I forgot to make the circle really complete: Having totally turned Europe’s design school upside down with the 1960 Corvair, what does GM do for the 1971 Vega (and of course the 1970 1/2 Camaro)? Reprise the classic Pininfarina face from the fifties. The Corvair’s face was just too…European. (PS: this has been belatedly added to the Corvair piece, in case you’re seeing it for the second time)
Complete with eggcrate style grill too
HQ Holden and Torana front
With the 70 Camaro,IMHO, the profile looks like the 53 Studebaker Lowey coupe less the rear window. Later Camaros also had the wrap around rear glass.
Vega was IMHO far and away the most attractive subcompact of its generation. If only the rest of the package delivered as well as the styling. Having owned a ’72 Wagon, er, Kammback, in black, with the 2-bbl carb and a 4-speed…I can attest to the opportunity GM wasted here. It truly was a fun car to drive…it rode well and handled well…when it ran. It quickly became a competition between gas, oil and anti-freeze as to which fluid would run out first. I probably shoudl’ve gone with a 283…but there were still the rust issues. Don’t get me started on the rust issues…I have two project vehicles now in the garage awaiting time/$$, one a ’68 Chevy C-10 Fleetside, the other a ’57 Chevy 210 Handyman. Neither have the rust issues that three-year-old Vega had.
A Shakespearean tragedy on wheels.
These Vega looked great like a Miniature Camaro The HQ Holdens shared the looks and the Camaro Floorpan The Torana was a repowered Opel 1900 restyled to ape the Vega which luckily we didnt get
Yes, it was truly a GM Deadly Sin.
Even with the basic “package” being right, there was so much NOT right about it, it was impossible to make it so. Replace the bad engine, you still have the paper-thin sheetmetal rusting. Remove THAT…and you have no car; because there’s no frame underneath.
It’s why the Vega is such a rarity today; why it disappeared so quickly.
Vega seems to have been a disaster whereas we got the GM European cars that size and they were much better,
Lotus began using the 66 OHC Victor engine it eventually got to 2.3 litre this engine was raced with much success. We got in Bedford vans Ive had a 2l CF Bedford at 100mph indicated they go ok.
Did Chevy think they could do better? Chevy engine fit Victors SBC transplant go HARD so the shell is strong enough This was Chevys missed oportunity or the Opel that Holden used GREAT cars not just good you got the Vega HA HA
Bryce, read Aaron Severson’s history of the Vega to understand how the problems originated. It’s a thorough and fascinating read.
Noteworthy is that Vega seems to have been GM’s first car designed-by-committee. True the committee was headed by Ed Cole, father of the Gen I Chevy Small-Block, but hey, everybody makes mistakes. What’s the disclaimer they use in those TV commercials for investment firms? “Past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future results” or something like that? I think that disclaimer fits Ed Cole in this situation.
Chevy apparently had a subcompact in the hopper when Project XP-887 was imposed upon the division in early 1969. (XP-887 what GM called the car before it was named Vega just prior to release). So to your question if Chevy thought they could do better…I’m betting yes. John DeLorean, who had just been promoted to Chevy General Manager from Pontiac, had his concerns about Vega, it’s all in the Aaron Severson piece. Check it out.