It’s like Woodstock, but for fans of 1990s econoboxes that make double-digit horsepower.
This weekend, the eighth annual “Westiva” gathering will take place in the rugged foothills of Kananaskis Country, Alberta, drawing proud Ford Festiva enthusiasts from far and wide. Heads up, Montana — if you’re a resident with a passion for slow acceleration and spartan interiors, there’s a group of friends waiting north of the border. (Read More…)
The Geo Metro, a Suzuki Cultus imported by GM, came after the Chevrolet Sprint version of the Cultus but before GM axed the Geo brand and started selling Chevrolet Metros, which sold in respectable numbers during its 1989-1997 run.
There was a convertible version of the Metro, which allowed thin-walleted drivers to enjoy open-air driving without having to take a Sawzall to a 20-year-old Corolla, and I’ve found one of the few remaining ones at a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard. (Read More…)
I live in Colorado, where recreational cannabis has been legal since the beginning of 2014. The (allegedly) medical-only stuff had been available all over Denver, complete with sign-spinners on street corners, for years before that, and so nothing much changed when the Reefer Man was allowed to sell his wares to just about any adult. Sure, hundreds of doomed recreational dispensaries have joined the hundreds of doomed brewpubs and doomed tattoo shops fighting for the not-so-abundant dollars of the thin slice of the Denver population interested in shatter hash, yeast-sludge-filled draft beer, and/or blotchy tattoos of the Chinese characters for “poop”… and I’ve started seeing bags of weed in junkyard cars here.
Prior to legalization, no self-respecting tow-truck driver or junkyard employee would have allowed free pot to slip by, but nowadays a few grams of mystery doobage is about as appealing to those guys as a half-empty 40-dog of King Cobra found in the trunk.
Here’s a Suzuki Swift that I found in a Denver yard with such a bag that I spotted tied to the gas spring on the hatch. (Read More…)
There it stood, right next to the Michael Jordan Wheaties display.
A brand-new 1992 yellow Geo Metro convertible.
Price Chopper, a local New York supermarket chain (think Pathmark or Albertson’s on crack) was opening up a brand new location in Saratoga Springs.
The Metro would be the perfect vehicle for upstate New York’s salty roads and wickedly cold weather for one irrefutable reason. It was free… after tax, tag and title. The only thing I had to do was figure out how to win it.
So I got busy. 150 entries a day for 3 full months. 13,000 in all. The day came for the drawing, and I won!
As a former Metro owner— about ten years ago, I found a low-mile ’96 Metro with four-cylinder and automatic for a scrap-value price and couldn’t say no to the deal— I’ve always sort of liked Suzuki’s little no-lux gas miserwagen. It takes a special Metro for me to include it in this series, however; we’ve seen this ’90 Metro El Camino, this electric-powered ’95 Metro, and this ’91 Suzuki Swift so far, plus this bonus Honda CBR1000-powered LeMons race-winning Metro, and now I’ve found one of the very rare Metro convertibles at a California self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)
It takes a really special Geo Metro to achieve Junkyard Find status; the last one that managed the feat was this bright green electric-powered ’95, which turned out to be a Ree-V conversion made in Colorado during the EV optimism of the late 2000s. During a trip to my old San Francisco Bay stomping grounds a few weeks ago, I spotted today’s Junkyard Find parked just a few yards away from this will-make-you-haz-a-sad 1960 Nash Metropolitan. (Read More…)
Descent into the Columbia river gorge on I 90 during summer
A few miles East of Ellensburg, WA, on the long winding descent into the Columbia river gorge, the little car, too small to run smoothly in both sets of the deep ruts that the semi trucks had worn into the pavement of Interstate 90, rolled from groove it had been following on the left side of the lane and dropped abruptly into the groove on the right. The lateral movement of the car within the lane was not great, maybe a foot or two, and I accounted for the motion with a simple counter of the steering wheel as I speed steadily along through the dark winter night.
Normally, I wouldn’t consider an 18-year-old Suzuki Cultus badged by a now-defunct GM marque to be worthy of inclusion in this series, but this particular example— which I found at my favorite Denver self-service wrecking yard— has been converted to electric power and is thus sort of interesting. (Read More…)
We haven’t given up on Suzuki yet, and so I decided to photograph this Geo Metro sibling when I found it in a Denver-area self-service yard. (Read More…)
While today’s Arse Sweat-a-Palooza winner on laps is indeed the same Honda-motorcycle-engined Geo Metro that won the 2008 Arse Freeze-a-Palooza, it’s really a much different car now. In ’08, the Geo Player Special (then known as the Metro Gnome) had the CBR900RR engine driving the front wheels, via an ingenious chain drive that used a toilet plunger as a grease seal. Since that time, the engine— now a CBR1000— has been moved back and now drives the rear wheels. (Read More…)
The Volt is GM’s current answer to CAFE mandates and a hedge against high oil prices. In the mid eighties, the answer to the same challenge was the Chevy Sprint. The two couldn’t be more more different.
Welcome to yellow convertible week at CC. Intimations of summer are in the air, and what better way to immerse oneself into its mood-enhancing, Vitamin-D generating goodness than in a convertible, especially in a yellow one? We’re going to sample a highly diverse lot, starting with the smallest and ending with the biggest. And for true top-down motoring, its hard to be in something with four much smaller than this Metro. (Read More…)
What a difference twenty years makes. The eighties was the Japanese decade, when they were going to take over the US, if not the world. They bought prime real estate assets like Rockefeller Center and Pebble Beach. They wrote books telling the US how to fix its problems. And their car makers were swamping the US like a tsunami. The last of the holdouts, Daihatsu, finally showed up on our shores at a rather inauspicious time: 1988, one year before the great Japanese stock market collapse. Did Daihatsu’s failure and retreat in 1992 have to do more with Japanese hubris in trying to sell a “BMW quality” Geo Metro, or was the Charade just an overpriced charade? Or is there a difference? (Read More…)
Back in 2007, I made my 37th pilgrimage to mouse country. My wife and kids were hardcore Disneyites. Me? I was just there for the company. I deal with enough Goofys in real life and the thought of waiting in line to meet yet another one chafed at me. So I told my wife that I would spend the next day visiting my own wonderland. An auto auction. There was a low mileage Geo Metro I was interested in along with about a half dozen other older vehicles.