Junkyard Find: 1989 Chevrolet Corsica, Ministry in Poetry Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

I have found the self-service wrecking yards of Phoenix to be among the best in the country when it comes to discovering top-shelf Junkyard Finds, so much so that I have taken a couple of trips there just for the junkyards. You’ll see everything from a Taurus MT-5 to a Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 4.5 to one of the last Toyota Coronas sold in America in these yards.

The Chevrolet Corsica isn’t so rare, but this one in Phoenix had some interesting qualities.

This car’s last owner was Kenny Stanford, who used his elderly Corsica as a sacred chariot, spreading God-inspired poetry across the Phoenix metropolitan region.

Thousands of years ago, prophets rode donkeys through the desert to deliver their messages to the unbelievers. Today’s desert prophet racks up close to 200,000 miles in the sedan version of the Chevy Beretta.

Like many GM cars of its era, this Corsica has a busted hood release. I wasn’t willing to shred any knuckles trying to persuade the hood to open, because — barring awesome engine swaps — there would be just a 2.0-liter four or a 2.8-liter six beneath. The transmission is the usual Corsica automatic; five-speeds were available, but I have yet to see a three-pedal Corsica.

You could get factory CD players in Chevrolets in 1989, and most new-car buyers opted for at least a cassette deck by then, but this car has the El Cheapo AM/FM radio. At least it has four speakers.

The Corsica is largely forgotten today, but spent some time as the mainstay of rental-car fleets during the early 1990s.

Let’s hope the Corsica-driving Minister in Poetry has upgraded to a newer and more luxurious Chevrolet by now.

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.

More by Murilee Martin

Join the conversation
2 of 34 comments
  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Oct 09, 2018

    Wow. The MT-5 in the link looks to be "Signal Red" as well. I havent seen one of those in 20 years.

  • Bill Bill on Oct 09, 2018

    My parents bought a 1988 Corsica in 1989, just like this one with the 90hp 2.0 4 cylinder and 3 speed auto trans, but with blue paint and interior. Same radio and instrument cluster as this one. As a 10 year old boy who had to that point grown up riding in a beat to death old Rambler and Sunbird, the Corsica was exciting. The paint peeled and it leaked oil (both fixed under warranty) but overall it was just a meh car. I took my drivers test in it, and as a teenager was very disappointed with the complete lack of power. It had the usual TCC solenoid issue causing the engine to stall once it had warmed up. My parents ended up giving to my sister so she could trade it in towards her first car around 2000-01.

  • Golden2husky Have to say he did an excellent job on the C7, especially considering the limited budget he was given. I am very happy with my purchase.
  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.
  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon