Time Capsule: 1973 Chevrolet Vega GT

Sometimes we come across exceptional cars that just make you lean back admire an original classic just as it was delivered from the dealer. This 1973 Chevrolet Vega GT is definitely one of those cars. Located in Simi Valley, California, this Vega GT is being sold here on eBay and has only traveled 48,055 miles since new. Featured in red with a black vinyl interior, the Vega has received a lot of interest and has been bid to $13,000 with 1 day remaining to place your bid.

The Vega is powered by a 140 cubic inch inline four cylinder engine with a two barrel carburetor and backed by a 4 speed manual transmission. The Vega is report to be rust free and to sport its original paint. The seller states that the Vega was optioned with the GT package and he is in possession of the original invoice and sales documents. The red paint is original and shiny and is thinning on the hood. The body is straight and solid but has picked up a couple of dents over its 47 year life. The seller believes a good paintless dent repair person could remove the dents with no impact to the paint.

The interior looks sharp and the seats look brand new with the exception of a couple of inches of stitching that needs repair. This Vega has manual steering and brakes which should not be too much of a bother since the car is so light. The key buzzer is still in working condition and all the gauges are operable except for the clock. The carpet and headliner are near perfect and there are no cracks in the dash. The exterior chrome is said to be near perfect with no pitting.

The Vega is still rolling on its original wheels wrapped in brand new BF Goodrich Radial TAs on all four corners. The car even has its original shocks. All the lights work and the glass is good except for a couple of chips in the windshield. The Vega is said to start write up and drive well with no rattles or mechanical issues. Overall, this appears to be a super little example of a 1973 Vega GT.

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Comments

  1. sluggo

    The red paint is original and shiny and is thinning on the hood. I can relate to that.

    Like 19
  2. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    It appears to be in nice condition for a 73, but at the end of the day it is still a Vega. Even with the “GT” package, they are horribly underpowered little slugs. I only owned mine for a year, and then sold it to a friend of a friend that I really didn’t like that much.

    Like 23
    • Doc Member

      Nothing a V8 swap can’t fix

      Like 7
  3. MitchRoss Member

    The original Vega was visually stunning. It is more like smaller Camaro like the Capri is a smaller Mustang. Perhaps they could have had a more sedan like car as the subcompact to compete with the Beetle. Can’t argue with a million sold in 2 years though.

    Like 14
    • Carbuzzard Member

      They did make a notchback two-door sedan and a wagon too. Recently I saw a survivor sedan in very good condition, a bell jar survivor. I’m glad there are remaining examples, even though I don’t want one (unless I had some sort of ‘70s collection).

      Like 2
      • Rich

        I have a ’74 Kammback wagon GT, PG, power steering and factory AC, all orig with less then 40k, all orig paint and int new NOS roof rack
        Engine was sleeved and runs just fine. Engine problems were mainly due to overheating from low coolant. By the time 74 rolled around most of the problems had been figured out – like fender liners for the front. I had two of these back in the 70-80s and thought they were great little wagons. Did some mods – headers (IECO) and carb tweaking – Dohighug Roe Engineering (Calif) added some real pep to a small vehicle. Would like to do the same to the GT I have now if I could find the parts (headers). Hauled a 20′ Catamaran (only about 800 lbs) to Florida and back from Mpls. My exp was all positive. Should be seeing car shows this year. Clad to see an orig still out there – price seems high but orig anything is getting hard to find

      • bone

        sedan deliveries too

    • Carbuzzard Member

      They did make a notchback two-door sedan and a wagon too. Recently I saw a survivor sedan in very good condition, a bell jar survivor. I’m glad there are remaining examples, even though I don’t want one (unless I had some sort of ‘70s collection).

      Like 1
    • George Member

      But you can argue with a brand that was toxic by the end of production in 1976

      I doubt the Vega had a lot of repeat customers. Mine went to the junkyard within four years. The worst consumer product ever sold to the general public

      Like 5
      • Doc Member

        Triumph TR7 gets my vote. I owned or drove both and the TR7 was the worst.

        Like 5
      • Jerry Member

        I don’t know man, I think the “Pet Rock” was pretty bad! LOL

        Like 1
      • JohnCh

        You are forgetting about the Yugo. Now that was the worse consumer product ever sold to the general public.

        Like 1
  4. Ian C

    Credit where it’s due… these were some great looking cars. Swap in a better engine, and cruise with pride!

    Like 16
    • Angrymike

      My thoughts exactly, a small block chevy and a Muncie with a 12 bolt out back, and the owner is in business !

      Like 5
    • Skorzeny

      Ian, I got to drive a ‘73 GT with a Buick 215. What a blast. That’s the route I might take.

      Like 5
      • poseur Member

        yessir! my first car was a 75 4-speed with 215 until rearend ripped away from unibody. then it went into a 71 with tube reinforcement and Ford diff. a riot!

  5. Jcs

    Great looking little car.

    Did all Vegas have wood look dash inserts? I know Cosworths did not, but it has never caught my eye like it has on this one.

    Like 2
    • sirlurxalot

      The GTs had round gauges and faux wood trim. Non-GTs had a horizontal speedo that took up most of the binnacle.

      Like 5
    • George Member

      No.

      Mine had cheap black plastic

  6. Russell

    My first car, well the basic ’73 model. Took out a loan to purchase the new vehicle for $2084.00 dollars. Now, the “basic” should be listed in the dictionary for “basic”. Here are some examples: non-self cancelling turn signals, the “windshield washer” was a rubber ball mounted in the dash that you pumped with your thumb, there was NO headliner … a heavy rain was deafening. By the way, even after a new engine was installed due to the original one was “recalled”, the vehicle lasted less than 30k miles before the second engine ate itself.
    Augh, memory lane … I still have cold sweats thinking about this one.

    Like 10
    • Fred W

      As this comment shows, don’t plan on driving this one far before needing major engine work. Just a certainty with this particular engine. Excellent museum piece though!

      Like 4
    • George Member

      All these years later, and I still need a support group when the subject comes up

      And yes, it was a worse product in the Yugo. One’s expectations of General Motors , at least at the time, were infinitely higher

  7. P.J. Shaw Member

    I hasten to say it, but i havent seen one with an LS swap…. yet. Hell of a lot if 327 conversions though.

    Like 1
    • Keith

      One on eBay with a LSX454 for 94k. Somebody is smoking something for that number

  8. Jerry Member

    At least its a 4 speed manual or as they say here in the South a “straight drive”

    Like 1
  9. Steve R

    Nice looking car. The small bumper years look much better than the 74 and later. This car is nice enough the buyer can go any direction they want, drive it as it sits, install a V8 and make it into a 70’s style street machine or use it as the foundation of a high end Pro Touring project. It’s no wonder the bidding is so strong.

    Steve R

  10. Jerry Member

    The Vegas like some cars from that era had HORRIBLE rust issues (besides the engine issues) I always liked the shape of them.
    My cousin had a purty blue one that she was going to sell to me when I just turned 16 back in 77 for like $300. I think it was a 72 or 73 model.
    It was running ok, but had rust EVERYWHERE and holes in the floor pans. I wanted it bad, but she changed her mind and decided it wasn’t reliable enough and not safe enough to sell it to me with all the rust! LOL
    (DETROIT Winters where I grew up r brutal with a lot of salty roads)

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Jerry, I heard a lot of Vegas rusting problems were because how they were shipped. They were loaded on train cars standing up, and water collected in corners. If the batteries were still in the cars, acid dripped out.
      https://www.railwayage.com/mechanical/freight-cars/a-look-back-in-time-the-gm-southern-pacific-vert-a-pac/

      Like 3
      • Neal in Boston

        That’s a really neat article, Howard!

        Like 1
      • Rich

        Howard, Not shipped completely standing up just on their nose so they could be shipped in side a standard rail car. The batteries were left in the cars but the caps were on the up hill side so no leaking occurred during shipping. Rusted battery trays were an issue but I’m guessing that was on replacement batteries if owners were not mindful of boiling over or neglect.

        Like 1
      • George Member

        The unusual shipping only was used for about a year.

