Introduced in 1970 as a replacement for the Corvair, the Vega was Chevrolet’s subcompact competitor to the Ford Pinto and AMC Gremlin until 1977.
It was the first General Motors vehicle on the H platform, which also underpinned the Chevy Monza, as well as the Pontiac Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Starfire and Pontiac Sunbird from the mid-1970s onwards.
The Vega was quite popular in an era that saw the demise of big, powerful cars, moving a staggering two million units in seven model years.
However, its drab design, lackluster performance, and various issues have kept it from becoming a desirable classic.
As a result, it’s not surprising that junkyards are full of abandoned Vegas.
But that black coupe doesn’t deserve to rot like a mundane Malaise-era vehicle. That’s because it’s no ordinary Vega.
This Chevy is part of a rare limited edition that left the factory with a Cosworth engine.
Yes, I’m talking about the company that built some of the greatest racing factories out there and prepared a long list of cool cars, including the Ford Sierra and Escort, the Opel Vectra.
Not to mention, it also built the iconic DFV V8 engine that won seven consecutive Formula 1 championships from 1968 to 1974.
The Cosworth Vega arrived in early 1975, at a time when Vega sales began to decline after a record sales year in 1974, with 460,000 units delivered.
Unlike the regular Vega, which came with a 140-cubic-inch (2.3-liter) four-cylinder, the Cosworth had a smaller 122-cubic-inch (2.0-liter) four-banger.
Featuring an aluminum alloy block with forged components, electronic ignition, electronic fuel injection and stainless steel cylinder heads, the 16-valve dual cam unit generated 110 horsepower and 145 Nm of torque.
It’s not exactly impressive compared to pre-1972 performance cars, but we need to keep in mind that this car was born in the Malaise era and delivered notably more power than the regular Vega engines, rated at 70 and 84 horsepower.
But the coupe prepared by Cosworth did not succeed in the market, mainly because it was too expensive.
Priced at nearly twice the price of an entry-level Vega, the Cosworth was in the US $ 900 range less than a 1975 Corvette.
As a result, Chevrolet sold just 2,062 in 1975 and just 1,446 in 1976 for a total print run of 3,508 cars.
Having built 5,000 engines, GM essentially scrapped 1,500 Cosworth Vegas due to lack of interest.
The Chevrolet Cosworth Vega that was salvaged from a junkyard
As of 2022, the Cosworth version is arguably the rarest iteration of the Vega. But it’s nowhere near as desirable and valuable as other Chevrolets of the era, so it’s not entirely shocking that the “Classic Ride Society” found one in a junkyard.
But the really sad part is that the car is in very poor condition with serious rust issues, mangled hood, missing parts and scrapped interior.
The Cosworth engine, on the other hand, is still in the car and judging by the window sticker, this vehicle hasn’t been driven since 1981, which means it’s been sitting idle for 41 years.
If that’s true, it means it’s only been driven for six years, a sad fate for any vehicle.
But there is good news in this story. The car was scheduled to be crushed when someone went to the junkyard to save it.
This doesn’t necessarily mean it will be restored, but perhaps become a donor to fix a different Cosworth Vega.
Yes, this car is proof that rare doesn’t always mean highly sought after and valuable, but we’re still glad it didn’t end up in the shredder.
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