The Truth About Cars » Geo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 19 Oct 2014 11:58:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Geo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Generating Content http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/generating-content/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/generating-content/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:16:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913042 A heretofore unknown publication dubbed Gadget Review published a video outlining  “How to Charge BMW’s i3 Electric Car in a Desert (or Any Where)” using a Honda generator. I’m sure that somebody somewhere thought that this would be a great concept for “shareable” content (including the part where the host attempts to run the generator […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

A heretofore unknown publication dubbed Gadget Review published a video outlining  “How to Charge BMW’s i3 Electric Car in a Desert (or Any Where)” using a Honda generator. I’m sure that somebody somewhere thought that this would be a great concept for “shareable” content (including the part where the host attempts to run the generator inside the vehicle). The actual idea didn’t yield a ton of juice for the i3’s battery, but the idea of using generators to assist EV charging isn’t entirely unknown.

Long before the Chevrolet Volt, GM’s EV experimented were far cruder, and involved, you guessed it, Honda generators rigged to battery packs as an ersatz range extender. According to a former GM engineer and friend of TTAC, the generator would kick in as the batteries depleted themselves, allowing the prototype vehicle (a Geo Storm) to recharge the batteries and make its way home. “Some of those guys ended up working on the EV1 and are still at GM,” he told us. “I bet that’s where the inspiration for the Volt came from.”

This begs the question – why not just get the i3’s optional from the get-go, and avoid this problem altogether?

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Junkyard Find: 1991 Geo Storm GSi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1991-geo-storm-gsi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1991-geo-storm-gsi/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852577 The Storm, a rebadged second-gen Isuzu Impulse sold by GM’s short-lived Geo division, was with us for just the 1990 through 1993 model years and didn’t leave much of an impression. I see the occasional Storm in wrecking yards these days, but it takes a factory-hot-rod GSi version to get me to reach for my […]

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03 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Storm, a rebadged second-gen Isuzu Impulse sold by GM’s short-lived Geo division, was with us for just the 1990 through 1993 model years and didn’t leave much of an impression. I see the occasional Storm in wrecking yards these days, but it takes a factory-hot-rod GSi version to get me to reach for my camera. We saw this ’90 Storm GSi in a Colorado yard a couple years back, and now I’ve found another in Northern California.

Let’s watch some Storm ads!

The 16-valve performance force from Geo.

The GSi was quite a bit quicker than the ’87 CRX, but depreciation of cars bearing the doomed Geo marque probably meant that this ambitious young paralegal would have been better off sticking with the Honda.

In Canada, you could buy this car as an Asüna Sunfire.
15 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith 130 horsepower, the Storm GSi offered one of the best bang-for-buck deals of its time. I think I’d still have bought the Sentra SE-R, though I was driving something a little more hooptie at the time.
01 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPresented without comment.
17 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinToday’s Junkyard Find looks just like my super-rare diecast (actually all-plastic) Geo Storm GSi, which was given to me by a LeMons racer who claimed it was a dealer-promo item.

01 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Piston Slap: Prizm’s Intelligence Gathering Leak? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/piston-slap-prizms-intelligence-gathering-leak/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/piston-slap-prizms-intelligence-gathering-leak/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 12:53:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=704306 Andrew writes: Hi Sajeev, I’m trying to wring a few more years out of my 1994 Geo Prizm, and recently the engine got louder. It’s a very low end bass like sound that makes the whole car vibrate a lot more. The muffler and resonator are relatively new, and the noise seems localized to the […]

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Andrew writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I’m trying to wring a few more years out of my 1994 Geo Prizm, and recently the engine got louder. It’s a very low end bass like sound that makes the whole car vibrate a lot more.

The muffler and resonator are relatively new, and the noise seems localized to the front of the car. What’s odd is that the engine is the loudest when it’s idle. As soon as the RPMs go above 1500, the engine is only a little louder than it normally would be. How do I find out if the problem is the exhaust manifold, or the downpipe from the manifold to the catalytic converter? Over the summer there was a brief time when coolant was leaking and dripping down onto that downpipe and burning off. That leak issue was addressed, but that downpipe has some rusty sections on it anyway.

