Holy crap; I need someone to pick up their phone and save me from oblivion, for I have only just healed myself from my most destructive tendency; car hoarding. Dial the phone number in this Craigslist ad and purchase this beautiful yellow 1976 Chevy Vega before I do, as the vehicle is too beautiful for me to resist. Please, hurry.
I do not have time for this Chevy Vega; I’m swamped with car projects and work, and lord knows getting this thing through California’s strict SMOG testing would require me to expend my full supply of Red ‘N Tacky on some palms. I value my Red ‘N Tacky; I’ve got ball joints and tie rod ends to lubricate.
But someone who is not me needs to head to Phoenix and make this happen, because my god does this thing look great:
I love how slender and long it looks. The yellow with the darker wood — it’s just fantastic! Even the wheels work, here.
And the rear end is amazing; the little wood trim on the trunk lid, the upright taillights, the huge window — this thing looks like a beautiful fishbowl.
Then there’s the interior. Take a gander at these seats!:
And look at that huge black shift boot for the five-speed manual transmission. And the brown carpets, dash, and door trim. It’s just so damn perfect.
This car even has its original paperwork!:
Here’s the vehicle’s description from its Craigslist posting:
ORIGINAL ARIZONA CAR 1 OWNER ALWAYS GARAGED HAS 4 CYLINDER ENGINE AND 5 SPEED MANAUL TRANSMISSION. HAS NO RUST AT ALL THIS CAR WAS PURCHASED FROM A DEALERSHIP IN CO. IN 1976 I STILL HAVE THE PAPERWORK AS WELL INTERIOR PICTURES SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES FRONT SEATS NEED TO BE REDONE ALSO NEW CARPET BUT EVERYTHING WORKS, THIS IS A ONE OF A KIND FIND CAR WAS PARKED IN 1987 BUT ALWAYS TAKEN CARE OF, CAR RUNS AND DRIVES EVEN DROVE IT TO BARRETT JACKSON THE LAST TWO DAYS, IF YOU ARE A COLLECTOR THIS IS A MUST HAVE FOR A CHEVY GUY FOR SURE
Parked in 1987? Everything works and all it needs is carpeting and some work on the seats? This thing is awesome!
Before I conclude this article in which I’m trying to tell someone to buy this lovely manual yellow shooting brake before I do, I feel it is my moral responsibility to steer you towards Motor Trend’s article titled “Not Even Vega-ly Good: The Woeful Tale of the Chevy Vega.” Specifically, you may want to read this about GM’s answer to the VW Beetle:
Right about this time, the severity of the Vega’s problems was becoming apparent. Chevrolet recalled half a million Vegas in 1972. Rear axle shafts could separate from the housing, causing the wheels to literally fall off. Faulty brackets on the single-barrel carb jammed the throttle open. The optional two-barrel engine could backfire violently enough to split the muffler, blowing hot exhaust on the fuel tank and causing it to expand, rupture, and ignite.
An undiscovered defect in the new rust-proofing system left the underside of the front fenders unprotected. GM had rejected plastic fender liners to save money, and Vegas suffered from rapid corrosion—primarily of the fenders, but rocker panels, lower doors and front suspension parts could also be affected. One dealer told Automotive News that he was touching up rust spots on brand-new Vegas.
The Vega’s best-remembered problem, however, was its infamous melting engine. The engine didn’t actually melt, but if it got too hot the cylinders would distort, wearing the coating on the walls and forcing coolant past the head gaskets. The former problem increased oil consumption (exacerbated by faulty valve stem seals) and the latter increased the frequency of the overheating issue. If a Vega owner didn’t keep the coolant topped off, the Vega could, and often would, destroy its own engine.
But fear not! Because our beautiful yellow example here was built after many of the problems had been ironed out. Here, read what Motor Trend says about the later Vegas:
Chevrolet managed to iron out the bulk of the Vega’s problems between 1973 and 1974, and even came up with a decent performance version, the 1975-76 Cosworth Vega. Despite all the damage done to its reputation, the Vega sold reasonably well—2 million examples over seven model years. By the end of its run in 1977, the Vega was a simple and reliable, if somewhat dated, economy car.
