It’s always hard to get potential car buyers to take a test drive, and this was just as true 50 years ago, when Chevrolet dealers wanted to move their brand-new Vegas off the lot. Some dealerships offered a free camera to customers driving a Vega back then, and I managed to obtain one recently.
PICTURE YOURSELF IN A VEGA, proclaims the cheerful little box handed to potential Vega buyers.
The camera came pre-loaded with a 20-exposure roll of Technicolor 35-mm film, and when you were done with the roll you were supposed to mail the whole camera to the nearest of the addresses printed on this sticker. Then your photos would come back to you in the mail, and Technicolor would reload the camera and start the cycle over. This was the system used by Kodak during its earliest days.
There’s no way 50-year-old Technicolor film would be any good now, even if I could find someone to develop it, so I reloaded the camera with new Kodak Tri-X black-and-white film. Then I packed it up to take to the 2022 B.F.E. GP 24 Hours of Lemons at High Plains Raceway in Colorado, where I knew there would be a Chevy Vega competing.
Hanger 13 Racing runs a 1972 Vega two-door sedan with power from an Iron Duke engine yanked out of a 1991 Chevy S-10 pickup. The team members were very excited about the prospect of their racin’ machine being photographed by a numbers-matching VegaCam.
The team had a comprehensive “Viva la Vega” theme, with all manner of Las Vegas-themed costumes and accessories. They had Elvis Presley, Liberace (complete with self-propelled piano), George Burns, blackjack dealers, showgirls, and all the glitz and music you’d expect.
The VegaCam captured photos of not-so-sharp image quality, though they were several orders of magnitude more decipherable than the photos obtained with the wretched 1962 Brumberger Thunderbird camera a few months back. Check out the gallery below for the entire roll.
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