1973 Chevy Vega – Transforming The Family Car Into A Mean Machine!

Classic Cars. Most of these beautiful machines have stood the test of time, and can represent the best in automotive history. Their allure is not only one of nostalgia, but also requires a lot of time, passion, and more often than not, a few extra dollars to restore the best these classics have to offer.

This 1973 Chevy Vega has the perfect owner, a man who has an eye for both style and design, but made the choice to work closely with his brother Enzo and the team at “Hot Nights Hot Rods” in Caledon Village, and as a result, life is once again reborn into this vintage ride.

Sandro Covello, the owner of this ‘73 Vega, has had a love for cars since he was a young boy. “I used to go to the race tracks and loved to see all of the different cars being pushed to their limits. Beyond the thrill of watching the race itself, the cars were incredible to look at, so my passion started honestly, and very early in life”. Among several cars that Sandro has owned through the years, his recent purchase took a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice. “Restoring this car and all its design elements has been 3 years in the making” explains Sandro. “I’ve been so lucky with all the sacrifice and support my wife Marianne and my boys Alex and Luca have given me. There have been many late nights spent away from home and working with the team at Hot Nights, in order to bring this car back to life, and create the showpiece it is today.”

And what a showpiece it is.

“The original owner had turned this ’73 Vega into a drag-racing car back in the mid 70’s, and has since seen 3 upgrades before it was converted to a ‘pro street’ model. Pro Street is a style of street-legal custom car that gained popularity in the 80s, and was usually built to imitate a ‘pro stock class’ race car. The car remains street legal, which allows it to be run beyond just the race track. In 2013, Sandro purchased the car and set to work on further modifications so it’s now classified as ‘street/strip legal’. “Funnily enough” says Sandro, “I was only going to paint the car when I first purchased it, however as the modifications began and the years passed, the car has been transformed into its final modified version, proudly branded the ‘VEGABOND‘.

The unique and elegant design of the VEGABOND is the direct result of dedication from Sandro and his brother, who also helped design some of the custom parts involved in the rebuild. “My brother Enzo and I designed the car, and we communicated regularly with the Hot Nights team who worked on the original restoration, to ensure our vision could be translated into the final build.”

“Doug and his team at Hot Nights were instrumental in all aspects of this project” says Sandro, “and they are the absolute best in the business. They are so knowledgeable when it comes to classic cars, and have both the technical skills, as well as the workmanship required, which is evident in every detail of how this car was built.”

While the pictures may showcase this stunning automobile better than any words could, here are some of the design and build elements that this car now proudly displays:

Body (work done by Hot Nights):

  • reworked front end with custom front grill
  • custom hood to fit the shotgun scoop
  • flushed front & rear bumpers
  • custom front valence to fit the LED turn signals
  • custom rear valence to fit the flush-mounted exhaust tips
  • flushed door handles
  • deleted marker lights
  • one-off billet rear tail-lights
  • custom gas filler door
  • one-off VEGABOND emblems

Interior (designed by the Covello brothers):

  • custom one-off interior, fabricated an upholstered by Hot Nights
  • basketball-orange leather with grey inserts and trim
  • custom Paul Atkins C1 dash
  • one-off Speed Hut gauges
  • all hidden switches
  • one-off brake pedal & shifter to match Clayton Machine
  • vintage air
  • Kicker sound system

Paint (by Hot Nights):

  • House of Colour paint: Brite White & Galaxy Grey
  • clear base coat

Chassis / Suspension:

  • custom channeled tube chassis
  • IFS front suspension tubular upper & lower control arms with QA1 coilovers
  • 14” front & rear Wilwood brakes
  • tubular 4-bar rear with QA1 adjustable coilovers

Drive Line:

  • high-performance 427 BBC
  • Holley EFI
  • custom ceramic-coated headers & exhaust
  • turbo 400
  • 9” Ford Power Trax Grip posi
  • 390 gears


  • American Racing
  • Hopsters
  • 18 x 6 fronts: M-T 205/50/R18
  • 20 x 12 rears: M-T 380/35/R20

As you can clearly see, there was an incredible amount of thought, design, and execution put into the finished product, that has not only made all involved proud, but has caught the eye of many classic automobile experts. “The car is a showpiece that I transport to many different car shows in order to compete” says Sandro. “The only ‘street time’ the VEGABOND gets is when my wife and I participate in local cruises. As the car is just as beautifully detailed underneath as it is above, street travel would take away from that.”

VEGABOND was in Columbus Ohio at one of these car shows where Sandro was approached by Dave Kindig, a well-known name in the motoring world and host of a TV show called “Bitchen Rides”, who asked if he could feature the VEGABOND on his show. Sure enough, the episode aired in 2019, and can now be found on YouTube. In amongst thousands of vintage machinery, Sandro’s ’73 Vega not only caught Dave’s eye, but surprised him as well with its very unique modifications, and gorgeous finishing touches. Not to mention, that this is a model car enthusiasts don’t often see, so it was quite significant that all of the hard work and dedication that the Covello brothers and Hot Nights Hot Rods put into this beauty has been deservedly recognized as one of the best.

Truly honoured by all the support from his family and of the long days and dedication that the team at Hot Nights provided to make this showpiece into a reality, Sandro would like to extend his sincere thanks to the following:

  • My wife Marianne
  • My sons Alex & Luca
  • My brother Enzo
  • Hot Nights crew:
  • Doug O’Brien, Owner
  • Chrissy, Owner & Director of Finance
  • Mike Short, General Manager.
  • Dale Spiteri, Upholstery & Project Detail
  • Frank Plant, Shop Foreman / Fabricator
  • Alfie Cisterna, Fabricator – Lead Hand
  • Candy Takacs, Painter
  • Jim Coleman, Final Assembly & Wiring
  • Ryan Guitard, Fabrication – Detailer
  • Trevor Beer, Mechanic

Written by: Kelli M. Maddocks  |  Photography: Cory Bruyea

Author: LivingSpaces

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