Junkyard Find: 1992 Pontiac LeMans Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1992 pontiac lemans sedan

General Motors brought Opel Kadetts into the United States via several routes over the years. They came from Germany and were badged as Opels at first, Isuzu built “Buick Opels” a bit later, then Isuzu dealers sold them as I-Marks (the Chevette was also a Kadett sibling, but at least it was American-built). By the late 1980s, the Kadett’s American cousin was the Daewoo LeMans, a crappily-built Korean front-wheel-drive miserybox based on the Kadett E. Few were sold, and nearly all of those were three-door hatchback versions.

Here’s an exceptionally rare LeMans sedan, from the next-to-last year of American-market sales, that I spotted last week in a Denver self-service wrecking yard.

The Daewoo-made LeMans was available in the United States for the 1988 through 1993 model years, and in Canada (as the Asüna SE and GT) for the 1991-93 model years. This one never even touched 80,000 miles on the clock.

Sad to think that the LeMans name, which once graced cool-looking A-body machines, came to this.

Meanwhile, GM shoppers turned off by the extravagance of the LeMans could buy a Suzuki Cultus, known as the Chevrolet Sprint and, later, the Geo Metro.

In 1993, the LeMans sedan came with an MSRP of $9,854 (we can assume that most sold for quite a bit less than that). This was way cheaper than the far-superior-in-every-aspect $11,198 Toyota Corolla sedan, but the ’93 Pontiac Sunbird LE sedan listed for just $9,382 and would have made LeMans sales difficult for Pontiac salesmen, even those under threat of having one toenail torn out with pliers for every Daewoo left in end-of-month inventory.

We’ve seen this ’88 and this ’88, both hatchbacks, in this series prior to today. When will all of these cars disappear from the junkyard ecosystem?

The Asüna GT was the Canadian hatchback version.

In its homeland, the LeMans got some seriously macho voiceovers in its TV ads.

Daewoo felt great pride that this car was sold all over the world.

In the United States, the LeMans helped Pontiac build excitement.

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  • Shortest Circuit Shortest Circuit on Feb 26, 2016

    The LeMans (also for canadians, the Passport Optima) was NOT based on the Kadett E, but the more robust Kadett D. It takes a bit of investigation, but the blower motor on the OUTSIDE of the firewall is a dead giveaway. GM gave the boxy D-Kadett some nicer E-clothes and rebadged it for the USA.

  • Webibeay Webibeay on Feb 28, 2016

    In 1990 I made the miserable mistake (college kid on a VERY tight budget) to buy one of these sedans brand new. LE sedan, all the options (even sunroof) for $7k. Everything, and I mean everything broke - (windshield fell out, rear bumper fell off, everything leaked, it overheated constantly amongst leaving me on the side of road numerous times!!!!) what a horrible, miserable, piece of crap!!! I managed to get 9,000 miles on it before finally giving up and trading it on a new GEO Storm.... Just can't explain how truly horrible this POS was....

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  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
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  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?