Magnetic Message: 1971 Chevrolet Vega Kammback Don Hardy V8 Conversion – STILL $16,500

by | Feb 2024 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Wagon Wednesday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

February 10, 2024 Update – The seller, Chip, replaced his soon-to-expire Craigslist ad with a fresh listing.  The pictures, description, and $16,500 asking price all carry over.

January 9, 2024 Update – the power of internet search engine optimization (“SEO”) was in full force after the seller discovered we recently featured his V8 Vega for sale. The seller, Chip, called us to let us know that a deal he had in the works fell through, so his Don Hardy converted V8 Vega wagon is still for sale for anyone interested.  You can contact  Chip directly using the contact information provided in his latest Craigslist ad (the link is below) and when you call him, tell you also saw his car on GuysWithRides!

January 2, 2024, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” unless we come across a fresh listing.

If you grew up in the 1970s, chances are good seeing pictures of the Chevrolet Vega featured here will bring back memories.  Chevrolet introduced the subcompact H-Body Vega in 1970 as an import fighter that mainly competed against Ford’s Pinto and AMC’s Gremlin. Chevrolet produced the car in four different two-door body styles: hatchback, notchback, wagon, and sedan delivery.

A nicely styled small car, Motor Trend named the Vega its Car of the Year® in 1971. However, problems with engine durability, overall reliability, and a lack of rust prevention quickly hung a dark cloud over the brand. As a result, Chevrolet canceled the Vega at the end of the 1977 model year when it launched the Monza as its replacement. The propensity for the Vega’s 140 cu in engine cylinder sleeves to fail provided ample parts for cars just itching to be hot-rodded in some form.

Hot Rodders soon figured out that the combination of a small block Chevy V8 stuffed into the engine bay of the Vega made it an excellent drag racing car, and soon, an entire cottage industry of suppliers making V8 conversion kits for these kits emerged. One of the more famous of these builders was Don Hardy. While the Vega itself likely brings back memories, if you subscribed to Hot Rod or Car Craft during the late 1970s, ads for the Don Hardy V8 conversion V8 Vega conversion kit as well as a variety of Motion Performance parts designed to make Vegas into V8-powered street machines and bracket racers.

This Green 1971 Chevrolet Vega Kammback For Sale, first spotted on Craigslist near St. Louis, Missouri, in November 2023, is reported to be a “Day 2” conversion of a Vega Kammback, which was a fancy word Chevrolet marketers used to describe the two-door wagon body style. While the variety of vintage and modern speed parts included with the sale is tempting enough in its own right, give the seller credit for placing small refrigerator magnets around the lower sections of the body is simply brilliant.

Currently offered for $16,500, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask aligns with this guide’s one-year results for Chevrolet Vegas of all body styles, both stock and modified.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls above this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $12,200. The premium here is for the desirable Don Hardy V8 conversion and the well-detailed stash of unused speed parts that will be included in the sale.

The 1971 Chevrolet Vega Kammback wagon was a distinctive and innovative vehicle that represented a unique chapter in the history of American automotive design. Introduced as part of the Chevrolet Vega lineup, the Kammback wagon variant stood out with its sleek and practical design, capturing the essence of the era’s fascination with compact cars and sporty aesthetics.

The Kammback wagon featured a distinctive body style with a sharply raked rear end, contributing to its aerodynamic efficiency. “Kammback” refers to a design principle developed by German aerodynamicist Wunibald Kamm, emphasizing a truncated tail for reduced drag. This design feature gave the Vega Kammback a sporty and futuristic appearance. The wagon body style added a practical touch, providing ample cargo space while maintaining a compact overall footprint.

The 1971 Chevrolet Vega Kammback wagon was built on the Vega platform, featuring a wheelbase of 97 inches. Its overall length measured at 176.8 inches, and the width was approximately 66.4 inches. The compact dimensions made it an ideal choice for urban commuting while offering versatility for families and individuals seeking a balance between performance and practicality.

Under the hood, the Vega Kammback wagon offered various powertrain options for different driver preferences. The base engine was a 2.3-liter inline-four, known as the “Vega 140,” producing around 90 horsepower. The Vega Kammback employed a front-independent suspension system with MacPherson struts, contributing to a smoother ride and improved handling characteristics. The rear suspension featured a torque arm design, enhancing stability and control during acceleration and cornering. These suspension elements, combined with the car’s relatively low curb weight, contributed to responsive and agile handling, making the Kammback wagon enjoyable to drive.

