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Historical Footage: The 1970 Chevrolet Vega Commercial – Optimism At It’s Finest!

Historical Footage: The 1970 Chevrolet Vega Commercial – Optimism At It’s Finest!

The Chevrolet Vega had so much promise going for it. It looked like a mini-Camaro from the front, was handsomely proportioned, and seemed to be on course to be the first small car from an American manufacturer that would win over consumers in mass numbers. Hindsight, unfortunately, isn’t so kind: engines that would self-destruct, rust issues, assembly line issues that might have had something to do with GM brass running the Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant at redline to crank out as many Vegas as possible all combined to take what had been a surprise hit and turned it into one of General Motors’ biggest botches of all time. When they were good, they were surprising. When they weren’t, they were coolant puking rot-boxes that junkyards wouldn’t bother holding on to for spare parts. Out of the roughly two million that were produced between 1970 and 1977, how many do you think are left in any condition whatsoever? Honestly, outside of the drag racers, very, very few. GM really stepped on their own when they couldn’t be bothered to actually put some effort into quality control, but bless them for glossing over the issues with a commercial like this.

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5 thoughts on “Historical Footage: The 1970 Chevrolet Vega Commercial – Optimism At It’s Finest!

  1. Gary Smrtic

    Jesus- Great looking car, no doubt. It ends there! If you got 30,000 miles out of one before the pistons were going up and down the cylinders on thier sides, you were unbelievably fortunate. The door hinges were welded on; need to adjust a door, get some 2X4’s and a jack, or better still, just grab and twist. You can do it again next week, too.
    Cosworths were cool, looked the part in their JPS colors, but my slightly warmed over Pinto kicked their asses at the drag strip…

  2. doug gregory

    Prefer to hang on to memories of stuff like this and forget the bad parts. when we were kids vegas, pintos, and gremlins could be cool. Miss going to the county fair every year and seeing the new models put out and swiping brochures for all the interesting stuff. Closest I ever got to a Vega was a V8 Monza which I loved. Would have one again.

    Keep bringing these commercials Bryan.

  3. sbg

    Oh please, nothing built in the 70s was quality – even the Japanese. Buy a Honda, get vacuum issues, oil control issues, and if those didn’t get you – they’d rust to dust in 5 years or less. A Toyota? rust came stock from the factory, along with old-tech and IP infringement. Germans? lol. English? smoke.

    All cars in the era was crap, and I guess I’m about had it with the halo people seem to stick on the foreign crap…. I think Vega’s biggest issue wasn’t the minor crap, but it was GM’s allowance of the bean counters to run the show. On top of that, the stupid “crowd built” that resulted eventually in the Aztek. With the Vega – they simply weren’t that much fun to drive in comparison to the imports… quality? all of it was crap and I suspect that if you went on Craigslist today, you’d find 10 Vegas for every Honda of the same year.

  4. sbg

    And that kind of begs the question of were they really crap or really just crappy people beating up on the American worker.

  5. AndyD

    This was my very first new car. A 1973 Vega notchback. It cost exactly $2424.67 off the lot in 1973. It had a 3 speed stick on the floor. Nothing fancy, I was in the USAF and it was all I could afford. I drooled over the Chevelle SS but went out with the Vega. I put about 32000 miles on it driving back and forth up I-95 between Florida and Pennsylvania. It gave great gas mileage, 34 mpg. Then one day I was driving on the FL Turnpike and smelled Anti-freeze. Pulled over and lo and behold the overflow hose had a leak. I filled the A/F up, but it started running hot. That was the beginning of the end. I found out later, the cylinders were lined with Teflon and when they would overheat it would basically burn off. End of engine. I put another 4 cyl engine in it, lasted for about another 10K miles, then it started overheating. That was it. Done. Another guy I knew from PA bought one and the damn front fenders rusted totally out over the wheels in 1.5 years!!! Crappy Jap steel, that’s what it was in those days. After that car I moved on to a nice ’65 Impala SS 327 4-speed, but that’s another story.

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