1976 Chevrolet CustomCosworth Vega
Year of manufacture1976
To be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at Auctions America’s Fort Lauderdale event, April 1-3, 2016.
$ 25,000 - $ 30,000 US
The Cosworth Twin Cam Vega was a limited edition model of the Chevrolet Vega hatchback offered for sale in the middle of the 1975 model year and again in 1976. The vehicle was introduced to the public at the Chicago Automobile Show in February 1975. By the time the project was ended, 3,508 Cosworth Vegas were assembled at Chevrolet's Lordstown Assembly Plant from February 1975 to July 1976. During this period, 2,061 1975 models and 1,447 1976 models are reported as being produced (figures between sources varies slightly). It is stated that 190,321 regular Vega hatchback coupes were produced in this same timeframe and certainly illustrates the uncommon nature of the Cosworth Vega.
The Cosworth-powered Vega started quietly enough. In 1971, Cosworth Engineering called Chevrolet from Northampton England, and asked for a quantity of Vega engine blocks. Cosworth transformed the basic Vega powerplants and modified them with a Keith Duckworth-designed twin cam cylinder head, and sold them to their racecar customers.
The name and reputation of Cosworth was well-known to any open wheel racing fan of the period. Cosworth was a major force in Formula One as an engine supplier - six straight World Champions used the Cosworth DFV in their respective chassis’ from 1969 through 1974. Cosworth’s Indy Car program and their eventual domination of the series was beginning to show promise and great interest from all of the major teams.
The Cosworth-modified Vega engines did a commendable job in their race application. Chevrolet engineers figured that a small, sporty Vega with one of these engines under the hood – plus the right gearbox, tires and chassis tuning would make a rather exciting Vega model.
The core of the Cosworth Twin Cam Vega was the special 16-valve DOHC cylinder head assembly developed with the assistance of Cosworth and mated to the existing Vega aluminum block. The entire engine assembly was some 60 pounds lighter than the standard iron head Vega engine. The standard Vega carburetor was replaced with an electronic fuel injection system designed and manufactured by the Fuel Injection Systems group at Bendix.
The 1976 Cosworth Vega included a revised front grille and rear panel treatment on all models of the Vega and the introduction of the optional Borg Warner five-speed manual transmission, of which we see as part of this car’s exciting package. Sales for the Cosworth Vega went at a slower pace for 1976. In an effort to improve sales, it was offered in eight additional paint colors and with numerous cloth and vinyl interior combinations. The first non-black Cosworth Vega was built in February, 1976. The added colors were Buckskin, Dark Blue Metallic, Firethorn Metallic Dark Green Metallic (like this car), Mahogany Metallic, Medium Orange, Medium Saddle Metallic and Antique White. Cosworth Vega production ended in July, 1976.
The Dark Green Metallic Cosworth Vega being offered has a black interior and is offered with just over 300 actual miles and in original condition. The Cosworth Vega was recently acquired from the Chevrolet dealership where it was delivered new. The Chevrolet Cosworth Vega features the 122-cid, 110-hp belt-driven twin-cam inline four-cylinder engine with Bendix electronic fuel-injection, stainless steel headers, sixteen valves with hemispherical combustion chambers, and die-cast aluminum cylinder bores. Along with the Cosworth powerplant, the car has the optional five-speed manual transmission and 4.10:1 Posi-traction rear end. A front spoiler, sport mirrors, factory wheels in gold and similar in style to Minilites, gold pinstripes, Cosworth Twin Cam badging, gold-toned engine-turned dash panel are all seen on this quite uncommon Cosworth Vega.
The window sticker accompanies the car and states the inclusion of tinted glass, color-keyed floor mats, rear speaker and AM/FM radio. Additional extras include the car’s books, owner’s manual, warranty paper, extra keys and dealer paperwork.
Not all Chevrolet dealers were Cosworth Vega dealers, so there were 48 Chevrolet mobile service vans around the country in period – each commanded by an individual that knew the platform intimately, so you always had a factory “pit crew” in your geographic area. The Chevrolet Cosworth Vega was a very special car for a very limited number of people; this low mileage example is begging to be given an occasional jaunt down a twisting, undulating piece of road.
1976 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega