Chevrolet Vega

De Wiki.


In the fall of 1959 Detroit automobile manufacturers experimented with confront entry-level imports and domestic small cars such as the Studebaker Lark and Rambler American as well as in this came up with compact class of cars, like the Chevrolet Corvair, Ford Falcon and Plymouth Valiant, each introduced as 1960 models. By the 1970s, while cars such as the Chevrolet Nova, Ford Maverick, and AMC Hornet had evolved into the actual versions of the traditional six-passenger American family cars, they were greater than subcompacts, and many were delivered with optional V8 engines.

The Chevrolet Vega was introduced September 10, 1970 within GM, Ford and AMC automakers entering a whole new subcompact car class. The AMC Gremlin was introduced half a year prior as well as the Ford Pinto one day after the Vega's introduction. They competed directly using the successful, but aging VW Beetle, and also Japanese imports from Toyota and Datsun. Although the Vega's conventional rear wheel drive layout and unibody was similar to the Japanese subcompacts, its 97.0-inch (2,460??mm) wheelbase and 169.7-inch (4,310??mm) overall length were longer than Toyota Corolla's 91.9-inch (2,330??mm) wheelbase and 161.4-inch (4,100??mm) length.


Origin 1967

Chevrolet and Pontiac divisions were working separately on small cars during the early and mid 60's. Ed Cole, who was GM executive vice-president of operating staffs, was focusing on their own small-car project using the corporate engineering and design staffs. He presented this software to GM's president in 1967. When the corporation started seriously referring to a mini-car, Cole's version was chosen with all the proposals from Chevy and Pontiac rejected, and Cole's new mini-car was handed to Chevrolet to trade. Not only did corporate management choose to go in the mini-car market, what's more, it decided to develop the auto itself. It was a corporate car, not really a divisional one.

In 1968 GM chairman James Roche announced that General Motors would bring out a new mini-car in two years. Ed Cole was the main engineer and Bill Mitchell, the vice-president with the design staff, was the main stylist. Cole wanted a world-beater, and the man wanted it in showrooms in couple of years. This was an extremely short period of time to design and engineer a new car, especially one which borrowed almost nothing from another. Cole formed a GM corporate design team exclusively for the Vega headed by William Munser, who had labored on the Camaro as well as the Turbo-Hydramatic transmission. Code-named XP-887, Chevrolet "teaser" ads began in May 1970, not announcing its name to start with, stating-"you'll see." The Vega, much like the Corvair, has long been referred to as Ed Cole's baby. It was as GM president that Cole oversaw the genesis of the Chevrolet Vega.

Development 19681970

XP-887 clay model, GM studio, September 1968

The Chevy Vega was conceived in 1968 as a simple, low-cost transportation vehicle to utilize the newly-developed all-aluminum die-cast engine block technology. In October 1968, there were just one body style the 11 style Notchback Coupe, one engine, one transmission the MB1 Torque-Drive manually-shifted 2-speed automatic, no headliner, one base trim level, a bench seat, molded rubber carpeting, no glove box, no air-conditioning option, ventilation only with the upper dash direct through the wiper plenum, and exterior paint on the interior. As this system progressed into development, the marketplace changed, so did the product:

December, 1968 Hatchback, Wagon, and Panel delivery styles added. Kickpad floor-level ventilation added. Optional performance engine (-11 2-barrel) added; predicted at 20%, actually ran at 75%. Bucket seats replaced bench seat as standard equipment. Carpeting and headliners added for hatchback and station wagon. Air-conditioning option added; predicted at 10%, actually ran at 45%.

February, 1969 Opel three- and four-speed transmissions added (3-speed standard, others optional), Powerglide added (now four transmissions), mechanical fuel pump replaced by in-tank electric pump, power steering option added, base 11 style Notchback trim upgraded to fit Hatchback and Wagon (carpet and headliner).

April, 1969 Gauge-pack cluster option added, HD suspension and wide tire option added (ran at 40%), adjustable seat back option added (ran at 45%), bumpers restyled, lower valance panels added, swing-out quarter window option added (ran at 10%).

July, 1969 Electrically-heated backlite option added (ran at 10%), T package option added at $325.00 (ran at 35%), bright window-frame and roof drip moldings added to Hatchback and Wagon (as opposed to painted).

This is actually how the car launched being a 1971 model on June 26, 1970. After the National GM strike (9/70-11/70) ended, bright roof drip moldings were combined with the bottom 11 style notchback; moldings were sent to dealers to update units already within the field in December. The car still had no glove box.

Design & Engineering

1971 Vega Hatchback Coupe

1971 Vega Sedan (Notchback)

As introduced, the Vega was one in the first Chevrolet vehicles to get as standard equipment front disc brakes, an electric fuel pump, side guard door beams, a double paneled roof, and foam-filled, hi-back bucket seats with floor mounted controls. Many service operations were intentionally designed so that these were able to be done by Vega owners. To further that end, a "Do-It-Yourself" service manual was added to each new Vega.

All four Vega models share the same hood, fenders, floor pan, door lower panels, rocker panels, engine compartment, and front end. In a size comparison using a 1970 Nova, the Vega has 20??inches (510??mm) less overall length, 14??inches (360??mm) less wheelbase, 7??inches (180??mm) narrower width and 2??inches (51??mm) lower height.

The aluminum block inline-4 engine would have been a joint effort from General Motors, Reynolds Metal Corp. and Sealed Power Corp. The engine as well as die-cast block technology was created at GM engineering staff, some time before this system was handed-off and away to Chevrolet to finish and convey it to production. Ed Cole, who has been very personally involved using the design with the 1955 Chevrolet V8 as chief engineer at Chevrolet, was equally involved using the Vega engine as GM president, and was obviously a frequent visitor on Saturdays on the engineering staff engine drafting room, reviewing the look and giving direction for changes. As the engine development progressed at Chevrolet, it became known (in closed offices) because he world tallest, smallest engine due for the very tall cylinder head.

Opel was commissioned to tool up a whole new 3-speed derivative with their production 4-speed manual transmission. Opel stood a 4-speed available that's in high-volume production, but the GM finance department insisted that the base transmission be considered a low-cost 3-speed, using the traditional profit-generating 4-speed just as one extra-cost option. Opel did that, and tooled up a new 3-speed yourself, exclusively for the Vega application, whose actual cost was higher than the optional 4-speed due for the tooling investment and low production volume. Both transmissions came by ship from Germany 100 transmissions to a crate, and arrived in shipments of thousands of transmissions at the same time.

