Watch Out! 1977 Chevrolet Vega V8 Pickup

Now we’re talkin’! Ian C. sent in the tip for this super custom 1977 Chevrolet Vega Pickup. Oh yeah, there’s a V8 under that hood, too. This little monster can be found in Wagener, South Carolina and it’s on Craigslist, or here on the CL archive. The seller is asking a mere $3,900 for this thing!  I know, that’s the price of a Graham Silverstone Stowe 44 Chronograph watch. For those of you who are under-40, a “watch” is an ancient method of deciphering what time it is at any given point throughout the day by the use of a device worn on the wrist. My $3,900 would go towards buying this V8 Vega pickup, I don’t know about yours. Let’s check it out.

We have seen all kinds of custom pickups on Barn Finds over the last few years, anything from giant Cadillacs to tiny Hondas and everything in-between. I don’t know if I’ve seen a Vega pickup before. I like it, a lot.

As a housekeeping item, this seller is to be commended for providing photos of all sides, the interior, and even an engine photo! That’s as rare as seeing someone in their 30s wearing a wristwatch other than as a useless yet trendy retro fashion accessory. Another dozen detail photos would have been great to see, however. I know, I’m never satisfied. Does the tailgate function as a tailgate? It doesn’t appear to from the photos. It’ll be harder to get your minibikes in the back with the tailgate permanently in the up/closed position, but I’m sure that it helps with the body flexing.

Ok, it’s an automatic. It’s as rare as trying to find a watch battery in the same store where you used to get them years ago to find a vehicle with absolutely every feature that a person would want. A 4 or 5-speed manual would have been great here but putting it in D sometimes isn’t the worst thing in the world. There are two interior photos which is a plus but they’re both from the same side which is a minus. You can see that in the overall photo the driver’s seat needs help. You already knew that for less than $4-grand this wouldn’t be a trailer queen.

Ahhhhh yeee’uh. This scenario comes up a lot when we feature Chevy Vegas here, “Drop an SBC in it..” and that’s exactly what they did. They say that it “has the 350 turbo 350 .. drives great. good brakes.. might need a elec fan added if sits in traffic a lot.. we did carb rebuild.. cleaned fuel delivery. rebuilt carb. etc..” I don’t know about you but for my $3,900 this Vega beats out a watch any time, no pun intended.

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Comments

  1. Max

    Disgusting!

    • Jerry Brentnell

      we had a young female school teacher who bought a vega station wagon new with in the first year 2 engines got replaced by g.m. by the time the first year was up the thing was rusted everywhere! she was so fed up she drove it right down to general motors head office in oshawa ontario! and tore a strip of some person there and told them to keep the pile of junk! they called the cops on her! wouldn’t do nothing! she took it to a gravel pit and set it on fire to get rid of it! cheap junk when new! just like monzas and chevettes and the worst of all the firenza

  2. SRyan

    Cool looking. Curious about the gecko on the b pillar and the stainless pipe behind the drivers seat.
    Wish it was closer.

  3. Miguel

    I can imagine the amount of weight you would need to put in the back just to get the rear wheels to not spin every time you wanted to move this thing.

  4. Pat A

    Was this a one-off or was this some kind of kit?

    • Miguel

      It looks like a well done backyard job.

      I don’t remember anybody offering to cut your Vega into a truck back when.

  5. Suttree

    Cool little hot rod. I don’t think you could build another one like it for $3,900.

  6. Beatnik Bedouin

    Sweet build – looks like the sort of thing that was done in the late 1970s-early 1980s – and seems to be priced right.

  7. Mark

    I know a lot of people thought those hoods that opened to the front were cool, and they do make sense in a small degree for safety but they sure make it hard to work on the engine. I imagine that’s especially true in a case like this where the engine is a lot larger than what was intended to go into the engine compartment.

    • Miguel

      It is easy to take off.

  8. Blueprint

    I like it! Being, ahem, over 40, I remember seeing quite a few V8 Vegas as a kid in our blue collar ‘burb.

