By on June 13, 2016

1990 Geo Storm in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - © 2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Storm was the Geo-ized American-market version of the 1990-1993 Isuzu Gemini Coupe, and the GSi version was cheaper and more powerful than most of its sport-compact competition of the era. Most of them seemed to come in bright yellow paint, and most of them were crushed before they hit their tenth birthday. Still, some of them survived as long as any Civic Si or Sentra SE-R.

Here’s one that I found in a Denver-area self-service yard last year.

1990 Geo Storm in Colorado junkyard, speedometer - © 2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Well over 200,000 miles on the clock, which is exceptional for an early-1990s Isuzu product.

1990 Geo Storm in Colorado junkyard, owner's manual - © 2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

This one still had its original owner’s manual, complete with dealership cards indicating an original sale in Colorado Springs.

1990 Geo Storm in Colorado junkyard, rust - © 2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The sporty plastic body moldings so popular at the time tended to trap dirt, salt, and moisture against the car’s metal, with results like this.

1990 Geo Storm in Colorado junkyard, engine - © 2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The GSi version of the Storm came with a very respectable 130 horsepower under the hood, while the ordinary Storm had a mere 95 horses. This car has the DOHC GSi engine, though it lacks the GSi badging. In fact, all the exterior badging has been removed.

1990 Geo Storm in Colorado junkyard, front view - © 2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

In the past, we have seen this ’90 Storm GSi, this ’91 Storm GSi, plus this dealer-promo model GSi (in yellow, of course).

In Japan, the Gemini Coupe got this slippy-slidey ad featuring the Peter Gunn theme song.

In Canada, this car was known as the Asüna Sunfire, for reasons we’re pretty sure didn’t even make sense at the time.

Naturally, the Isuzu-badged version got the Joe Isuzu treatment.

[Images: © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]

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37 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1990 Geo Storm GSi...”

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Definitely a GSi.

    Revving that little engine to its nearly 8K RPM redline (7800) is an absolute delight.

    The Isuzu version handled great.

    • 0 avatar

      I have to honestly say that I miss 90’s cars like these, especially this one.
      Even with me being in my 40’s I second nicktcfcsb’s comment and would also drive one of these cars rust free with exception to keeping everything OEM, although I probably would prefer the Isuzu badges instead of GEO.

      I remember back then GEO also had a hatchback version of this car as well too that was eye catching. The only car relatively close enough in looks and design to this car was the Saturn SC.

      Ahh I miss the 90’s

    • 0 avatar

      My two – young at that time – sons used to watch for these GSIs when riding with us in our cars. They had a running competition to see who could spot them and be the first to blurt out an excited “Geo Storm GSI!!!”. I mentioned this to my carpool buddy and we used to play the same game on the way to and from work, shared a good laugh every time we did it. Still makes me smile thinking about it.

      Oh, and said sons are both car enthusiasts now.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    I am amazed that the color of the plastic bumpers matches the sheet metal. You would expect a lot of differential fading after 26 years.

  • avatar

    I loved these back in the day. Almost pulled the trigger on a ’91. Glad I didn’t in retrospect because I’d have looked like a teenaged girl. The ’91 had cooler wheels. Goodnight little zippy.

  • avatar

    As a huge geo and a yellow car fan in general I would proudly drive this if it was rust free with some Prime, A.R.E or bbs wheels out for some ice cream

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Three coin holders behind the shifter. Probably blanks for some wacky JDM options. I wonder what the toggle switch at the top of the center stack is for?

  • avatar

    1) I think the most common color I ever did see on the Storm was teal.

    2) I would very much like to own a Storm Wagonback.

    • 0 avatar

      Re: 1)

      Can confirm. I used to ride to school in the back of a teal Geo Storm. It was worth it because I was a sophmore, and two senior girls rode in the front.

    • 0 avatar

      I was 14 years old in 1991 and thought the wagonback was the *coolest*. (I was dorky, even by 14 year old standards.)

      Unfortunately they never offered a GSi version of the wee wagon [sad horn].

    • 0 avatar

      Every now and then the Geo Storm shooting brake comes up on Obscure cars.

      The other shooting brake option of the era was the Nissan Pulsar.

      • 0 avatar

        Hm, if you tell me I have to have one of those two for DD regular use, I pick the Geo. More parts availability, and a few years newer.

        I love the Sportbak, this Geo, and also the Axxess.

