Find Your Car

Saturday, June 13, 2015

1971-1975 Chevrolet Vega Panel Express and the 1973-1975 Pontiac Astre Panel

-->
 
The 1971 Chevrolet Vega family included a Panel Express truck, sized to carry “pizzas, prescriptions, potato chips or flowers.”

General Motors needed to play catch up in the sub-compact category as the 1960s came to a close. Chevrolet had only begun to develop a vehicle for that market in 1968. Designers and engineers were under the gun to have a North American-built subcompact on showroom floors for the 1970 model year.


1970 Gremlin from AMC was the first North American-built subcompact.


Competition was fierce. American Motors was the first of the Big Four American automakers to hit the market with its unique Gremlin and Ford followed hard on AMC’s heels with the chubby-cheeked Pinto. GM also had to contend with a good number of worthy, offshore competitors, all eager to sell their vehicles in the North American market.


The 1971 Chevrolet Camaro


James G. Musser, Jr. was selected to head the Vega team. He had created the sensational Camaro and now he was responsible for ensuring that the littlest bowtie in the Chev family carried a strong resemblance to the division’s hot-selling pony car.




Introduction of the Vega was delayed because of a long and bitter strike. General Motors was crippled when nearly 400,000 workers walked out of GM’s 138 plants in the US and did not return to work for 67 days. Part of the dispute was about the robots setting an inhumanly possible manufacturing pace in the Lordstown facility. Chevrolet’s Vega finally got into production in GM’s Lordstown, Ohio plant on June 26th, 1970.



Unimate robots at work.


Chevrolet officials had calculated that 400,000 units a year would be built annually in Lordstown. GM invested $100 million to revamp the seven-year old plant—and the upgrade included 26 state-of-the-art Unimate robot welders.  A total of 101 vehicles an hour would roll out the doors—one every 36 seconds.




Management and the United Auto Workers settled their differences and the Chevy Vega finally debuted on September 29th, 1970 as a 1971 model. The name was drawn from the most visible star in the constellation Lyra—one of the five brightest nighttime orbs in the Northern Hemisphere.



This timeless VW advertisement dates from 1963.


Marketing stole a page from Volkswagen’s classic advertising by announcing that Vega would not undergo annual changes; the 1975 model would look the same as it did at its 1971 introduction time.




Vega arrived as a sedan, a hatchback, a Kammback (wagon) and in an unusual twist—a pint-sized Panel Express, billed as “Our Own Little Panel Show.” The panel show reference was a nod to the many television quiz shows popular at the time.


The 1972 Chevrolet Vega Panel Express came with two secret under-the-floor compartments.


Despite its diminutive 2 463-millimetre (97-inch) wheelbase, the Panel Express was touted as ideal for light-duty deliveries. Advertising asked, “How big does a truck have to be to carry pizza, prescriptions, potato chips or flowers? This little hauler could carry a payload of up to 362 kilos (800 pounds) in 6.2 square metres (66.7 cubic feet) of space. The no frills Panel express was fitted with steel panels instead of rear side glass, rubber flooring, only one seat and two hidden compartments—one behind the front seat and a second at the tailgate. 


Vega zipped around courtesy of a 2.3-litre (140-cubic inch), four-cylinder, in-line aluminum engine.


Powered by a new 2.3-litre (140-cubic inch), four-cylinder, in-line aluminum engine, the base model offered  67 kiloWatts (90 horsepower). For a few bucks more, one could pack an extra 14 kW-- twenty horses-- under the hood. A three-speed manual transmission was standard equipment but a four-speed stick shift was offered as well as the tried-and-true Powerglide automatic and a one-shift, no-clutch semi-automatic called Torque-Drive.




Motor Trend magazine chose the Chevrolet Vega to be  its Car of the Year. Model year sales in North America for the Panel Express was a modest 7,800 units, with a starting price of  USD$2,138.




The Panel Express returned for 1972. There were a few changes but noticeably new was a glove box, a price reduction of USD$50 and the hype. “The kinky way to haul around your surfboard or your diving gear or yourself,” bragged advertising. To underscore the truck’s versatility the Panel Express was pitched specifically to handymen, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, cheque-clearing houses, blueprint companies and to any small business with delivery service ranging from pizza to pharmacies. At the end of the model year 4,114 units had been built for the North American market.



There were changes for Vega in 1973. Engines were detuned to 53 kW and 64 kW (72 and 85 horsepower) to comply with new emissions standards. The Panel Express was downplayed greatly, now taking a back seat to the wagon, described only as Kammback’s “friend” and reduced to a 100-word description in the sales brochure. The little truck’s price tag was now USD$2,106. 