        The cars rusted because the steel used was low quality, inner fenders were omitted, and the firewall design was impossible to rust proof

        Like 3
  11. CJinSD

    So are these cars more sought after than Cosworth Vegas because survivors are so scarce? Or is it because they’re so much better looking than the bumper cars? Or is it because there are thousands of people who remember these from back in the day, while most Cosworths sat under covers in garages from day one?

    Like 4
    • Superdessucke

      I would say it’s a combination of all those factors. Cosworth Vegas are a dime a dozen, and they have the less attractive facelift. The rear of the ’76 looks particularly gawky. You don’t see these GTs anymore at all, and the pre-74 cars look so much better.

      Like 1
  12. JoeNYWF64

    To me, this looks better than any new “car” available today for under 60 grand!
    Especially those line & that rear end.
    & that’s even before you consider how many many many exterior & even all the color keyed interior choices that were available.
    As for modern cars, Challenger comes in 2nd.
    Mustang 3rd, but for me, only the ’05-09 body style.

    Put in superior to back then hi mileage modern oil & maybe evans coolant, & a temp gage & see how hot it runs. & electric fans or bigger radiator if nec.
    & just don’t drive it in the wet. & cover it in a non damp garage.
    If it had a powerglide, that trans would not die. Not sure of the durability of the manual or clutch here.
    If the motor does start to burn a lot of oil, just replace it with somethin else – no big deal. Not much else to go wrong – with crank windows, no a/c, etc.

    Like 1
  13. Moparman Member

    The only way this well preserved beauty could be better, would to have been ordered with the swing out rear windows, and the Camaro style seats! Every time I look at one of these, I think of what could have been IF GM had only engineered it right from the start (and on a related note, the same w/ Mopar’s Aspen/Volare!). GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 3
    • JoeNYWF64

      I thought all Vegas come with modified 2nd gen f-body ’71 & up hi back STD bucket seats. These are plain material but i bet underneath they are f-body seats.
      Indeed, f-body owners can thank this commuter car for seats that are not so low to the floor, compared to those in mustangs & cudas.

      What this Vega sold for, imagine what one would have sold for today if it had say < 1000 miles! I doubt such a car exists – who would put 1 of THESE dirt cheap in price cars away in storage?

      Like 1
  14. irocrobb

    Being from the rust belt in Ontario where most of these never made it to there tenth anniversary all I can say is,wow. It has likely been 30 years since I have saw even a junker one. This sure is a sharp looking car and I would love to own it. I imagine people would surround you at a local car how.

  15. Howard A Member

    I’m here to defend the little Vega, properly maintained, they were good ( not great) cars. I had a friend that had a red Vega GT just like this, it was a fun little car. He changed the oil like every 2,000 miles ( the recommended interval, I think) and never overheated it, the ultimate kiss of death for these. In defense of the Vega, this was new territory for Americans. They were still used to their 454 Impalas, and they simply drove these too hard. Great find, $13g’s great? Boy, IDK, I suppose for it’s sheer rarity, like the Toyota pickup, but I just can’t believe what some people are willing to pay for something like this, I mean,,,it’s still a Vega. It made Ramblers look good. Spend on, my friends, spend on.

    Like 4
    • Rick

      I’d have more confidence in a run of the mill Rambler than the most well maintained Vega.

      Like 3
      • Howard A Member

        Me too!

        Like 1
    • Stephen Costas

      Vegas overheated largely due to the aluminum block and cast iron head – which allowed the head gasket to degrade and leak coolant into the cylinders.

      They rusted out because of poor design.

      Great car as long as you didn’t drive it.

      Like 4
  16. Keith

    Working at the Lordstown plant that built these it is good to see some are still around to enjoy. Did not like the high per hour build of these and moved over to the van plant next door for a more comfortable day at work.LoL

    Like 3
  17. Lew

    This is similar to the 1972 Vega GT I had, only in Corvette yellow with a single wide black stripe down the center of the hood and hatchback. It also had the much better Camaro style seats. We installed tube steel headers and a bigger carburetor and it really woke up the little car. These even had the better four speed transmission from the German Opel. I only wish I would have put a Buick 215 engine in it.

    Like 1
    • Nick G

      That would be/have been, a marriage made in heaven.

