Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It Gets Weirder: 1972 Cosworth Vega GT Wagon

I have made the analogy about Broccoli before. Hated it as a kid, partly because it was everywhere- but suddenly giving it a second look as an adult. Here we go again.

To most of us growing up in 1970's America, the car scene was a vast arid wasteland of cheaply constructed and poor performing "economy" cars that strove to foster some desperate connection to the superior European GTs of the day. Vegas, SkyHawks, Monzas, Sunbirds, Mustang II's...all names happily lost in history. Or so we thought.

Nowadays, survivors of this species are rare...even exotic, given the mists of time. And with the benefit of two or three decades of mechanical sorting...they could even be desirable.

Chevrolet made the strongest case for the European GT connection with the limited production Cosworth Vega. Utilizing a 16 valve-head designed by Formula One constructor Duckworth Engineering of England, early iterations of the aluminum four cylinder engine produced upwards of 185 hp. However in the real world- detuned for low octane pump fuel and emission standards- the engine was a blithering mess. Bereft of the engine control systems we now take for granted and exposed to an indifferent American consumer, the engine developed numerous reliability faults that doomed the reputation of this noble experiment for good.

The Cosworth motor was never available in the Vega GT Wagon, so this is a bit of a hot rod. Think "Shooting Brake" Aston Martin or something of that ilk. This one has a Weber carb and MSD ignition, 4 spd. trans, headers and 4.11 Monza posi rear end. Lots of NOS parts were used in the build, and the paint and interior are new. All the Cosworth coupes came in black, so this one is almost there; just add repro gold stripes and alloys and you'd have a serious curiosity piece at the next Chevy meet.

Like most Cosworth guys, this seller is surely a fanatic. The cars enjoy a VERY vibrant club and website. Lots of repro and upgraded parts exist. They make good autocrossers and road racers. And you can carry your set of track tires in the back! At the asking price of $5200, you'd have an interesting ride- one that time has forgot.


  1. To call the Cosworth engine a "blithering mess" is close to stupid. When the stock 122CID engine was rated at 110HP, the 262CID V8 was rated at the same 110HP and the California 350CID V8 was rated at 125HP. If the Cosworth at close to 1HP per cubic inch, what would you call the 350 making a little over 1/3HP per cubic inch. It has to be in the context of the time period.

  2. Thanks for your comment...Let us clarify...We LOVE Cosworths (which of course is why we featured this car) but stand by the comment that the stressed motor (like any high performance motor) did not react kindly to indifferent maintenance, drivers or pump gas- giving it a reputation as a "blithering mess" in the marketplace.