    • Miguel

      Me too, and if the chassis wasn’t strengthened correctly, it got one hard pass and the frame bent so one wheel was always off the ground.

      It was funny.

      • Vegaman_Dan

        Unibody, no frame to bend.

      • tirefriar

        Thats right, no frame rails in the back. Thats why proper V8 conversion required a subframe in the rear. Otherwise one hard pass would rip the rear suspension from its mounts.

  9. Rabbit

    I think I’d find a V8 Monza fan shroud for that rad. It’d go a long way to helping the cooling issue. Almost looks like he used the top of the hatch for the rear window panel. All in all, a pretty neat job. Almost looks like it was meant to be. Almost. I especially like the way the throttle spring’s zip-tied to the upper rad hose.

    • Gary Member

      Rabbit, not only is the spring zip-tied to the hose, but look at the routing of the temp gauge’s wiring harness enroute to the switch in the t-stat housing. See how it’s chewed up by the throttle linkage? Classic 80’s half-ass build with the most effort put into the conversion (both the body & the V-8). It used to amaze me when we were out on a Friday night, cruising the circuit for hours, hoping to catch & run a “newbie’s” first build, only to meet up afterwards to share in the “so let me see what you got under there.” The 6th photo is just the best for what’s becoming old memories. And, I in no way, am intending to trash this build, I still give kudos to the builder for a backyard job well done.

  10. Sparkster

    No power steering ?

    • Beatnik Bedouin

      ‘Armstrong’ Power Steering, Sparkster… ;-)

  11. Dirk

    Sweet little truck. Good price. Two thumbs up.

  12. mark

    As long as it runs ok, and is structurally sound, someone is going to get a deal on this one at $3900

    1
  13. Lawyer George

    Yes Scotty it may beat out a Timex which keep on ticking, but I remember the question with the Vega’s when new, was when they would STOP ticking. My roommate’s new Vega it was about 4600 miles and he tool excellent car of it. When he asked the local Chevy dealer how long it would take to get a new engine, the service writer said follow me.They went through a door and there were 92 complete engines in stock in a town of 75000 people. This has the V-8 so that is not an issue. And I have to agree that I like the P/U too.

  14. JW

    Me being a Ford truck guy this is pretty cool, I like it and the price. Too bad it’s too far away to inspect.

  15. Troy s

    Remember more than a few Vegas running around back in the day with some sort of small block in it, sometimes built more for show, others really could get up and scream, then there were the pro street built Vegas that were complete overkill. My boss back in the eighties had a 427 Vega drag car, although the few times I saw him race that thing something usually broke! Forget about it.
    But I can’t remember ever seeing a Vega converted into a pick up, actually not too bad looking either. Maybe someone got the idea from a Subaru brat, the pick up idea that is, not the tire melting 350. Cool find.

  16. Joe Howell

    Chevy probably could have sold these like hot cakes if they had made one. I have seen a couple of nicely done Pinto pick-ups but never a Vega.

  17. Vegaman_Dan

    The rear window is made from the hatchback of the wagon this was built from. Not bad.

    I would not build a Vega like this.

  18. Joseph Wayne Haddock

    I’m not real keen on the pickup steering wheel but, it may need to be that big with the V8 and manual steering.

  19. Steve M

    Kambacks suck……best thing you could do with one. My gosh why cant I find a yellow ’71 …..kills me. :(

    • BRAKTRCR

      I agree, that is a pick up steering wheel. Odd thing to do. I always liked the way the stock 4 spoke steering wheel looked.

  20. Rube Goldberg Member

    This is the coolest Vega I’ve seen. From the pics, looks like a great job, even though, for me, the V8 is a bit much. I believe there was a company that did a lot of V8 Vega swaps. I do imagine it doesn’t hook up well. A V6 would give plenty of power. I think a Vega “Ute” would have sold well here.

