Most of the time when someone builds a hot rod and immediately sells it, the seller takes a bath on any money he sunk into his project. The only time that seller will make money is if he hits a fortunate upswing in market forces or gets a great deal when buying it. This is unfortunate reality for most folks who enjoy building cars but a good thing for buyers who are looking to get something custom without spending too much money. Even better for those buyers is to find a car that needs a few small things corrected that keeps the price down, like this next example that really needs some new shoes. Find this 1975 Chevrolet Vega offered for $13,950 in Sebastopol, CA via craigslist. Tip from Adam.
The first thing you notice when looking at this car are those wheels. The fronts are too skinny and the rears are too big, and it would be easy to say, nope…but you might be wrong. If you take a minute to ignore those wheels, the rest of the car looks nice. Paint is excellent (nice color too, not too common, stripes are well done), de-rubbered bumpers look cool. Somebody poured a bunch of money into this car and is now going to lose 75% of his prospective buyers based on the wheels.
Under the hood is nothing like the original 4-banger designed for economy — it is a 5.7 liter (350 cubic inch) small block Chevy V8 that has been thoroughly massaged. Expect 350-400 horsepower depending on cam/heads/pistons selected by the builder and with a ~2400 lb curb weight, this thing should positively scoot down the road.
Even the interior looks nice, no roll cage, no aluminum door panels, no fuzzy dice, no dash cracks, and no crack pipes. The automatic shifter won’t be for everyone, but swapping in a manual transmission is always an option.
Now we come to the thankless task of mentioning that the seller is asking a king’s ransom for a lost serf. That isn’t to say the car doesn’t have $15k into the build, it is simply that this is a simple Chevy Vega, not even a Cosworth Vega. One last look at the wheels/stance before moving on to what this car could be.
This is a Vega notchback with a properly sporty ride height and a set of minilite wheels (image borrowed from popularhotrodding for illustrative purposes). Imagine what a set of wheels and springs would do to the above car?
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