Mini CC: 1972 Chevrolet Vega By Ertl – My Pain-Free Vega Ownership Experience

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Ed Stembridge’s Vega tale last week reminded me of my own Vega ownership. I have only had mine a few years, but there have been zero issues. The paint is as new, there is no rust, and I haven’t even had to replace the hard-to-find 13″ whitewall tires. Why?

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Because it’s a detailed 1/18 scale model, of course. First off, I was just delighted that Ertl had the guts to make a die-cast model of the Vega. It would have been so easy to just reissue their ’57 Chevy or ’69 GTO in a new color, which probably would have sold better as well. They didn’t scrimp on the details either, as the model features opening hood, doors and hatch, folding front seats, and a fold-down rear seat to boot.

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The proportions are spot-on as well, although the wheels and tires look a little oversized–perhaps 1/18-scale 15″ tires? That doesn’t detract much from the Hatchback’s clean and attractive lines, though. The 1971-73 Vega hatch was a sharp little set of wheels.

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Open wide! Perfect for the 1/18-scale sportsman who wants to haul his fishing gear and a cooler of beer for a weekend getaway.

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The little OHC four is also quite well done, with a properly detailed air cleaner, coolant reservoir, battery, and even miniature rubber heater hoses.

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The interior also looks properly early-’70s GM, with plenty of fake wood and black “vinyl.” Looks like this one has the Rally gauges, though it isn’t a GT. Note it has the passenger-side grab handle as well.

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Around 2003, Ertl released three variants–red and blue “standard” models with blackwalls, and a higher-priced “Deluxe” hobby edition which added the opening hatchback and whitewall tires. I got mine from MVR Hobby in Davenport which, sadly, closed in 2011 when the proprietor, Mel, decided to retire. I recall I traded him a black Ertl ’71 Challenger for this Vega (I already had a much cooler Ertl Challenger, red with black top and white interior).

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Sadly, Ertl sold their model kit and die-cast business a few years ago, and now makes–believe it or not–strollers and other plastic baby accessories. The die-cast car section, which once graced an entire aisle at my local Toys R Us back in the ’90s, was sold to Auto World, which has re-released some of their castings, albeit at a higher price. No reissued Vega has appeared, however. Too bad, as I’d love a miniature Kammback to keep my Hatchback company!

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