Sajeev answers:

One must be careful here!

Speaking of activities about anything with the name Prizm is dangerous to one’s health! Lives are at stake when Prizm related (exhaust) leaks occur, especially in enclosed areas!

That said, I doubt this is an exhaust leak.  Any reasonable exhaust shop will diagnose the problem for dirt cheap or free.  They’ll put the Prizm on a lift, listen at every key fail point (i.e. where welds or bolts happen) with a stethoscope or even a stretch of vacuum line and find the source.

But we must blow this case wide open, digging into the real source of Prizm’s problem: the engine under the hood. Specifically, the (four?) engine mounts. When boomin’ sounds occur at certain RPMs near idle, I normally default to failing engine mounts.  Sometimes a millimeter variance from new is all that’s needed to cause rumbles, booms, vibrations, etc. Especially on a 20-year-old whip!

Think about it: can the rush of air leaving the Prizm’s engine cause that strong vibration?  Or is the engine’s reciprocating mass resting in a funny spot, shaking things up like a disclosure from Edward Snowden?

Sure you can’t see it, but there are plenty of things about Prizm related things that we can never see.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1992-geo-metro-lsi-convertible/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1992-geo-metro-lsi-convertible/#comments Wed, 26 Jun 2013 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493354 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 […]

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04 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs 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.
02 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe early 1990s was a good period for cars, mostly; carburetors were finally gone forever, horsepower ratings were really starting to climb, the Japanese carmakers still hadn’t slid into their current take-no-chances boring design philosophy, and you could get cheap convertibles.
09 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA three-cylinder, 1.0 liter engine coupled to an automatic transmission made for leisurely acceleration. Actually, it made for dangerously slow acceleration.
06 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBut so what? It was a convertible for dirt cheap!

You got what you paid for with the Metro, which is more than you could say for a lot of its contemporaries.

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Geo Metro-amino Pickup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1990-geo-metro-amino-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1990-geo-metro-amino-pickup/#comments Fri, 14 Jun 2013 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491854 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 […]

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14 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt 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.
07 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese conversions (if based on a GM car, the correct term is “El-Caminoization”; Fords are “Rancheroized” and Chryslers get “Rampagized”) usually result when a hooptie car owner who owns a Sawzall but no cash really wants a pickup truck, right now. This one looks like it was built pretty well, by the standards of the genre.
12 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo big-block Suzuki four-banger here; this is the genuine 50-plus-MPG three-cylinder engine.
06 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCargo capacity is quite small, which is a good thing considering the front-drivedness and tiny size of this machine.
04 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Metro wasn’t quite as miserably slow as you’d expect, but that’s more due to low expectations than actual performance.
09 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Apple sticker is a weird touch; the kind of person who would build such a hacked-up piece of backyard engineering most likely doesn’t feel comfortable with the don’t-resist-the-Cupertino-way philosophy behind Apple products. I’d guess that the builder of this car runs non-Cupertino/non-Redmond operating systems on surplus hardware. Of course, it’s possible that the builder sold his or her Metroamino to someone who bought it for a single Burning Man trip and then scrapped it.
02 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhat’s next, a Geo Stormamino? A Cateramino? Achievamino?

01 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Piston Slap: SHO-in off the MetSHO! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/piston-slap-sho-in-off-the-metsho/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/piston-slap-sho-in-off-the-metsho/#comments Mon, 18 Mar 2013 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=481543 TTAC commentator crabspirits writes: I stumbled upon your Lemons Z34-fiero article.  My brothers both had LQ1 Cutlasses and whoever designed that engine was a sadist. They both blew the headgaskets and were impossible to work on. FYI: we run the SHO-swapped, mid-engine Geo Metro in the 24 Hours of LeMons. I had some good battles […]

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TTAC commentator crabspirits writes:

I stumbled upon your Lemons Z34-fiero article.  My brothers both had LQ1 Cutlasses and whoever designed that engine was a sadist. They both blew the headgaskets and were impossible to work on. FYI: we run the SHO-swapped, mid-engine Geo Metro in the 24 Hours of LeMons. I had some good battles against that LQ1 Fiero, some captured on my helmet cam.

