Vega-Mino! 1973 Chevrolet Vega Pickup

There’s enough of these pickup truck-conversions made from the venerable Chevrolet Vega to believe that there was indeed a kit available to perform the roof chop in the comfort of your own backyard. In fact, our own Scotty G. wrote one up in March of 2018 that was even the same color of our subject car, leading me to believe they were one in the same. However, this 1973 model here on craigslist is an earlier model that unfortunately parked a little too close to a car that caught on fire, resulting in a very crispy driver’s side. It’s listed for $2,750 in Long Beach, California.

Though there’s definitely more than one running around, I can’t find any clear information regarding a pickup kit conversion that a manufacturer offered Vega owners for a spell. The seller claims he knows of a “handful” that were built, so perhaps there was a small-time manufacturer that wanted to give Vega owners a slice of the driving euphoria El Camino were experiencing at the time. The Vega-Mino looks good from this side, aside from the peeling clearcoat. As an earlier model, it has the prettier chrome bumpers.

The driver’s side is where some of you may begin to feel this project is too big to take on. The trucklet was unfortunately parked next to a vehicle that caught on fire, which charred the driver’s side and melted the rear tires. The seller contends it’s only skin-deep in terms of the damage caused by the fire, but it’s still a fair amount of work involved to strip down, repaint, and also inspect to ensure the heat didn’t get high enough to weaken any structural components. The seller points out that this is an incredibly authentic kit, right down to having “…properly styled El Camino door treatment and roofline.”

Other features include “…proper GT wheels, steering wheel, grille, instruments, consoles, roof mounted speaker etc. and air conditioning intact,” notes the seller. It does seem safe to say a previous owner spent a fair amount of cash to create a vehicle that looked as factory-correct as possible, albeit one with a frozen four-cylinder engine. Fortunately, the seller is offering a low-mileage Chevy V8 and automatic transmission combo for an additional $1,400, which would bring this Vega-Mino full circle into being the one-off hotrod it seems destined to be. A lot of work to be done, but it would be worth it in the end.

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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    I hate to agree with myself but the price is low enough and the car looks in reasonable enough condition to buy and finish. Unique.

    Like 11
  2. Moparman Member

    Upon close inspection of the Craigslist pictures, there is evidence of rust through in the rockers and bottoms of the fenders. Also, it would appear that this car has sat with the interior exposed to the outside elements. It might have a low entry price, but (IMO) I think it would become a money pit! Sourcing the various missing trim bits and the rear window wouldn’t be cheap.

    Like 9
  3. Maestro1 Member

    I didn’t know about these and it’s a great idea! Restore it and use it for what it was designed for. I would except I already have a small truck. Good luck to the next owner. It doesn’t matter what it costs to make it right. You’ll own it forever.

    Like 5
  4. Rhett

    I don’t recall a kit for these, but I do recall that you cut the gate in half and metal worked in both pieces..Engine aside, as the years go by the Vega design grows on me, both small and big bumper cars. One day I’m gonna find a solid car and drop in my spare nailhead.

    Like 3
  5. PaulR

    The rear window opening looks to be the same as the Kamback/Panel express, which shouldn’t be too difficult to find. The hard parts to locate will be the plastic grille and front and rear lower valance panels.

    Like 2
  6. Will Fox

    Sorry; what I said about the Olds 442 “wagon” holds even more true here. What a cobbled up waste of energy & time….

    Like 3
  7. PaulG

    Ad states new windshield and rear window included. Grill too.
    If I was free for a couple of day’s I’d venture to S. Cal. and check it out. Could be worth the $$ and a fun parts runner when finished…

    Like 6
  8. Kenneth Carney

    I knew a young man in the ’80s that owned one of these. And while his wasn’t
    as nice as this one was in the beginning,
    the conversion that I saw at least looked
    factory issue thanks to a local body man
    named Roger Phelps, who did quite a few of them in the late ’70s for folks who wanted something a little different. By
    local standards, the ones he did looked
    okay, but the rear pillars of the cab were
    upright as opposed to the angled ones we see here. Mr. Phelps also used the
    stock Vega interior pieces to make the car look a bit more factory looking in
    appearance. Whatever it was, my friend
    put it to good use by doing local deliveries of everything from pizzas to
    groceries. Our company hired him to
    deliver the products we sold locally.
    Since he was a slow learner, it worked
    out well for him as he and his little truck
    made more money than he would have
    gotten just drawing a disability check.
    To this day, I can still recall this young
    man and his little blue truck.

    Like 8
  9. 19sixty5 Member

    Good thing it’s 2200 miles away, I would be very tempted… this looks like it could be a fun project!

    Like 4
  10. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    After four decades of extracting cars from fields, barns, mud pits, etc….it is baffling that anybody wanting to sell this car couldn’t make it easy to tow by buying cheap replacement tires for the ones that burned or don’t hold air. How hard is that? Makes it easier to say “bring a trailer” when you don’t have to lug this thing with at least one wheel dragging.

    Like 2
  11. Stevieg

    This looks like someone performed a lobotomy on a Vega wagon lol. I like it because I like freaks, but I don’t think I would want to own it.

  12. Claudio

    I am happy this is sooo far away
    I live in montreal, canada
    So with the currency exchange rate, the taxes and the transport , it would amount to about $7,5 k
    And this thing doesn’t even run ,
    More money for an engine, trans and a lot more
    A nice un abused , no winter , great shape small pick up is cheaper and instant satisfaction …
    So, i will pass

    Like 1
  13. dogwater

    Ok no title, rust, not worth must JUNK

  14. Maestro1 Member

    Every time I see this I keep staring at it……… the conversion, whatever it takes, V-6 Power with appropriate power assists, rework its bones, especially the front end, if necessary, my climate insists on light colored interiors, so in this one tan or parchment, with a light tan exterior so the design inside and out melt into each other. Even more high contrast is good.
    I’d go with original wheels but good tires, so it looks like a sleeper. Since I would need wrenching assistance I’d say I would be North of $ 20,000.00.
    If I had the room and the time it might be worth it.

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