I wonder if one of those light-orange colored hatchbacks in the first photo could be the one William Stopford found in Las Vegas and wrote up last year.
Viva las Vegas! I don’t know that I’ve ever seen (or noticed) a wood encrusted one. Pintos, sure, but not Vega. And there are two of them!
That pins it down to half a model year, the woodgrain option (“Estate Package” in Chevy parlance) didn’t happen until midyear ’73 and the big bumpers, of course, came in ’74.
The site where I found these indicated the cars are 1971 models (although it’s possible they could be 1972s), and the Series 90 is a 1970 (first year for the 90). The trailer is a fairly new Bankhead.
Great pics! Looking at the first car on the bottom level, it looks like some wise owner may have ordered their Vega in grey primer, to ease the eventual rust repairs. 🙂
Speaking of rust repair, the faux wood applique covered two of the worst areas for rust, the bottom edge of the tailgate, and the tops of the rear wheel arches. Making catching the rust, and repairing it, more of a challenge for owners. Lifted or bubbling vinyl was often the first sign.
So many car makers in the early to mid 70s painted their small cars in bright primary colours, that I thought often cheapened their looks. I find that champagne beige GT on the top deck looks gorgeous, and more elegant, in that colour. I always found silver Vegas looked better than most.
Interesting photo since I believe the majority of Vegas were transported by the unique ‘Vert-A-Pac’ rail system where the cars were transported vertically, on their noses, also completely topped off with fluids, as well. I’ve often wondered if the requirements of the Vert-A-Pac system could have been the root cause of some of the Vega’s mechanical woes.
That wasn’t by truck.
Yes the majority of cars left the factory in the special train cars, but carriers were used from the rail yards to the dealers and I assume cars going to dealers within a certain radius of the plant were trucked all the way.
I drove Anchor Motor Freight out of Lordstown in the late 1970s. Monzas had replaced Vegas by then, but we trucked them to dealers all along the East Coast, and as far west as the Mississippi. Anchor’s fewer Astro/Titan 65′ rigs hauled further west.
IIRC, the Vert-A-Pac rail cars were mainly used to transport to dealers out West.
What ever happened to those Vert-A-Pac trains? Was any other car ever shipped that way?
They got scrapped or rebuilt/repurposed; no other cars used them. The modifications Vega received for vertical transport had nothing to do with its other problems.
I’m a bit surprised. At the very least, I would have thought the Vega’s smallish radiator was designed with vertical transport in mind.
One of the posters in this thread apparently worked for GM and has some interesting comments about prototype Vegas with the rotary engine.
Really attractive cars!
Too bad that when the hauler’s engine was off, you could hear the Vegas rust!
LOL! The ones with the fake wood had a head start
Picture may contain: nIne vehicles, one engine.
I have never seen a pusher axle with smaller wheels and tires than the drive and steer axles, like in the top photo. Similarly, I have never seen a truck run without the outer tire on one of the rear duallies like in the second photo. Anyone know why these might be happening in these pics?
What you’re calling a pusher is actually a tag or lift axle. It’s held down by air pressure when rig is loaded, and lifted when running empty. Don’t know why outer wheel on second photo is missing, could be they just didn’t take time to replace. With relatively light load of Vegas, rig would still be within axle load limits when tag axle down on one wheel each side.
A pusher axle is ahead of the drive axle, a tag axle is behind it. That’s how I’ve read it on an American website, so I’d say Theophilus is right.
Liftable tag axles go back many decades, to the pre-air suspension days, like on this ol’ Volvo F89 (these were built from 1970 to 1977).
Yeah, I looked at probably the same American website re tag vs. pusher axle, but back then we just called the smaller wheeled axle you raised the “tag”. I once forgot to lower it when on scale, and got fined as result.
Judging by some of the colors, I think these are 1972 models. I wouldn’t be surprised if the first photo are even ’73s.
Hard to tell if the front bumpers have the 3″ standoffs unique to ’73 or not…
It doesn’t look as though these have the stronger front bumpers.
These are good-looking cars. If only the rest of the car had been as good as the styling and the handling.
Yes, it’s just too hard to tell on the bumpers. It’s the shade of bronze on the wagon that makes me wonder. A coworker got a new bronze hatchback in ’73, and that shade of bronze looks familiar now.
Ya know, the Vega wagon really is a very pretty shooting brake.
The Vega was an attractive car, well proportioned from most any angle. My sister in law had a Pontiac Astre, the Canadian Pontiac equivalent, but only for a short time due to poor reliability.
I wrote in my Vega COAL that the color combination was so bad that no pictures were stored in the internet. I stand corrected as the first vehicle in the first photo is similar to the Vega GT Estate Wagon Family Truckster.
Is (was) there a sophisticated way to optimally rig the trailer of the auto carrier to hold the maximum amount of the specific cars, or did the loading crew just figure it out from experience?
Those liftable pusher axles with small wheels were popular on auto transporters. The axle could be lifted and the wheels would not be any higher than the drive axle wheels in the ‘up’ position, and a lot of auto transport trailers used that same size of wheel as well. If fact it looks like both of the pictured trailers have the smaller wheels. Those pictures show the some of the best and worst vehicles GM produced in the early 70’s!
As others have noted, judging by looks alone the Vega was a pretty nice looking little car. These pictures also reminded me that I like the wheels on these. The wagon in the foreground in the top picture has chrome trim rings on the mini-Rally Sports, along with white walls. Sharp!
From what I’ve read on CC, one can only wonder if these were being hauled back to the dealer from the disgruntled, or for initial delivery brand new.
These early Vegas would’ve fooled me in the day, I’m sure. I’ve mentioned here before that I think these quite stunning lookers: I’d have fallen for one.
I would have too. I’d always gravitated towards smaller compacts because I like twisty roads, and a properly ordered Vega would have been great for that before the defects made themselves apparent. I’d have ordered a GT hatchback with the standard transmission and the 2bbl 110 hp engine. In antique green if possible.
I always liked the look of the Vega. Too bad GM did what it always did/does. They turned what could have been a greatest hit into …yeah we all know.
By 1980 whenever you went to a junkyard you had to wander thru a ‘showroom’ of intact Vegas lined up for the crusher to get to the useful stuff.
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