With the more frequent wide screen laptops using 1280x800 or something else like 1440x1280, most people would want the console in vesa mode to use the entire screen, not only 1024x768.
I was in that situation and wanted to know the "secret code" that was needed for that console mode since these modes for 1280x800 seem to be vendor specific and not a VESA standard. They are not present in the official documentation but can be found with a simple command:
hwinfo --framebuffer | grep 1280x800
and pick one of those that makes sense for you. Add that to lilo.conf, run lilo (run etckeeper commit, if you use etckeeper) and reboot. Enjoy.