Junkyard Find: 1975 Chevrolet Vega
The first-gen Hyundai Excel is extremely rare junkyard find, with most Excels having been crushed before they hit ten years old. The story of the Chevy Vega is similar, though most Vegas survived a bit longer than Excels did. I hadn’t seen a Vega in a junkyard for at least a decade (not counting Pontiac-badged Vega wagons) when I found this reasonably solid example at a California self-service yard a couple weeks back.
The Vega had the potential to be a good car, capable of fending off the onrushing Japanese invasion, but GM staggered through a series of bureaucratic and engineering blunders and what ended up in Chevrolet showrooms was quite disappointing.
500 pounds heavier than the original design, plagued by corrosion problems, and with a troublesome iron-head/aluminum-block engine, the Vega was also a good-looking car that got decent fuel economy. It sold in large numbers… and turned countless GM loyalists into Toyota buyers during the course of the 1970s.
Like the Corvair before it and the Fiero after it, the Vega was a great idea executed poorly. Perhaps The General would have been better off going all-out with an Americanized Opel Kadett for its Chevy subcompact.
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If you asked Akio Toyoda what his favorite car is, he'd say the Chevrolet Vega.
I was being nostalgic and looking up cars I drove as a teenager. Imagine my surprise when I found this site and my first three cars were all being discussed (badly at that). Now I feel like I had a bad start in life. My first car at 16 was a vega. It was a hand me down from my step dad. I thought I was big time. Soon after I got it, the reverse went out. Everywhere I went I could only go forward or we'd push it back. I still proudly drove it until my little brother got hold of a black marker and drew giant smiley faces all over it. the car was white. Next my Mama got me a Monza. I loved this car and it would fly. I got married at 19 and my first car then was a Sunbird,which I also loved, until my husband totaled it exactly 1 month after I got it. From what I am reading , he did me a favor.