1971 Vega Kammback Wagon

1971 Vega Panel Express

Its suspension and live rear axle design, near ideal weight distribution, low center of gravity and neutral steering give the Vega world-class handling characteristics which were praised from the automotive press. The overall chassis suspension ended up being be tuned to a fresh A78 x 13 tire that has been being developed concurrently using the vehicle. The front suspension is classic General Motors short and long-arm. The lower control arm bushings were actually greater than those with the Camaro. The four-link rear suspension copied that from the Chevelle, and coil springs are utilized throughout. This would have been a significant departure from your leaf spring suspension used in the Camaro and Nova. The Vega's brake system copied an excellent Opel design including solid rotors as well as a lack of a proportioning valve.

Due to its "Modular Construction Design", a Vega sedan with 578 parts of the body had 418 fewer parts than its full-size Chevrolet counterpart. Modular Construction Design reduced the amount of joints and sealing operations resulting in stronger, tighter bodies, effectively contributed to vehicle quality making possible a very high rate of production. The Vega's body surface was the 1st accomplished completely through use of computers. Body surface information upon tape derived in the clay styling model, allowed computers to boost our bodies surface mathematically. Tapes developed from the computer were also utilized to control drafting machines in producing master surface plates which were extremely accurate. The computer have also been employed in making the numerous necessary engineering calculations including vision angle, field of view, rear compartment lid and door counterbalance geometries, structural stresses, deflection calculations and tolerance studies..

The Vega's styling was judged conservative, clean-lined and timeless. GM styling studio's main influence was the 1967-1969 Fiat 124 Sport Coupe AC, and also the Chevrolet Camaro/Corvette studio grafted a 1970 Camaro-like egg-crate grille and Chevy-style dual taillights. The original approved clay model had small rectangular front parking lights below the bumper. One morning John DeLorean (GM Vice President and Chevrolet General Manager during the time) brought Zollie Frank, the owner of the world largest Chevrolet dealership (Z. Frank Chevrolet in Chicago) into the styling studio to show him the clay and obtain his thoughts for the design. He checked out the painted clay model, walked around it, then stood looking at it for any minute or so, and said: et reduce those wimpy-looking parking lights they should be big, round issues that appear to be european driving lights. DeLorean turned for the studio chief, told him to produce the progres Zollie wanted, and said they be back to check out it later that afternoon. The modelers were put to work on large, round lamps and DeLorean and Zollie delivered later tomorrow and approved the change. DeLorean mentioned to the studio chief as these were leaving that ollie sells more Chevrolets than anyone else that is known he knows exactly what the customers like. The car attended production exactly as it was revised that afternoon.

Models & changes 19711977

The Hatchback was typically the most popular Vega model with its lower roofline and useful hatchback with fold-down rear seat, and accounted for nearly half all Vegas produced. The Sedan, renamed Notchback in 1973, had the minimum price at $2090. It has more rear seat head room as opposed to Hatchback and is the sole Vega model having an enclosed trunk.

1971 Vega Panel Express

1972 Vega Kammback Wagon

The Kammback Wagon with an increase of cargo capacity along with a swing-up liftgate, retains the Coupe's handling capabilities. The Panel Express, single passenger Panel delivery based for the Wagon, has steel panels in place with the rear side glass, as well as an additional enclosed storage space. An auxiliary front passenger seat was optional.

In mid-1971 a GT option package for Hatchback and Kammback models was introduced. It included the L-11 two-barrel carburetor engine, F41 Handling suspension, 6-inch-wide GT wheels with trim rings, center caps and A70-13 raised white-letter tires, black-finished grill minimizing body sills, full instrumentation as well as a hood/deck sport stripe option.

Yenko Chevrolet sold a modified Vega, the Yenko Stinger II through 1973. Based on the GT, its 140 CID L11 engine featured a turbocharger, high-compression pistons and was rated 155??hp (116??kW). Included were back and front spoilers and side striping with "Yenko Stinger II" identification.

1972 models were essentially carried over from 1971 with a few refinements, including revisions in the rear shock absorbers, and exhaust system. The Turbo-hydramatic 3-speed automatic transmission was added. A custom cloth interior option was new along with a glove box was added and replaced dash storage bin.

The 1973 Vega had over 300 changes, including new exterior and interior colors and a fresh standard interior trim. The front bumper was extended 3??in (76.2??mm) on stronger brackets using a steel color keyed filler panel in order to meet the 1973 5-mph front bumper standards. New Saginaw manual transmissions replaced the Opel-designed units, as well as the Powerglide transmission was discontinued. Two new models were introduced- The Estate (Woody) Kammback introduced in January, featured vinyl wood side trim. (ran at 8%); The LX Notchback introduced in May included a vinyl roof (ran at 3%) Both models included the custom exterior and interior options. In April, 1973 the First Cosworth Pilot Program was conducted at Ste. Therese, Quebec Assembly Plant (Lordstown Assembly has not been operating due to adjacent Fisher Body Stamping Plant strike) Seven silver cars were built for Engineering.

Subzero-temperature durability testing of GM's Wankel rotary engine set up in 1973 Vegas began in Canada. Initially planned being a 1974 Vega option, the engine was delayed, then planned to the proposed Vega-based Monza 2+2. The 1975 Monza's high floor tunnel was designed to take the Wankel, but GM canceled the engine due its inability to satisfy emissions and fuel economy requirements.

1973 Vega GT Hatchback Coupe

Limited exclusive edition Millionth Vega

Interior of limited exclusive edition Millionth Vega

On May 17, 1973 the millionth Vega was produced with the Lordstown assembly plant - a bright orange GT Hatchback with white sport stripes, Millionth Vega door handle accents, a neutral custom vinyl interior, and orange accent color carpeting. A special special edition "Millionth Vega" was produced replicating the milestone car. 6500 were built at 10 per hour from 5/1 to 7/1.

The 1974 model year brought the one major exterior design changes, due towards the revised Federal back and front 5??mph (8.0??km/h) bumper standards-A slanted header panel using a steel louvered grill (replacing the plastic egg-crate grill) and recessed headlamp bezels complement the bigger, front 5??mph (8.0??km/h) aluminum bumper. Front and rear license plate brackets were relocated along with a larger rear 5??mph (8.0??km/h) aluminum bumper was adopted. A revised rear panel on Notchback and Hatchback had larger single unit taillights and ventilation extractor grills were eliminated on trunk and hatch lids.Overall length was increased six inches (152??mm) compared for the 1971-1972 models. In January, 1974 plastic front fender liners were added after replacing thousands of teams of fenders under warranty on 1971-74 models.

In February, 1974 The Vega Spirit of America Hatchback exclusive edition was introduced. It featured a white exterior, white vinyl roof, blue and red striping on body-sides, hood and rear-end panel, Spirit of America I.D. on front fenders and rear panel, white "GT" wheels, trim rings and Chevy center caps with A70-13 raised white-letter tires, as well as a white custom vinyl interior with red accent color carpeting. 7500 were built through May.Vega sales peaked for 1974 with 460,374 produced.

