Should You Buy a Cosworth Vega?

1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega Coupe
Sold at $13,750
Mecum, Phoenix, AZ, March 15, 2019, Lot F91
VIN: 1V77E5U215244

American car manufacturers applied the “no replacement for displacement” mantra when designing cars up until the 1970s, when the growing demand for fuel efficiency and government-required emission standards all but ended the life big-horsepower, big-displacement V8s.

Chevrolet adapted by releasing the uninspiring 80-ish hp Vega in 1971 — a low point in Chevy history that remained until 1975 with some help from across the pond.

British company Cosworth added some much-needed racing bits and horsepower to the little Vega. At its heart was the Cosworth-designed and built DOHC, 16-valve, 122-ci engine, featuring fuel injection, stainless steel headers and high-compression pistons. Horsepower was bumped to 120 over the 78 horses in the base Vega of 1975. The car’s high price kept sales totals low. At the end of its two-year run, only 3,508 were built.

Looking at the ACC Premium database, nice examples have been selling for more than $10k since 2010. Mecum sold an unusual blue ’76 Cosworth for $25,300 at Kissimmee this year. During Indy 2018, Mecum also pulled in $19,800 for an undriven 1975 example. Both had almost no miles at 3,200 and 235, respectively. Additionally, two examples went unsold at auction last year with final bids over $15k. Those sellers had hefty reserves.

Sold or unsold, that is quite a price bump over our subject’s $13,750 selling price. With a relatively low mileage of 15,300, this car presented as a clean, mostly original example and looked to be quite a reasonable buy for the new owner.

Hopefully, the allure of more power from the “displacement replacement” crowd won’t strike here, as changing up stock parts will kill a low-miles Cosworth Vega’s value faster than rust. — Chad Taylor

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Images courtesy of Mecum Auctions

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  1. I always liked the Cosworth Vega and they were fun to drive, but my 71 GT had like HP and was lighter, had AC that was not available on the Cosworth. My GT ran lap times competitive with the Cosworth. I beat them most every time in Autocross events. They are still cool.