While bearing some resemblance from its big brother Camaro, Chevy Vega was one of the cars that suffered from having the worst possible engine configuration you could ever imagine. At that time when it was available, it was remembered for being cheap and somewhat worthless.

Here’s the story of Evan Mathieson. This time, he makes sure that his Vega wouldn’t have to suffer the same fate of early Vegas.


Series of unfortunate events…

Evan was only 12 years old when he and his dad tried to secure a deal for a 1971 V-8 Vega. However, the deal wasn’t properly agreed so they end up buying a ’73 to build a race car. He was only a kid that’s why he made a dumb decision of selling his half to his father just for a pair of roller blades.

Six years have passed. Evan swapped an engine in a Nova in exchange for the orange ’71 that he and his dad tried to purchase when he was 12. Unfortunately, Evan got some dilemma and he was forced to sell it.

After his dad’s acquisition of a full-race 1980 Monza, his father gave him the 1973 Vega that they bought together when he was 12. He had some motivating plans of turning the ’73 into a race car but unfortunately he had to sell it because of another money problem again.

gorgeous 1972 CHEVROLET VEGA

The making of the dream car

Meanwhile, Evan’s friend Bill Spurgin had a 1973 Vega that’s been rotting in his garage. Evan got interested in it and eventually he bought it the day after. Though the car was completely scrapped, the only parts remaining useful were the fenders, roof, doorjambs, one quarter panel, front control arms and the rear axle.

It was in the month of November when Evan bought a Jegster front clip, checkered racing ladder bar back-half, Jegs cage kit and several chunks of 2×3 tubing. He recalls pulling the parts together right on Bill’s home driveway. It was a back-to-basics hot rod-type built because they only had a couple of tape measures, a square protractor and a level.


Almost two and a half weeks were spent to get the chassis rolling again while installing different parts of the car required few more months. Building a custom car involves a lot of money. Even though Evan runs out of money, he didn’t repeat the mistake of selling the car again. Instead, he kept the car in the storage for quite some times.

Evan takes the chance of finishing his car inside the new garage of his father. Meanwhile, the local track went NHRA. He knew that his roll cage wouldn’t pass that’s why he cut it off the car and ordered a “funny car kit”. Afterwards, he returned to Bill’s shop for welding.

1972 CHEVROLET VEGA dashboard

Evan spent the next three years using the trial and error process in building the firewall, floors and everything it need to run the car again. At the time while he was painting the chassis, Evan decided that the car he’s building will not be just a typical race car. He wanted it to be a show car too.



With the new objectives, the gutted doors and hatch were dropped off the equation. Evan almost spent a year tracking all the body parts and interior pieces he need. After painting the car in Bill’s house, the car was moved back into Evan’s parent’s house so his friend Tony Evan could wire the car.

1972 CHEVROLET VEGA  engines

1972 CHEVROLET VEGA  power

His dad used to run a vicious 12.5:1 468 in his Monza, and Evan thought of using the same engine too. It wasn’t that expensive engine. Evan’s friend, Mike Cofini helped him in assembling the engine. While they are tuning it, something wrong has happened because the engine suddenly begins to squeak. The squeak turned out to be a roller tappet stuck in the block and broadcast its needle bearings through the rest of the engine. Evan took almost over two and a half years fixing the engine back together.


 In the end

When Evan started building his dream car, he only earns $10 per hour. Without the help of his friends and family, perhaps he couldn’t have his dream car.

Sometimes, building your dream car might take a long time to complete. There’s a big chance that you might lose interest during the long run so be sure not to waste the thing you’ve already started. In the end, nobody wants to see their dream happen to a different person.

Reference and photo credits

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