The Vega Kammback wagon offered a well-designed and functional interior inside the cabin. Despite its compact size, the wagon body style provided a spacious cargo area, making it suitable for various lifestyle needs. The interior layout emphasized driver-centric controls and ergonomic design, creating a comfortable driving environment. Options for creature comforts included air conditioning, upgraded upholstery, and an AM/FM radio, catering to the preferences of a diverse customer base.

While the 1971 Chevrolet Vega Kammback wagon garnered attention for its design and versatility, it faced challenges related to quality control issues, particularly with the early models. Rust problems and engine reliability concerns affected the Vega’s reputation in the long run. Despite these challenges, the Kammback wagon remains a nostalgic symbol of an era when American automakers experimented with innovative designs and compact car concepts.

The 1971 Chevrolet Vega Kammback wagon embodied a unique blend of style, practicality, and performance. Its distinctive design, compact dimensions, and versatile powertrain options made it a noteworthy entry in the automotive landscape of the early 1970s. While facing certain challenges, the Vega Kammback wagon remains an intriguing part of automotive history, representing an era of exploration and experimentation in American car manufacturing.

The Osborn Tramain YouTube Channel provides this 1971 Chevrolet Vega commercial that actually tried to pitch the compact as a sports car:

It’s rare to come across an early 1970s Chevrolet Vega for sale, let alone one as straight and rust-free as this Green 1971 Kammback wagon featuring a V8 conversion for sale.  If you’ve always wanted to do a V8 Vega build, the hard work on this example is done and with all of the unused speed equipment included in the sale, this will make for a great winter project you can have ready in time for the spring bracket racing season.

If you are serious about buying this V8 Vega for sale, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their Kammback featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s detailed description:

“Survivor Don Hardy Racecars Converted 1971 V8 Vega Wagon – converted very early – very Day 2 period correct vibe with all the desirable Hardy Twister and Motion vintage parts

Lots of information below – will probably answer most questions if you take the time to read thru it

Great throttle responce from a Snappy Rev Happy Solid Cam Chevrolet 302 built from a thick walled Small Journal 3849852 block The way Smokey Yunik used to do it, TRW Dome Pistons, 993 heads (thick heavy casting, good ports, hardened seats – one of the better factory heads including Bowties), Edelbrock Scorpion Intake, Holley 600, Hardy / Motion V8 Vega Conversion Headers & Oil Pan, Accel Supercoil, Modified HEI, 140 GPH Walbro Electric Fuel Pump, Bottom Sump Fuel Tank – I did not build the engine but what I know about it is you can still clearly read TRW and the part number on the dome piston tops with a borescope so it is internally clean and not carboned up, seems to be strong a solid cam, starts with one short push of the start button and idles and revs

4 Speed Manual close ratio GM Transmission with Hurst Competition Plus Shifer – upshifts and downshifts perfect, smooth, quiet transmission, stays in gear

GM 10 bolt mounted the way they did it the the early V8 Vega days of Don Hardy and Motion – Locating arm mounts modified, UMI Tubular Heim Joint Control Arms, 5 Lug rear, 4 Lug Front

Excellent Original to car Front Nose, Grille, Valance, Header, Bumpers
All Lights work, Turn Signals, Stop, Headlights – Wipers Work

Car is driveable – I am calling it a running driving project and selling it as such – a person could have the car very streetable in a couple evenings if they have the ability – I can go over what I know on the phone

Passed MO State Inspection Licensed and Street Driven in 2019 to 2020 – Inspection Sticker Present
Brakes work, Steering is tight doesn’t pull
All glass good

Body is very solid with only very minor issues – paint is dull and poorly done – I took pictures of it wet to demonstrate body straightness not to simulate shine – I have showed pics of the floors and everything still has the factory sound deadener on it – places where that is worn thru show factory Red Oxide GM primer – it is a pretty darn solid car – some issues, but pretty solid – I showed pics of weak refrigerator magnets sticking in the problem areas

Interior panels are intact and look decent
Engine runs at 170 degrees and has 60-80 PSI oil pressure on thin oil – pulls decent vacuum
Originally a Manual Stick car so steering column is correct for 4 Speed with lockout – not a converted automatic column
AC car – Cabin Components still present – Heater Core is currently disconnected

