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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    edited February 2013
    Uh....not really.

    I think more people look at Vegas than Pintos and probably Gremlins. People like to drop V8's into them.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    They also tested a Celebrity with the 112 hp 2.8 (173) and I think got 0-60 in 11.2.

    The 130 hp 2.8 MFI with 3-speed automatic did 0-60 in 10 flat, at least according to the '85 Celebrity sales brochure. ;) Of course, when I went to order mine, I had to buy the optional 4-speed automatic, which a Chevy Service Manager I knew warned me about and at 37K it had lost 3rd and 4th gear. 13K out of warranty, but Chevy replaced the trans for $100.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    I've heard of those "Nomads" but never saw one in person. I've got to believe that was an aftermarket deal and not available through Chevy dealers, but I don't know that for a fact.
  • omarmanomarman Posts: 1,829
    I kinda like this one which has been modded with an earlier, smaller bumper and valance. Maybe people still like Vegas because GM started with a good idea which owners need to finish.
    Photobucket
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    edited February 2013
    Ugh, I detest that '77 GT side stripe! I like the '74-76 a lot better.

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:74_Vega_GT.jpg
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,229
    That's pretty tasteful all in all, although I agree that stripe is maybe a bit too 70s. But if one is really going for a retro look, that typeface works. Amazing how the small bumper fits, too.

    That car I saw could have been had for $300-400, IIRC - probably worth it, but that was before scrap prices had any old hulk worth so much.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Abut the only V8 someone will be dropping, won't be *in* that Vega, it'll be *through* it.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    As I'd said, I would've liked it new though...and the 5 yr/60K mile engine warranty would have made me feel a little better. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I dunno....it's a pretty underwhelming car to drive in the best of circumstances. You have to be tolerant of feeling surrounding by cheap 'n nasty, especially by 2013 standards I mean.

    Even the lowly VW Bug was built like a Rolls Royce compared to that thing.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    I dunno, no exposed metal inside the cabin, and Camaro bucket seats. Old Beetles are charming, as long as you don't have to use the defroster or try and use the windshield washer if there's no air in the spare. ;)
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,440
    Do the rear side vents on these Vega wagons have any functional purpose, like for cabin air circulation or something? Usually you see vents like this on old rear engined european econoboxes.

    boomchek: driven 10,000+ cars, sold 1000+ cars, owned 50+ cars

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    I'm thinking they're part of the flow-through ventilation...although, recall that in '71 GM's big cars, too, had extractor vents on the decklids which were revised midway through the year, then left off in '72. The first Vegas, even hatchbacks, had vents there too I'm pretty sure although I'll have to look. They may have left the vents on the wagons just because it looks kind of sporty. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    you could rip the door off a Vega with your bare hands. :P
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,440
    They may have left the vents on the wagons just because it looks kind of sporty

    The vents remind me of these VeeDubs:

    image

    boomchek: driven 10,000+ cars, sold 1000+ cars, owned 50+ cars

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Those old VW wagons were great little cars. I wouldn't mind having one for garden duty...and notably, the first mass-produced car with electronic fuel injection.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    That VW looks like its trunk is full. ;)
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    Although the long-term durability was bad, a lot of folks forget (I think) that the Vega was absolutely, positively the subcompact darling of all the car mags then. The Beetle wasn't. As a new car, the "experts" loved the Vega.
    I think it's interesting to read the motoring press at the time, because (and we're all guilty of this), the years and old wives' tales have a way of making us look at things differently decades later. I find that things usually weren't as great or as awful back then as we remember them now (and I'm guilty too).
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,560
    you could rip the door off a Vega with your bare hands.

    Eh, you can do that with any car. At least, I remember seeing Buford Pusser rip the door off an early 70's Camaro with his bare hands, in one of those old "Walking Tall" movies.

    And, I'm sure that's gotta be accurate because, after all, I saw it on tv. :P

    As for old VW bugs, the main reason their "build quality" if you can call it that, is so high is because they just don't have that many parts. The fenders are bolt-on, and have rubber seals separating them from the body...something that would be unacceptable on most cars after around 1952 I'd guess. And the roof panel actually overlaps the sides, rather than coming to a seam, so you don't see a gap. They also have bumpers that stick out, so if they are uneven, it's not evident.

