8 comments on ““Mad Men,” the Chevy Vega and Me

  1. If I remember correctly, a lot of these cars came about during the Carter Administration and the gas shortage. These little compacts were good on gas but poorly made. And yes, I recall the Pinto as being even worse than the Vega!

  2. My mom had a Pontiac that was really a Vega. I think the car was called a Songbird or something. It was a big old piece of rust!

  3. Wasn’t one of their chief failings that they had an aluminum engine block?

  4. An aluminum engine was one of the many issues with this automobile. You don’t ever see any of them on the road anymore. You do see the occasional Pinto.

  5. GM’s first U.S. mini-car cost $200 million to design and bring to production. In today’s money that’s over a billion dollars – it wasn’t by chance the Vega out-handled more expensive european sport sedans.
    AMC in contrast, spent all of 5 million to convert an existing Hornet compact into the Gremlin, selling it for about the same price as the Vega which was new from the ground up, sharing nothing with existing vehicles.
    At $2090. when introduced, it was a bargain. No other car company in the world was able to invest hundreds of millions of dollars on a vehicle to sell in that price range, and GM made little or no profit on the Vega which was usually ordered with few options (GM’s profits came from expensive options).
    But in a rush to bring the car to market, numerous piecemeal “fixes” were performed by dealers and Chevrolet’s “bright star”, received an enduring black eye despite a continuing development program which eventually alleviated most of these initial shortcomings.
    Motor Trend selected the Vega one of the 10-Best cars of 1971 and awarded the Vega 1971 Car of the Year.
    Car and Driver readers voted the Vega “Best Economy Sedan” for 1971, 1972, and 1973 in C&D’s Readers Choice Polls.
    By 1974, the Vega was among the top 10 best-selling American cars. By 1976, the car had received five years of improvements (300 new part numbers in ’76 alone) with a refined, durable automobile the result but the smaller, cheaper Chevette was also introduced in ’76 and the handwriting was on the wall. Chevy canceled the Vega at the end of the ’77 model year.

    Chevrolet Vega Reiviews – Chevy Vega Wiki:

  6. Why wouldn’t Draper drive one? Cause he drove a Cadillac? If Chevy gave him one he’d drive it. And he gave away his Cadillac so he would’ve driven it.

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