Twin Cam Survivor: 1975 Cosworth Vega

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The Chevy Vega might not be highly collectable or sought after, but if you come across one of the few Vegas that came with a Cosworth tuned Twin Cam engine, you have a rare and fun to drive car on your hands. Chevrolet only built a couple thousand of these special edition Vegas and solid examples are getting difficult to come by. This 1975 Cosworth Vega is in excellent condition and can be found here on eBay.

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The all-aluminum engine was specially tuned by Cosworth to create a performance engine that was durable and could meet emission requirements. Each engine was hand built and tuned before being installed. While 110 hp might not sound like a lot, it was a good jump in power from the standard Vega four cylinder, especially given the strict emission standards that had to be achieved to receive certification in all 50 states.

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Even though there weren’t many of these built, they aren’t terribly valuable. We probably wouldn’t buy a project Cosworth Vega, but this example is pristine and could be driven as is. Hopefully the engine is sound and been maintained, as it could be expensive to rebuild. We doubt it would win any races or beauty contests, but it could make for a fun daily driver. Anyone up for some Twin Cam fun?

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Comments

  1. Dan Farrell

    I don’t know about the Cosworth engine but the standard engine had many problems including the head welding itself to the block through electrolysis. Rust was also a major factor with the body I believe.

    • Foxxy

      Dan, I have owned both a ’71 GT, and a ’76 cosworth vega. I will tell you if you didn’t know what was under the hood you would swear they were not related at all. My little GT gave me problems with head gaskets, till I had head work done at a machine shop. I ran a header and an offy dual plane intake with a 390 CFM holly carb on it and got 40 mpg driving it across the country twice. It was no power house and when you revved close to the redline that was I think 45oo , but can’t remember. when you got close it flat sounded like it was coming apart. It was dependable but after the 440 roadrunner I had to get rid of during the big ” gas shortage” I was not happy, but It got the job done. 11 years later I bought a low mileage cosworth I think it was #1278 I was amazed at the difference, it would rev to 7000 right now and pull hard all the way up and had no vibration at all. I worked in a factory with two guys that had vega’s with v-8’s in them. When we would happen to work the same shifts after work we would hit this stretch of interstate and let them go. Neither on of them could get by me, and on twisty two lane there was no contest at all. They swore I had an eight it it. The biggest difference in the two vega engines were the heads to start with, but the bottom end of the cossy was de-stroked to 122 ci, the other eng was 140 ci. the cossy was balanced, and every cossy engine was signed by the guy that built it right on the cam cover. The only reason I let the cossy go was that it had a twin cam set-up with belts and dampers, and bendix fuel injection. I did not know a damn thing about them, and the chev dealers here would not touch them, so it went bye bye. I was in a chevy dealer getting parts for my GT when the cossy first came out. I saw that thing sitting in the showroom, and I was amazed, and wanted one bad till I walked around it and saw the sticker price. You could buy a regular base vega for just under 2k, but the cossy was just under 7k which was a years pay working for uncle sam’s air force lol.. But I got mine cheap years later. It was great , handled like it was on rails which was one thing a v-8 vega would not do. Gas mileage was no where near what the GT got, but the thrill was worth it .

  2. Gene Stribling

    all the cars on this site are sold belour hem I want to bye a car noe just look at them

    • johannesrolf

      Gene, what does this mean? could you try again with English?

  3. Patrick Calhoun

    It wasn’t just a Cosworth head slapped on a Vega block, I think it was a different bore or stroke. Oiling was different too if I remember right. I put a dry sump on one for a customer but I never knew how it did racing.

    Like 1
    • Foxxy

      Like I said it was de-stroked to 122 cubic inches. and was quad valves and what made it so smooth was it was all balanced. basically it was a race bred engine. Each car was numbered and the engines were signed buy the person that built it. there was a tag on the valve cover and it was a persons true signature just like he signed a check. the engine was why they were so expensive, the price of the cossy was almost enough to buy 3 vega GT’s. or pinto’s.

      Like 1
  4. scot

    ~ pre-purchase reading;
    http://autos.dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/cosworthvegas/message/24197
    Cosworth Vega myths and misconceptions.

    it was a neat concept which balked in the development phase. had the bugs been banished before becoming folklore things might have been very different. how many times has that been said?

  5. paul

    Wow their is one left?