Thought you might find it interesting. I could’ve had him on the straights easy, but our clutch was slipping badly, and I didn’t want to divebomb him. Still, a worthy opponent.

The Metro has an ongoing track diary attached to the build thread. You can probably glean a lot of material from it. 

The car feels like a 200hp MR-S with better brakes. The suspension is built with all warranty returns from a local suspension company’s dumpster. It feels fine for what it is, but every now and then, a corner of the car will feel “weird” and you get an unpleasant surprise. When something fails on the MetSHO, it is always a case of “I can see it, but I can’t reach it”. It basically sucks to work on.

The main thing on the car that holds us back is tires. Good sized wheels for the taurus bolt pattern are hard to find, then you realize you can’t fit them when you factor in the coilovers and Geo real estate. We recently managed to squeeze some good rubber in the rear, but the fronts are still plastic-like. The brakes are good, but nearly everyone in the top 10 has big aftermarket setups. We usually get a best lap time in the top 5-10, but with our talent, we can’t seem to hold that kind of speed in this car without getting into trouble eventually. Fortunately, we are all drifters, so when trouble happens we usually know what to do. There have been many pleasant and unpleasant experiences with this car. Lemons has taught me a lot about car prep, tech stuff, driving, planning, and priorities (#1 is have fun).

Looking forward to such an article. I’ve never gotten the chance to meet with the Fiero team. I’m sure we share a lot in common. Same with the team that brings the Alfa 164-swapped Fiat X1/9.

Sajeev answers:

Z34-powered Fiero, SHO-Metro.  Fiat X1/9 with an Alfa motor. My goodness…every time I judge a LeMons race I am thankful for at least two things:  the free shit you cheaty-cheaters are obligated to give me, and your ability to make me look normal.  I sincerely appreciate both.

A friend of mine (using the term loosely, since all you people are certifiable) once mentioned that making a LeMons car is like freebasing on automobiles.   So if a freebasing (admit it!) gearhead such as yourself has such information proving the LQ1’s complete terribleness, it must be right.

What else is there to say?  You made a fantastic machine, you certainly don’t need my advice…though I will say one thing: Thunderbird Super Coupe or Lincoln Mark VIII. Ditch the 6.5″ wide wheels and get a set of 16×7″ inchers from the big Ford coupes.  They are dirt cheap so they work in a LeMons budget. The extra .5″ will get you a slightly wider tire, and every bit counts. But since wheels/tires are considered a safety(?) item, you can go nuts and buy the aftermarket 9″ wide rims.

I have faith that you can make a 9″ wide rim fit in the rear.  And why not? Then again, talk to Jay Lamm before doing so…as citing me as a source might be the dumbest move on your part.  Dumber than freebasing cars, that is.

Best of luck, I wish you and your team well this year in LeMons.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

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Slip Slidin’ Away: How I Crashed a Geo Metro and Lived to Tell the Tale http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/slip-slidin-away-how-i-crashed-a-geo-metro-and-lived-to-tell-the-tale/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/slip-slidin-away-how-i-crashed-a-geo-metro-and-lived-to-tell-the-tale/#comments Tue, 26 Feb 2013 15:57:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=478738 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 […]

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Photo courtesy of www.asphaltwa.com

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.

I had not owned the Geo Metro long, just a few weeks, and so far it had been a positive experience. It was a cheap, tinny little car and to be sure it was no power machine, but with my lead foot and the car’s slick 5 speed transmission it could be speedy enough. Even now it was moving along effortlessly above the posted speed limit.