Someone not named David Tracy needs to buy this. Otherwise I’ll have to.
Update: My colleague Jason Torchinsky wanted me to point out that the 2.3-liter inline-four-equipped, rear-wheel drive small cars from Chevy were actually transported to dealerships vertically via custom-designed rail cars. Check it out:
All Images: Craigslist
@David – It’s no Vega, but have you seen the Pinto Wagon that just popped up on BaT?
Dump the crap 4 banger out of this and put in a Chevy small block v8. Apparently it bolts right in!
Back in ’75(?) the local small town dealer had a new Vega on the showroom floor in green with the fake wood sides. I went to try it out as our Toyota Corona wagon was on its last legs, but the dealer owner refused to let me drive it saying “you don’t want that car”. Insulted, I left to check out a Toyota Corolla that we bought and my wife loved. Fast forward many decades and I was at the same dealer looking at a Chevrolet W/T Regular cab long bed when I ran into the same man now long retired and thanked him for not selling me the Vega 🙂
I’d take this over a Pontiac Solstice or even a BMW E28.
as a kid, rode in my dad’s astra wagon for a year. i preferred the prior pinto hatch, either of the beetles, either of the darts, even the f-100. too young to remember the rambler. his only accident with me as a passenger was in the astra on i-75 (lying in the cargo area with the seats folded-down). i suppose that was the issue i had with the car, but i also think that was the year he started walking to work every day (before the accident even).
As a former owner of the panel delivery version, “I say, “No, David. No.”
You need to be on the lookout for one of these, they were LA only and very cool for a pinto. https://barnfinds.com/ever-seen-one-1973-pangra-desert-find/
I believe that qualifies as being outside of the 25 year window for requiring smog checks on that. Also a 6 speed and LS3 from a wrecked 2000 Camaro SS should fit in there, maybe a little trans tunnel massaging, but I think it would fit. That would result in 20-25 mpg, all the power you would ever need to shoot that little Nomad through LS traffic and it is small enough and has big enough green house to park anywhere. plus, it is kind of a wolf in sheep’s clothing and far less likely to be stolen than the J10 or the Mousetang
Also a rear axle that could handle the extra power. And springs to handle the added weight. And better brakes. And…
I don’t believe there’s been a 25-year-window this century. As far as I know, the last year of smog exemption has been locked at 1975 since the end of the ’90s.
It was rolling 30 years until Schwarzenegger locked it in in 2006
I don’t believe this is an ad for an actual car.
This is clearly AI generated from a prompt by a Jalop…..er…..Autopian reader. “What if GM made a manual, woody, shooting brake in the 1970’s?”
This is only the beginning David – which I think is why many of us recommended you not take your cars out to California. There is SO MUCH out there, RUST FREE, you’re going to start going insane.
Godspeed friend – and please do let us know when you’re back in Detroit, we’ll pull another tailgate for you at the yard.. a rusty one.
Those windows on that car? In Phoenix?! I could cook Thanksgiving dinner in there. It’s amazing the interior isn’t completely sun-bleached. I guess that’s because it’s been sitting in a garage for 35 years…
Sadly, by the time they ironed out the issues, they had also uglified it, presumably to meet federal bumper regs. I much prefer the mini-Camaro face of the original.
They do swap out easily. But the paint process in those year left a bubble in the paint process directly near the top of those fenders, this means the one place you need protection is not protected, so you would have to look for those in the southwest to get rust free examples.
My high school best friend had that car except for orange and without the fake wood side panels. Yes, it was as bad a car as you think. Vague shifting, poorly geared manual transmission, over boost power steering with zero feel. The only thing that made it vaguely interesting or good was the engine had been swapped for what he said was a Chevy V6. Which made it overpowered for the brakes and steering. One of GM’s many poor attempts to compete with Euro and Japanese small cars.
Admire this thing from afar my friends.