Introducing Project De La Vega: A Chevy Performance LTG Powered Vega Rocket!


Introducing Project De La Vega: A Chevy Performance LTG Powered Vega Rocket!

(Words by Kaleb Kelley, Photos by Tony Huntimer) We all know that Chad and Brian at BANGshift are not only purveyors of racing nostalgia, but also the lovers of all things weird. When David Carroll gave me a call about his new Vega project, I knew it had BANGshift written all over it. David’s plan is to take a weird car and give it a facelift racecar-style with a modern powerplant, but let’s start off with some backstory.

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David’s an interesting guy who likes to not only go fast, but stand out while doing it. He’s owned 4×4 Chevy trucks, 8 Miata’s, 3 Nova’s, Two Camaro’s, a Mini Cooper, Datsun Roadster, Fox Body Mustang, MGB, Suburbans and most recently, a 1975 Datsun 280Z. Z’s are popular and their popularity is snowballing, but this isn’t your average Datsun. He built it with a purpose. A street car that can hold its own on a race track or an autocross course. It’s his ultimate track toy that serves a dual purpose as a weekend boulevard bruiser. Under the hood you’ll find a commonality in many modern-day builds, an LS powerplant. It may not be common in a Datsun, but it does feel right. With the LS3 Road Assault Package from Tilden Motorsports, this 2,800-pound car throws down 540 horsepower to the fat Falken’s out back.

Not only is it fast, but David’s learned to drive the hell out of it too. He did a few GoodGuys autocross events and local autocross events, but where I first saw the car was at OPTIMA’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car series. I’m a photography for the series, so I see all of the cars, have to know the cars, and have a list in my head of my favorite cars in the series. The second I saw David’s incredibly confusing, heavily stickered Datsun, it earned its place on the list. Then, I heard I start up. It gained a few spots. Then, I saw him powerslide around a corner during the autocross… Yeah its easily become one of my favorite cars of the series. Not only is the car awesome, but David’s as good of a dude as they come. That’s why I’m excited to see this new build and his new Youtube show, NorCal Garage. WATCH THE FIRST EPISODE OF NORCAL GARAGE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE

Meet his new baby; Project De La Vega. The name came from him bringing home a big “surprise” for his wife, A.K.A. buying a car without consulting her. The only way he could talk her into keeping it was to let her give it the hallowed project name. She’s a big Mask of Zorro fan and decided that the man under the mask, Don Diego de la Vega, was the proper namesake for David’s new car.

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The autocross bug gets the best of us. It gave David a big helping when he first discovered it. Since he’s already into turning, he figured this lightweight Vega project must be the corner carver of his Chevy dreams. The car kind of started as an idea to put wide flares and fat Falkens on all four corners. Then he realized he needed a lightweight, powerful engine. This is where things got fun.

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He plans to put one of Chevrolet’s new LTG 2.0 inline-4’s under the hood. With Chevrolet Performance selling this engine in crate motor form with a 6-speed transmission, it seems like the perfect fit for his lightweight Vega. With this featherweight powertrain, he’ll get 272hp and 295 lb-ft of torque straight out of the box, I mean..crate. He hopes to turn that up a little bit to get well over 300 horsepower to the rear wheels. With dual-overhead camshafts with continuously variable valve timing, direct injection, forged internals, a Rotocast aluminum cylinder heads, and last-but-not-least, a twin-scroll turbocharger, this is technological piece of work. No basic carbureted sbc’s for this Vega, it will receive the best lightweight power Chevy offers.

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With many of the details being worked out, the car’s build will be an adventure as all builds are. David’s first plan is to get a proper roll cage in for safety. I’ve seen his driving and a roll cage is a needed addition to his new car. As he decides what components to use, we’ll update you with what he does for the suspension, brakes, interior, rear end and the rest of the dirty details. David and his eccentric brother-in-law, Landon, are taking this to the next level and making YouTube videos as they build this car and calling it NorCal Garage. There pilot episode introducing the Vega just dropped, so check it out and subscribe to stay up to date! Stay tuned for update on Project De La Vega BANGshifters!

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14 thoughts on “Introducing Project De La Vega: A Chevy Performance LTG Powered Vega Rocket!

  1. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    Well you’ve done it again BangShift!

    The Vega is one of the very rare Chevrolet products that I actually like and when a top builder with an LS-free imagination is building one I sit up and take notice. I can’t wait to see this beauty finished and hope you’ll give us another piece on it with full details.

    Reply
  2. Chad

    I forgot you guys were doing the 4 cylinder setup. Anyone know the weight difference of this 4 cylinder with 6 speed compared to an LS3 with T6060?

    Can’t wait to see more!

    Reply
  3. David Carroll

    Hey guys! Thanks for all the encouragement and thumbs up on this build. All the details are still being planned out but our goal is to finish this car by June 2017 for the Power Tour. I wanted this Vega to be different among the other Vega builds. I actually have a LS based engine that I was going to put in but started thinking why not the LTG as its lite weight and readily available. We are working with Chevy Performance and hope to make something happen there so we will keep you all posted. Thank you for reading, following and posting!!! Have a great day!!!

    Reply
  4. bob

    Better plan to install some sort of upper “strut” support to maintain the front end camber. Those early Vegas were fairly weak in that structural area.

    But I’m all in! Something I wanted to do but never had the time/money.

    Reply
  5. Bob black

    Love the 4cyl duel cam concept…Reminds me of my Cosworth Vegas I have owned….I actually thought of putting a colbalt motor in one

    Reply
  6. Dave Schneider

    Great choice! I have a 73 Vega and my current every day car is a 2014 Malibu LTZ with the 2.0 turbo engine. This is a great engine choice, I thought about this drivetrain from a RWD Caddy with the automatic (I use hand controls to drive, I’m a paraplegic) in my Vega. Not sure I could figure out all the electricals though. Can’t wait to see and hear about your completed car this summer.

    Reply
  7. familyguy81

    Props on doing something different, i actually prefer the turbo 4 for this vs a V8. The car should be very light and nimble. Kudos.

    Reply
  8. greg

    A couple of years ago i was thinking on doing the same thing with a pontiac solstice turbo four and a vega panel wagon.The wagon was an old postal vehicle, it looked real good in the pictures but had a rusted out lower windsheild area and firewall so I refused to buy the car cause the seller never mentioned it in the ad.

    Reply
  9. david

    Have you done any measuring yet? With the depth of that pan you may have to raise the crank centerline when compared to the stock 4 cylinder resulting in transmission tunnel and hood clearance issues. An ls might be easier. Mounts and headers are available http://www.powerbyace.com/

    Reply
  10. Ric W.

    Great idea!

    So much so, that I am starting a similar build. I have a ’76 Cosworth with a 2015 ATS motor on it’s way. Currently in the planning stages and would appreciate any assistance that is available. This is my first true custom build.

    Reply

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