Another corner approached, this one a wide sweeping right hander and I turned the car in as smoothly as possible. The car responded a little sluggishly and, again, rolled up out of the groove in which I had been running and jerked into the parallel rut. With a sudden jolt the back tires broke traction and rear of the car swung wide. Surprised at the car’s motion, I responded with an equally sudden counter steer. The back end of the car snapped back, but again failed to find the groove and went wide right. Again I corrected with the steering wheel and the car responded at once, snapping back again to the left even more violently and demanding even greater correction with the wheel.

Like a pendulum swinging back and forth, the car was fishtailing wildly now and the back and forth cycle was growing ever more violent with each change of direction. I took my right foot from the gas to cover the brake but held it over the pedal without pressing down, brakes wouldn’t help I knew, they were the last resort. The car pitched again to the right, now fully 90 degrees to the lane of travel and I knew the next swing back to the left would be the most violent yet. When the car swung left, I corrected naturally but to no effect. The front wheels finally broke traction and the front of the car swung around and entered a full spin. I knew it was a lost cause and hammered the brakes as I threw an arm across my girlfriend, still asleep in the passenger seat and fully unaware of what was about to happen.

Image courtesy of www.greencarreports.com

Geo Metro

I had purchased the little Metro for the same reasons that everyone purchases small, fuel efficient cars and safety was not at the top of my list. In the fall of 1995 I pretty much had it all, a decent job, a beautiful girlfriend and I was even making slow but steady process towards my college degree. I had graduated from community college and enrolled in a teaching certification program being offered in the evenings by Western Washington University through Seattle Central Community College.

Since I lived a good distance outside of Seattle, the Geo Metro fit the bill perfectly. Its tiny three cylinder engine would sip gas and save me money. Even better, the buy-in price for the base model with no options was ludicrously low. A test drive confirmed the car was exactly the no frills transportation I needed and soon the little car and I were cutting our way through the traffic to Seattle and back three rainy nights each week.

Sometime in January, my girlfriend who was a year behind me in Community College, announced that she was thinking about finishing her four year degree at Washington State University. WSU, however, was almost 300 miles away on the extreme eastern edge of the state and if we were going to stay together it was going to mean frequent road trips. Still, I supported her decision and when she said she wanted to take a trip to see the college I volunteered to take her.

Photo courtesy of Washington State DOT: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov

Trucks stopped for avalanche control

It was late when we rolled through Ellensburg but, with minimal traffic on the interstate, I pressed on in the hopes of getting just a little farther before stopping for the night. As we headed up, Ryegrass Summit, the last hump before the road dropped into a long, winding descent into the Columbia river gorge, I gradually wicked up the speed to around 70mph. The fact that there was black ice on the road never occurred to me.

The car was now fully out of control, spinning and pirouetting like figure skater as we slid across the ice. I fought for control, but it was a futile gesture and we were still doing around 50 MPH when we left the road. The right rear tire bit into the soft shoulder first and I heard the roar of pebbles as the car snapped violently around to the right. A fraction of a second later we were stopped, my headlights shining up through the branches of a leafless bush, their brightness lost in the starry sky overhead.

As adrenaline poured into my system, time slowed to a crawl and I took in the situation in an oddly calm and orderly way. The engine was silent but heater fan hummed steadily along and the radio still put forth its stream of tinny AM talk. My girlfriend sat beside me, silent but as wide awake and focused as I was. Thank God she was OK. We both were. Then I noticed that the airbag had not deployed.

I turned the ignition key and the engine scratched to life. I slipped the gearshift into reverse and noted the sound of crunching gravel as I backed the little car up a small slope onto the hard shoulder of the interstate. Leaving the engine running, I slipped the car into neutral, shot the parking brake and got out to assess the damage.

Outside, I could feel the isolation of the place. The canyon walls towered up on either side of me, the face of a cliff just two lanes away across the eastbound lanes of the interstate. On the far side of the canyon, perhaps a half mile away, the westbound lanes of the interstate worked their way up and out of the valley and between the two roadbeds flowed a small creek. Over the centuries, this creek had eroded away the surrounding rock walls, widening the canyon and creating a flat, sandy plain. That sand was our salvation.