The 1975 Vega had 264 changes including High-energy electronic ignition and catalytic converter. Power brakes as well as a tilt tyre were new options. A new special custom cloth interior option was offered with interior trim and carpeting upgrades similar on the Monza 2+2. The Pontiac Astre was introduced. Pontiac's version with the Vega was offered in Notchback, Hatchback and Safari Wagon models. A Panel Delivery version of Astre was offered in 1975 only. SJ models (hatchback and wagon) are luxuriously appointed. GT models (hatchback and wagon) and 'Lil Wide Track' and Formula (hatchbacks) offered a range of sporty models.

1973 Vega GT Hatchback Coupe

1974 Vega GT Hatchback Coupe

In March, 1975 the Cosworth Vega was introduced following a year along with a half delay. The first salable production Cosworth was built around the 27th. Chevrolet's single color ad stated, "Cosworth Twin Cam-one Vega for the tariff of two." It features an all-aluminum 122??cu??in (2,000??cc) DOHC 16 valve inline-4 with stainless headers and Bendix Electronic fuel injection. All 1975 Cosworth Vegas are black with gold accent stripping, gold-colored aluminum wheels as well as a black custom vinyl, black custom cloth, or white custom vinyl interior having a gold "engine turned" dash bezel and gold-plated plaque with Cosworth ID and build number. In 1976, eight additional exterior as well as additional interior colors were offered. Only 3,508 were built through 1976. The Vega Panel Express was discontinued on the end from the 1975 model year. Never a large seller, Panel Express sales peaked the Vega's first year at 7,800 units. After leveling away and off to around 4,000 units annually, only 1,525 1975 models were sold.1975 would have been a olling model change at 100 cars hourly with no downtime.

1976 Vegas were refined with extensive engine, chassis, and body integrity improvements. Chevrolet advertised the 1976 Vega as "Built to look at it." A facelift included a revised header panel, wider grill, revised headlamp bezels-all made of corrosion resistant material-and tri-color taillights for Notchback and Hatchback. The 2.3L engine, named Dura-built 140, received improved cooling and durability refinements. The chassis received the Monza's upgraded components like the box-section front cross-member, larger rear brakes and torque-arm rear suspension, replacing the four-link design, and effectively eliminating wheel-hop on rough roads. The body received extensive anti-rust improvements. New models introduced were the GT Estate wagon along with the Cabriolet Notchback. The Cabriolet package replaced the LX and featured a half vinyl roof and opera windows similar towards the Monza Towne Coupe. The Cosworth Vega was quietly discontinued.

1974 Vega Hatchback Coupe

Limited exclusive edition Spirit of America

1977 Vega GT Hatchback Coupe

1977 was the ultimate year for your Vega, carried over from 1976 having a few revisions and additions. The Notchback was re-named Coupe. The Dura-built 140 engine received a version in the Cosworth engine's pulse-air system to satisfy greater strict 1977 Federal emission standards. A full console was a whole new option, along with the GT received blacked-out trim and a revised side stripping option.

Vega production totaled a lot more than 1.9 million vehicles in seven model years. At its peak, total Vega production was 2,400 units per day. Ed Cole retired from General Motors in 1974, and was killed in the airplane crash in 1977. After a three year sales decline, Chevrolet without emotion, trimmed the automobile looking at the line-up after the 1977 model year.

The Vega's design expanded starting inside the 1975 model year with additional car lines in four GM divisions - Chevrolet Monza, Pontiac Sunbird, Buick Skyhawk, and Oldsmobile Starfire The sporty models are derived from your Vega and continued through 1980.



140 CID (2.3 L) 1 bbl. I-4, 90 hp

Sports Car Graphic magazine said in September, 1970: "The new die-cast aluminum Vega 2300 (engine) is often a masterpiece of simplicity. There are many innovations made to reduce the quantity of pieces and improve repairability. One belt drives cam and water pump. The movable water pump can also be the belt tensioner. The oil pump is on the crankshaft and is also top engine cover."

Collectable Automobile magazine said 30 years later in April, 2000: "The Vega engine was the most extraordinary part from the car."

The Vega engine is really a 140 cubic inch (2.3 liter) inline-4 featuring a die-cast aluminum cylinder an incident assembly as well as a cast-iron cylinder head having a single overhead camshaft (SOHC). The cylinder block can be an open deck design with siamesed free-standing cylinder bores. Outer case walls make up the water jacket and are sealed off from the head as well as the head gasket. The block has cast iron main caps and a surefire crankshaft. The certain cylinder head was chosen for affordable and structural integrity. The overhead valvetrain is a direct acting kind of extreme simplicity. Only three components activate the valve rather than the usual seven of your typical push rod system. The camshaft is sustained by five conventional pressed-in bearings. The camshaft is driven from the crankshaft by an externally mounted continuous cogged belt and sprocket system. Six v-grooves on the outside of the belt drive the lake pump and fan. The large bore and long stroke design provide good torque and lower rpm operation for reduced wear. Compression ratio for that standard and optional engine is 8.5:1, because engine was created to function on low-lead and no-lead fuels. A single-barrel carburetor version produces 90??hp (67??kW). The two-barrel version (RPO L11) produces 110??hp (82??kW). From 1972 on, rating was listed as net horsepower. The one-barrel engine produces 80??hp (60??kW). The two-barrel option boosts output to 90??hp (67??kW). The relatively large (to have an inline-4) engine is naturally vulnerable to vibration and is subdued by large rubber engine mounts. Vibration and noise levels were reduced inside 1972 models using a redesigned exhaust and much better driveline damping. The 1972 Rochester DualJet 2-barrel carburetor required an air pump for emission certification and was replaced in 1973 with a Holley-built 5210C staged 2-barrel carb. Emission control revisions produced in 1973 reduced power output by 3 bhp, although engine's cruising noise levels were reduced. High energy electronic ignition was added for 1975.

Non-air conditioned cars stood a small 12-inch (300??mm) by 12-inch (300??mm) radiator core. The reason for the relatively small radiator was the aluminum engine block and it is superior heat conductivity as compared to iron. At the beginning of the experimental engine program at GM engineering staff, Ed Cole stated in a gathering that there would possibly be no need to get a traditional radiator, due on the excellent heat rejection on the air from your aluminum block. He felt that coolant could just be passed from the heater core, with outside air ducted over the core and exhausted under the car to supply auxiliary cooling. Several pre-prototype cars were built in this way at his insistence, and every one of them were dismal failures from the cooling perspective. After having one seize up when he was driving it with the Milford proving grounds one Saturday, he backed faraway from his theory and allowed the style to keep with a conventional cooling system.

Dura-built 140

Dura-built 140 CID (2.3 L) 2bbl. I-4, 84 hp

The 1976 2.3 engine, named "Dura-built 140", featured improved coolant pathways for your aluminum-block, a redesigned cylinder head incorporating quieter hydraulic valve lifters, longer life valve stem seals which reduced oil consumption by 50%, a redesigned water pump, head gasket, and thermostat. Warranty around the engine was 5 years/60,000-mile (97,000??km).

