By on December 17, 2014

09 - 2001 Chevrolet Tracker Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe second-gen Chevrolet Tracker, a badge-engineered version of the Suzuki Vitara and the descendent of the Geo Tracker Suzuki Sidekick sibling, was sold all over the world with many nameplates. It was never much of a big seller in the United States, so this ZR-2 is an unusual Junkyard Find.


It will tow a semi! It’s like a (Suzuki) rock!
18 - 2001 Chevrolet Tracker Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinRemember when the Culture Wars were all about flag-burning? Here’s an early-to-mid-2000s artifact of those days for you.
01 - 2001 Chevrolet Tracker Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ZR-2 option package was all about off-roady stuff. I wonder if any base-model Tracker owner will grab all the skid plates and stuff off this one.
04 - 2001 Chevrolet Tracker Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe engine is gone.
15 - 2001 Chevrolet Tracker Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s probably not so much demand for worn-out Florida State tire covers.

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55 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2001 Chevrolet Tracker ZR-2...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Too funny…

    “Can a Chevy Tracker tow a semi? Nah”

    Love the commercial

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    That’s not Florida State, it’s University of Florida. Florida State is the Seminoles.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      I’m chuckling over the UF/FSU mixup. Murilee, you’d better be careful mixing those two up in some parts of the country- you’ll raise the ire of college football superfans who have attended neither (nor any) college. For some folks, college football is more than a pastime, it’s a way of life.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Would this vehicle have been manufactured in the CAMI plant in Ingersoll?

    If I remember correctly these were sturdy little BOF vehicles, that have something of a cult following.

  • avatar
    319583076

    I really hope Crab Spirits does this one…

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Johnny loved his Tracker. Johnny didn’t see the disclaimer on the commercial. Johnny wanted to help, so Johnny towed a stranded semi. Johnny’s Tracker grenaded

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Chip let his cracked Blackberry fall into his pocket, and shoved his worn out Jansport right through the hole where there used to be a plastic window. Shreds of duct tape were visible; some attached to the remaining plastic and others on the ground.

      “God f-cking damnit. Not again!”

      His favorite Blink 182 CDs were gone, as was the yellow Disc Man he used. They left the cassette-to-CD converter, though had yanked the cord from the cassette portion in their haste.

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      Too busy today. Sorry.
      28 Cars Later?

      Key evidence:
      -Base sticker (blue part is burned, so don’t know which one), and USAA insurance point out that someone who is active military owned this car.
      -Fire was localized at the upper rear of the soft top? Looks like it was cooked in a house fire.

      • 0 avatar
        greaseyknight

        I wonder if its demise had anything to do with a flag burning? Something to do with it being driven into the middle of an anti-war protest, and a protester jumps on the roof and lights a flag on fire. Now that would make for a good Crabspirits/28 Cars story.

      • 0 avatar
        mic

        Yeah, good chance it was shipped to Germany and back for an overseas tour by that sticker on the back.

      • 0 avatar
        jetcal1

        Hello Spirit,
        Could have belonged to the child of said commissioned type. They get on-base privileges if they are in college.
        No officer I know would have driven something like this.
        Oh, coulda’been weekend warrior. Lotta’ outta work airline types after 9/11.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        One can assume Air Force either from the Academy or the Air Force Base in Colo Spgs, CO, or Cheyenne, WY. Army stickers of this era were green for Fort Cartoon.

  • avatar
    zach

    I never realized there was a second gen. they were always just Trackers to me, I always thought they were neat little second class citizens to the Wrangler.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I believe they were sold here under the Suzuki name and Chevrolet at the same time. I kind of liked the first gen with the boxy, Montero-like appearance, but the second one did nothing for me.

      They continued on with the Grand Vitara afterward, until it became the XL-7.

  • avatar

    I had a 1999 Tracker… 4-cylinder… a little slow… but rugged little almost-truck. Handled the freeway and Michigan snow very well… the only thing that killed it was road salt. The brine ate it up and left me with no option but to get rid of it… although it is probalby still running (dangerously).

