Junkyard Find: 1989 Pontiac Sunbird GT Turbo
Since The General built cars on the J Platform from the 1982 through 2005 model years, I still see numerous examples of the J during my junkyard travels. Most of those are late-production Cavaliers and Sunfires — not so interesting — but today we’ve got a genuine high-performance Sunbird bearing one of the most important words of the 1980s: TURBO!
For 1989, the Sunbird Turbo had genuine power: 165 Garrett-blown horsepower out of a 2.0-liter SOHC Opel four. That gave the Sunbird Turbo pilot plenty of torque-steering, tire-squealing fun in a car that weighed just 2,422 pounds (about the same as a 2019 Toyota Yaris).
Most of these cars were ruined by a three-speed automatic transmission, but the original buyer of this one (wisely) selected the five-speed manual.
If you were going to sell turbocharged machine in 1989, you had to provide a brightly-colored BOOST gauge, preferably marked for pressure levels your engine would never see.
Pop-up headlights were all the rage as well. If we’re going to get nit-picky here, these retractable headlight eyebrows don’t really count as true pop-ups.
Mean-looking hood vents? Got ’em!
This one had more than 180,000 miles on the clock when it came to this place, and it’s good and rough. One of the indicators that a Colorado car is junkyard-bound in the very near future is the presence of stickers from cannabis dispensaries on the exterior; I’d say that a good 25 percent of cars in this yard feature such stickers (generally combined with brewery stickers).
Putting more heat on the street.
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