1976 Vega, 60,000 miles in two months

New York International Auto Show, 1976

"August 1, 1975. 8 a.m. Outside the southern fringe of Las Vegas. Three medium orange Vegas start their engines. They won't be turning them off much during the next 58 days with the exception of rest and food stops, refueling and maintenance. They have a job to perform." Chevrolet conducted an advertised 60,000 miles in two months Durability Run with the 1976 Vega as well as Dura-built 140 engine. Three new Vega hatchback coupes designed with manual transmissions and air-con were driven non-stop for 60,000??miles (97,000??km) in 60 days through a Nevada desert, Death Valley test loop with air temperatures seldom under 100??F (38??C) degrees. Fuel stops and oil changes were supervised with the US Auto Club. All three 1976 Vegas completed an overall of 180,000??miles (290,000??km) without having failures. (One car needed a timing belt replacement and twenty-four ounces of coolant) The 1976 Vega was marketed as a durable and reliable car.

The 1977 Dura-built 140 engine, painted blue its final year, added a pulse-air system to fulfill the more-strict 1977 U.S. exhaust emission regulations. The Chevy Monza standard engine was the 140 inline-4 its fresh in 1975; the Dura-Built 140 for 1976-77. Pontiac used the 140 engine for the Astre in 1973-74 (Canada), 1975, as well as the Dura-Built 140 engine in 1976 only, in the the Astre and Sunbird. Oldsmobile's first four-cylinder offering was the Dura-built 140, standard inside 1977 Olds Starfire.

Aluminum engine block

Aluminum cylinder block

GM Research Labs had been working on a sleeveless aluminum block since late 50's. The incentive was cost. Getting gone those liners on the four-cylinder block would save $8, which was a substantial amount of a reimbursement then. Reynolds Metal Co. came up by having an alloy called A-390, consisting of 77 percent aluminum, 17 percent silicon, four percent copper, 1 percent iron, and traces of phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and titanium. The A-390 alloy was suited to faster production diecasting which made the Vega block cheaper to manufacture than other aluminum engines. Sealed Power Corp. developed special chrome-plated piston rings for your engine that were blunted to stop scuffing. Basic work was done under Eudell Jackobson of GM engineering, not at Chevrolet. But then, suddenly, Chevrolet got handed the work of putting this ohc sleeveless, aluminum block into production - a feat nothing you've seen prior attempted.

The Vega engine block was cast in Massena, New York, at exactly the same factory that produced the Corvair engine. Molten aluminum was transported from Reynolds and Alcoa reduction plants to the foundry, inside thermos tank trucks. The block was cast using the Accurad process. The casting process provided a uniform distribution of fine primary silicon particles approximately 0.001??inches (0.025??mm) in dimensions. Pure silicon provides a hard scuff and wear resistant surface, using a rating of 7 on the mohs scale of hardness in comparison with diamond that is 10. The blocks were aged 8 hours at 450??F (232??C) to realize dimensional stability. The technical breakthroughs with the block lay inside the precision die-casting method used to produce it, along with the silicon alloying which provided a compatible bore surface without liners.

Silicon cylinder bore magnified 680 times

Four-layer electro-plated piston skirts

From Massena, the cast engine blocks were shipped as raw castings to Chevy's engine plant in Tonawanda, New York. Here they underwent the messy etch and machining operations. The cylinder bores were rough and take care of honed conventionally to your 7 micro-inch finish then etched by a whole new (then) electro-chemical process. The etching removed approximately 0.00015-inch (0.0038??mm) of aluminum leaving the pure silicon particles prominent to from the bore surface. (left image)

At a machined weight of 36??pounds (16??kg), the block is 51??pounds (23??kg) less compared to cast-iron block in the Chevy II 153??cu??in (2,510??cc) inline-4. Plating the piston skirts was important to put a tough iron skirt surface opposite the silicon from the block to prevent scuffing. The plating would have been a four layer electo-plating process. (right image) The first plate would have been a flash of zinc accompanied by an extremely thin flash of copper. The third and primary coating was hard iron, 0.0007??in (0.018??mm) thick. The final layer was obviously a flash of tin. The zinc and copper were important to adhere the iron while the tin prevented corrosion before assembly with the piston to the engine. Piston plating ended over a 46 operation automatic line. From Tonawanda, the engines went on the Chevrolet assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio.

According to Jackobson, "The aluminum blocks were inpregnated with sodium silicate before shipping to Tonawanda (engine plant). Machining from the outer skin exposed areas that had not previously leaked, so various leak tests were required because block progressed through the machining line. As I recall, if your part still leaked after three tries, it had been scrapped."

Jacobsen, pointed out one from the early problems. "We were built with a catastrophe once we began trying to complete the aluminum engine-block castings at Tonawanda. We found scuffing in the cylinders and couldn't figure out why... we finally identified we were putting excessive pressure for the bore hones and cracking the silicon. We were attempting to put a product into production and learning the technology simultaneously. And the pressure becomes very, very great when that occurs. The hone-pressure problem was solved before engines actually went out the entranceway, affecting pre-production engines only."

Stillborn L-10 Engine

Although the optional L-11 engine with 2-barrel Weber carburetor became a mainstream part from the put in December, 1968 (and ran at the 75% level in production), the Chevrolet engine group had an intense dislike to the tall iron cylinder head having its unusual tappet arrangement and side-flow eron combustion chamber design that ended up thrust on them from engineering staff, as well as set out to create their own. The design evolved rapidly like a rossflow aluminum head having a single centrally-mounted overhead camshaft and roller rocker arms operating intake valves on one side and exhaust valves about the other, remarkably similar on the Ferrari V-12 cylinder head design of that period; it was almost 4 lower compared to the production head, would be a lot lighter, had true emi chambers with big valves, generating excellent power. Numerous prototypes were built, and manufacturing tooling was were only available in anticipation of approval for production. The real story never came out, however some mixture of corporate politics (ou don need another cylinder head mine will continue to work perfectly) and extra program investment killed this software. Had it arrived at production, it would not have had the differential expansion head gasket conditions that plagued the iron-head engine, and would have provided significantly higher performance as opposed to optional L-11 engine.

Cosworth Twin-Cam

Chevrolet Cosworth Vega

1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega Twin-Cam


Chevrolet Motor Division

Parent company

General Motors Corporation

Also called

Cosworth Twin-Cam



Model year(s)



Lordstown Assembly-

Lordstown, Ohio, United States



Body style(s)

2-door hatchback


FR layout


GM H platform (RWD)


122 CID 2.0 L DOHC EFI I4


4-speed manual

5-speed manual w/overdrive (1976)


97.0??in (2,464??mm)


176.4??in (4,481??mm)


65.4??in (1,661??mm)


50.0??in (1,270??mm)

Curb weight

2,760??lb (1,250??kg)

The 1975-76 Cosworth Twin-Cam is often a limited production, performance version of the Vega. Its purpose ended up being to "create excitement" for your entire Vega line. Only 3,508 were constructed from March 1975 through 1976.


