U.S. Automotive History and the Chevy Vega

Grumpy

Well-Known Member
Had one just like that in 1970, 2 speed auto tranny, heater but no radio. My mother won it in a raffle and I was without wheels at the time so I bought it from her for $1500 (think the sticker price was around $1900). Actually had no problem with the car (except for really bad lack of power) but got paid back in spades when I traded it in for a 1974 Vega GT wagon. The wagon had a warped engine within a year. Was living large in 73 when I married and had 2 cars, the red Vega and a red Pinto...:lol: When I got a new car in 78, they refused to take the Vega wagon as a trade-in but they gave me 200 off the price of the new car..Of course the brand new car I bought (referred to as a r-r-r-rolling hunkajunk by my scottish mechanic) taught me alot about working on cars and keeping them running...79 MG Midget, actually kept that car for 20 years.
 

Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
When I was in grad school, one of the courses in industrial economics relied almost entirely on the story of the Vega as their case study in eveything that can possibly go horribly awry. Because on that project...they hit every "wrong" button there was.
 

GURPS

INGSOC
PREMO Member
I bought a 1980 Chevette with the HO Motor in 1989 I paid the girl $ 200

[Chilton's listed the HO Motor as 2 - 4 HP more than Stock] the thing I noticed was a more tubular exhaust manifold and a dual y configuration]

the Trans slipped in the 2 -3 shift but I drove it for almost 2 yrs until the motor spun a rod bearing

I bought an Engine and Trans w/69k for another $ 250 bucks and swap the pair out over New Years Weekend

I totaled the car 4 months later :faint:


the top speed was about 80 mph you could hit 85 down hill

1978-1980 1.6L High Output

Horsepower - 74
Torque - 88ft/lbs
Bore - 3.228''
Stroke - 2.908''
Redline - 5300 RPM

1979-1981 1.6L

Horsepower - 70
Torque - 82ft/lbs
Bore - 3.228''
Stroke - 2.908''
Redline - 5300 RPM
 

Bann

Doris Day meets Lady Gaga
PREMO Member
My dad got a Vega wagon when we first moved back to the states in 1972. That dang car was the one I had to drive when I got my license (which I didn't get until 1977) if I wanted to drive! :lol: It would would cut out and stall at the stoplights -and my brother was so embarrassed he would slink down in the seat and tell me I didn't know how to drive :lol: It wasn't even my fault! :rolleyes:

Dad showed me how to get it to start back up for awhile until he got it fixed. I think he had the air filter (?) off and a screwdriver stuck in the butterfly thingy in the carburetor (?) to keep it open until you started it? Something like that. Anyway, it was a car trick to learn and I was able to get the car to start when I needed to. :lol:

I really didn't plan on getting a Vega as my first car after that - but dad knew the Chevrolet dealer in Mechanicsville and he got a great deal on 2 Vegas - the last year they were made. He gave me the pick of the two and I chose the Red 3 speed Sedan. I ran that thing for over 100,000 miles commuting back & forth to DC to work. I think I had it for at least 5 or 6 years. It was great on gas, I think I only replaced the tires 1 or 2 times, brakes, once. The car ran great most of the time! (even though the timing belt went out on the South Capitol Street bridge once!)

I was even driving that car in my carpool the day the Air Florida crash happened. Lots of memories in that car.
Good times.
 

mitzi

Well-Known Member
screwdriver stuck in the butterfly thingy in the carburetor (?) to keep it open until you started it?
Yes! What was that called, I can't remember. I had a Dodge that I had to do that. It always stuck closed.
 

PrchJrkr

Long Haired Country Boy
PREMO Member
Ad Free Experience
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Wifey had a Chevette when we married. We ended up running it up to 100,000 miles and gave it to one of the locals. The oil light came on once and I had to add 3 quarts to bring it back up to full. That damn thing was bullet proof.
 

mitzi

Well-Known Member
Wifey had a Chevette when we married. We ended up running it up to 100,000 miles and gave it to one of the locals. The oil light came on once and I had to add 3 quarts to bring it back up to full. That damn thing was bullet proof.
We had a Chevette for a couple years. Other than feeling like I was going to die when I merged on a highway, it was the most dependable car I ever had. Never had one bit of trouble with it.
 

PrchJrkr

Long Haired Country Boy
PREMO Member
Ad Free Experience
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We had a Chevette for a couple years. Other than feeling like I was going to die when I merged on a highway, it was the most dependable car I ever had. Never had one bit of trouble with it.
I remember that feeling oh so well. I commuted to Alexandria for about a year. As soon as I crossed the bridge on the way home I would have to floor it to build up enough speed to make it all the way up the off ramp for 210.
 

Bann

Doris Day meets Lady Gaga
PREMO Member
Wifey had a Chevette when we married. We ended up running it up to 100,000 miles and gave it to one of the locals. The oil light came on once and I had to add 3 quarts to bring it back up to full. That damn thing was bullet proof.
I'm not a car fanatic - I should Google this - but I seem to remember the Vega's problem was the aluminum block engine.

Wasn't the Chevette the car that came out after Chevrolet got rid of the aluminum block engine in the Vega? (I think my car's year was the year after they got rid of it)
 

Bann

Doris Day meets Lady Gaga
PREMO Member
So, my Chevy Vega was a 1977 model. According to Wikipedia - (much of which I don't even understand because I'm not that mechanically inclined. :lol:)

Serious problems with the engine led to a redesign for 1976–1977. Marketed as the Dura-Built 140, the new engine had improved coolant pathways, redesigned cylinder head with quieter hydraulic valve lifters, longer-life valve stem seals that reduced oil consumption by 50%, and redesigned water pump, head gasket, and thermostat. Warranty was upgraded to five years or 60,000 miles (97,000 km).[35] In 1977 a pulse-air system was added to meet stricter 1977 U.S. exhaust emission regulations and the engine paint color (used on all Chevrolet engines) changed from orange to blue.[citation needed]
 
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