Did It Drive?
How did it drive, you ask? Like a Cosworth, but quieter, and with just a
tad less power, though maybe that was just the weight of one passenger in
the front seat. It caused me to think back to my first test drive of
#0971, my first new car and my first Cosworth, and I saw a great deal of
similarity. No torque when pulling out (did I mention that this is a
4-speed car with an open differential?), but it was willing to rev, though
I imposed a 6000 rpm limit on myself. Performance wise it was definitely
nothing to write home about. Nothing at all, which is one of the main
reasons that these cars never caught on with the public and have not
appreciated in value. While it had the same power as I remember in #0971,
I've driven Cosworths with "better" (defined as less
restrictive) exhaust systems for so long that I have gotten accustomed to
the extra power, and would never go back. Reindexed sprockets would be my
first modification to this car if I was going to drive it at all.
Yes, reindexed sprockets and
new tires. All of my tires have been shorter than the Custom Steelguards,
and that gives me a slightly better gear ratio for performance, and that
is where I'd go here. Yes, I know that it is almost impossible to find 205R60
13 tires these days, but you can't safely run the original tires after
nearly 30 years. No, none of the plies had yet separated, but it is only a
matter of time. Take them off, have the wheels refinished, remount the
tires, and only install them at the car shows. Buy a second set of
Cosworth wheels, have them Wheel
Medic refinished, and use them for local and highway driving.
The ride was quiet, body motions well damped, and there were no squeaks
and rattles. The steering was a bit heavy considering the tires, but it
tracked well. We didn't push the car at all, and it felt like your grandma
could have driven it, provided she liked standard transmissions.
You know, we never turned on the radio. Oh well, it was an AM only unit,
and no rear speaker.
For most of us that would make it a pretty tough ride
This is a car with issues. Though it is most likely the only remaining
untitled Cosworth Vega in existence, it is far from the perfect car. The
faults have been chronicled above, and we won't revisit them here. But it
is a "low options" car, and that too detracts from its value. It
is only a 4-speed, and it doesn't have positraction. The sound system is
woefully inadequate. You'll need to spend $1000 to have the wheels
refinished and new tires, or $1600 or more if you obtain a second set of
wheels. The body dings don't necessarily have to be repaired, but the
gouges in the stripes should be fixed, which generally means re-striping
the entire car, at which point you might as well repair all the dings.
Figure $2000 or more, provided you can find a shop that will spray lacquer
There are cars out there in better shape with more options and only a few
more miles. That seems surprising, but it is true. John has been looking
at pristine Cosworths in his recent travels, and he concurs that this car
needs substantial work to reach their concours level
said, firethorn is a rare color, and it is a beautiful car from a
distance. Simply beautiful.
a set of restored wheels, and with some paint or pieces of stripe glued in
place to bridge the gaps, this car's appearance would be vastly improved.
It is not a 100 point car, and never will be without a sizeable dollop of
money and effort, but it has never been titled.
has to be worth something. John pegs the value at $6250 (he just bought
one in far better condition with only twice the mileage for only a little
more). I say $6500 would be a fair price, but could see some folks who are
just dying for a never titled firethorn car paying a bit more. Tom laments
while salivating, "I have too many cars already, and my
wife would kill me."