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The Near-Decade Of The Chevy Vega

The Near-Decade Of The Chevy Vega


The Near-Decade Of The Chevy Vega

by Andy Zain

The consequential Chevy Vega marked a shift in emphasis for General Motors, which had been casting about for a way to re-enter the small car market after the Corvair disaster. It was first rolled out in 1970, lasting for 7 years until it was finally put out to pasture in 1977, and never really was given the things it needed to succeed.

The Vega, though, was noteworthy in that it came to market in a relatively quick 2 years from the time it was conceived on the drawing board to the point when it appeared in dealer showrooms. Offered in a number of two-door styles, included a panel truck, the Vega sought to fill a certain niche.

The Vega was brought to market to fill a couple of different perceived needs, including that it be something capable of going up against small imports. Additionally, it was hoped that would be attractive to first-time buyers who didn't have a lot of money. This the Vega managed to do better at than in the execution of its mechanicals.

Initially, though, the car itself proved a good-selling machine, making into the top-ten in terms of sales by 1974. Weak engines -- both in performance and reliability -- proved to be the car's Achilles heel, though, and a number of issues with the engine's aluminum block caused more than a few issues in the first few years of its existence. Happily, most problems were fixed over the years.

Sadly, those little 4 cylinder engines would spell the eventual doom of the car, with their initial poor quality and anemic performance. Eventually, Chevrolet - which had also been making an evolutionary vehicle developed off the Vega's body called the Monza - cancelled production after the 1977 model year, with the Monza itself lasting until it finally was killed off after the 1980 model run.

Today, though looked upon in a better light, many experts say that the Vega was illustrative of the issues that American automakers had in making cars in the 1970s. For its time, the Vega attempted to include many cues which were thought of as being "European" in nature back then, including fuel injection and lighter-weight materials.

The Chevy Vega in all its different styles proved consequential in a number of ways for the company and its parent, General Motors. It made it to market in only 2 years from conception, which was quite impressive for an age when it could be several years before a model might see the light of day. This is probably the signal achievement of the once-notable Vega.

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