Twin Cam Two-For: 1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega – Sold?

Jan 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Malaise Monday

February 15, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Two cars for the price of one.  That’s what the seller of this restored 1975 Cosworth Vega hatchback here on Craigslist originally offered in January 2021 on Craigslist in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.  Specifically, in addition to the restored 1975 Green-over-black example, the seller is throwing in a second restorable 1976 Cosworth Vega in their asking price of $9,000 firm.  Interestingly, the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the ask falls between this guide’s current #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $7,200 and its #3 “Good” appraisal of $12,500. Effectively, the asking price includes a free second parts car or restoration candidate.

Here’s Hagerty Insurance’s synopsis of the Cosworth Vega:

“When the compact Chevrolet Vega was launched in 1971, Chevrolet General Manager John Z DeLorean directed his staff to develop a high-performance variant, much as he had created the Pontiac GTO out of the Le Mans in 1964. DeLorean suggested that Keith Duckworth of England’s Cosworth Engineering could design a full-race version of the Vega’s new aluminum four-cylinder motor, and both Chevrolet and Cosworth started work.

Meanwhile, the production Chevy Vega was tanking. The “sporty” Vega GT was just trim and decals, and it was up against more genuinely sporty cars in the market. Cosworth was under the gun to come up with a hot motor for the Vega, but they were discovering what millions of Vega owners eventually would as well: the all-aluminum block was a failure. Developed by GM engineers and Reynolds Aluminum, it was the world’s first all-aluminum block.

In lieu of steel sleeves, the block was cast from a high-silicon-content alloy, which initially seemed to wear at the same rate as steel, but deteriorated sharply after 40,000 miles. Cosworth could develop up to 290 bhp at 9,000 rpm with the twin-overhead cam cylinder head, but the blocks would break at the bottom. Discouraged, Cosworth bowed out.

Despite this drastic news, GM gave the Vega TC (its code-name) the green light and John Z was betting on “race on Sunday, sell on Monday”. Based on computer models, the Vega TC should have had a slight edge on the BMW 2002 and the Alfa Romeo GTA. Chevy intended to have at least 1,000 examples of the hot motor available in the Vega, to homologate it for racing.

Unfortunately, though, the best setup with Weber side-draft carburetors was unavailable, as the DCOEs could not be smogged. Fuel injection was considered, but GM’s Rochester Products division was only interested in developing a complete system, so Bendix got the job. The engineers improved the engine blocks, and the twin-cam program was targeted for the 1974 model year. Tighter emission regulations meant the motor had to be detuned, and 110 bhp was all that was available. Worse yet, the motor missed its production date, failing EPA tests with burned valves.

Originally intended to be silver with black trim, all 1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vegas were black with gold trim, which was unavailable on any other Vega. The Cosworth Vega package made it the second most expensive car in the entire Chevy line and the $5,916 price was double that of a standard Vega.

What a Cosworth buyer got for the money was a fancy cylinder head with electronic fuel injection, a four-speed manual transmission, stiffer springs, sway bars front and rear, unique alloy wheels shod with radial tires, full instrumentation with a gold-toned, engine-turned dashboard, and a dash plaque with a number on it.

For 1976, the Vega line saw a couple of cosmetic changes; a three-slat grille (like an early Fedders air conditioner) plus larger taillights. The Cosworths, were now offered in seven other paint colors (Antique White, Dark Blue Metallic, Firethorn Metallic, Mahogany Metallic, Dark Green Metallic, Buckskin, Medium Orange, and Medium Saddle Metallic), and a 5-speed manual transmission was optional.

The $6,000 price tag and feeble performance guaranteed that Chevy would miss its target 5,000 units. Only 2,061 cars were built in 1975 and 1,447 the following year, so there were 1,492 left-over engines. A few were used for warranty, but the rest stayed in inventory until the 1980s, when 500 were disassembled for parts, and the others scrapped for a tax write-off.

Today, it’s easy to find a low-mileage Cos-Veg. They attracted a modest cult following and the best buy would be from a club member. If the Cosworth-Vega was a Vega for the price of two when it was new, now it’s about the price of ten.”

We came across this YouTube video providing the sound of the Weber-topped, double overhead cam inline-four going through the gears in a Vega Cosworth:

If you’re looking for a Cosworth Vega to add to your collection and have the room for the parts car, this could be a potentially profitable transaction.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Two Cosworth Vegas sold as a package deal.
The first car is a 1975 model painted with a 76 color option, fully restored. Brand new bucket seats, new electronic power steering kit, and new exhaust. This car has been my daughter’s daily driver until she decided to get something more modern.
The second car is another 75 I picked up for parts but it is almost all there. Missing the steering column, fuel tank, and water pump. The body has some rust here and there. The original drive train is all there and this could be a good candidate for restoration.
I also have an extra pair of matching wheels and some other misc parts.
Price is fair and firm. Don’t waste your time and mine with low ball offers or trades. I’d rather keep it.​”

Show or go: what would you do with these Cosworth Vegas?  Comment below and let us know!

1 Comment
  1. Twin Cam Two-For: 1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega – Sold?

    3/28/21 This CV currently on eBay, 4 days left.


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