A slow hissing sound drew my attention to Metro’s front tire. In the car’s final spin, some small pebbles had forced their way between the tire and the rim and their presence was enough to cause a slow leak. Otherwise, my car appeared to be absolutely unscathed.

Noting the twinkling of lights down the valley, I resumed my place behind the wheel and headed for civilization. As I ran up to a much more cautious 40 mph, I heard the rattle of pebbles being flung from the bead of the tire and I realized the leak was sealing itself. Slowly, we made our way to the closest town and, with no gas stations open, checked into a hotel.

Photo courtesy of www.goodfon.com

The desert at night

We continued our journey the next day without incident. Two days later, as we headed west through the gorge on the homeward leg of our journey, I strained to see the place where we had left the road. There were no tracks, but the place itself was obvious. A small single oasis of sand in a place where the slope flattened just enough to allow the small stream to slow and meander. A hundred feet in either direction there was nothing but steel guardrails and the hard, exposed rock of the canyon wall.

Somewhere, further up the slope during our eastbound descent, the rear wheels of my little Metro had broken loose and I had begun a struggle for control. I can’t say how far that we traveled during that fight, but by the time that physics had won we were in the only place for miles where we could have emerged unscathed. To this day, I can’t explain how that happened. Perhaps it was just incredible luck, I don’t know, but maybe, just maybe, it was the guiding hand of God. As a person of faith, I would like to think so.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself

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Junkyard Find: Electric 1995 Geo Metro http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/junkyard-find-electric-1995-geo-metro/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/junkyard-find-electric-1995-geo-metro/#comments Tue, 26 Feb 2013 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=479114 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. The valuable stuff that electric-car geeks like […]

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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.
The valuable stuff that electric-car geeks like to keep (i.e., the electric motor, control circuitry, and batteries) is all gone, but you can see that this setup used the Suzuki front-drive transaxle more or less intact.
It looks like there was some sort of electrical fire or maybe a big acid spill in the rear of the car at some point, judging from the pried-open-in-a-hurry hatch and melted insulation.
You don’t see many 400-amp ammeters and 180-volt voltmeters in junked econoboxes!
Now that you can buy genuine factory-made electric cars, these homemade jobs don’t quite make the statement they once did. Still, the guy who built this car is probably driving a different electric machine. Let’s hope it’s an electron-driven Triumph Stag.
02 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Hatchback Throwback: A Five-Door Retrospective http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/hatchback-throwback-a-five-door-retrospective/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/hatchback-throwback-a-five-door-retrospective/#comments Thu, 07 Feb 2013 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=476595 The five-door hatchback, long a staple of world markets, is enjoying a resurgance in a big way. While hatchbacks were once regarded as symbols of poverty in the eyes of most Americans, the premium segment is the vanguard of the hatchback today, with everything from the Audi A7 to the Porsche Panamera sporting a “fifth […]

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The five-door hatchback, long a staple of world markets, is enjoying a resurgance in a big way. While hatchbacks were once regarded as symbols of poverty in the eyes of most Americans, the premium segment is the vanguard of the hatchback today, with everything from the Audi A7 to the Porsche Panamera sporting a “fifth door”.

The first leaked pictures of the BMW 3-Series GT drew more than a few comparisons to the very first Hyundai Elantra GT (shown above). Unlike the two-box GT on sale now, this one looked more like a pseudo-sedan and was part of a sporadic line of five-doors that tried their hand at the American marketplace and ultimately failed.

The most recent example that I can think of is the first-generation Mazda6. Despite being the driver’s choice since its debut, the Mazda6 has never really caught on with buyers – the hatch didn’t even make it past the first generation, despite soldiering on throughout the world into the second generation.

Unlike the good folks at Mazda, Honda decided to withhold the hatch from us. Europeans got the 5-door Accord, but like the Mazda, it never sold in huge numbers either – unlike hatchback versions of the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall/Opel Vectra. These cars seem to get exported to the Carribbean in huge numbers – there’s even a song about it.