  18. MarveH

    I would do a Quad 4 swap in this and make my own version of a Cosworth with more power and reliability. All cars from the mid 70’s were trash by today’s standards, but they can be made fun and interesting. They have that analog feel you can’t get today and if you pick the small cars, they have something we may never see again, light weight.

  19. ADM

    They put in steel cylinder liners, starting in 1974, and if you put in a larger radiator, the cooling issues should go away. I co-drove a GT, with a standard trans, on a 12 hour trip back from college, and it was actually a neat little car.

    Like 1
  20. Chuck Jamieson

    I owned a 74 Vega, best little car!!
    Pull into the gas station , check the gas, fill up the oil, and away you go! Being in Ontario Canada the rust problem was very evident!!! At 60 miles per hour it had great fuel mileage as the rusted door panels stuck out like aircraft wings and you just “flew”
    That little car never refused to star no matter how cold, or wet, or hot the weather was!
    It would push through snow up to the headlights!
    I loved that little car!

    Like 2
  21. JS

    My friend drove one of these to high school. ~2 years old. He bought oil by the case! Rust took most of them out.

    Like 1
  22. Frank

    I bought an orange gt with a 4spd and 3.73 gears from a brother in law for $50.00
    Had a great time with it and it was peppy if you pushed it a little and yes you checked the oil when you put gas in it.
    Beat on it for a year and sold it back to him for the same money. Cheap car yes, but best fun I ever had for 50 bucks.
    also had a v8 vega wagon and a v8 monza in better shape and even more fun, but you better tie the subframes together and get a better rear axle if you want to play hard.
    At $15,000, It would have to be already upgraded. You have to have more
    money than brains to pay that much for a stock vega!
    One sold in n.e. Ohio with a 400 and auto with a upgraded axle and roll cage for $8000 last year. If I had the room it would have been mine.

    Like 4
  23. Mark

    Anyone that would spend 13k on a vega should have their head examined.

    Like 9
  24. losgatos_dale

    These cars are utter garbage. Useless, not even a fit platform for motor swaps. Someone already mentioned the vehicle tearing apart with a 215 swap done back in the day. And if you reinforced it to hold it together the rest of the original metal would rot away in 3 years time, in California! Don’t list more Vega sales like this one, it’ll give Barnfinds a bad name.

    Like 2
  25. Ted Mathis

    “Sometimes we come across exceptional cars that just make you lean back admire an original classic….”

    This is something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. A Vega described as an exceptional car.

    Like 3
  26. Neal in Boston

    sounds like they were crap cars, but they sure look good!

  27. Jasper

    Please, please don’t swap in a small block! This one really is too nice and original. If it had the good seats and topside stripe with white letter Uniroyals, it’d be over the top. Just hearing one of these putter off under a heavy foot would be a rare treat!

    Like 3
  28. Keith

    Don’t tell that to Jungle Jim Liberman about a V8 in a Vega

    Like 1
  29. Tony Member

    I learned to drive on a 75 Vega with the 4 speed. That was my baby! My dad bought optional insurance for like $75 that covered the engine up to 60K miles. Boy did that come in handy because (don’t ask me how) the oil plug fell out at around 45k and sure enough Chevy replaced the motor. Oh if that car could talk about all those weekend road trips through the backroads of Maryland. Installed an underdash 8 track player with an amplifier blowin out Skynyrd and the Outlaws. Nothing better. Route 301 was a straight stretch of 2 lane and one night I had that accelerator pegged to the floor for at least 2 miles. Got it up to 95mph, it couldn’t go any faster. The car did burn some oil but I got 150K miles out of it. My dad ordered the car with a/c so it came with a bigger radiator. That made all the difference as it never overheated. Great car, great trips, great memories. It went out with it’s boots on as it got t-boned in DC by a car running a red light in 1989. That’s when I learned the harsh reality of what your car is worth based on Blue Book value. One of the most reliable cars I’ve ever owned, as long as you remember to put oil in it.