  21. BRAKTRCR

    For my Astre, ( Pontiac Vega ) I used a Don Hardy conversion kit. I remember in the instructions, for firewall distributor clearance, it said to hit the firewall with a rubber hammer. It worked. Was a fun car. My Vega wagon was a race only car, and was even more fun.
    As far as this Vegamino goes… Not my cup of tea. But it does look pretty well done. I agree Scotty, how do you get your mini bike back there without a workable tailgate.

    • EHide Behind

      Years ago helped two teenage brother convert Vega wagons (kambacks?) to V8, complete with frame kit, almost a drop in, just as stated a few whacks with 3# hammer upon a 4×4 block of wood, done. Stock 350 4barrel custom headers from Seattle shop.
      . NICE RIDE. WITHOUT PWR STEERING that lg diameter wheel helps.
      Wonder stainless pipe not part of frame tightner.
      Had to put cable torque straps on motors and steel engine mounts.

  22. Chuck Cobb

    Nobody commented about the roll bar in the bed!!!!

  23. Ian C

    I wish someone would hurry up and buy this. It has been tempting me since the first time I saw it. If my collection was a car or two smaller, I would already have this in my driveway.

  24. Randy W

    I will, to low to do much good unless your maybe ten years old and duck your head. Anybody notice the fifth wheel in the bed. Maybe my old eyes. All in all I would beef the rear end and also with an 28″ fan on the motor will cool that succer down. Did it with my 383 cu in S10, works great. Electric fan won’t do it, tried it with 2 fans. No dice still got hot.

  25. Randy W

    Typo on fan should read 18″ works great, no over heat. Electric fans won’t do, tried double fan and it still over heated.Also the induction hood also helps rid the heat.

  26. Maestro1

    Very nice build. And I wear a wristwatch. I am not a techno infant.

  27. Shawn Gerhardt

    Gives me ideas ! I know I will do a V8 in mine but I don’t want anything radical. Doesn’t need to be. Stock 350 is plenty. Hell. Single exhaust. Just want a dependable driver and maybe break it loose once in awhile.

  28. erikj

    I like it!!Its just ,the light rear would be a problem. As a young 57 now, v-8 vegas where common in the 70s-80s and if done right, COOL. Best one was a friend had a 75 or so coupe. It has black and gold and was done up to look like a 75 z-28 Camaro. all the graphics,even the steering wheel had the z-28 on the horn button. The wheels some how looked correct, and very, very correct to look like a stock Camaro Z-28,just scaled down. 350,4spd. For some that don’t know this,the vega was originally designed to have a v-8!!!

  29. Reginald R McNair

    What’s going on with that engine, is it in backwards….

  30. MIke

    Would have been a great car to cruise up and down main street back in my time . We had little Vega station wagon that someone had a V-8 in it and it would lift the front wheels off the ground. A V-8 really makes a difference in that little tiny car. Who cares how much it Can haul.

  31. Matthew Paulsen

    All new for 1977, The Chevrolet Vega-mino!

  32. Michael Johnston

    My first brand new car was a Pontiac Astra a rebadged Vega. Up. Here in Canada rust proofing was a no brainer so I did the hot oil treatment and burned Mobil One . Drove it for 3 years and put over one hundred thousand miles on it before trading it in on an MGB. Great car and dollar wise it was a winner

  33. bowmad

    Not sure but looks like the brake peddle may have had a clutch peddle next to it. with the right rear-end in it, have a fun wheelie stander.

  34. PLMBRDON

    On pinks all out there was a vega wagon called the woolly mamoth. If you know what your doing you can make these hook up and fly. When I was in high school there was a 1973 vega notchback that was running a 390 with a 4 spd. This looks like it’s built not to bad and the price is not bad at all.

    • bowmade

      a friend in HS had a 2nd gen camaro with a 396 4sp and totaled it. he bought a POS vega and put the entire camero drive train in it over a summer. it was scary fast, and I mean s-c-a-r-e-y

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