Junkyard Treasure: 1993 Geo Tracker, Illinois Rust Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard treasure 1993 geo tracker illinois rust edition
When The General created the Geo brand in 1989, the idea was that cars designed and/or built by Toyota, Isuzu, and Suzuki could be sold in the United States under the GM flag (Geos became Chevrolets after 1997). Of all the cars that bore Geo badging, the Tracker stayed in production the longest, when a Suzuki Grand Vitara-based Chevy Tracker could be purchased through 2004.Here’s a frighteningly corroded 1993 Geo Tracker, spotted in a self-service wrecking yard in Joliet, Illinois.
I visited this yard while in Illinois for the Joliet Prison Break 24 Hours of Lemons race, and it has some of the best junkyard ambience I have ever experienced. Much of the inventory is kept indoors, in the ruins of an ancient factory.
Right next door is the now-closed Joliet Prison, which is best-known for serving as the setting for the opening scenes of the 1980 film, The Blues Brothers. Other than Martin Salvage in northeastern Colorado, I can’t think of a more beautiful wrecking yard.
Cars in the Upper Midwest rust real good, especially when they’re little (Canadian-built) Japanese cars.
The final owner of this Tracker was willing to put up with numerous slush-scooping openings into the passenger compartment. I didn’t feel like crawling in the mud beneath, but we can assume that the suspension mounting points were in less-than-safe condition.
Still, this Tracker made it to age 25, with nearly 150,000 miles on the clock.
Most of the first-gen Trackers (and their Suzuki-badged siblings, the Sidekick and Vitara) came with manual transmission, even in the United States, but this one has the automatic.
The festive tape stripes and pink-and-gray interior remind us of what strange times the early 1990s were.
At least we remember the Tracker today, unlike the Geo Spectrum.
Join the conversation
3 of 30 comments

    I worked at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario that built these vehicles from 91-97. It was a decent vehicle with decent build quality. Later I worked at a Hummer Dealership in Service. I remember a GM rep saying the only vehicle in GM's lineup that was as capable as a Hummer was the Tracker!

    • JimC2 JimC2 on Sep 29, 2018

      He probably wasn't too far off- these things were pretty hard to high-center and almost impossible to low-center. I doubt many of them saw much offroading though, not counting things like hitting curbs or parking in the grass at adult kickball games.

  • Ldallison74 Ldallison74 on Sep 06, 2018

    HA!! I live less than hour from this u-pull and go there a time or two each month. It's called Ashley's Pick-A-Part and they do not charge an entrance fee. I believe I have pictures of this same Tracker in my phone.

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.