Car Collector Corner: Remembering the Cosworth Vega
Q: Greg, I am wondering the true values of the Chevrolet Cosworth Vega, produced by Chevy in 1975. I know Cosworth is a big name in racing, but how about investing in one of these Cosworth Vegas? I see they aren't that expensive in my experience looking through the magazines like Auto Roundup and Hemmings Motor News. Glenn L., Rockingham, NC.
A: Glenn, I've driven several Cosworth Vegas in my time, including brand new models right off the dealer floor back in 1975 and again in 1976, which were the only years it was produced. (Chevy said it would be a limited production vehicle, but had it taken off, I think more would have been built).
Chevrolet and Cosworth Engineering, the latter a British company heavily involved in sports car and Indy car racing, worked together on the engine. Cosworth had complete control of the cylinder head design and the engines were then assembled (supposedly 30 engines per day, hand assembled with three-worker teams) in Tonawanda, New York, at GM's special engine plant. It was the same place where the L88 and ZL-1 427 cu. in. high performance Chevy engines were built.
Only 3,508 cars were ever made, and GM halted production after the 1976 year. Personally, I've always liked the Cosworth Vega, but the main problem was its cost. For $887 more in 1975, you could have parked a brand new Corvette in your driveway. This reality, in my mind, was a major factor in the car's demise along with the fact it was still a "Vega."
Historically, however, the Cosworth Vega is loaded with uniqueness and big name involvement, even the fact that it was John Delorean who gave the OK to produce the motor. Additionally, all of the major magazines gave the Cosworth Vega very good ratings overall at the time, and several called it a true "Collector Car of the Future." Mechanically, it was a sound car with a good suspension.
However, as you mention in your letter, not much has happened as to collector car quality prices concerning the Cosworth Vega. Currently, RacingJunk has a '75 model for sale with only 26,000 miles for $7,500 (a great deal actually) while eBay has three available right now for $3,250 to $5,200 in what looks to be decent shape.
Overall, if you are seeking only vehicle appreciation, the Cosworth Vega may not be your best selection. However, if you add in car show interest and enjoyment, the return is high because it is a really neat car. I wouldn't mind owning one myself as the "entry price" is quite good right now, and not many were ever produced.
If you do buy one, good luck and let us know.
Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist and welcomes reader questions on collector cars, auto nostalgia or old-time motorsports at 116 Main St., Towanda, Pa. 18848 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.