    As far as places where you can see gaps, such as the hood, trunk, and doors, the ones I've seen are every bit as sloppy as anything else I've seen. One redeeming feature I've noticed though, is that the sheetmetal on them still seems fairly thick. Now, it could simply be that because they're so small, that sheetmetal doesn't have very far to span, unsupported, like it would on a bigger car. But another possibility...since the Bug had been in production since 1939, I wonder if they still used sheetmetal that was as thick as it was in 1939? Or, did they thin it out in later years?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,229
    How did the mags treat the Vega as it aged and early issues became known? I can imagine none loving the Beetle - it was in many technical ways still a 1930s car being made well into the 70s.

    My mom had a 1970 Beetle, my dad blew the engine and put a Porsche 912 engine in it, she didn't care for that and sold the car, before I was born.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    edited February 2013
    I honestly can't remember a whole lot of press on the Vega in the '75 and later years, as it hadn't changed a whole whole lot from the original (except for mandated bumpers and increased mechanical sturdiness I think). I know in '71-72-73 it won a ton of awards (Chevy used them in their ads), and in '74, for awhile, it was the best-selling car, period, IIRC (and I think I do!). I was partial to them as the promise had been so great, and they were built near where we lived--the only place 'til in '74 some came out of St. Therese Quebec as Lordstown couldn't keep up with demand. Plus, my grandparents bought the very first one our dealer got in, although its only options were AM radio and white-stripe tires and it was the uglier 'sedan' (later 'notchback') bodystyle.

    I can remember one time looking at a new one at our hometown dealer, and something prompted me to reach up inside the front fenders and for the first time I felt a plastic inner fender liner, when I knew earlier ones didn't have it. This was mid-'74 model year. Many years later I read an online account by an engineer who was assigned to Lordstown and he mentioned remembering the night's shift where they started installing them, mid'74.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,560
    I remember catching an old episode of "Let's Make a Deal" on the Game Show Network a few years back, and a later-model Vega was one of the prizes. When the announcer was giving the description, I vaguely remember him mentioning some improvements that were made...can't remember if it was the rustproofing, engine, or what.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    edited February 2013
    Ads and the brochure for the '76 were full of all the improvements--primarily engine cooling and significantly improved rustproofing. The brochure was pretty detailed on the improvements, surprisingly. The tagline that year for the Vega, in ads and the brochure, was "Built to Take It".
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "I think more people look at Vegas than Pintos and probably Gremlins. People like to drop V8's into them. "

    Gremlins would not have been that much of a challenge, since AMC sold them from the factory with a V8, although I don't think it was done in all model years.

    I had a 232 in my '72 Gremlin - my first car. I could easily spin the wheels from a stop if I wasn't careful with the accelerator. Weird car in many ways though; I'll never forget that Chrysler starter!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Not to belittle the 232's power, but since the Gremlin was essentially a trunkless Hornet, the light weight over the rear wheels made it easier to spin the tires.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    I remember catching an old episode of "Let's Make a Deal" on the Game Show Network a few years back

    There was a game show in the '70's with Tom Kennedy as the host, and I think it was called 'Split Second', but I'll have to check. There were five cars on the stage, always Chevys or Pontiacs, and the winner that day got a key and tried to start the car. If it didn't start, the winner would be back the next day. I always had to laugh when the person won five days straight, as they'd have their choice of the five cars. Always comical is that ABC must have told them to 'ham it up' when choosing, but you knew when there was a Vega, Nova, Camaro, Impala, and Corvette, which they'd be choosing. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited February 2013
    Here's a good first-hand account of how the Vega went from Darling to Damned in the course of one year:

    http://www.autosavant.com/2009/07/20/the-cars-that-killed-gm-chevrolet-vega/

    If you don't want to read through it, here's the summary:

    "The Vega-so promising, so tragic-was a first for GM: a complete quality disaster. Up to that point, Chevy was considered a reliable brand. The public held GM vehicles in high esteem. But anyone who owned a Vega no longer could hold that opinion. It was the first nail in the coffin. Many more were to come-X-cars, Chevy-mobiles, Cimarron-each one carefully nailed in place by a complacent, arrogant corporate bureaucracy, with the steadying hand of an indifferent workforce."
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,440
    One bad car after another. It's taking GM like 35+ years to recover and they're still not considered as good as most import brands.

    boomchek: driven 10,000+ cars, sold 1000+ cars, owned 50+ cars

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    No doubt a long-term quality disaster, but it was still winning magazine awards and owner's survey awards in its third year and set sales records in its fourth year.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited February 2013
    The Vega was undoubtedly the first rock in the avalanche that buried GM and nearly killed them. They had rebounded mightily off the Corvair debacle, and not badly hurt from it all things considered, but only went on to design something far worse.

