(Words by Kaleb Kelley, Photos by David Carroll) It’s been a long time since David and I have graced you with an update on the glorious Project De La Vega… I promise it isn’t because we’ve been lazy. We’ve been extremely busy. With David nearly 1,500 miles away working on the Vega every night and me adjusting to life with two kids in diapers, its been hard to keep up.
When we last left you, the Vega was far from a running & driving ride. As some of you have seen, he got it running, driving and on the autocross since our last update, so I’ll try to cover all the bases. With the engine sitting in the bay simply for mockup purposes and suspension and brake parts laying all over the shop, he had a lot of work to do.
He managed to get a handle on the suspension with the new Overkill Racing lower and upper control arms and the Church Boys Racing spindles we showed you last time. He also installed the massive 12.88″ Wilwood rotors and 6-piston super-lite calipers. 12.88″ may not be much compared to a new Camaro with nearly 15-inch rotors, but this is a sub-3,000 pound lightweight and those brakes will do the job perfectly.
Speaking of suspension, he also installed a custom set of Vega Mods hollow sway bars in the front and rear. Only two sets of these were ever made and they should do well to keep this Vega supercar-esque flat in the corners with the help of RideTech’s TQ triple-adjustable coilovers.
Considering that a ProTouring Vega isn’t a common build, especially with a turbo 4-cylinder, David expected to run into many oddball solutions to what would be a simple problem if he had a first-gen F-body or A-body. For example, his rear end is a hodge-podge of parts with a V8 Monza rear end with a panhard bar, Chevy S10 axles from Moser, an F-body Torsen unit and Wilwood rear disc brakes from an early Camaro. It may sound like a mess, but Vega Guru Mark Schwartz coached David through this process to get him what he wanted in the most cost-effective way.
Along with parts of off various Chevrolet cars, David was forced to build some one-off pieces to get the job done. They filled the firewall in with a custom-bent piece of sheetmetal to help get that LTG back as far in the car as possible for ideal weigh distribution. He also had to fabricate the transmission tunnel, which was a journey as he had ever attempted this before. Considering his limited fab knowledge, it turned out pretty well! While he was at it, he threw some of Design & Engineering Inc’s heat shield on the firewall to keep the road noise to a minimum and a complete Auto Custom Carpet Inc. kit actually made for the Vega. Right next to the trans tunnel sit the AWESOME TMI Viper Jr seats which I want in my next build no matter what. They’re a killer looking and feeling seat and David’s really loving them after getting on the track.
The aesthetics of this car were important, but almost an afterthought in David’s general “function over form” approach to things. To get the wide tires on 1973’s version of a Prius, he had to flare it. While this is functional, man does it do something for me looking at it. These flares were sourced from down under off of a Holden Torana. I’m not sure how he discovered that these Australian flares would work, but my theory is that he has WAY too much time on his hands. Sitting inside these glorious flares are a set of new Jongbloed Racing X6 wheels wrapped in Falken Azenis RT615K+ 275/30R18 square. While the 3,500~ pound 5th-gen Camaro’s need at least 305’s to be competent on a road course, this lightweight will do beautifully with the 275’s all around.
Now David has this thing on the road, but the NorCal Garage crew have barely touched the surface on this build! Check out the video of it at Fontana at its debut for Optima’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car and stay tuned for what David has coming next for this unique ride.
CHECK OUT ALL THESE GREAT PHOTOS OF THIS BITCHIN RIDE!!!