Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy 40th Birthday Chevrolet Vega

The Chevrolet Vega was introduced 40 years ago this year, and Popular Mechanics has a feature story called How the Chevy Vega Nearly Destroyed GM. Here's the quick and dirty: the Vega sold really well because it was cheap and kind of looked like a junior Camaro, but it was underengineered and poorly assembled. It was an early example of the "top-down" management that ruled General Motors at least until the recent bailout.

My family never had a Vega, but they did have a Pontiac Astra with the "iron duke" engine that replaced the prone-to-failure Chevrolet 2.3 liter Vega engine. Not all Vegas had this engine. My college roommate had a late model Vega with a v-8 engine. The car still wasn't particularly fast, but it never came within shouting range of 20 MPG. It also ate tires.

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