The Vega has been discussed here on RG before, and as expected, there was a cornucopia of opinions on the attractive but rapidly rusting little GM car. But an interesting question that occurred to me a while back is, why didn’t GM offer four-door versions? For that matter, why didn’t Ford do the same with their subcompact Pinto? Many of the import competitors–Datsun 510, Subaru Leone, Toyota Corolla–had them. Even Chrysler’s captive-import Dodge Colt had a four-door wagon.
The European Opel Ascona, sold here thru Buick dealers as the 1900, offered a four-door version, albeit as a sedan and not a wagon. With all the money GM spent on their pet project, how much more would tooling a Vega with more than two portals have cost? My guess is they figured most folks who wanted something bigger than a Pinto or Vega longroof could step up and get a Chevelle or Torino/Fairlane.
Anyway, by 1976 the Vega was improved, and the wagon was perhaps the best looking Vega of all. If a four-door version had been built, we probably can assume it would have been recycled for the 1978 Monza line, just like the two-door wagon was.
Ford did the same thing with its Pinto: Any model you wanted, even a Broughamed-up Squire wagon-as long as it had two doors–notwithstanding the wagon’s tailgate. But over in Europe, you could get a Cortina four-door wagon. Though about eight Cortinas were sold in the U.S. market, twelve in Canada, ha ha.
And by the way, for all you Pinto people, my first attempt to Photoshop a four-door Pinto wagon resulted in a concoction so horrible that I deleted it. At any rate, a more suitable picture from oldcarbrochures.com sufficed. May I present the 1980 Pinto Squire four-door wagon? Granted, it has aesthetic challenges too, but it gives one a rough idea of what a quattroporte Pinto wagon may have looked like.
Of course, Ford finally offered a smaller four door wagon with the Fairmont’s debut in 1978. Probably a more logical plan than my late-afternoon musings!