To supplement the 400,000 units coming from the Lordstown plant, Chevrolet planned for an additional 150,000 Vegas a year be produced in its St. Therese, Quebec facility. Vega’s Panel Express seemed to miss the mark as North American output slipped to 3,886 units for the model year.  

In 1973 the Pontiac Astre made its debut. The Canada-only model included a truck.


Canadian Pontiac-Buick dealers got their own unique version of the Vega. Introduced at mid-year, the Pontiac Astre was offered all four of the Vega variations, though the Panel Express was called the Pontiac Astre Panel.


1974 Pontiac Vega GT


When the 1974 Vega and Astre appeared, the GM cousins wore the new high-impact 8-kph (5-mph) bumpers mandated by Washington and Ottawa.  The price in the US rose to $2,405 for the Chevrolet Vega Panel Express.



Along with a pretty new face, changes included more options, more colours--because owners wanted more style, more spirit. The gas tank size was increased from 36 litres to 59 litres. (8 to 13 Imperial gallons. Advertising for the small haul was reduced to a footnote.




No doubt the embargo on gasoline sales to the United States by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting States (OPEC) helped to push  Panel Express production to 4,289 units for the 1974 model year.  Small was not just beautiful, it was economical, too.

    The Chevrolet Vega Panel Express made its last appearance for the 1975 season. Options included air conditioning and automatic transmission.


When the 1975 selling season began, marketing optimistically gave the Panel Express its own four-page brochure, billing it as “our big little truck.”




Time and timing were not kind to the Vega Panel Express. Inflation pushed the base price up to USD$2,822. Consumers shied away from the Vega. Hurried to market, design flaws resulted in a myriad of chronic breakdowns. 

Only 131 Pontiac Astre Panels were built for the Canadian market in the 1975 model year.


In a bid to salvage Vega’s reputation and boost sales, Chevrolet offered a five-year/ 100,000-kilometre (60,000-mile) engine warranty but that didn’t stop the slide. Only 1,525 Chevrolet Vega Panel Express trucks were built during the 1975 model year. 



It would be the tiny truck’s swan song. When GM shifted Vega production from St. Therese, Quebec to Southgate, Michigan, the little Chev truck was deleted from the lineup.




Visit my old car website at: The Oilspot Eh!
Copyright James C. Mays 2015 All rights reserved.

29 comments:

ashutosh said...

Great article

Gull said...

Like Your Website Renowacja elewacji

DMZ ASWAD said...

Amazing

Arasu Groups said...

Very Nice Blog Updation Keep Updating !!

Anonymous said...

It is here that we applauded all the American know-how specialy with the Gremlin

Top 5 South Indian Packers said...

Eager to read this article Thanks for this Post !!

Munavvarah Orphanage said...

First off congratulations for this post. I will read it again

subhash moond said...

Thanks for creating nice post. Such a cooling post that is admittedly alright written. will be referring lots of friends regarding this. Keep advising.
Funny Friendship Day Quotes

Blog Admin said...

Thanks for this amazing article. This article wins my heart and I would like to thank with these -

Ceylan Klima Servisi Mersin klima servisi olarak sizlere profesyonel Tamir Montaj ve gerçek bakım hizmeti sunuyoruz; Klima tamiri klima bakımı ve montaj hizmetlerinde tüm işçilik ve kullanılan yedek parçalar 1 yıl Garantilidir

Mersin Klima Servisi
Mersin Klima Arıza
Ceylan Klima
Mersin Klima Tamir
Antalya Klima Servisi

boho shelf said...

Hello! This is my first visit to your blog! This is my first comment here, so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your articles. Your blog provided us useful information. You have done an outstanding job.
boho jewelry

digitalized monks said...

Woah! I’m enjoying the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard to get that “ perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appeal. I must say you’ve done a very good job with this.
things to do in Denver

Alia said...

This article is very creative,keep sharing.website

Ceramic utensils said...

thanks man keep doing the good work

4liker said...

website

great post man and the car is too classy keep posting such post thanks

Li Spa Saket Delhi said...

thanks for sharing this! very helpful info
body massage center in south delhi

massage in new delhi

ruchika chawla said...

Thanks for the post. It was very interesting.
full body massage in new delhi

body massage parlour in malviya nagar

erotic body to body massage centres in malviya nagar

sensual massage in delhi

Moin UD DIN said...

Nice post
airport taxi

Moin UD DIN said...

Great words have been written on this blog.
airport taxi
airport taxi
airport taxi
airport taxi

Moin UD DIN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arjun Singh said...

Thanks for this valuable post. Thanks for sharing this.
massage center in delhi

body massage centres in faridabad

body massage in jasola vihar delhi

sensual massage in delhi

happy ending massage centre in faridabad

massage centre in jasola

deep tissue full body massage in jasola

Geetanjali Spa said...

