pp2 at 6007.us
Wed Oct 19 08:58:23 EDT 2005
> GM was more concerned with recovering market share from the econo
> imports than
>making an exceptional car like the Corvair. Interestingly, the Vega
>only lasted through the 1977 model year, when it was rolled into the
In 1970 GM was concerned about having too much market share as the gov was
making antitrust rumblings. If you recall, the Corvair was in sort of a
nitche by itself. Do not know what GM was thinking but my impression was
that the Corvair was intended to counter the major imports (VW, Renault,
FIAT) all of which had rear engined vehicles.
The counter for the Falcon/Valiant/Lancer/American/Lark OTOH was the Chevy
II which begat the Nova/Omega/Ventura/Apollo line which lasted until the
late 1970s. However by 1970, bloat had moved what became the X-body well
above the initial target and weights were approaching 4000 lbs.
Hence in 1971 the Vega (and later the Astre) line was introduced with a
unique 140 cid SOHC 2.3 l aluminum four banger that had carbide impregnated
cylinder walls instead of iron liners (I later had a 75 Astre Station Wagon
with iron liners that was a very nice package). However if the engine
overheated (and filling the tiny radiator used on non-a/c cars required
special attention) the carbide came loose from the walls and was like
pouring sand down the intake. GM seems good at this as the original 1984
Fiero with "one quart less" oil reservoirs proved though the later 2.8 V-6
version was a good car which has also reached cult status.
The Vega was a considerably smaller and lighter package than the Corvair on
a 97" wheelbase while the drivetrain shared a lot of components with the
low line Novas. I had several and they all drove very nicely. Always
considered my 78 Sunbird V-8 as something of an ultimate Vega.
I don't really think the Vega replaced the Corvair, it was more a
replacement for what the Chevy II started out as and was a counter for the
Pinto/Bobcat/Horizon. The Corvair was unique and an import fighter, but but
the late 1960's, anything that did not have a V-8 was of little interest to
the American public.
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