If It Ain't Broke

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If It Ain't Broke

Postby vegastre » Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:49 am

If It Ain't Broke

Just got my March/April issue of Hagerty Magazine and on page thirty of "Short Shifts" which are short paragraphs or two about the cars they drive. A guy by the name of J.David Barnes of Houston Texas writes in about his 1971 and 1974 Chevy Vegas which he uses for his daily drivers. The 71 Vega has over 400,000 miles on the speedo, get this, the notorious stock original aluminum block four cylinder motor. He explains his whole theory is based on less is more and keeps a close watch on such things as oil and coolant and only fixes stuff that is prone to wear. He brags how reliable the cars are and " wonderfully simple they are".

I read this and almost fell off my seat! Man... This guy is after my own heart.
Phil Kennedy~
72 Chevrolet Vega GT Hatchback
75 Pontiac Astre SJ Safari Wagon
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Re: If It Ain't Broke

Postby hammerdown7 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:07 am

Consistent maintenance was the most important part of maintaining early Vega engines. GM made it tough with the small radiator and no overflow tank because overheating was the number one culprit to excessive oil burning. There are stories out there that say it was normal wear of the new block material but when taken care of, they actually wear much less than a standard block.

Dick
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Re: If It Ain't Broke

Postby vegastre » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:57 pm

I agree Dick,
Hind site being 20/20 we realize that the car as well as the early drive train got a bad rap because GM was trying its best to be innovative when there best was not exactly tuned to small cars. This was when the small block Chevy was in full bloom and as bullet proof as it got. Hard act to follow even when the Monza came along with it's D-Tuned version. One thing that Mr. Barnes didn't mention was the beautiful and innovative styling which all H-Body's had/have based on Euro influence of the day.
Phil Kennedy~
72 Chevrolet Vega GT Hatchback
75 Pontiac Astre SJ Safari Wagon
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Re: If It Ain't Broke

Postby vegastre » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:10 am

Hmmm...
Re-reading about Mr. Barnes Daily Drivers gives me pause to think about driving my SJ as a daily or on a some time regular basis. At this point the car is too valuable to me personalty to risk it out there in the hustle and bustle of Dallas traffic. The parts are too rare to obtain now days to rebuild it if wrecked. If not for that I wouldn't hesitate one bit to drive it regularly. I did drive them for several years on a regular basis, both my GT and the SJ began life for me as freeway beaters.
Phil Kennedy~
72 Chevrolet Vega GT Hatchback
75 Pontiac Astre SJ Safari Wagon
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Re: If It Ain't Broke

Postby 73astregt » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:34 am

the 76 astree notchback i bought years ago for 150.00 from the original owner had every bit of work done to it at the dealer including the engine replaced under warrenty and he gave me every bill for every knickle hed ever spent on the car over the years, i made two trips from toronto ontario to nova scotia on holidays without any issue and every time there was anywhere i could hold my foot to the floor it was there tortured the hell out of that little car for about 5 years and it never missed a beat till i hit a set of rail road tracks at a crossing with a car load of buddys and snapped the frame behind the left front wheel, even then the car took me home with out a complaint. have to say it was probably the toughest 4 cylinder car i ever owned lol! p.s. when i snapped the frame it was during the second trip to nova scotia it happened there, drove that thing all the way back to toronto like that and still never missed a beat!
73 astre gt 355 small block 435 hp 435 torque edelbrock performer rpm power package
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