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1971 Chrevolet Vega - Right Idea, Wrong Car

The Cosworth Vega was a fine automobile that was doomed from the start.

By , Photography by Mike Slade

From a historical standpoint, the Cosworth Vega was the first Chevy to use electronic fuel injection (from Bendix) and have aluminum wheels as standard equipment (wrapped in BR70-13-inch radial tires). Paul is the fourth owner of this particular Cosworth. It has spent most of its life in a collection, is completely original except for the fuel filter, the injection seals and the fuel lines (which were cracked and replaced for safety reasons). It has only racked up 5,954 miles and as Paul notes, it still has many of its factory defects.

Want some more numbers? Only 1,446 Cosworths were produced in '76 and Paul owns two. The one you see here had such desirable options as soft ray tinted glass, color-keyed floormats, the Saginaw five-speed transmission (with overdrive), AM/FM radio and the rear seat speaker. It is estimated that fewer than 50 '76 Cosworths were built in this rich hue, making it the rarest of what owners call the colored Cosworths. With destination, it brought the total cost to a robust $6,671 (the base price was $6,065.60).

At shows, people automatically gravitate to see what's under the hood. I have been to numerous auto shows where people come up and say, 'I've heard about these but have never seen one in person.' At that point, it's always fun to give them the history of the vehicle, Paul says.

When interviewing Paul on the phone for this story, you could hear the passion in his voice for these cars, the respect he has for its engineers and fellow Cosworth enthusiasts. No, the Cosworth Vega is not an L88 Corvette or a COPO Camaro. But as GM's first modern high-tech performance car, it certainly warrants respect and admiration today.

At shows, people automatically gravitate to see what's under the hood.

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