Discover how the Chevrolet Vega launched for 1971 as Chevy's answer to not only the Ford Pinto but for the herd of subcompact imports infiltrating American garages from coast to coast.
Here was a small car as stylish as any, with two-door coupe, notchback, and wagon body styles to choose from, a modern overhead-cam four-cylinder engine, and a price that started at a friendly $2,090.
Sale were terrific, hovering around 400,000 through 1974. But after that, Vega's propensity to rust and a deserved reputation for poor engine reliability began to catch up with it.
Chevy fought back for 1975 with the spunky Chevrolet Cosworth Vega and its high-tech twin-cam four-cylinder, but to little avail.
Vega was always rear-wheel drive, and subcompact buyers were increasingly looking to the better space efficiencies of front-wheel-drive rivals. Chevy itself undercut Vega demand with the 1975 introduction of the swoopier-looking (but still rear-wheel-drive) Chevrolet Monza.
Chevrolet Vega sales dipped to 160,000 for 1976, and then to just 78,000 for its swan-song season of 1977. Learn more about this fascinating story of success and failure in the pages that follow.
This 1974 Chevrolet Vega featured the
Spirit of America trim package.
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