Your content is very nice & that helps, useful to every person. Thanks for share...
full body to body massage centre in mahipalpur delhi

body massage near igi airport

full body to body massage centres in mahipalpur delhi

massage centre in mahipalpur delhi

body to body massage centre in mahipalpur delhi

full body to body massage parlours in mahipalpur delhi

Omega Spa said...

Thanks for the post. It was very interesting.
body to body massage in new delhi

body to body massage in south delhi

body massage in lajpat nagar

body massage in delhi

massage centres in lajpat nagar delhi

massage center in south delhi

nuru massage in delhi

massage in south delhi

happy ending massage in delhi

full body massage in new delhi

Pranit said...

Merry Christmas Images And Wishes




Merry Christmas
Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ,observed primarily on December 25

Advance Christmas Wishes And Images | Advance Christmas Images | Advance Christmas Whats App Status
When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow, We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago, And etched on vacant places. Are half-forgotten faces Of friends we used to cherish and loves we used to know.

The tree is decorated, the cookies are made, the gifts are wrapped; now all that’s left is to wish you a Merry Christmas. So, Merry Christmas dear friend.

Merry Christmas Images And Wishes For Family | Merry Christmas Images For Family | Merry Christmas Wishes For Family
Being with my family this Christmas, is the best present I ever wished for.

I feel the warmth and joy of being home with all of you! Merry Christmas!

Cookies and sweets in every corner of the house! That’s how it smells Christmas with family!

Merry Christmas Images And Wishes For Friends | Merry Christmas Images Friends | Merry Christmas Wishes For Friends
A season for giving and sharing is what Christmas is all about.
You shared your life to me all throughout the year.
I thank you for that.
Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Images And Wishes For Girlfriend | Christmas Images For Girlfriend | Christmas Whats App Status
You are one of the best things that happen to me
I just couldn’t imagine without you in my life
You’ve become a big part of me now.
And I will always be thankful to God for that.
Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Images And Wishes For Boyfriend | Merry Christmas Images | Merry Christmas Wishes
Christmas is the time to touch every heart with love and care.

Christmas is the time to receive and send blessings. It is the time to breathe the magic of the air.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas my love.

Christmas is the time to touch every heart with love and care.

Since I meet you, it feels like I am celebrating Christmas all year round.

Merry Christmas Images And Wishes For Wife | Christmas Images For Wife | Christmas Wishes For Wife
With your care, I feel secure…With your love, I feel so sure…I’d wish to spend the rest of my life with you My wife, I love you so. Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas Images And Wishes For Husband | Christmas Images Husband | Christmas Wishes Husband
When I think of you and what you have done in my life, my heart is filled with love.

This holiday season, I want you to know that I really appreciate you and all that you are to me.

Merry Christmas To My Wonderful Husband!

Merry Christmas Images And Wishes For Kids | Christmas Images Kids | Christmas Wishes Kids
I’m sending you warm bear hugs, loving kisses and earnest wishes for the wonderful occasion of Christmas. May you have a splendid Christmas filled with lights, songs and cheer. Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to you.



The traditional Christmas narrative, the Nativity of Jesus, delineated in the New Testament

Natasha Singh said...

Thanks for share...I really like your post
b2b massage spa at gurgaon

body massage in delhi NCR

body massage in delhi

full body massage in delhi

massage in delhi

body massage in new delhi

massage in delhi NCR

massage center in delhi NCR

body massage parlour in gurgaon

full body massage parlour in delhi

peter anderson said...

Thanks for sharing such a lovely information
massage in delhi

body massage parlour in delhi ncr

body massage cetner in delhi

erotic massage in south delhi

sensual massage in south delhi

full body massage in south delhi

full body to body massage in south delhi

nuru massage in delhi

massage center in south delhi

massage in new delhi

Rayanaly said...

peggo apk for pc
iptv player latino pc
walmart credit card log in

Bigg Boss said...

Bigg Boss 12 Winner
http://biggboss11winner.com
Bigg Boss 12 Winner
http://biggboss11winner.com/bigg-boss-12-winner/

D S Enterprises Packers And Movers said...

Thanks for this information

https://www.dsenterprisespackers.com/index.aspx

Packers and movers in gomti nagar lucknow
Packers and movers in Lucknow
Packers and movers in Aliganj lucknow
Packers and movers in Hazratganj lucknow
Packers and movers in indira nagar lucknow
Packers and movers in nishatganj lucknow
Packers and movers in alambagh lucknow
Packers and movers in transport nagar 'lucknow
Packers and movers in ashiyana lucknow
Packers and movers in chauk lucknow

Eewang said...

Greet all your loved ones this special day with our best Happy New Year Best new year Messages. Enjoy Happy new year.

Post a Comment

Please share what you think about today's thoughts by posting a comment here.