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Cars > vegavairbob’s Garage > Blog > Flashback: Chevrolet Vega Owners Survey & Road Test - Road & Track, June 1973

 

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Flashback: Chevrolet Vega Owners Survey & Road Test - Road & Track, June 1973

By vegavairbob

Road & Track in June 1973 published a Vega owner survey (early models) and a 1973 Vega GT road test.
R&T said, "The factory had learned things from the owners, unhappy or not, that it didn't learn from the test programs that were done before the car was sold to the public."

Owner Survey-Vega 2300 —The level of assembly doesn't match the virtues of the design
"The Vega is smaller, more nimble, and more sporting and has generated more technical interest than the rest of the maker's line since the 1963 Corvette. The Vega is thus of interest to Road & Track readers, who bought the car and responded to our owners surveys in numbers sufficient to allow a survey of 150 owners rather early in the model's life."
"Fully 20% of the owners responding to our survey are less than 21 years old...and 65% are between 21 and 30. The models and options reflect an interest in machinery, with 65% of the cars having the GT package...only 10% of the cars had automatic transmissions and 4% had the basic 3-speed manual. For utility 40% bought the hatchback coupe (or was this for style?)...For comfort, 24% have air conditioning...13% of the owners volunteered they had made changes after purchase—shock absorbers, engine tuning kits and headers being the most popular.
The most popular reason for purchase was handling with 53%. Close behind that was style with 51%. The Vega's design attracted 47%. The Vega's low price was a lure for 19% and 24% said they were influenced by its promise of economy..."
"Five Best Features—Reliability, Handling, Economy, Design, Comfort. A whopping 65% found Vega handling to be the best thing about the car. "Five Worst Features—Engine Roughness, Lack of Power, Gearshift, Quality, Noise." "The favorite "worst"—and it was close—was noise and vibration... And 21% complained about a lack of power." "The engine gave trouble to one-third of the owners...The head gaskets blew for 8% of the owners...20% reported carburetor troubles as a separate category." "70% would buy another Vega and 30% wouldn't, show a high degree of dissatisfaction with the car." "And while we have have many owners with problems we also have 16%, a better-than-average percentage, of cars with no trouble at all. The design and the concept are sound, just as Chevrolet intended and as the buyers hoped.

R&T Road Test-Chevrolet Vega
"The 1973 Vega is still the stylish, somewhat sporting economy car it was when new, but improved. A look at the adjacent Vega owner survey and previous R&T Vega tests will show that the Vega needed improvements. The concept is sound, as we say there, but the details and one major component (the engine) are troublesome." "The engine is doubly improved, as it has the reduced emissions required by law and better performance regardless of official power ratings." "The Vega shifter is ranked as a worst feature by Vega owners and it has been improved for '73." "The gearshift has been reworked to match the new transmission.. It's less balky and more precise than the original units." "Vega engine noise and roughness got another bad mark from the owners... The engine does thrash at high rpm in the lower gears but not as much as before, and at road speeds the Vega is now quieter than most 4-cyl sedans." "The owners have listed handling as the best feature and so have we since the car was new. The optional radial tires have improved upon a good thing, then as the '73 Vega had improved road feel and the tires didn't nibble over lines and cracks in the pavement. With these tires the Vega does better on the skidpad than every other car in our test summary except the Jaguar XJ6, very select company indeed. It also outdoes the '73 Corvette on its radials in this particular test..." R&T concluded, "After what we've said about earlier Vegas, it's a pleasure to report the current Vega is attractive, respectably quick, and frugal-and it's the best highway car in class. Well done Chevrolet.."

Road & Track in December 1973 "Road Tester's Year" said, "As for the Vega, kudos to Chevrolet for finally making this car what it should have been in the first place by hard work in refining the details. It's now quieter, quicker, and more economical than the first year (1971) Vega was—and as you must realize by now that is quite an accomplishment. The price is still attractive too, and note that our test car (with optional wide wheels and tires) had cornering power solidly into the sportscar class."

Image: 1971 Chevrolet Vega Sedan - factory photo used for R&T's b&w illustration for the owners survey.

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PRECISIONDRIVER’s Profile Photo
PRECISIONDRIVER
Dec 26, 2013 at 5:12 am
Mom bought our GT in 1974. Was always a good car. I drove it all through High School and Junior College. The motor still lives on in my convertible.
 
Crazyfast79TA’s Profile Photo
Crazyfast79TA
Dec 17, 2013 at 2:46 pm
Dad bought a Vega new in '73, drove it back and forth to work (about 75 miles/day) for 9 1/2 years racking up 190,000 miles with NO engine or transmission problems! He gave it to me as my first car. It was so rusty but very dependable! Never did have a problem with the drivetrain at all.
 

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Cars > vegavairbob’s Garage > Blog > Flashback: Chevrolet Vega Owners Survey & Road Test - Road & Track, June 1973

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