    How the Vega could have ever passed its shake-down cruise remains a great mystery.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    True, but it seems like import brands with quality issues get a free pass and people still beat up GM for the Vega forty years later. We hash it over constantly over on the GM forum, but I like to say, "Would you have not bought a '65 Mustang because your new Model A was lousy?". Same thing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    No company on earth made a car as bad as the Vega--at least no major American or foreign automaker. We are talking disaster on a massive scale here---as bad as the Yugo.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    edited February 2013
    Shifty, that column is an exact example of how memory is far from infallible.

    Consumer Reports even gave the Vega a 'better than average' reliability report after one year based on owner's surveys. Andre can confirm. And there is no way, absolutely no way, that rust bubbles appeared on the body within the first twelve months. I lived in salty, rusty, NW PA and was a student of the Vega and my grandparents had the first Vega our dealer got in. It simply did not happen...in one year.

    Two to three or so? Yes. Since the '74's sold like crazy, I've got to believe the word wasn't out yet. '75, yes, and in '76 they were forced to 'sleeve' the four and add rustproofing. Frankly, I had every Vega brochure from the get-go and I never remember them talking about rustproofing until the '76 model year.

    The car, particularly the early ones, was a quality disaster, no doubt. But that guy's memory is off...considerably, as far as a timeline is concerned.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,440
    people still beat up GM for the Vega forty years later.

    That and most of their offerings since then (apart from trucks maybe). Now I mentioned this in another forum yesterday I think, that when I worked at a GM dealer for 2 days I actually took aliking to the Chevy Cruze. It feels solid and well built, but people's perception and memory will remind them of the Cavaliers and Sunfires, and perceived depreciation might steer others away. However the old GM dealer old school mentality still remains as they tend to do things [non-permissible content removed] backwards, hence I left the GM dealership after only 2 days.

    boomchek: driven 10,000+ cars, sold 1000+ cars, owned 50+ cars

  • omarmanomarman Posts: 1,829
    edited February 2013
    In the slammin' 70s build quality was the brown acid in the summer of Car Love. Regarding door slamming in '74, if you drove a new Mazda like my sister did, those doors didn't slam so much as pop. And if you were doomed to buy a small fleet of new Vegas as delivery vehicles for your pizza biz like my cousin did, at least those doors were built with side beam protection. But my cousin was more troubled by the financial cost of Vegapocalypse '74 than the safety of crash protection. Pic below is a door comparison between a 70s Mazda and Vega.
    Photobucket

    Regarding VW love...can we banish all such posts to a separate topic like the Studebaker fans? :) I'm just kidding! Sort of. :shades:
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    edited February 2013
    Your pics reminded me of when I looked at about '73 Subarus, as our small-town Pontiac dealer also decided to sell Subarus.

    I was stunned at how thin the doors were, and a very thin plastic instrument panel piece did come off in my hands--I believe it was an ashtray cover. I had never seen a car with smaller tires and wheels in my 15 years--they reminded me of Hot Wheels car tires/wheels. And normally I'd like frameless door glass...but it didn't do anything for those Subies! ;)

    The Pontiac dealer got out of them in just a couple or three years IIRC.

    I also seem to remember rotary Mazdas of that era having self-destructing engines a la Vega, just not overheating.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,229
    I have to imagine those old rotaries ate their apex seals and started drinking oil pretty quickly.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    The reports might have lagged the actual occurrences, but the first year models were disasters right out of the box.

    I don't think anyone could present an adequate argument to apologize for the Vega.

    If anything, the magazines in the early days only show the desperate hope that America could produce a car that was a true "import fighter".

    The loathing that was eventually heaped upon the Vega was, I think in inverse proportion to the hopes people had for it.

