Because No Toy Car Collection Is Complete Without a Geo Storm GSi!

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Synchromesh Synchromesh on May 17, 2012

    The Bukhanka is awesome! There was also a pickup truck model of the UAZ with same cab.

  • Redav Redav on May 17, 2012

    I've thought about starting a business where I would partner up with some local dealerships and make die-cast 1/16th scale complete replicas of each individual car they sell: the same paint, same wheels, same interior--the whole shebang. The dealership would give them to customers as a form of thank-you gift (I believe it would do wonders for referrals & repeat business--they can write it off from their advertising budget), customers would be able to show off their pride-and-joy even when not around their car (seriously, I think people are that vain). I'd even put the buyer's name on the model to make it that much more personal.

  • Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
  • 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.
  • Akear What is GM good at?You led Mary............................................What a disgrace!
  • Randy in rocklin I have a 87 bot new with 200k miles and 3 head gasket jobs and bot another 87 turbo 5 speed with 70k miles and new head gaskets. They cost around 4k to do these days.