    Like 1
  6. William E. Holt

    That is certainly a clean little Vega. It’s only up to $1500 on eBay. I’d take it for that price. It’s hard to find a running car of any kind for such a small sum, much less one that could have some potential collectors value in the future…. Note that I did say ‘could have’.

    Sure would make a fun daily driver.

  7. Joe

    I would rock this in a minute but the thought of thacking parts down scares me, and that’s coming from a guy who had a cosworth 190e. I did find some wheels for one of these Vegas a while back for a Rabbit project that never happened. Anyone looking for some?

  8. rich

    The Coswrth Vega made over 275 ponies NA in race trim an could have made way more if Chev made the changes to the block Cosworth wanted. But the bean counters did that in.
    The block was the weak link and needed more stiffness.

  9. Russell

    I wanted one of these back in the day. I am so sorry to say the I reccomended a “standard” Vego to a friend and never lived it down.

  10. geomechs geomechs Member

    The venerable Vega was (and still is) a controversial car. Some love them and some hate them. Myself, I liked them. They were somewhat tempermental but the majority of them gave good service. The worst thing was driving them into a snow drift. The snow got in between the timing belt and the sprocket, and you were stopped right there. Some had problems with electrolysis but if you flushed out your system and changed your coolant those problems weren’t as severe–I might add that there was a coolant conditioner you could put in the system that really minimized electrolysis. I’ve got a close friend who’s been running a wagon since ’75. He did the engine for the first time at 110K miles. At that time he bored it out and fit iron liners. He’s been real careful about washing out the fenders and the undercarriage and the only rust he’s got is some surface rust on the tailgate.

    I’ve never seen a Cosworth Vega in the flesh but it sound’s like a lot of fun to drive. I’d like to take one for a test drive just to say I’d driven one.

  11. Dolphin Member

    Foxxy’s story about having fun with his Cosworth Vega against the other cars with transplanted V8s is terrific, and with a good driver in the seat, I can believe it. The Cosworth version was very well balanced in terms of handling and had great engine response. It was built and tuned by one of the greatest names in engines, after all. I remember driving one back in the ’70s and thinking this is the best handling American car I have ever driven (in stock form).

    They were light, which helped handling and performance, but had an unfortunate tinny feel. And yes, they rusted pretty bad in the rust belt, given the poor rustproofing back then and the great amount of salt on the roads in the winter.

    The bottom line for me was that I couldn’t see spending the money for one given the tinny feel and build quality, even if the engine was terrific. This was confirmed when later on I had a girl friend in the rainy Pacific N.W. who had the Vega’s brother, a Pontiac Astre. Every time it rained–which it did all winter–the front floors got soaked because of leaks between the windshield and the body. She took it back to the dealer half a dozen times and they did what they could but nothing sealed it. She finally hung tin cans under the dash to catch the water and just emptied them every time it rained.

    That said, the car featured here does look like a very good example. If you want a pretty unique No America car from the ’70s for cheap money and you don’t mind the limitations in how the entry-level Chevy bodies were built back then, this could be a good deal. They have great lines, the black-with-gold looks terrific, it’s got the great Cosworth name, and this car is number 1001!

    The SCM Price Guide has these at $8,500 to $13,000, so this car is priced at the bottom of the range. That seems like a reasonable price for a limited-production No American car that’s powered by a unique engine and will likely continue to attract attention at any show you bring it to, just like the seller says.

  12. joe howell

    Cool little car, I had 2 Vegas and liked them both, especially the GT.. Like “geomechs” I had my bout with a snow drift but in a Pontiac OHC Firebird. It was the 215 HP 4 barrel engine that would hold its own against Lo Po V8s. Throwing up the hood and displaying that 6 to smoked V8 owner was priceless. You just had to choose your battles.

  13. kev

    take out the old engine, put in a small block 350

  14. AMCFAN

    Just think a fancy Vega priced $400. less then a new Corvette…… and making 10 more hp then a stock Vega. How did GM pull that off?

  15. J. Pickett

    Aside from crappy engines and weak front ends, all Vegas had serious tin work, I mean they rusted. Need to know how long this car has been in Michigan. Well someone got it for $8500.

  16. wayne

    My first new car was a 75 Vega. I never had problems with it. A friend of mine had one and late at night we would race up Clear Creek Canyon outside of Denver. Great fun! He always beat me because he had radials on his. I got rid of it after a couple of years. I always liked the proportions and the looks.

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