1973 Chevrolet "Millionth Vega" Emerges in Original Orange, Unrestored and Unaltered

1973 Millionth Vega 6 photos
Photo: eBay seller rjames33
1973 Chevrolet "Millionth Vega"1973 Chevrolet "Millionth Vega"1973 Chevrolet "Millionth Vega"1973 Chevrolet "Millionth Vega"1973 Chevrolet "Millionth Vega"
The short-lived Vega entered production in 1970 to launch as a 1971 model year, and while I won't discuss the plethora of issues that led to this nameplate getting the axe in 1977, it's still worth reminding that the car was almost an instant hit.
It landed in dealerships on September 10, 1970, and sales took off almost immediately. It's how, two years later, Chevrolet announced a major milestone.

The 1973 series witnessed the production of the one-millionth Vega, with General Motors and Chevrolet praising sales with a historical comparison. "It took Chevrolet nearly 12 years to build its first million passenger cars," F. James McDonald, the brand's general manager, said when the milestone car rolled off the assembly lines.

Building the one-millionth Vega took only three years, the executive continued, apparently without having any clue that the car's demise was already on the radar.

The one-millionth Vega was a beautiful GT wearing a bright orange finish and white stripes. It was assembled at the Lordstown, Ohio plant and was sent to GM's Detroit headquarters.

General Motors and Chevrolet rapidly spotted the opportunity. With the one-millionth Vega enjoying so much press coverage and the car selling like hotcakes, the Detroit carmaker decided to launch a limited-edition car called "Millionth Vega."

1973 Chevrolet "Millionth Vega"
Photo: eBay seller rjames33
Available as the ZM5 option, the Millionth Vega could be had for $497 over the standard price of a Vega, coming with goodies that replicated the original milestone car produced at Lordstown. Every unit was painted in Bright Orange (paint code 86, so look for this number on the door plate if you're not sure a Millionth Vega is the real deal) and sported white stripes, a vinyl interior with matching door panels, orange carpets, and the GT package.

Chevrolet planned to limit production to 6,500 cars, and considering the demand, the output was impressive. The plant produced more than ten Millionth Vegas every hour!

The limited production means few of these cars are still around today, and more importantly, even fewer exhibit a shape allowing them to return to the road.

Someone on eBay claims their Millionth Vega is an ideal restoration candidate, mainly because it's unaltered and mostly original.

1973 Chevrolet "Millionth Vega"
Photo: eBay seller rjames33
Seller rjames33 posted a very detailed car description on the auction site (and hats off to them for all the shared tidbits, as few people do this despite hoping to sell their projects for small fortunes), so you should read the entire description if you're interested in this Vega.

I won't reiterate what the eyes can see, but an important tidbit is that this Vega has spent its entire life in a dry climate. It means you won't have to deal with more rust than the typical amount on a Vega, including around the windows and the spare tire in the trunk. The bad seals were among the common problems on the Vega, but based on the shared images, it doesn't look like you'll spend much time dealing with this issue.

The owner says they wanted to use this Millionth Vega as a donor for another sibling, but they found other parts cars, and considering the solid shape of this example, it's probably worth the effort to restore it.

1973 Chevrolet "Millionth Vega"
Photo: eBay seller rjames33
Most parts are still in place, including the engine. As you probably know, if you're a Vega connoisseur, this model never came with potent engines, but the 140ci mill did its job reasonably. It was a good choice for people who weren't interested in the big-block muscle of the Super Sports that pushed Chevy's sales through the roof during the '60s and made sense, considering the growing interest in fuel economy.

The owner says the engine was running when the car was parked in storage, as it was brought to its bedroom on wheels. The fuel pump doesn't work, the transmission leaks fluid, and the car will need a new air cleaner.

The paint is believed to be original, which is fantastic news for a Millionth Vega, and most of the interior is still usable, albeit requiring typical restoration work.

1973 Chevrolet "Millionth Vega"
Photo: eBay seller rjames33
With approximately 6,500 cars produced in 1973, the Millionth Vega is rare, and it's impossible to tell how many are still around after all these years. And if they are, they are either in someone's garage, away from heavy sunlight, rain, and snow, or abandoned in the middle of nowhere with no chance to return to the road.

This example has a huge chance to return to the road, as it ticks most boxes for a complete restoration. Above all, the owner sells the car without a reserve, meaning that a single bid is enough to guarantee that this Millionth Vega has a new home when the digital fight ends in six days.

Fortunately, someone has already submitted a bid, as they're willing to pay $3,000 for the car, though I expect more people to join the race in the coming days, as the Vega will receive more exposure. The car is parked in Fort Worth, Texas, if you want to see it in person.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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