At the other end of the spectrum there’s the Chevrolet Malibu Maxx, and its “hot” sibling, the Maxx SS. The Maxx could be held up as yet another example of a good faith attempt at bringing European product over to the US, with the execution going horribly wrong (see: Buick Regal). The Maxx was based on the Opel Signum, which was intended to re-invent the “executive car” segment in Europe with a two-box form factor, similar to other famous success stories like the Renault Vel Satis and Avantime. We all know how that worked out. Now run that through the cheesecloth of awfulness that was GM right before the bailout, and it’s hard to imagine how this car avoided being an Aztek-grade screwup.

Of course, there are other luminaries like the Plymouth Sundance, most Saabs and of course, the Geo Prizm. My all-time favorite five-door hatch is still the early 1990’s Mazda Lantis with Mazda’s 2.5L KL-ZE V6. The same power as the 2014 Mazda6 in a lighter package full of hatchback goodness? I’m sold. Too bad the rest of the American buying public isn’t.

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Geo Spectrum http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1989-geo-spectrum/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1989-geo-spectrum/#comments Sun, 23 Sep 2012 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=460978 The Mitsubishi Sigma I found a couple weeks ago was one rare Junkyard Find, having been sold in the United States for just two model years. Today, though, we’ve got something even more obscure: an Isuzu Gemini badged with both Chevrolet and Geo emblems, available for just one year. The General never seemed quite sure […]

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The Mitsubishi Sigma I found a couple weeks ago was one rare Junkyard Find, having been sold in the United States for just two model years. Today, though, we’ve got something even more obscure: an Isuzu Gemini badged with both Chevrolet and Geo emblems, available for just one year.
The General never seemed quite sure what to do with the Geo brand; the Chevrolet-ized Isuzu Gemini aka I-Mark was available for a few years, but then became a Geo in 1989.
But wait! What’s that Chevy bowtie doing on the grille? I’m sure it all made sense after a 21-hour marketing meeting in an airless Motor City conference room.
These things were reasonably competent commuters, but didn’t exactly fly off the showroom floors.

It’s too bad Geo didn’t use this Japanese-market Gemini ad to sell the Spectrum.

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Because No Toy Car Collection Is Complete Without a Geo Storm GSi! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/because-no-toy-car-collection-is-complete-without-a-geo-storm-gsi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/because-no-toy-car-collection-is-complete-without-a-geo-storm-gsi/#comments Thu, 17 May 2012 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=444765 Giving gifts to 24 Hours of LeMons judges in order to ensure smooth turning of the gears of justice has been a tradition for several many years now. While jugs of quality booze remain the most common judicial bribe, keeping my liver at least semi-functional mandates that most of that stuff get passed on to […]

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Giving gifts to 24 Hours of LeMons judges in order to ensure smooth turning of the gears of justice has been a tradition for several many years now. While jugs of quality booze remain the most common judicial bribe, keeping my liver at least semi-functional mandates that most of that stuff get passed on to track workers. Not so with bribes involving weird toy cars, however; I’ve got quite a collection of such gifts on my office bookshelves now. While I prize my Leyland P76, Nissan Prairie, and Impala Hell Project diorama, the car that now sits in the place of honor on my desk is one that I received from a Denver racer who couldn’t wait for the B.F.E. GP next month and came by Chez Murilee with this lovely Detroito-Tokyo icon of the early 1990s.
Yes, the Geo Storm GSi, a fine example of which I spotted in a Denver self-serve junkyard not long ago. Remember this badge-engineered Isuzu? Quicker than a Civic Si, and (after all the rebates) cheaper as well. Apparently, GM had AMT make up a bunch of plastic promo models of the GSi back in the day… and now I’ve got one, thanks to Cadillac Bob of twin-supercharged AMC Marlin race car fame. Thanks, Bob!
Which isn’t to say that I’m not overjoyed by all the diecast Soviet cars I’ve been receiving from generous racers who understand my obsession with Warsaw Pact drivers. Inspired by this piece about an UAZ-452 I spotted in Vietnam, two racers gave me 1:43-scale Bukhankas at the Michigan race last month.

