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Updated on May 06, 2012
Page 1: Vega as purchased. Stripping paint and some disassembly.
Page 2: Vega rust issues and close ups from all angles... shows the condition of the car from front to back.
Page 3: '73 Pontiac Astre conversion pieces that I've acquired. I'm wanting to convert the Vega to a Canadian-only offered '73 Pontiac Astre.
INITIAL LOW-QUALITY PICTURES..... This is the start of my Vega's disassembly soon after I got it. Drove all the way to Missouri to pick this car up(about 12 hours one way). Man, was I disappointed at the hidden rust.......
I reluctantly had to put it together in a hap-hazard manner because my daily driver died. This shows what the car looked like when I got it, then what it looked like when I was driving it, and then the final disassembly before going to bodywork.
Car as purchased from Missouri. Started stripping the heavy black primer coat to reveal two paint jobs and a left rear quarter replacement(with a '74-later model side-fill fuel tank quarter).
Grille removed, front & rear windows too. Had a rear hatch shipped from NJ only to find it bent on the left rear corner during shipping! Defroster glass was ok. Windshield channel has a couple rust holes in it and half the wiper nacelle on the driver's side is gone.
HERE'S THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE PROJECT(Why I bought the car as is). All ALUMINUM 215 cubic inch V-8 from a '63 Buick Special. Aluminum block and heads. I removed the heads in an attempt to fix the previous owner's rocker oiling problem. Found the rocker shafts were reversed.
Total engine weight: 320 lbs. 200 hp and only 30 or so lbs more than a stock Vega's 4-cylinder engine. Twice the power and no noticable weight gain. Vega handles just like it should have from the factory. Buick 215 back together after fixing the previous owner's rocker arm oiling problem. It's all ALUMINUM !!! Kinda pretty with my Offenhauser valve covers and new Edelbrock 500 cfm carb(with reduced jetting). Next will be the polished Offenhauser single plane intake manifold(I'm blind!, my eyes!) and maybe some nice block hugging headers to get rid of the heavy, rusty iron exhaust manifolds.
Trying to save some money on bodywork/paint. Started stripping to the metal and added a coat of primer to keep the metal from flash rusting. Probably won't use the doors so I didn't waste too much time on cleaning them up. My parts car's doors are much better. The light green hood and fender are the original colors(from my same colored parts car). Almost ready to go to the body/paint shop(EDIT: never happened... got side-tracked for a while). Had to drive the car as you see it for a year...... Yes, I do(did) drive this thing. Just have to replace the duct-tape on the windshield every now and then. Won't re-seal it until I get the rust holes in the windshield channel repaired. Everything works, except for the window washer. Fluid Tank was removed to access the charcoal canister. Will re-install after detailing the engine bay........
HERE'S SOME PICS OF THE RUSTED AREAS I FOUND...................
Left rear quarter window has some pitting/rust through under the aluminum trim. Previously in it's life, the trim was removed and fiberglass cloth was used to cover the holes. I removed all the cloth. Right rear quarter is a '74-later quarter. Car originally had the fuel filler behind the license plate. I'm wanting to fill the side-fill hole in the quarter, so I had to modify the later style, larger capacity tank to fill from the rear like the original. This is a shot of the new exhaust after pulling the gas tank. 2 pipes off the manifolds meet just behind the tranny(for easier removal) then run down the right side(to allow clearance for a later model torque arm---one day). The muffler is a shorter version(14 or 16") of the F-body muffler and has dual outlets behind each rear wheel. There isn't much room for a larger muffler but I wish there was. It's louder than I hoped for.
Here's what I'm left with. Below are some pics of the rust damage needing repair.
Lower Windshield channel and driver side wiper nacelle is needing replaced. I have a parts car that can donate the wiper nacelle but most all Vegas have channel rust. Getting sort of "unmotivated" at this point. May start looking for a cleaner body to put all my "goodies" into.
I do have a panel cut from my parts car that will replace the wiper nacelle rot... but it's not real good in the channel area.
Here's the engine bay with the 215 pulled(for rebuild and stroking with a Buick 300 crank to get cubes up to 266.... Yippee!) Some minor rust under the battery tray, which is normal for Vegas..... heck, they're usually rotted away! This car is quite sound structurally.
Notice the HVAC housing. Odd??? Not Vega for sure. I took it from a '75 Chevy Monza to clear the "V" configured Buick engine. Practically a bolt in(previous owner cut firewall a bit to fit the Monza's stock adapter plate to the firewall. I hope to have A/C one day.
Loading the Vega on the trailer to go get some metal welded in(never happened... project got side tracked). Hopefully, the bodywork and paint will come next month. Working by myself, I had to be creative in pulling it up my curved and sloped driveway. Stopping every few feet to re-adjust the steering and using the cinder block as an e-brake for the Baja. Not my most proud moment by far. Quite dangerous and stupid. It could have rolled into my little '62 Bug at the bottom of the driveway. Man, would hate that. Loading on the trailer was quite easy by lowering it with the '76 Baja.
Loaded and ready to go. Just started raining.
Displaying entries 1-5 of 13
How's that motor been? Any leaks or overheating. that is a great swap.
love the 73 astre parts
Sweet man. neat little car, love the engine choice.
cool vega. i really like that astre grill. the 215 swap is pretty awesome too. 5 stars
cool project im assuming you know of D&D fabrication they have been making this vega 215 convertion for many many years. im putting a 215 in a datsun 510... hay!!!! kennady makes an adapter to put one in the bajha :)
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