Junkyard Find: 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Electric Sport

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Now that it’s possible to buy electric cars that actually do what cars are supposed to do, we mustn’t forget the very lengthy era— say 1970 to just a few years ago— during which all manner of optimistic-yet-doomed companies converted various econoboxes into lead-acid-battery-based EVs. Every once in a while, I’ll spot the remains of such an EV at a junkyard; we saw a junked EVolve Electrics 1995 Geo Metro EV conversion last year, and now a different Denver yard has given us this ’88 Sprint “Electric Sport.”

The Sprint aka Cultus wasn’t a bad choice for an electric vehicle, being lightweight and cheap.

Electric motors are worth money, either as working motors or as sources of valuable scrap copper, so the one in this car is long gone.

The remnants of the battery tray may be seen in the rear cargo area.

Someone grabbed the no-doubt-modified instrument cluster, too.

Bonus points to anyone who can track down the company that built the Electric Sport Sprint!

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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  • Kinsha Kinsha on Apr 10, 2014

    Looks like your long gone instrument cluster near the battery tray.

  • Otmar Ebenhoech Otmar Ebenhoech on Nov 07, 2022

    Surprising to see my old Electric Sprint here, a bit worse for wear.

    I converted it for a man in the San Juan Islands in 1991, and later got it for my own daily driver. Underpowered at about 25 HP and only a 45 mile range with 12 Optima YellowTop lead acid batteries, but it sure was efficient and fun to drive!

    The Brusa AC drive was smooth, no shifting required and the trans was locked in 2nd gear, plenty of torque off the line. Charging to full probably took about 5 hours from empty.

    I think it was the kicking "Wayland" stereo that really put it over the top with two 8" microsubs.

    I sold it in 2003.

    Good times!

  • Grg I am not sure that this would hold up in snow country. It used to be that people in snow country would not be caught dead in a white car. Now that white cars have become popular in the north, I can't tell you how many times I have seen white cars driving in the snow without lights. Almost all cars are less visible in a snow storm, or for that matter, rain storm, without lights. White ones become nearly invisible.
  • Douglas I have a 2018 BMW 740e PHEV, and love it. It has a modest electric only range compared to newer PHEV's (about 18 miles), but that gets me to the office and back each day. It has a small gas tank to make room for the battery, so only holds about 11 gallons. I easily go 600 or more miles per tank. I love it, and being able to take long road trips without having to plug in (it just operates like a regular Hybrid if you never plug it in). It charges in 75 minutes in my garage from a Level 2 charger I bought on Amazon for $350. Had an electrician add a dryer outlet beside the breaker box. It's the best of both worlds and I would definitely want a PHEV for my next car. 104,000 miles and ZERO problems with the powertrain components (so far).
  • Panther Platform I had a 98 Lincoln Mark VIII so I have a soft spot for this. The Mark VIII styling was not appreciated by all.
  • Grant P Farrell Oh no the dealership kept the car for hours on two occasions before giving me a loaner for two months while they supposedly replaced the ECU. I hate cords so I've only connected it wirelessly. Next I'm gonna try using the usb-c in the center console and leaving the phone plugged in in there, not as convenient but it might lower my blood pressure.
  • Jeff Tiny electrical parts are ruining today's cars! What can they ...