1972 Chevrolet Vega 2300 140 ci four cylinder from North America
You get what you pay for
Automatic choke linkage disconnected itself from its mount on the intake manifold.
Cylinder head gasket blew out of rear of engine.
Areas of dull factory-applied finish.
Windshield washer hose blew off the dashboard control switch and drenched my pants. Fortunately, the lack of ventilation through the vehicle kept the air rather hot and dry, so my pants soon dried, but acquired a large blue stain.
This was not the worst car I ever owned, however, it was my first car. I bought it new from the dealer in June '72 when I was 19.
It cost $2282.85 and was a chocolate brown notchback sedan with vinyl upholstery, AM pushbutton radio, and Powerglide transmission.
The paint was mostly shiny, but there were large sections where the finish was rough and dull as though it hadn't been properly applied or rubbed out. I mentioned this to the dealer, but there was nothing they would do for me. I used elbow grease to apply polishing compound and cleaner wax to the dull sections. The affected areas never had a glossy look.
On my way home from the dealer, a van making an illegal u-turn in the middle of a busy street nearly took out my left rear fender. Missed by less than an inch.
The undersized left sideview mirror proved too tiny to be very useful. I soon replaced it with a full-sized after-market mirror.
I bought the factory clock from the dealer ($18.) and installed it myself.
I also added oil pressure and ammeter gauges, and installed them in the blank dashboard panel where the A/C registers were supposed to be located.
I installed an FM adaptor under the radio. It worked well until it was stolen when I left the car at a parking meter under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in NYC.
The combination of excessive engine noise at highway speeds, and the lack of sufficient damping of interior noises, forced me to drive no faster than 50 mph, but that was okay because most of my daily trips were done crawling along in heavy traffic.
One chilly morning, the engine cranked but would not start. The automatic choke mechanism had fallen apart. I fixed this myself and drove away.
There was a strange rattle in the door. It sounded like something was loose inside. I removed the door panel and found an empty 12 oz. soda can inside.
I installed massive bumper guards front and rear. Later, when I had a minor traffic mishap, the only damage to the bodywork was caused by the large bumper guards crushing the sheet metal of the front clip.
Two days before Christmas 1974, running the heater at moderate temperature, I slowed down for a traffic light and suddenly found myself immersed in super-thick fog. The head gasket had blown itself out of the rear end of the engine block. The engine continued to run, and I drove the thing a mile to the nearest Chevy dealer, who replaced the gasket and charged me $24. for a new timing belt. They were supposed to install a radiator coolant overflow kit, but never did.
One afternoon, at my folks' house, while I was adjusting the points and advancing the timing (11 deg BTDC) for the upteenth time in an effort to coax a bit more power from the engine, the screw that secured the points stripped its threads. I could not find a larger sheet metal screw so I carefully tightened the screw as best I could and gently replaced the distributor cap. Fearing that the vibration of high speed operation would upset the points setting and totally disable the car, I drove it no faster than 40 mph 400 miles from Queens NY to Erie, PA, where I was living. Ten hours later, I arrived home. The following week I traded the thing for a new '75 Rabbit, the worst car I have ever owned.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 26th March, 2010
31st Mar 2011, 11:01
Great review and story about your Vega, could you post one of your Rabbit?
1st Apr 2011, 09:51
A lot of these now have a Chevrolet V8 small block installed. Near where I live, someone did a miniature second gen Camaro Z/28 recreation on this small bodied car. Smaller scale for Vega and what it would have looked as a Vega Z/28 if ever made. I am sure the insurance issues and perhaps cost to build by GM was a factor. Actually turned out really nice.
2nd Apr 2011, 01:23
For a short while there was actually a Vega Cosworth officially marketed by GM.
This ran a Cosworth developed head, and would have provided the go to match the Vega's looks.
Shame that it was extremely expensive, and never sold in any numbers.