CC For Sale: 1977 Chevy Vega With Toyota 21R Engine – Crazy Dreams!

Here’s one New Year’s resolution that just didn’t last long. I had promised myself the next time I shared a CC For Sale, I would do so from a US-sourced ad. But well, what can I do? These things just pop into my FB feed and the locals in El Salvador just put together these contraptions that I just feel will be interesting to share.

Keyword in that previous sentence is ‘interesting.’ I didn’t say ‘good’ or ‘great.’ After all, I don’t know many who would consider a Toyota engine on a Vega body a good idea. Not that it’s a bad one either. I just doubt this conversion is the result of a conscientious study on the subject. Knowing the locals, this unusual Toyota-GM melange was likely the result of:

  • A Vega body with a dead engine in someone’s garage selling for peanuts and…
  • A Toyota engine lying around someone’s workshop.

The former is rare (the Vega body, I mean), the latter, commonplace around here. With the two at hand, someone just figured, why not?

In any case, this Vega is a ’77. The owner is selling due to ‘cash flow issues,’ and considers it a ‘project’ 80% complete. What kind of project, I’ll leave you to decide. It does have a very telling “Crazy Dreams Car’s Club” sticker on the windshield, though the idea of an efficient and reliable engine on a Vega shouldn’t sound so crazy.

Ok, don’t pile on me. I do know that by ’77 these had improved. After all, this ’77 is still standing. Sans the original engine, but still standing.

As for how it drives, Toyota’s 21R was built from 1978 through 1987, and the 2L engine provided 99 HP with 114 lb. ft at 4000 RPM. I would think in a great number of respects an improvement over the original engine, but I suspect there are a lot of loose ends on this ‘project.’ Also, no mention of what other mods were done on the drivetrain, but I doubt the original tranny is in there.

Then again, the seller is not promising a ‘finished’ product.

Images come from the sales ad. Not the best quality, and hopefully not a reflection of the seller’s capabilities. Wish I had come across this one to take some better pics, but even if the location is quite evident in the photos (A public school in greater San Salvador), I don’t intend to look for it at all. Annoyingly, it’s in an area not known for its safety. Quite the opposite, actually. And as much as I like cars, I also happen to have a great fondness for staying alive.

So, forgive me. We’ll just have to make do with these low-res photos.

Too bad the Vega was such a lousy product at launch, as I always found it a nice cute car. Such a nasty rep to live with. That said, I don’t think the ‘Hand Wash Only’ sticker on the rear fender is meant as a pun (though it works rather well). Rather, the unintended joke is the result of the locals’ fondness for pointless stickers and badges. Or so I’d like to think.

Regardless of rep, someone did think this old Vega was worth reviving and turning it into something else. A better car than ever perhaps?

And well, while I doubt anyone would go through the trouble to import this Toyota-GM mix stateside, here’s the ad’s link. Proof that I’m not just imagining things.


Further reading:

Curbside Classic: Winner Of 1971 Small Car Comparison And GM’s Deadly Sin No. 2

Curbside Classic: 1976 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega – GM Deadly Sin #27 – Too Little, Too Late, Way Too Expensive