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      I had a 2000 Tracker 4-door. Was disappointed that the available V-6 was only available in the Suzuki Vitara clone. The Chevy was rugged and handled commuting duties in Bay Area rain just fine. Brakes were a little weak, but never a problem. However, it just wasn’t ‘special’ enough for me, so in less than a year I gave it to my sister as a Christmas present – she’d been going through some hard times. She drove it around Portland, OR for years and loved it immensely. It was much tougher than the unibody RAV4’s and CRV’s of the times.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Too bad , it doesn’t look very beat up .

    I still see these once in a blue moon in L.A. , doing yeoman duty during early AM commute .

    So, they’re O.K. ? .

    I imagine that front axle would be handy for making some custom 4X4 out of who knows what improbable project , driven with steering knuckles….

    -Nate

  • avatar

    Was this 4-wheel drive? And this is in Colorado? I probably sold this thing five years ago.

    3dr 4×4 Trackers are crazy popular because you can flat-tow ’em.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I never heard of a car that’s popular because of it’s towability… Hanging out with the repo-guys?

      • 0 avatar
        greaseyknight

        Not the repo guys, the blue hairs. They are always looking for the dingy to flat tow behind the land yacht. Aka flat towing a small vehicle behind the massive class A motorhome. Small 4×4’s work great for that because the transfer case can be put in neutral. IIRC Saturns were also popular back in the day.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Ah, thanks, never thought of that

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Called ‘ Draggers ‘ .

            I’m sure there’s at least one Web Site dedicated to this as flat towing the wrong chassis will grind it to junk in short order .

            SWMBO wants me to buy one of those HUGE land Yachts ~ I don’t want to drive anything that big .

            A buddy of mine lives 1/2 the year in the best converted old Greyhound bus I’ve ever seen . it’s a Scenicruiser (SP ?) , all polished aluminum exterior , hand made wooden interior .

            He Drags a Mercedes W-123 Diesel Sedan .

            -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Maybe Saturns because of their lighter weight thanks to the plastic? (Disclaimer: I have no idea if Saturns were actually any lighter because of that.) Or maybe because all the dents popped back out when Gerald backed the rig into a port-a-potty?

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            ’90s Saturns were popular because the design of the manual transmission meant that you could flat-tow it without trashing the internal bearings (some m/t’s have bad things happen when spun from the output end).

          • 0 avatar
            greaseyknight

            Thats what I heard back in the day as a young lad, they were lighter due to being plastic. According to Wikipedia they are about the same as a Sentra, but a little lighter then a Civic.

            @nate, ballin, if I was into RV’ing, thats how I’d roll.

        • 0 avatar
          mikeg216

          90% of the two door manual transmission wranglers are sold as draggers

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    There’s one in every car kid…you’ll see.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I confess, I loved these little suckers but I never owned one.

    In the snowy Ohio winters of my youth it seemed like the two door (either convertible or ultra rare non convertible two door) with 4×4 and manual trans would have been fun. I have heard that they were much more capable off road than they are given credit for.

    I remember from my days of reading “4-wheel and Off Road” that GM did a skunkworks project where they put a Vortec 4.3 V6 and Smartrak AWD system in one. With the 200hp the Vortec was laying down you would have needed all for wheels to distribute the power.

    • 0 avatar
      spreadsheet monkey

      Kits are available to do exactly that conversion:
      http://www.suzukiconversion.com/suzuki_tracker.htm

      They also sell ready-converted V6 Suzuki Trackers and (eek) Samurais…

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Yes the Samurai is the truly scary one or dare I say, a V8 SAMURAI!

        http://www.suzukiconversion.com/suzuki_v8.htm

        That’s like putting a V-twin on your skateboard.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    My brother owns this tracker’s biggest brother, a 2002 Suzuki Grand Vitara XL7, base trim with steel wheels and without the miserable third row, with the 5spd manual transmission and part time 4wd. It has a 2.7L V6 with 180hp as I recall.