The racing version was known internally at Cosworth as Project EA. It was not really a successful racing engine due to engine block structural failures. Chevrolet later offered a particular heavy-duty block with thicker case walls for racing applications, but by that time Cosworth had shifted. The Vega production version was made and built by Chevrolet at its Tonawanda engine plant. The first 1971 development engines delivered an extraordinary 180??bhp (130??kW).

Chevrolet press kit photograph, 1975

During early 1973, Cosworth development was proceeding relatively on schedule at engineering, and creation of pilot units ended up scheduled to consider place at Lordstown in April, 1973 having a production launch scheduled for August, and later re-scheduled for May, 1974. Shortly prior to the pilot build would have been to get ready at Lordstown, the adjacent Fisher Body plant proceeded strike, closing Lordstown assembly and resulted in the pilot being gone to live in Ste. Therese, Quebec in the very last minute. Ste. Therese was building Vegas using one shift at 30 each hour during the time, and was preparing to add their second shift, in order that they had additional training manpower available that may be specialized in organizing and executing the Cosworth pilot in addition to Lordstown personnel. Lordstown body, paint, trim, chassis, and final assembly staff, as well as material & production control and quality & reliability staff relocated to Ste. Therese approximately 10 days, where these were joined by way of a variety of engineers and specifications people from Chevrolet engineering and Bendix. Seven silver Cosworths were built, using the planned ff-line final assembly operations completed in their final repair area by a number of veteran Ste. Therese repairmen they committed to this system. The cars were built on schedule, thanks towards the Chevrolet and Bendix engineers who dealt with some in the mis-matched components that ended up released and also got the cars running properly, and returned to Lordstown.

A burnt exhaust valve in a very test engine caused the engine to fail the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 50,000-mile (80,000??km) emission control system durability test. This delayed the vehicle's introduction annually and a half while Chevrolet revised the Cosworth engine's emission control system, the Bendix Electronic fuel injection along with the timing specs. It passed the EPA test the 2nd time, and the Cosworth Vega was introduced in March, 1975 with significant differences from the cars which are built at Ste. Therese. Final rating was 110??bhp (82??kW) Car and Driver reported, "The 3.11 First gear matched to some 3.73 Axle ratio helps make the Cosworth Vega not easy to launch from a stop." They measured 0-60??mph (97??km/h) times of 8.7 seconds.

122 CID DOHC-16 valves

Cosworth Twin-Cam

122 CID (2.0 L) EFI I-4, 110 hp

The Cosworth Vega engine is really a 122 cubic inch (2.0 liter) inline-4 and features a die cast aluminum cylinder and case assembly with an aluminum, 16 valve cylinder head with double overhead camshafts (DOHC). The head design was assisted by Cosworth Engineering in England. The camshafts are held in a removable cam-carrier that also serves as being a guide for that valve lifters. Each camshaft is supported by five bearings and it is turned by individual cam gears around the front-end. The two overhead camshafts are determined, along while using water pump and fan, by the fiberglass cord reinforced neoprene rubber belt, much just like the Vega 140 (2.3 liter) I-4 engine. Below the cam carrier is a 16 valve cylinder head made of an aluminum alloy using sintered iron valve seats and iron cast valve guides for added durability. Forged aluminum pistons are utilized for additional strength with improved durability under severe operating conditions. The engine features an electronic digital fuel injection system, as well as a stainless exhaust header. Each engine was hand-built and features a cam cover sticker with the engine builder's signature.The engine develops its maximum power at 5,600 rpm which is redlined at 6,500 the place that the SOHC Vega engine peaks at 4,400 and many types of is completed at 5,000.

Features & changes 19751976

1975 Cosworth Twin-Cam Vega

Chevrolet general manager, John DeLorean chose black over Cosworth silver, the main choice, as the vehicle's exclusive color. 1974 pre-production cars released to the press and all 2,062 1975 Cosworth Vegas were indeed, black with gold "Cosworth Twin Cam" lettering for the front fenders and rear cove panel and gold pinstriping on hood bulge, body sides, wheel openings, and rear cove. Black exterior color wasn't positioned on lesser Vegas prior to the following year. The black or white custom vinyl, or black custom cloth interior features a gold engine-turned dash bezel and gold-plated dash plaque with build sequence number, a certain 8000 RPM tachometer, along with a Cosworth Twin-Cam Vega controls emblem. At $5,916, it cost double a standard hatchback, and only $900 below a Corvette. The Cosworth package carries a 'torque arm' rear suspension which supplies optimum rear axle power control. This unit compares towards the assembly used on the Monza 2+2. The Monza 2+2 axle can be used and supplies a 3.73:1 gear ratio coming from a 7-1/2" ring gear. No other gear ratios were available, but a fixed slip differential was optional. GT special springs, shocks, and stabilizer bars are included as are exclusive BR70-13 BSW radial tires on British-made 6??inch, gold-painted cast aluminum wheels with Chevy center caps. The Vega engine overheat protection product is used for the Cosworth package. This adds add coolant and temp/press warning lights for the instrument cluster. If the radiator coolant level becomes one quart or maybe more low, a sensor, located inside the radiator, activates the add coolant light. If the coolant temperature reaches 260??F (127??C). or greater or if the engine oil pressure drops below 6??psi (0.41??bar), then this temp/press light is activated. Air conditioning had not been offered about the Cosworth Vega, because of interference involving the induction system, specifically mid-air cleaner and the air conditioner's evaporator case. Power steering and power brakes were also not offered.

1976 Cosworth Twin-Cam Vega

For 1976, the Cosworth, as with any Vega models, received a facelift including a wider grill and tri-color tail lamps along with the extensive body anti-rust improvements. A new Borg-Warner 5-speed manual overdrive transmission with 4.10 axle was optional in addition towards the std. Saginaw 4-speed manual. The exhaust system featured a single outlet tailpipe as opposed for the dual outlet pipe around the '75. Eight additional exterior colors were offered together with black and a couple additional interior colors were offered. Still, merely one,446 were developed for 1976. The Cosworth Vega, although meeting the harder strict 1977 emission standards beforehand, would not be offered inside Vega's final year. Production fell well less than projected sales of 5,000 per year. Introduced annually earlier in 1974, as planned, the vehicle could have met its sales goal. 1,500 unused Cosworth engines were simply scrapped for insufficient demand.


