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#26835 of 30869 Low-mileage, original Vega GT
Nov 17, 2012 (2:41 am)
...no wonder they sold, they were nicer-looking than other small cars IMHO. I remember when our dealer got their "Millionth Vega" replica car in...Dad and I wondered how they got the "Millionth Vega" (before we knew about the replicas!).
I'd post this over on the GM forum, but it'd probably make some people's heads explode over there:
#26836 of 30869 Re: Low-mileage, original Vega GT [uplanderguy]
Nov 17, 2012 (8:12 am)
The Vega was pretty handsome, esp with small bumpers. The wagon version was especially cleanly styled. Shame it looked so good on paper when the first years were so bad. Could have been a winner..
Odd sightings in Switzerland/Austria today - Sunfire GT, 90s Blazer, Audi C2 200 Turbo, couple of ~20 year old Jags, older Range Rover, MB C43 AMG, BMW E39 wagon with Alpina badging, 80s 2 door Landcruiser, older G-wagen, most everything else no older than the late 90s.
Also visited this museum, which is a must see for those into prewar Rolls - huge variety of Phantom II especially.
#26837 of 30869 Re: Low-mileage, original Vega GT [uplanderguy]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Nov 17, 2012 (11:15 am)
The Vega would have been a huge hit were it not for the crapola engine and horrendous labor problems at the plant that built them. Too bad they couldn't have hired the Germans to build it.
#26838 of 30869 Re: Low-mileage, original Vega GT [Mr_Shiftright]
Nov 17, 2012 (12:17 pm)
Although they had labor problems at Lordstown, when tooled for the Vega, it was regarded as the most automated auto assembly plant in the world. There was sabotage during some of the strikes (line speed was an issue), but I think more than 'fit', the problem was short-cut engineering and cost savings. By '75 or '76, they were considerably better, but too late.
As a teen back then, and from a Chevy family, I always wanted a '75 GT Kammback, red with the white side stripes, stick, and roof rack. Never happened.
Consumer Reports, I remember, showed a 'better than average' repair record for the one-year-old '71 Vega...before the negatives of engine cooling and body rust reared their ugly heads. I wish I knew what they gave the '71 in its subsequent years, but I don't recall.
Nov 17, 2012 (3:36 pm)
I just saw an old Ferrari in Champaign, Il today with historic New Jersey plates. I believe it was a 250, but not 100% positive. It was also odd the driver had a GPS unit hanging from the windshield. I can't imagine he drove it here from the east coast. I was able to roll my window down and hear that sweet italian engine note.
#26840 of 30869 Re: 60's Ferrari [dieselone]
Nov 18, 2012 (7:50 am)
Maybe they were in town for the Choking (I mean fighting) Illini game! Need to bring back Chief Illiniwek - wait, they stunk then too.
Nov 18, 2012 (9:48 am)
Saw an 80s Renault 9 on the Autobahn today, going SLOW, like road hazard slow. In Austria spotted an 80s vintage Espace still in use. Also saw a later W126 cruising along, nice to see it can still hold its own. American cars were just a couple pickups from the past 20 years.
Also on the 'bahn, both an Avantime and a VelSatis - big weird and French.
#26842 of 30869 Re: Low-mileage, original Vega GT [uplanderguy]
Nov 18, 2012 (1:14 pm)
"Although they had labor problems at Lordstown, when tooled for the Vega, it was regarded as the most automated auto assembly plant in the world. There was sabotage during some of the strikes (line speed was an issue), but I think more than 'fit', the problem was short-cut engineering and cost savings. By '75 or '76, they were considerably better, but too late. "
I completely agree.
GM took cost savings, if that's the correct phrase for what they did, to a completely new level. And, some of those "cost savings" had a major input/impact on the labor "issues" at the plant, which was, at the time the Vega came out, supposedly one of the most modern assembly lines of the time.
It's hard to take pride in your work when you see a lack of interest in the product coming from your employer...
#26843 of 30869 Re: Low-mileage, original Vega GT [busiris]
Nov 18, 2012 (1:49 pm)
Funny thing, the Vega was far and away the 'darling' of the car mags...and not just Motor Trend. The whole thing was long-term durability...or lack of it. I'd still be OK buying a later one I think, although a lot of people like the styling of the earlier ones better.
Since Lordstown was only 40 miles from where I grew up in NW PA (and only 40 miles from where I live now, to the west of the plant), I knew people who worked there during the Vega years. One bought two new ones over the years, and one bought a new '73 and drove it for 108K miles. The Fuller Brush Man in our town bought several new ones over the years, and continued to buy the cheapo Monzas that looked like Vegas afterwards. I mentioned here before that my grandparents bought the first '71 Vega our dealer got in, but theirs had so few miles by the time they stopped driving, they didn't experience the normal issues.
#26844 of 30869 Re: Low-mileage, original Vega GT [uplanderguy]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Nov 18, 2012 (3:17 pm)
Yeah but the plural of anecdote is....anecdotes....the plural isn't "evidence".
By and large, the Vega had a number of things inherently bad about it. Aside from the engine, which, if you were lucky, only proceeded to burn a lot of oil as the miles piled on, there was the question of rust---lots of rust. The Vega developed a reputation as a rust bucket within a year or two. Many front fenders were replaced.
Then there was the marginal cooling system--which only aggravated the engine problems. Once the car overheated, the pistons distorted, ate through the silica cylinder lining, and POOF---you had a 4-wheel mosquito fogger.
They sold a LOT of Vegas right off...I think about 1/4 million the first year. People liked them, even if, with 80 HP, they weren't exactly a thrill.
Basically the Vega was a shrunken-down typical American car--low on tech, but nice-looking in 3/4 form.