    He bought it used with 85k miles about 5 years ago and it’s served him very well. He uses it very much to the full extent of its capabilities off road, hauling mountain bikes in central PA.

    The ground clearance and longer wheelbase don’t do it any favors in serious offroad situations, but the tradeoff is it is remarkably planted on the road and rides pretty well. Much more stable than my 4Runner. it also gets some pretty remarkable fuel economy, 25 in mixed driving. The key here was swapping in some manual front hubs to cut down on parasitic drag in the front end, as well as having a stick shift rather than the automatic.

    Very much an ‘under the radar’ sort of SUV.

  • avatar
    Fenian

    That is an extinct species. In addition to this and its Suzuki counterparts, you used to be able to get Isuzu Amigos/Rodeo Sport and three door RAV4s, but after the early 2000s, the market seems to have disappeared.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    For some reason I’ve had two aunts who owned these things, one a silver 2 door soft top like this and the other a silver 4 door hardtop.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    University of Florida- Gators

    Florida State- Seminoles

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I find it ironic when I see blatantly patriotic stickers on re-badged imports or HyunKia products. But my wife has a great uncle who had one of these and loved his little “Shivvy”. He’s a WWII Navy vet and I only brought up once that his “Shivvy” was actually a Suzuki. He swore up and down it wasn’t, and it was a win-less argument, so I let it go.

    • 0 avatar
      dannew02

      Like me arguing over and over with my Dad that his Chevy LUV was actually Japanese? I was still wrong, even after showing him the data plate thingy “Made in Japan” right on it… “Let it go….”
      He also bought a Chevy Prizm, and parking it RIGHT NEXT to a Corolla made no difference in the argument to him…

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I drove a Grand Vitara V6 around 08 before we bought our Mazda 5. Took it home and nearly brought it back halfway home. Loud and unrefined all the way around. I drove an 04 or 05 Honda CR-V later that week with 50k on it and was much more refined all the way around.

    I get these being good( if not great) off-roaders since they are really 4wd and BOF. I can see why I used to see many being used as land yacht dinghies, towed behind motorhomes. But on-road, it seemed like a miserable contraption. I believe that somewhere near the last year had a GM based 3.2 V6 good for 200 ponies, but I think they were last sold in 2013 as all four cylinders or something.

  • avatar
    scottcom36

    Trackers were pretty popular in Maine. A genuine body on frame vehicle with a “real” four wheel drive system in a small package. A lot to like for the right person.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Not sure there were any other “off-roady stuff” except for the skid plate and its associated transfer case shield. I bought those and bolted them on my 03 vitara 4-dr. Have done some light off roading with it, but the lack of locker differential has turned me back a few times.
    It is rough, noisy, adequately powerful, a bit “unscheduled maintenance” prone, and the 5-speed manual is finicky to shift, but I still love it, particularly to get to ski areas. It is kind of a gas hog too at 26mpg overall. I expected better of a 2.0 four cyl and 5-speed.

    I still want a Jimny.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I took a Tracker off-road once, it was quite capable. Much better than my friend’s OJ Bronco.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Regarding the history & marketing of the Tracker/Sidekick by GM in Canada, directly from the ever reliable Wikipedia.

    “The Sidekick was sold in various badges such as the Geo Tracker (Chevrolet Tracker after 1998) in the United States, and as the GMC Tracker, Chevrolet Tracker, Asüna Sunrunner and Pontiac Sunrunner in Canada. It was also sold as the Santana 300 and 350 in Spain. In the Japanese home market, it was variously sold also with Mazda badge.”

    Our corporate fleet mechanic drives one. Despite the fact that rust is starting to take hold, he has a great deal of affection for its reliability and capability both off road and in very poor winter driving conditions.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I’ve heard about people making lightweight rock crawler buggies with 1.6 Tracker engines before, so perhaps someone pulled the motor from this thing for a similar purpose.


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