    You might say it's like the fallen hero--the wrath of the mob is turned most fiercely on such a person.
  • texasestexases Posts: 8,938
    edited February 2013
    And claims that GM is past the reliability issues of old don't jibe with the data:
    image
    But VW and Chrysler have nothing to brag about, either.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,560
    But VW and Chrysler have nothing to brag about, either.

    Not to mention poor Hyundai...looks like so many get junked 9 years out that none of 'em make it to 10! :P

    While VW, GM, and Chrysler are at the bottom of the pack, I'm sure they're still improving. If you pulled one of those reliability charts from 10 years ago, I'm sure they'd look a lot worse.

    So I'm sure GM is doing better. Only problem is, so is everyone else.

    That GM figure breaks down to 1.7 problems per car at age 10. I wish my 2000 Park Ave (okay, it's 13) only had 1.7 things wrong with it. It had to go in the shop the other day, and according to just the codes in the computer, there were four things wrong with it, right there! :blush:

    Within the past 12 months, it's also needed brake work (and not just new pads and rotors...they had to work on one of the calipers), new swaybar links (not the car's fault though, because the previous mechanic over-tightened them), and a new front axle and boot, because the old one was leaking and making a mess.

    It also needed a fuel filter...dunno if that's "maintenance" or "repair", but it was still a "problem".
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    What's the source?
  • texasestexases Posts: 8,938
    Consumer Reports, summarized by brand.

    And Andre, you're absolutely right, all makers are much better than they did, say, 20 years ago. The bar keeps being raised.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    Based only on subscribers to the magazine. ;)

    OK, I'll stop. ;)
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    Not to mention poor Hyundai...looks like so many get junked 9 years out that none of 'em make it to 10!

    Yeah, what's up with that?
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 33,699
    if the data is from CR, it probably means that they had insufficient data for models that old.

    2019 Acura TLX A-spec 4 cyl. (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

  • texasestexases Posts: 8,938
    I think you're right. That was an older version of the graph, here's the newest I found, same basic trends:
    image

    I always get a kick out of how folks dismiss the thousands of data points that go into the plot, as if there is some mass hysteria present in CR subscribers...
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    edited February 2013
    The chart really shows that most of the companies are really clustered very close near the top, for ten year old cars.

    Over on the GM forum we'd discussed some how in a recent CR the 2011 Nissan Juke shows "much worse than average" while the 2012 shows "much better than average". Even CR seems a tad sheepish about it, only saying in the text that 'reliability should be average'. I, frankly, have a little trouble believing that there is truly that much difference in the two consecutive model years, even knowing that the 2011 was the first model year for the Juke. In my forty years of looking at CR, I've never seen anything that dramatic before. But I won't get into that more here, since it's the classic car forum and I'd be hard-pressed to identify any ten-year-old car as a 'classic'!
  • texasestexases Posts: 8,938
    edited February 2013
    Don't confuse small sample statistical variation from one model in one year to another with large sample statistics, brand vs. brand.

    And CR did a review of new vs. existing models, found that new models were more trouble-prone, consistent with your Juke observation...

    I bring this up because, as much as GM, etc, have improved from the dark days of the 80s, they're still playing catch up.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,301
    edited February 2013
    Small sample variation? The two model years vary by four of CR's reliability levels.

    Upon re-reading your post, I get what you're saying.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited February 2013
    The difference between the very best and the very worst is less than 1 problem per car. Lets keep that in mind, also seems like all cars are better, and fairly reliable, really.

    So Hyundai's implode right after the warranty is up. ;)

    We should define any 10+ year old as a survivor, and thus a classic.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 11,090
    Did you ever drive one when they were new?

    It was a much nicer driving car off the showroom floor than the Pinto and light-years ahead of just about any economy import. We owned a pair of Volvo 144s in the mid-'70s that drove OK - the '73 was far better trimmed than the '68 - but were reliability disasters. Dad would get rental cars when they were in the shop, so I drove a lot of rentals. One week we got a '74 or '75 Vega hatchback and I drive it for a week. It was a nice car. Sporty, like a shrunken Camaro. I liked driving it a lot better than the Volvo.

    Long term quality issues were absolutely true. But I can see why they sold so well. They were great at making a good impression.

    2017 Cadillac ATS Performance Premium 3.6, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

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