I remember thinking that the Chevy Vega was kind of a cool car in the’70’s . Looked like a Camaro that had met Dr. Shrinker on the Kroft Supershow. Then I met someone who had actually owned one.
I got a job doing deliveries for a copy company and for the first delivery he had me shadow him. It was delivering flyers to a strip club. (Note: I never made that delivery again. The boss always had to make it his personal delivery.) There was a Vega in the lot and I commented on it. I then heard a 10 minute tirade against the scourge that was the Chevy Vega and how horrible it made his life when he owned it. Many of his complaints about rust I’d heard before about GM cars, but he had a depth of negative experience with actually driving and maintaining the car that I hadn’t heard before.
Carlust blog has been pondering the Chevy Vega and posts the question: “What Went Wrong?”
The pickings haven’t been too bad at the Pick-n-Pull I frequent on the east coast. I’ve managed to find mint tail lamps, a clean grill and the holy grail of 240 parts; intact door pockets. Most of the junked 240s I see are over 20 years old, so I hope we still have a few more years of parts to pick.
Jalopnik has a theory for the proliferation of junked bricks on the west coast:
Berkeley and its nearby East Bay cities… have long been inhabited by legions of folks who swear the Volvo 200 series was the Best Car Ever Made… that is, until the Prius arrived. Once a bulletproof hybrid Toyota enters the stable, paying Sven the Volvo Mechanic $1,800 every six months to fix a car that gets 18 MPG no longer seems like the bargain it once was… and thus begins the long tow-truck ride to the junkyards of Oakland and Hayward.
Thus begins their tragic photo essay of 240s decaying in the California sun.
Congress’s stimulus package included a proposal to pay drivers to junk their old cars in return for cash to buy a new car. Luckily, it just died this week.
The “Cash for Clunkers” program would have given up to $10,000 to people of cars older than 10 years as long as they used it to buy a new American car. The idea was that it would pull allegedly polluting deathtraps off the road and jump start Detroit. But it was such a dumb, misguided idea that we can rejoice in its defeat.
I’d been putting together some links to make a mega-post about the subject, but it’s moot now. So here’s a link dump.
• Freakonomics points out what should be obvious; people who drive older cars aren’t the kind of people who are in the market for a new car. They buy used!
• The Truth About Cars takes a look at the potential for fraud. If you were in the market for a new car, wouldn’t you try to find the cheapest POS on CraigsList and get it to limp into the federal garage for your incentive check?
• SEMA opposed the program because it would do more harm than good. How many crap cars are really out there anyway, and do we really need to scrap them when they could have perfectly good parts that could be picked and pulled?
• Hot Rod Magazine follows a similar logic and opposes the scrapping of cars that could be candidates for restoration and repair.
• Wired points out that if you want to do something about global warming, buy a used car. “…it takes 113 million BTUs of energy to make a Toyota Prius. Because there are about 113,000 BTUs of energy in a gallon of gasoline, the Prius has consumed the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gasoline before it reaches the showroom. Think of it as a carbon debt — one you won’t pay off until the Prius has turned over 46,000 miles or so.”
Here’s hoping “Cash for Clunkers” doesn’t raise its ugly head again in the near future.