        *PS The mods on Obscure cars are obnoxious in their selective application of rule enforcement.*

  • avatar

    I wonder what Race Smith and Mike Carter are up to these days…

  • avatar

    For those with parents of a little more means, or perhaps looser wallet strings, these were a popular first car in the high school parking lot (1990-94). Along with the Scoupe and the Celica of that time.

    I seem to remember yellow being popular, but also white with teal/purple graphics. But I might be getting my early-90s sport econoboxes mixed up at this point.

  • avatar

    A co-worker of mine used to own one of these. The passenger door would open at random times while driving. Naturally, she hated it and bought something else as soon as she could afford to.
    It probably was just a door latch that needed adjusting or replacement. She didn’t like the car enough to bother fixing it.

    My experience with Geos has been all good – a Spectrum that I bought at auction, used for commuting (35+ MPG) for a little while, and sold for a nice profit. It was solid and well built, but a little slow.

  • avatar

    In Canada, they sold the Asuna Sunfire AND the Geo Storm. Asuna only lasted about 2 years after a huge advertising campaign and was supposed to be to Pontiac what Geo was to Chevrolet.

  • avatar

    That Optimus tape deck! Even had a “CD in” AUX-port; well ahead of its time in terms of car stereos!
    But yeah, even spending my high school years in the late-90’s (1995-1999) these were quite common in the parking lots. By then, bought used as cheap cars for the 16-year-old to “learn on” & abused until senior year, when our parents had enough confidence in us to have a nicer, new(er)car!

  • avatar

    I always liked the Impulse with its Montreal-esque headlights.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Particularly the AWD version with the Lotus tuned suspension. A fairly rare beast. I don’t know how they stacked up against the Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX AWD.

      • 0 avatar

        I had a 91 Isuzu impulse rs turbo with AWD. Best car I ever had and am trying to get one back. Only 250 or so we’re imported to Canada. Lost my licence racing a DSM car. Was close off the line but on the highway the DSM were definitely faster.

      • 0 avatar

        They didn’t. the Diamond Star cars were much higher quality and noticeably faster. The Impulse AWD Turbo was still an interesting car and fun to drive though.

        They have to be virtually extinct by now. Only a few hundred were ever built.

  • avatar

    I remember a lot of these back in the 90s. It seemed half of them were this yellow color.

    Geo was one of those brands that seemed tainted as soon as they were introduced, the only people that were “allowed” to drive one were teenage girls.

  • avatar

    As best I can tell, Asüna was some kind of marketing experiment. The Geo brand had already tricked consumers into unknowingly setting foot back on GM dealership property so Asüna was really quite redundant. But they did have cute Pixar short films, with a catchy soundtrack performed by Bobby McFerrin a-cappella, that got played in between movie previews at the theater. And since about half of the audience would quietly but consistently read, “Asüna” off the screen at the end of the short, I guess the marketing people must have figured they had a good thing going.

  • avatar

    I can remember being at a Toyota sales rally in 1991 or so. They were very worried about this car, as it would blow the Paseo out of the water. Which it easily did.

    The dealer group I worked for had a Chevy/Plymouth store in the same town. In comparison, the Geo Storm and the Plymouth Laser flew off the lot compared to the Paseo and the lower trim versions of the Celica.

    It was no contest.

  • avatar

    I ran across the Isuzu Impulse version of one of these at the Pick-N-Pull recently. As a result, my old Honda Accord now proudly wears a small green “Handling by Lotus” badge below the taillights.

  • avatar

    I never thought these were bad looking cars. They scream 90’s, though. I still see a few around from time to time. Condition varies, but they still run. I can’t say much for other Geo products. The only other Geos I see are Prizms, and that’s only because it’s really a Toyota.

    It seems to have stood up to time pretty well.

  • avatar

    I really wanted a Yellow Geo Storm for my first car. But the car was discontinued by the time I got my licence. My parents didn’t want to buy a car that wasn’t made anymore so they got me a 1993 Geo Prizm LSI instead. Not that I didn’t like the Prizm, and it was a really nice car; but I would have loved the Storm instead.

    I wish there were more sportier fun cars today like that had in the 90’s

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I was a lot boy at a small rural Chevy store in the early 90s while in HS. The Storm GSI, with its low profile tires/kinda cool alloys , and low curb weight was the best car-lot speed handling vehicle on the lot. We had only a few Vettes at a time , and the IROCs were just too big to zip around the lot.
    Top selling colors were yellow and oh so 90s teal green.

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