks nuts crawling around the ones they got in for stock. I remember no mention of a red interior or white paint. They were supposed to conjure up images of the John Player Lotus/Cosworth F1 cars which carried similar black and gold livery.

    Nice looking car, though.

    • Tre Deuce

      Reg; ” I had a bad case of lust for one of these. I studied every picture and article and drove the local chevy folks nuts” _ I did the same, now I’m doing the same thing waiting on a Camaro LT_1LE . The Cosworth was delayed by GM so many times I gave waiting for it and bought Opel Manta ‘Blue Max’ special a great car.

    • Joe

      real car not a clone full docs from new with paperwork,obviously you didnt take the time to look at ad, read description and see all the docs before making your statement,,,SMH possibly the only one with red interior, and certainly with a sky roof, its my car sold on ebay 11,150.00 its the real deal..

      Like 1
  17. Rex Kahrs Member

    Cosworth schmosworth.

  18. Rock On

    Back in the day you could get V8 Vega swap kits from Hooker Headers and Baldwin Motion. Most carried kits for both small and big block swaps. Don Hardy out of Texas also sold parts.
    http://www.donhardyracecars.com/phone/history.html

  19. Philip

    And don’t forget the strut tower brace !!!! For 4 cyl as well as V8 Vega conversions it is essential. This is why the factory camber adjustments and slotting isn’t enough to get the camber set, these cars and Chevette’s collapsed INWARDS at the strut towers.

    Diesel Chevette’s were as bad as V8 conversions of Vegas and Chevettes they alll get knock knee’d because of their weakness by design.

    We had a 73 Vega. Oil and coolant leaks.galore, noisy engine with 3 speed automatic, rattle trap body..Puke Yellow – Black interior No AC hot as Hades, like think ridiculously hot, especially in the back seat with no roll down windows or opening of any kind in July.

    . During the first oil embargo Dad traded (were coerced into trading) our 1970 Buick Electra 225 (that needed only a water pump) fully loaded , for that POS brand new 73 Vega. They saw my dad coming,.. sold both mom and dad that crappy Vega and a 73 Nova stripped with no AC straight 6 automatic barf tan, Camel vinyl interior..Both cars on vacation were like a trip to the gates of hell with no rear windows, both were 2 door stripped of everything but an AM radio….bad years for cars…For a one owner 3 year old deuce and a quarter. Dad thought he hit the jackpot and was so sales savvy and smart, bragging to everyone 2 cars for 1 used trade in, for about a week, the realized too late he had been had!

    This fiasco with the cars caused my parents to get a divorce, I kid you not!! And it was acrimonious as can be.., he got the Vega, she the Nova.

    The ink wasn’t dry on the divorce, mom dumped it at the nearest dealer ..bought a fully loaded brand new Z-28 right before they stopped making them in the 70’s and managed to find herself a young husband with that Z-28!!!. They are still married today, 41 years later, The Vega, Nova and Z-28’s whereabouts are unknown. The Z was traded in ’79 for a brand new air brushed Mural sporting, custom painted, quarter moon window in rear having, Dodge B250 van with genuine side pipes and plush deep pile interior double built in bed with ;disco ball and fridge;, a genuine “Hippy Van”,,as I called it

    Thankfully I was driving and had my own car by then….

  20. Bear

    I had that same sunroof on my ’76 Vega GT.
    It had a glass panel that slid aft externally in the plastic housing/fairing that was mounted to the roof. Overall it was a pretty slick design. BUT the seal between the glass & the frame/fairing was just a very thin (approx 1/16″ to 1/8″ thick) layer of foam that deteriorated/hardened with a few years of age, & then it allowed water to channel into the passenger’s compartment when braking (esp when driving on a downhill slope). That cold trickle of water would pour right down the back of my neck!!
    It never leaked any water while parked. Only a small trickle when driving/braking.
    I owned that car back when I was a kid growing up in CA (in the early 80’s), so I just adapted by putting a thin bead of clear silicone in the “leak area” as each rainy season approached.
    That was my very 1st car. Loved it. Wish I still had it.

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