The Chevrolet Vega was first popular with the automotive press, winning awards and praise due to the innovative engineering, timeless styling, and sports car-like handling. Chevrolet advertising for the Vega included ads promoting awards won by the automobile.

Chevrolet Vega advertisement-1971

Chevrolet Vega advertisement-1972

Car and Driver magazine, in 1971 awarded top pick on the Vega above five other cars such as the Ford Pinto, AMC Gremlin, VW Beetle, Toyota Corolla and Chrysler Simca "...due to the particular suitability to American driving conditions. It was the sole car aside from the shortened compact Gremlin that could cruise at 70 miles each hour or above." Its long 2.53:1 axle ratio allowed the lowest 3,000 rpm at 80??mph (130??km/h). The Vega's ride and handling were well liked. It was the fastest with the cars tested, taking 12.2 seconds to arrive at 60??mph (97??km/h). C&D stated: "It provides a great blend of performance and economy." "It's a motor vehicle for those occasions."

Car and Driver in the 1972 Super Coupes test like the Vega GT, Pinto Runabout, Opel 1900 Rallye, Mazda RX-2, Capri 2000 and Toyota Celica said: "...If looks alone determined the most effective Super coupe, the Vega GT would win hands down without ever turning a wheel."

Car and Driver readers voted the Vega "Best Economy Sedan" several years in the row (19711973) in its Annual Reader's Choice Poll. In 1971, the Vega's newbie around the market, it been able to unseat the incumbent import, breaking its eight year winning streak.

Motor Trend magazine in the August 1970 issue said: "...the Vega GT comes close to exactly what a racing GT car must be, in handling, performance and comfort. Because it's basically a decreased-priced compact, the final results are typical the more surprising and rewarding."

Motor Trend named the Vega one in the "Ten Best Cars of 1971" and "Motor Trend Car of the Year" for 1971. MT said: "The base Vega can be a magnificent automobile without any options whatsoever." "We pick the Vega since the Car from the Year due to Vega's engineering excellence, timeliness, styling, and overall value...for your money, not one other American car can deliver more."

Motor Trend selected the Vega GT "1973 Car from the Year within the economy class" stating: "The Vega was judged solid, warm and comfortable, having a good finish."

In 1973 the Vega Wagon's 27.083??mpg-US (8.6850??L/100??km; 32.525??mpg-imp) fuel economy was rated number ten in Motor Trend's mid-summer cruise of "15 Cars To Own in the Gas Crisis". In 1974 the Vega LX Notchback's 30.0??mpg-US (7.84??L/100??km; 36.0??mpg-imp) was rated number nine in Motor Trend's "50 Cars Worth Their Weight In Gold". In 1975 The Vega was a part of Motor Trend's "10 Best Selling (American Made) Cars" test. MT said: "The Vega has become vacillating on the sales charts from just out in the top to merely in the top 10. We have to conclude that Monza sales have hurt the Vega and may continue to perform so."

Chevrolet Vega advertisement-1971

Chevrolet Vega GT advertisement-1973

Road & Track magazine stated in September 1970, "Vega is the best handling car ever bought from America."

Road & Track within their 1970 road test of "Vegas Plain and Fancy" said: "...with all the Vega, they've proved one with the finest-looking compact sedans inside world." "The engine proved a disappointed. It's extremely rough and noisy..for the positive side, freeway cruising is relaxed and quiet, the slow-running engine's noise included in wind and road noise, and it turned out economical not withstanding our overall mileage figures which include some very hard driving." "Ride and handling were departments in which we also expected good things and have a look at weren't disappointed. The Vega in standard form rides and handles well indeed."

Road & Track from other Vega owner survey (of early models), stated: "The a higher level assembly doesn't match the virtues in the design."

Road & Track in a very Vega GT road test, began: "The 1973 Vega remains the stylish, somewhat sporting economy car it had been when new, but improved. The Vega's engine is significantly improved, with cruising speed noise levels under most economy cars." Closing the exam article, R&T stated: "After what we've said about earlier Vegas, it is a pleasure to report the actual Vega wil attract, respectably quick, and frugal-plus it's the most effective highway car in college. Well done Chevrolet."

Road Test magazine in September, 1970 said: "Chevy brought out the stops with this one-aluminum ohc engines, four body styles, high style options put it inside a class by itself." "It's innovative without having to be complex."

In a July 1974 Test report with a Vega LX Notchback, Road Test said: "Vega engineers have tamed the low-speed characteristics with the engine. It's wonderfully torquey and flexible at drive-away speeds, and you'll shift early into fourth and chug out throughout the day if you normal driving low and mid-range torque is what counts this also engine has a lot of it." "The Vega ride is just not like that relating to a Caprice, but neither is it a choppy "little-car" ride thanks to the big car rear suspension (coil springs and control arms), ample suspension travel and reasonably good damping..." "The standard manual steering is about the heavy side which is not fast enough to permit fancy maneuvering..." "Braking performance is appropriate in that room too, that's credited towards the brakes themselves as well as the big (radial) tires." "In summary, the 1974 Vega is really a vastly improved car over the original and even over last year's model. All from the important gripes happen to be cared for also it can now face up to its competition, domestic and imported, on a feature for feature basis.

Hot Rod magazine in 1972, road tested a Vega GT Kammback, and said: "The car never appears like something you possessed to get..It's the type of car we'd buy to look good in, develop, help to increase, and wash once a week." Hot Rod in a very 1972 models introduction issue voted the Vega GT "Best Buy" with the entire 1972 Chevrolet line. Hot Rod, on the Millionth Vega, said: "Chevrolet was smitten using the car, they've built 6143 Millionth Vegas. The series is simply a styled-up Vega GT with some nice interior touches..They'll probably sell a million of 'em."

Chevrolet Vega GT advertisement-1973

Chevrolet Vega advertisement-1975

Small cars magazine said in 1972: "Z/29 Vega GT: It's either the sportiest economy car inside world or probably the most economical performance car within the world."

Road & Track, rolling around in its 1976 Cosworth Vega road test noted: "The lowering of displacement adds an essential level of smoothness..." a result in the shorter stroke. "We can't resist saying that using the Cosworth Vega engine, the Vega now runs the actual way it should have run every one of the time-easy, smooth, good response, good handling: a good balance between performance and economy."; "For all its exotic features, however, the Cosworth Vega engine is not a high performance unit which has a specific production of only 55??bhp (41??kW; 56??PS) per liter, modest indeed when compared to engines of equal sophistication." "The Cosworth Vega's handling is excellent..."; "All our drivers agreed which it is really a much better handling car than these Vega derivatives that happen to be fitted out with V6 or V8 engines."

The 1974 Pre-production Cosworth Vega made Car and Driver's Top 25 Acceleration Champs. They said: "Each year one car emerges because winner." The Cosworth Vega was the easiest 0-60??mph car of 1974 having a period of 7.7 seconds.

