1976 Chevrolet Vega

The 1976 Chevrolet Vega line again was highlighted by the limited-edition Cosworth Vega, which was now available in any body color, not just black. And the 1976 Chevrolet Vega was available for the first time with a five-speed manual transmission, a rarely seen item on any 1976 American car.

The Cosworth engine produced 111 horsepower, versus 70 or 84 horsepower for a regular Vega. Still, only 1,447 Cosworth Vegas were sold for 1976, due in part to a hefty $6,066 starting price that could top $6,700 with all the options.

Overall 1976 Chevrolet Vega production fell to 160,524 cars, including just 7,935 Estate Wagons.

Every 1976 Chevrolet Vega had a new grille, with horizontal bars that spanned the full space between headlights. Parking lights moved behind the grille, and taillights were bigger. The upmarket LX model disappeared, slimming the line to five models.

This year's four-cylinder engines adopted hydraulic valve lifters -- quieter, with no need for adjustment. Chevy played up a 60,000-mile durability run made in less than 60 days by a series of factory-prepped Vegas in and around Death Valley. Chevrolet said only a belt replacement was needed on one engine, and another needed a little coolant.

Vega durability had indeed improved considerably since the early years, but Chevrolet never quite managed to throw off those initial product-quality problems, and customers continued to be wary. Once lost, a reputation is difficult to regain, as the sad saga of this Chevy subcompact was proving.

1976 Chevrolet Vega Facts

Model
Weight range (lbs.)
Price range (new)
Number built
Vega
2,443-2,578
$2,984-$6,066
160,524

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