The Chevy Vega and What Could Have Been
Much has been written about the Chevy Vega and how it nearly destroyed General Motors. The economically priced Vega was designed to be the car for everyone. It came in practically every body style that a subcompact car with two doors could, including a notchback sedan, hatchback coupe, wagon, and paneled delivery wagon. General Motor’s engineers did everything they could to keep the car under the $2000 price tag; sadly, those engineering decisions are what made the car’s engine so unreliable and the exterior panels so quick to rust.
It is only natural to look at the decisions that General Motors made and to think about what could have been had the idea of the Chevy Vega been a success. Imagine a world where cars that meet or exceed safety standards are made with fewer natural resources. Imagine those cars being priced at $12,000. The cars had all of the necessary comforts, with options for sunroofs, interior textiles, and audio, too. Imagine 40 years of fuel-efficient cars that are fun to drive. Then, think about what could have happened if all of those fun little cars were shipping in a method that maximized the cost of shipping and charged the buyers very little. Then, think of the increase in manufacturing jobs in the United States, the advertising contracts, the cross-over merchandising, the after-market opportunities, and the low monthly payments that owners could have made. This is what could have been.
The “what-could-have-beens” have actually made collecting the Vega a lucrative hobby. Since so many Vegas were delivered to junk yards, there are not many left for collectors to purchase. There are not many Vega collectors, so the market is ripe for collectors. Parts are not challenging to find and the simple little car from the early 1970s is rather easy to work on in a home garage. Why not start a trend and get the Chevy Vega a little positive press?