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1975 Chevrolet Vega Junkyard Find Hides a Cool and Rare Surprise Under the Hood
Introduced in 1970 as a replacement for the Corvair, the Vega was Chevrolet's subcompact competitor for the Ford Pinto and AMC Gremlin until 1977. It was GM's first vehicle on the H platform, which also underpinned the Chevy Monza, as well as the Pontiac Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Starfire, and Pontiac Sunbird beginning in the mid-1970s.

1975 Chevrolet Vega Junkyard Find Hides a Cool and Rare Surprise Under the Hood

1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega junkyard find1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega junkyard find1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega junkyard find1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega junkyard find1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega junkyard find1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega junkyard find1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega junkyard find1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega junkyard find1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega junkyard find
The Vega was quite popular in an era that saw the downfall of big, powerful cars, moving a whopping two million units over seven model years. However, its dull design, lackluster performance, and several issues prevented it from becoming a desirable classic. As a result, it's far from surprising that junkyards are packed with derelict Vegas.

But the black coupe you see here doesn't deserve to rot away like a mundane Malaise-era vehicle. That's because it's no regular Vega. This Chevy is part of a rare, limited-edition run that left the factory with a Cosworth engine.

Yup, I'm talking about the company that built some of the greatest race-spec mills out there and prepped a long list of cool cars, including the Ford Sierra and Escort, the Opel Vectra, and the Mercedes-Benz 190E.

Not to mention that it also built the iconic DFV V8 engine that won seven consecutive Formula One championships from 1968 to 1974.

The Cosworth Vega arrived in early 1975, at a time when Vega sales had begun to drop following a record 1974 sales year with 460,000 units delivered. Unlike the regular Vega, which came with a 140-cubic-inch (2.3-liter) four-cylinder, the Cosworth relied on 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 headers, the 16-valve twin-cam unit generated 110 horsepower and 107 pound-feet (145 Nm) of torque.

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 it delivered notably more oomph than the regular Vega engines, rated at 70 and 84 horsepower.

But the Cosworth-prepped coupe didn't catch on, mainly because it was too expensive. Priced nearly double the price of a base Vega, the Cosworth came only $900 short of a 1975 Corvette.

As a result, Chevrolet sold only 2,062 examples in 1975 and just 1,446 units in 1976 for a total run of 3,508 cars. Having built 5,000 engines, GM basically scrapped 1,500 Cosworth Vegas due to a lack of interest.

Come 2022, the Cosworth version is arguably the rarest iteration of the Vega. But it's nowhere near as desirable and valuable as other Chevrolets from the era, so it's not entirely shocking that "Classic Ride Society" found one in a junkyard.

But the really sad part is that the car is in terrible condition with serious rust issues, a mangled hood, missing parts, and a junked interior. The Cosworth engine, on the other hand, is still in the car.

And judging by the window sticker, this Vega hasn't been driven since 1981, which means it's been sitting for a whopping 41 years. If that's true, it means it was driven for only six years, a sad fate for any vehicle.

But there's a bit of good news in this story. According to our host, the car was scheduled to be crushed when someone came to the junkyard to save it. This doesn't necessarily mean that it will be restored, but maybe it will 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 I'm still glad it didn't end up in the crusher. Check it out in the video below.

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