For $3,500, Would You Wake Up This 1975 Chevy Cosworth Vega?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Vega is one of the rare Cosworth editions with the DOHC four designed by that venerable company. That 4-valve engine makes its price intriguing. The fact that engine does’t run? Well, we’ll just see about that.

Hey, remember last Friday? I know I don’t. Luckily we have the Internet and NSA to document everything and anything we ever do. I went back to have a look at how Arnold Schwarzenegger’s WCC-modded 1984 Jeep Grand Wagoneer did on Friday at its eighty-five grand price tag. Any guesses? Yeah, Crack Pipe. Not just Crack Pipe, but like an entire Inland Empire of them, 90.15% to be exact.


Note even having a famous name attached to it could save that Jeep’s price. To make sure that doesn’t happen today, we have a car associated with TWO famous names. Those names are of course, Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth, former Lotus employees who in 1958 founded the to cool for school engineering company Cosworth.

Few names are quite so synonymous with racing engines as Cosworth, but the company is also quite well known on the road. One of the first road cars to carry the name here in the states was the Cosworth Vega, which in hindsight looks to have been a hail-mary attempt by parent Chevrolet to bring some R. E. S. P. E. C. T. to their disgraced small car line.


The 1,990-cc four that eventually came to power the Cosworth Vega was originally intended by the British-based firm to be a racing-only engine. Based on the Vega’s aluminum block, the first iterations were totally balls to the wall, producing upwards of 260-horsepower. John DeLorean, then GM’s General Manager, seeking a way make the Vega less of a dog, hooked up one of GM’s engine designers - Calvin Wade - to work with Cosworth to engineer a streetable version of the hot mill.


That was in 1970, and as the years rolled on, and the Vega racked up ignominy after insult, the Cosworth Vega engine gave up horsepower like the Crimea gives up land. The eventual production version - internally coded ZO9 - was offered with a meager 110-bhp.

That was still a number that could be touted in advertisements as well over the 90 ponies the standard Vega managed to strangle while grinding itself to pieces. Sixty miles per hour in the Cossie came about in a scintillating for the Seventies 12.5 seconds making it competitive with many contemporary V8s and student-driven cars that were then on the road.


The engine was a piece of art, even though it went into the standard - and by then kind of long in the tooth - Vega hatch body. The “Cosworth Vega” as it was branded received a four-speed manual as the only transmission option. The unique interior got a gold engine-turned appliqué for the dash, and vinyl seats with optional cloth inserts for your ass. The suspension came upgraded over the plebeian Vega specs, along with a set of gold cast-alloy wheels.


Those wheels seem to have been painted silver primer on this 1975 Cossie Vega. Or maybe they have simply lost their gold to leprechauns during its decades-long sleep. You see this Rip Van-Vega is said to have been packed up in 1981, and not driven since. Holy barn find, Batman!


Some say time heals all wounds, but in this case time has resulted in the Cosworth’s mill becoming a stationary work of art. The seized engine may just need a cup of Marvel Mystery Oil down each spark plug hole and a couple of cranks with a wrench. Or alternatively, it might be toast, and unless you’re having breakfast, nobody likes toast.

Other time related issues are carpet that no longer matches the drapes, and paintwork that the ad says is ‘checked.’ Now, I don’t know if that means that it’s crazed or that somebody checked it and saw it was still there as no further details are offered. Considering the wheels, that second option is not necessarily unexpected.


The rest of the car looks alright, and sports just 13,000 miles from its ’75 to ’81 stint. Under the hood everything looks intact - and covered with a patina of surface rust. Of course, that’s nothing that a good rubbing with steel wool won’t eliminate. You’d likely want to get a new hood pad too as the original is gone. If it’s any consolation, the original belts and hoses are still present.

The body is clean looking in the pictures, and the aluminum bumpers are shiny - and huge. Chevy only built 3,500 Cossies before they realized that a Vega priced within spitting distance ($900) of the Corvette wasn’t doing either car’s sales any favors and sent the hot Vega to the corn field.


This one is asking to come back from a long winter’s nap, as well as $3,500 for the honor of waking it up. What’s your take on this cooped-up Cosworth, is that price tag a fair amount for a project edition in this condition? Or, is this long-dormant Vega just not Cosworth it?

You decide!


Chicagoland Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

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