Car and Driver stated in 1977: "John R. Bond, the recently retired editor of Road & Track, once caused himself and GM a peck of trouble while using Federal Trade Commission by calling the Vega the very best-handling sedan from Detroit in the pages of his magazine, reality he or she are actually stretching the idea a bit, the Vega/Astre does handle awfully well, provided there won't be any bumps in the road. The suspension is well tuned and the car stays flat and goes where its pointed."

Car and Driver chose the Cosworth Vega as one of the "10 Best Collectable Cars" rolling around in its fourth annual Ten Best issue, stating: "We're discussing historical significance here."

Car and Driver', in the 35th anniversary retrospective issue in 1990 mentioned the Vega 3 times: Detroit Fights Back - Ford Pinto and Vega 2300: "...they are the top, most import-beating subcompacts that American Technology is able to build. If VW along with the other small intruders survive this attack, they will be assumed invincible." Cosworth Vega Preview - "A sixteen-valve head on a Vega aluminum block seems like a neat idea to us, and then we modernise our prose. The car if it finally arrives, cannot match our feverish preview." Showroom-Stock Challenge III - "We win again, this time in the-Vega GT, proof that truth is stranger than fiction." Detroit Fights Back - "The Pontiac Astre is introduced. It's a Vega with better decals."

Car and recently included the 1971 Chevrolet Vega on its "10 most Embarrassing Award Winners in Automotive History" list criticizing Motor Trend, 38 years following your fact, for selecting the 1971 Vega "Car in the Year."

Popular in November 2008, listed the 19711977 Chevrolet Vega as one of 10 cars that damaged GM's reputation.

Lordstown Assembly

Lordstown Assembly, Chevrolet Vega

GM purpose-built a professional $75 million plant, Lordstown Assembly in Lordstown, Ohio, to produce the Vega. When completed, Lordstown was the planet's most automated auto plant. 90 percent with the necessary welding was performed by 26 high-tech unimate industrial robots performing 520 welds on each Vega. Sub-assembly areas, conveyor belts and quality control were all computer directed. Vega production at Lordstown was projected at 100 cars an hour or so in the beginning: one vehicle every 36 seconds. This was nearly twice the traditional volume and by far was the easiest rate inside world. Two exits about the Ohio Turnpike were constructed to deal with visitors to and in the plant.

As initial production ramped up toward the objective of 100 by the hour, a major problem developed in the Paint Shop. At 85 each hour, the incidence of runs, pops, and sags became a major issue, with nearly 100% in the units requiring repair, plus they had to plateau the interest rate with the spray booth at 85 per hour. They simply couldn lay the paint on fast enough with conventional pressures and tips, and when they increased pressures and exposed tips, they got runs and sags everywhere. Fisher Body paint engineering didn use a solution, so they called DuPont (lacquer paint supplier); DuPont sent in experts and chemists with two mobile paint laboratories. They literally developed a whole new paint chemistry and application specifics over the weekend (NAD Non-Aqueous Dispersion Lacquer). There were production paint colors fot it new formulation inside a week, which enabled them to continue the production ramp-up successfully to 106 by the hour inside paint shop. The body shop main line ran at 109, paint at 106, hard trim at 104, and chassis & final assembly at 102 in order to maintain 100 average off the final line using the inevitable occasional short stops for minor breakdowns. Masking, painting, and demasking the GT option's sport stripes was something to determine at 106 per hour.

After two years of production, sales asked for the wood-grain option for your Kammback wagon, and it was released with the beginning from the 1973 model year. Nobody at Lordstown had applied wood-grain film to a car because the Caprice wagon in 1969, and it absolutely was almost impossible to apply to the Vega body contours at 100 bodies each hour without wrinkles and tremendous scrap in the material. Wood-grain was pulled in the production schedule, plus they called in a expert from Schlegel, the wood-grain film supplier, to refresh everyone skills and show them how to perform it at their high line rate. He setup shop inside the company car garage, and trained a team of twelve people six from each shift on three wagons they sent through the system purposely without the film installed. Everyone found the techniques, and they put wood-grain back inside the schedule in the morning and ran with no problems.

The normal Chevrolet Broadcast Sheet (described today because uild Sheet) was an 8-1/2 11 printed form, with lots of boxes for part numbers and/or broadcast codes for both body trim and chassis operations. It became obvious which they couldn utilize the standard Chevrolet sheet, as we were holding printed in about 30 locations throughout the plant on teletype printers also it wasn possible for your printers to print the standard-length broadcast sheet at 106 by the hour. About 80 per hour was the best they can do. (None with the other plants had ever run at a lot more than 65 per hour). There was no help from the printer manufacturer, so John Hinkley, plant coordinator, arbitrarily cut the length with the sheet by 50 percent, condensed the codes, and created a body broadcast for trim and final operations and a chassis broadcast for chassis and engine line operations; it was the sole way the printers could get caught up with production. The front of an Vega for the Final Line looked like it had been apered with sheets it took twice as many broadcast sheets per car as at every other plant and about 600 of which hourly filled up in the trash cans with the end from the line.


The Vega was designed to become shipped vertically, nose down. Special rail cars known as Vert-A-Pac cars held 30 Vegas versus 18 in normal tri-level autoracks. Each Vega was fitted with four removable, cast-steel sockets inserted into the undercarriage.

30 Vegas in a single Vert-a-pac

Vegas loaded on Vert-a-pac

Chevrolet conducted vibration and low-speed crash tests to produce sure nose-down Vegas wouldn't shift or why not be damaged in railcar collisions. Chevrolet's goal ended up being to deliver Vegas topped with fluids and able to drive to the dealership. To do this Vega engineers had to create a special engine oil baffle to prevent oil from entering the No. 1 cylinder, batteries had filler caps located high up about the rear edge with the case in order to avoid acid spilling, the carburetor float bowl stood a special tube that drained gasoline to the vapor canister during shipment, as well as the windshield washer bottle stood at the 45 degree angle. Plastic spacers were wedged in next to the powertrain to stop harm to engine and transmission mounts. The wedges were removed when cars were unloaded.

The DeLorean factor

John DeLorean and also the Vega 2300 in 1970

John Z. DeLorean, General Motors v . p . and Pontiac general manager was promoted to Chevrolet general manager in 1969, annually prior towards the Vega introduction. He discussed the Vega within the Motor Trend August 1970 issue: "Our design concept was we planned to build a motor vehicle that does everything well, and if you drive the vehicle you undoubtedly can be really impressed. It has far and away the top handling of anything rolling around in its class. In fact it handles superior to many sports cars. The performance is fantastic. It out-performs any car in the price class in accelerating..." "The Vega is going to be built in a level of quality that has never been attained before inside a manufacturing operation with this country, and possibly inside world.." "We have automatic inspection of virtually every single engine part so we know it is going to become right..." "There is not that comes in a mile of the Vega for performance and handling. This car will out-handle virtually any sports vehicle built-in Europe. Not just little cars, but sports cars too. This is very a car or truck." "It has a really high degree of craftsmanship...I think the ride and handling of some in the imports is pretty mediocre. But some ones are very well build. The Vega has good craftsmanship, minus the faults from the imports."

