The Saturn Ion is one of those cars you still see on the street today, perhaps not enough to notice, but it’s of minor historical interest as the Saturn-branded cousin of the Chevy Cobalt/Pontiac G5.
Most of the time, the Ion is just background noise to me in the GM section of a big self-service wrecking yard, something I pass by while looking for a Cimarron or Reatta. However, I had heard that the Knoxvegas Lowballers 24 Hours of LeMons team had adapted Ion electric power steering to their mid-Duratec-powered Geo Metro, and I was curious as what this alleged steering column-mounted rig looked like.
Once I poked my head inside the car, found at my local U-Pull-&-Pay, I noticed it had that rarest of all 21st-century Saturn accessories: a manual transmission.
Also present was the usual scratchy-but-tough gray GM seat fabric of the era.
The Ecotec engine appears to have surpassed the GM 3800 V6 as the most plentiful engine found in American high-inventory-turnover wrecking yards. This one was rated at 140 horsepower, which provided acceptable levels of fun in a sub-3,000-pound car with a five-speed.
Saturn had six years to live when this car was made, but the Ion only made it through the 2007 model year.
A catchy little tune, played by various objects crashing into the plastic flanks of an Ion.
The Ion’s appearance mattered so little that Saturn’s advertising wizards decided to omit the cars from this medium-weird ad.
Get a Saturn, get married. Then you’re done.