    Like 3
    • George Member

      By 1975, many of the Vega’s issues were fixed

      A new head and adequate radiator kept the aluminum block within critical temperature range

      They also improved rust protection

      Those of us victimized by the early cars were unpaid test pilots

      Like 1
  30. chris lemm

    I worked in the Chicago area at a high volume alignment shop in the early seventies, the service writers were told not write repair orders or alignments on the Chevrolet Vega, but they did anyway, the problem was the front end including the spring towers in time would sag from poorly designed unibody construction , there was no way to correct the problem, we had Vegas come in with a degree and a half of negative camber, the service writers would insist we do a toe and go, I would tell customers about the problem and advise get rid of the cars. Vegas were worst car GM ever made.

    Like 4
  31. Rich

    I had two ’74 Kammback wagons and thought they were great – just check fluids – overheating was a problem and there was a GM kit to install a low fluid level indicator in the radiator. Modified with headers and carb work done per Doug Roe Eng Calif- really added some zip. I now have a ’74 Kammback GT, under 40k with PS and factory AC, engine was sleeved, all orig, still beautiful paint and no rust. Will be at car shows in ’21

    Like 3
  32. Scott L.

    There was also a panel van version, which I’d bet is rarer than the Cosworth.
    Recently I’ve been watching season of The Rockford Files, and almost every street scene has a Vega (usually a silver one, but there are others). They must have been provided along with the Firebird.

    Like 1
    • Scott L.

      Season 1

      Like 1
  33. Maverick

    Back in the day you could but a don hardy kit .a small block Chevrolet.

  34. Keith

    The real master of the V8 Vega was Motion performance. In 1970 the first year for the Vega he was putting LT1 370hp small blocks in them then in 73 the 454 big blocks started finding there way into the little buggers.Not sure how many he made but they were scary fast.

    Like 1
  35. JC

    Nice little car but 15k??? I checked out the bid activity… looks like a shill bidder jacking the price up… Ebay is not what it used to be.

  36. Aaron

    That was my High School Car model. Never had any Vega problems. Memories.

  37. Miguel

    My mouth is on the floor. This car sold for $18,100 real US Dollars.

    Like 1
    • Superdessucke

      Yes, somebody just paid $18,100 for a Chevrolet Vega. I said this in another thread but it seems to me there are a lot of people who are just trying to give money away. Maybe they think that the US economy is going to collapse or fundamentally change so you might as well just enjoy things now. And maybe they have a sense on that which we don’t. Maybe they’re aging and feel they don’t have much time left and want to go back for a last hurrah, to a simpler time when they were healthier and with fewer troubles.

      I don’t know. But to me, as things stand, it seems silly to spend that kind of money on something like this. Sure, it looks great, but these Vegas were very slow and thus not fun to drive unless you modified them, usually through an engine swap. And this one is way too nice, and expensive, to do that.

      But in any case, people can do with their money what they want. I’m just bummed that I don’t have a car to sell right now!

      • Carbuzzard Member

        The thing to do would be make periodcorrect modifications. And not irreversible…

      • Superdessucke

        I don’t know what mods you can make to this engine to make it faster? But again if you’re dropping 18,100 on a Vega, money is apparently no object so I’m sure something can be worked out. Maybe hire an engineer to help reconstruct the engine that was originally supposed to go into these. That will help get rid of the rest of that pesky 401k!

  38. Carbuzzard Member

    All the usual stuff, carburetion, compression, exhaust; suspension. No, it won’t be anything close to a rocket and you won’t “get your money out of it,” but it could be fun in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way. And you won’t make the proverbial silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but you might make a pretty good sow’s ear purse.

  39. Guardstang

    Looking at that engine compartment made me remember that the air filter could not be removed from the housing–the whole thing got replaced. When I first started in the parts business early 80’s we would stock the assembly.

  40. Rich Mickelson

    Your right about the air filter and there were two versions – one for the 1 brl carb and one for the 2 brl or GT carb. I have a Fram version that uses a replacement filter.

  41. Popawfox

    I had a 73 Vega GT. 4 speed. If I tried to shift from reverse to first to quickly the shift linkage would get crossed up. Then you only had 1st, 3rd, and reverse. Til you slid underneath and uncrossed them. Wouldn’t spin a tire on pavement if it was floored and clutch dumped. At 80mph the windshield wipers would “activate” on there on. Good times, good times. Hahaha!

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