Tons of new parts and a treasure trove of vintage speed parts – asking price gets it all – a lower offer and lots of stuff is coming out of the sale right off the bat

Cragar Super Trick Rear Wheels – *Vintage Market Value*
E-T / X Front Runner Wheels – *Vintage Market Value*
Hoosier Rear Tires -Treaded – used
New Front Runner tires – $162
Brand New Holley 600 – $500 for that carb alone
Vintage 1970s Holley 4150 additional carb – *Vintage Market Value*
Chrome Air Filter – $36
Energy Suspension Polyurethane Motor Mounts – $130
Edelbrock Scorpion Intake – *Vintage Market Value*
UMI Tubular Rear Crontrol Arms – Heim Joint Spherical Rod Ends with Sway Bar – $590
Hardy/Motion V8 Conversion springs – *Vintage Market Value*

Hurst Competion Plus Shifter with stops, Handle, Knob, Boot – $660
Vintage Stewart Warner Oil Pressure, Water Temperature, Vacuum Gauge Cluster – *Vintage Market Value*
8000 RPM Shift Light Tach – $47
4 Spoke Chevrolet Rally Steering Wheel with Vega GT emblem – $250
Sportsman Racing Seats – Adjustable, Sliders and Mounts – $790
4 Point Harness Belts – $125
Don Hardy / Motion Roll Bar – *Vintage Market Value*

Small NOS parts lot included, Shocks, Brakes, Brake Bushings, Hinge Pins, Locks etc. – *Vintage Market Value*
New U-Joints – $62
Rear Valance – $205

140 GPH Walbro Electric Pump – $144
Bottom Sump Fuel Tank Kit – $160
Low Oil Pressure Protection Circuit – $90
Remote Oil Filter Mount with Purolator Filter – $95
Super Stock Yellow plug wires – $80

Aluminum Radiator – $360
Electric Fans – $100 (not installed)
Manual Fan Overide Kit – $88 (not installed)
Tuff Stuff Supercool Platinum Water Pump – $300
Nylon Maradyne Fan – $30
Stainless Fan Shroud – $45
Stainless Flex Hose – $60
Thermostat Housing Filler – $65
R44TS Spark Plugs -$32

RemFlex Header Gaskets – $44
Hinge Pins & Bushings – $35
Exhaust Cutouts, Turbo Mufflers, Header Bolts – $240
Rear Window Trim – $175
Fender Flares (not installed) – $215
3″ pipe – $50
3″ Turnouts – $60
Rod Exhaust Hangars – $30
Stainless Exhaust Band Clamps – $55
Overflow Tank – $45
Chrome Alternator Bracket – $45
Chrome Pulley – $27
Braided Lines – $66
Fasteners – $50
Moroso Radiator Cap – $20
NOS Kammback Emblem – $75
New Blaupunkt Stereo MP3 Bluetooth with remote and 3 Way Box Speakers – $266
Hood Pins (not installed) – $42

ANOTHER Wheel Set Drags Stars Front and Rear – 5 lug – Mickey Thompson M/T Front Runners and Hoosier Quick Time Pro Slicks 26 X 9.50 with Long Lugs and Center Caps, mounting / balancing – Basically Brand New – $2800

—————–$11,000+ in just small parts listed plus our purchase price of the car totals $21,700.00 alone with NOTHING ADDED for the numerous pieces of Vintage Speed Equipment from Motion & Hardy OR the Engine itself, Transmission, Rear Axle, Labor, Sales Tax, Shipping or any of the other numerous costs like fluids, belts, hoses etc.

I had planned on vintage racing this car with my son and car showing it this year but did not get it all the way completed – I will sell it off season over the winter for a bit of a loss, but will not give it away – there is no reason to – spring will be here quick enough, but if you want a darn nice vintage Day 2 car for a pretty decent price you will be hard pressed to beat this one for the money – you sure the heck can’t buy the parts and do it yourself for this price and just try to find a Vega that isn’t rotted to death – thanks

Show or go: What would you do with this Don Hardy converted 1971 Chevrolet Vega Kammback for sale? Please comment below and let us know!

1 Comment
  1. Bruce

    As someone who is currently building one of these, I agree, it’s fairly well priced, and advertised.

    Reply

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