Friday, January 25, 2008

Chevrolet Cosworth Vega

Like many large corporations GM asks its new employees to become familiar with the company's history and product lineup. That means the GM web is vast full of interesting information, and I am actually supposed to kill time browsing through it all. However, of course I got myself off on a bit of a tangent focusing on the history of small projects I find fascinating. One such project is the Chevrolet Cosworth Twin Cam Vega. Not only do I like limited edition vehicles, but Cosworth USA happens to be located just around the corner from the GM facility at which I work. I also have a few friends that work over there. In fact this blog post is inspired by a recent post made by Cosworth employee, Eric Hsu, on his blog.

To me it is no surprise that the Cosworth Twin Cam Vega came to fruition during the tenure of GM General Manager John Delorean. Delorean had a hand in some of the greatest designs to come out of General Motors. He was always the type of engineer to not compromise his vision just because it did not mesh with what was considered publicly acceptable. That also led to his ultimate demise in the auto industry. Anyway I digress...

In 1969 GM had the plans for the 1971 Chevy Vega in their sights. The vehicle was intended to fight the small imports beginning to invade the United States. The engine was to feature a new block design. An all-aluminum, high silicon content, 4-cylinder engine block. Keith Duckworth of Cosworth fame was approached with the design to detect interest in a possible racing application, he was intrigued. By 1971 Cosworth began testing their first editions of the race engine. It wasn’t long before inherent weakness in the engine block lead Cosworth to develop a street version of the engine as opposed to an all out race application.

The Cosworth Twin Cam Vega engine featured a DOHC 16 valve head developed by Cosworth of course. It also had electronic fuel injection as opposed to the standard carburetor. It even featured a stainless steel exhaust header. Unfortunately the engine’s performance was significantly hindered by then new CAFÉ standards and EPA requirements. The power output was only 110 hp.


The car itself had unique features. It came in only black with gold striping and gold cast aluminum wheels. It had special interior trim such as instrument bezels, steering wheel, serial number plaque and limited fabric choices. The total production run was only 3,508 vehicles with a rather different marketing approach. The slogan for the Chevrolet Twin Cam Cosworth Vega was, “Cosworth, One Vega for the Price of Two.”


More information can be found at CosworthVega.com. The pictures also belong to the GM Archives.

1 comment:

oscar said...

I've got to see for more updates in the future. Anyway, thanks for the info..