In contrast to the 1970 Motor Trend interview, the Vega chapter in On A Clear Day You Can See General Motors -John Z. De Lorean's Look Inside The Automotive Giant by J. Patrick Wright, published nine years later, was critical on corporate decisions associated with the Vega's design, weight, pricing, even its name. "A study of the conception and gestation of the Vega reveals not a lesson in scientific marketing and development, but instead a vintage case of management ineptitude..." "This program produced a hostile relationship involving the corporate staffs, which essentially designed and engineered the automobile, and Chevrolet Division that was to trade it. From the very first day I stepped into Chevrolet, the Vega what food was in trouble. General Motors was basing its image and reputation on the vehicle, and there were practically no interest in it in the division. We were to get started on building the car in approximately per year, and nobody wanted anything to complete with it. Chevy's engineering staff only agreed to be going over the motions of preparing the auto for production, but nothing more. Engineers are an incredibly proud group. They take interest and pride in their designs, but this wasn't their car and so they failed to desire to develop it." The biggest objection from the Chevrolet engineering staff was reserved for that Vega engine. GM Engineering policy group find the engine pushed by Ed Cole and the corporate staff which used an aluminum cylinder block, a cast iron head along with a longer stroke design which was traditionally less polluting. They were employing an innovative production process using aluminum while they were depending upon a well used basic design for the engine, and Chevrolet engineers were ashamed with the engine.

DeLorean's most significant problem would have been to motivate the division to get the auto into as good shape since they could before introduction. As the Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant was changed into Vega production, he introduced a powerful program for quality control with the target of making the initial cars off of the assembly line the best quality cars, from the manufacturing standpoint, ever built. As the starting date approached, he put tens of additional inspectors and workers for the line and introduced a computerized quality control enter in which each car was inspected mainly because it came off of the line and, if necessary, repaired. The first 2,000 Vegas built were test driven plus a sizable proportion from the others thereafter.

Work which had proceeded on the automobile revealed that this central staff had completely misgauged the load and cost with the car they designed. As general manager of Chevy, he was called upon to clarify why the vehicle differed from GM chairman James Roche's announcement given a couple of years earlier. How could DeLorean call his car "competitive" if it weighed almost 400 pounds more, and was priced more than $300 across the intended foreign competitor. While he was convinced that Chevy was doing their very best with the car that was handed to them, he was asked from the corporation to tout the auto far beyond his personal convictions about it. This conflict never resolved itself fully in their mind and was one of the factors that precipitated his departure from the company. DeLorean continued: "I said having a clear conscience who's was obviously a quality car, and I believed it absolutely was because the very first 2,000 cars were road tested off the assembly line and huge amount of money was spent to reinspect and repair each vehicle."

In naming the auto, DeLorean stated that studies were conducted showing any particular one name stood above every other - Gemini. When pronounced it almost said "G-M-ini". But modern, scientific, marketing tests not withstanding, Ed Cole liked the name Vega and so did top corporate management, who disregarded Chevrolet's test results.


Although the Vega sold well through the beginning, the buying public soon begun to question the car's quality. It had every to; it arrived on the scene prematurely but still stood a lots of glitches. Development and upgrades continued throughout the automobile's seven year production run addressing its engine and price-related issues.


XP-887 Coupe, Chevrolet studio - final design

Jerry L Brockstein, assistant to Henry Haga, head in the Camaro/Corvette studio the place that the Vega prototype was restyled, recalls finalizing the Vega bodies: "Chevrolet was wanting to build this car as cheaply as is possible and wanted us to look at a great deal of money out of it. At first the metal am thin on the Kammback wagon that inside test facilty it kept buckling under its very own weight. Fisher Body had to revisit and put stiffing ribs in the roof." John DeLorean stated in 1974: "The first prototype was delivered to the GM proving grounds for durability testing. After only eight miles for the Belgian blocks, it broke in two." Note, though, that Fisher often under-engineered prototype bodies because it had been easier plus more economical to reinforce a weak body than to shave the one which had more strength than needed. Chevrolet's side, in the January 1971 Vega engineering report stated: "Early difficulties were experienced on the front and back suspension attaching points. Using scaled suspension members to impose static loads, stress evaluations were conducted. It was determined that addition of reinforcements, metal gauge increases, and some redesign with the pieces gives desired structure."

GMAD-Fisher Body

Workers about the Lordstown Vega Assembly line

The worker at Lordstown had only 36 seconds to complete his job instead in the normal minute. Even if the work was reduced the job was intolerable. With 25 percent more line workers than needed, the pace of assembly didn't bother most workers at first, and also the Vegas that came off of the line in those early months were well made. They still had mechanical flaws but issues like fit-and-finish were not only a problem. Then in October 1971, General Motors ordered Chevrolet and Fisher Body to show over Lordstown for the General Motors Assembly Division (GMAD) One of its missions would have been to spend less. Typical Lordstown employees (average age, 22) were products with the 60's. They'd grown up in the age of civil disobedience. GMAD ran a lot tighter ship and discipline became more rigorous. The United Auto Workers (UAW) claimed that 800 workers were laid off at Lordstown within the first year of GMAD's arrival and also the line speed didn't slow. Feelings got worse with management accusing workers of intentionally slowing the fishing line and sabotaging cars by leaving parts off and doing shoddy work. Quality did suffer, along with March 1972, the plant's 7,700 workers termed as a wildcat strike that lasted 30 days and value GM 150 million dollars.

Fisher Body Vega Elpo dip

Fisher Body was very pleased with its Elpo primering process, which must have prevented rust, but didn't. The Elpo process involved submerging the assembled Vega body inside a huge vat. The Elpo vats at Lordstown each contained reddish-brown paint-primer particles in 65,000??US??gallons (246,052??L; 54,124??imp gal) of water. In the Elpo dip, the metal body received a good electrical charge, the primer particles carried a bad charge, through leaving our bodies inside vat for two main minutes even one of the most remote recesses get coated, theoretically. The body was then dried, sprayed with acrylic lacquer and baked in the 300??F (149??C) degree oven. The Elpo dip, however, failed to flow to every single surface. Vega expert Gary Derian, interviewed by Collectable Automobile in 2000 said: "The design of the front caused air to become trapped with the tops with the fenders, so they really never got coated. Early cars had no inner fenders or fender liners, so the tops of the front fenders got blasted by sand and salt thrown up with the tires, and they quickly rusted." Derion talked about, too, which a rust-prone gap existed between the front fenders and also the cowl v...

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