Wednesday, September 10, 2014

10k: Needs More Minilites: 1975 Chevrolet Vega V8

Most of the time when someone builds a hot rod and immediately sells it, the seller takes a bath on any money he sunk into his project.  The only time that seller will make money is if he hits a fortunate upswing in market forces or gets a great deal when buying it.  This is unfortunate reality for most folks who enjoy building cars but a good thing for buyers who are looking to get something custom without spending too much money.  Even better for those buyers is to find a car that needs a few small things corrected that keeps the price down, like this next example that really needs some new shoes.  Find this 1975 Chevrolet Vega offered for $13,950 in Sebastopol, CA via craigslist.  Tip from Adam

The first thing you notice when looking at this car are those wheels.  The fronts are too skinny and the rears are too big, and it would be easy to say, nope...but you might be wrong.  If you take a minute to ignore those wheels, the rest of the car looks nice.  Paint is excellent (nice color too, not too common, stripes are well done), de-rubbered bumpers look cool.  Somebody poured a bunch of money into this car and is now going to lose 75% of his prospective buyers based on the wheels.

Under the hood is nothing like the original 4-banger designed for economy -- it is a 5.7 liter (350 cubic inch) small block Chevy V8 that has been thoroughly massaged.  Expect 350-400 horsepower depending on cam/heads/pistons selected by the builder and with a ~2400 lb curb weight, this thing should positively scoot down the road.

Even the interior looks nice, no roll cage, no aluminum door panels, no fuzzy dice, no dash cracks, and no crack pipes.  The automatic shifter won't be for everyone, but swapping in a manual transmission is always an option.

Now we come to the thankless task of mentioning that the seller is asking a king's ransom for a lost serf.  That isn't to say the car doesn't have $15k into the build, it is simply that this is a simple Chevy Vega, not even a Cosworth Vega.  One last look at the wheels/stance before moving on to what this car could be.

This is a Vega notchback with a properly sporty ride height and a set of minilite wheels (image borrowed from popularhotrodding for illustrative purposes).  Imagine what a set of wheels and springs would do to the above car? 

Send us your tips!


  1. You've completely missed the point of this car. This is a street legal rendition of a classic drag car. It's a modern throwback to the era when the Vega was a common sight at the dragstrips across the country. The wheels, tires, stance, and automatic tranny are all appropriate and, for the drag enthusiast, appreciated. You're looking for a twisty backroad runner in the wrong place. This is a straight line tire burner.

    1. Anon - You got me, I'm not a big fan of the dragster look, but de gustibus non disputandum est notwithstanding, the wheels are barbaric, particularly the way the rears stick out past the fenders. This has not been a good look since Ben Hur was riding around in the Colosseum, and this car would be much better presented with a set of wheels that fit -- like this.

      Finally, this sort of comment is great, you should pick a name so we get to know you better. Just click the reply as drop down menu and select the name/URL option, no need to register. I suggest Pro-Street or Dragsterymous...

      DT Editor-in-Chief

  2. My father swears that the best dollar per miles he has ever had was from a Vega. Bought it new for something like $2,300 and put 180k on it. I Veg-uely remember it having a poop green exterior and green plaid interior.

  3. The notchback with Minilites would absolutely be my choice, but I think "Anonymous" above has it right. This is a street rod/dragster build which the right buyer will appreciate. On the other hand, this ad has been up for several weeks so maybe you're right.

  4. Build date? If you built it THEN, kept it dearly, and posted TODAY, your all right.
    (Dated a girl in HS from Larchmont. Had a Vega. Remarkable ride quality.)

  5. Bought a new 1974 Vega GT same orange as this one cost $3400.00 out the door less then a year later the motor was going thru oil found a 75 Buick V -6 out of a 1975 Skyhawk with 500 miles on it from a wrecking yard for $600 bucks only thing i needed was a bellhousing as the clutch componets are the same. Sold the old motor for $300 as it ran fine just was using oil like they all do. Cheap fix as it cost me about $400 Did it myself with a buddy was pretty quick and great MPG.

  6. You will never at this point turn A into B.

    The V8 Vega crowd wants to be Grumpy Jenkins, or at least they thought they did. It's probably tubbed and wearing ladder bars underneath.

    Frankly, I have some fondness for the early cars, though I'm not into the '70s Pro Stock look either. The pre-bumper versions were a beautiful shape, at a time when GM seldom did anything but beautiful shapes, but all that started to fall apart in the early '70s, and the big-bumper slat-nose 74-on Vegas are reprehensible.

  7. BURNEMUPUS ASFAULTUSSeptember 9, 2017 at 6:49 AM

    Get in, plant right foot and proceed to smoke those monster tires & YOU will see the point........


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.