Toy Geo Storm GSi - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 2- Toy Geo Storm GSi - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Diecast UAZ-452 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Geo Prizm http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1992-geo-prizm/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1992-geo-prizm/#comments Fri, 27 Apr 2012 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=441802 We’ve seen a few NUMMI-built Junkyard Finds in recent weeks, including this ’87 Nova and this ’87 Corolla FX16 GT-S. However, the car that really comes to mind when you think of NUMMI is the Geo Prizm. Here’s an example of GM’s rebadged Corolla that I found at a self-service junkyard about 20 miles from […]

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We’ve seen a few NUMMI-built Junkyard Finds in recent weeks, including this ’87 Nova and this ’87 Corolla FX16 GT-S. However, the car that really comes to mind when you think of NUMMI is the Geo Prizm. Here’s an example of GM’s rebadged Corolla that I found at a self-service junkyard about 20 miles from the car’s birthplace. It’s the circle of automotive life!
Prizms and Corollas came down the same assembly line at NUMMI and were, for all practical purposes, the same car. Savvy used-car buyers soon learned that you could get a 5-year-old Prizm for half the price of a 5-year-old Corolla… but most car buyers weren’t that savvy.
Nobody has ever been able to explain the point of the Geo marque in a way that made sense to me. It was used as a catch-all badge for rebadged Suzuki, Isuzu, and Toyota cars (sadly, there were no Daewoo- or Opel-built Geos), and car buyers were just as befuddled by Geos as by Eagles.
By the early 1990s, the Corolla had already gone pretty far into its descent into the soporific transportation appliance we know today. Sure, you could get a GSi Prizm and a GT-S Corolla in 1992, but most of these cars were essentially treated as 3/4-scale Camrys. This one didn’t even make 200,000 miles before its general hooptieness condemned it to death in a Chinese steel factory.

18 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 16 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 17 - 1992 Geo Prizm Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07-1992-Geo-Prizm-Down-On-the-Junkyard-Pictures-courtesy-of-Phil-Murilee-Martin-Greden-thumb Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Geo Storm GSi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1990-geo-storm-gsi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1990-geo-storm-gsi/#comments Tue, 10 Apr 2012 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=439130 When you think about cheap factory hot rods of the early 1990s, do you think of the Geo Storm GSi? Probably not— the Isuzu-built Storm has been nearly forgotten by now— but the GSi had some pretty impressive performance numbers. How about 130 horsepower in a 2,392-pound car? The ’90 Storm GSi listed at $11,650 […]

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When you think about cheap factory hot rods of the early 1990s, do you think of the Geo Storm GSi? Probably not— the Isuzu-built Storm has been nearly forgotten by now— but the GSi had some pretty impressive performance numbers. How about 130 horsepower in a 2,392-pound car?
The ’90 Storm GSi listed at $11,650 (and that’s the pre-dealer-markdown-and-factory-rebate price), which gave buyers a pretty good bang-for-buck ratio when compared to, say, the 108-horse/2,291-pound/$10,245 Honda Civic Si.

Of course, you see 1990 Civic Sis all the time these days, and this is the first Geo Storm I’ve seen (outside of 24 Hours of LeMons races) in several years.
Storm trivia: what notorious whackjob mass murderer drove a Storm? Answer: Timothy McVeigh, who daily-drove a Storm until a week or so before he did his crime. The Storm, which he dubbed “The Road Warrior,” got rear-ended at a gas station, and McVeigh ended up using a ’77 Mercury Marquis as his getaway car.

16 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - 1990 Geo Storm GSi Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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And the Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/and-the-winner-is-19/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/and-the-winner-is-19/#comments Mon, 08 Aug 2011 01:15:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=406217 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 […]

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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.

This car has been running the rear-engine/rear-drive configuration for a couple of years now and had been quite close to an overall win on several occasions. Today, it all came together for the Metro. Congratulations, Geo Player Special!

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