The Chevy Vega should have been an American success story. In terms of size, style, fuel economy and handling, the Vega was a perfect challenger for the imports, but the car's new technology turned out to be its downfall.
GM developed a new automated rust-proofing system that, as it turned out, didn't penetrate the car's cracks and crevices; the front fenders would rust almost as soon as the car left the showroom, with the doors, rocker panels, and the front suspension soon to follow. The engine used an aluminum block with a cast-iron head, and when it overheated (which it did on a fairly regular basis thanks to an undersized radiator) the cylinder block would distort, damaging or destroying the engine. GM eventually fixed the Vega's problems, but by then it was too late: Americans had discovered Toyota, Honda and Datsun.
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