Junkyard Find: 1991 Geo Prizm GSi Sedan

When The General began building the AE82 Toyota Corolla (actually based on the JDM Sprinter version) at the NUMMI plant in California, that car got Chevrolet Nova badges. When Toyota debuted the E90 Corolla platform in 1987, it made sense for the NUMMI-ized version of the new E90 Sprinter to join the Suzukis and Isuzus of the new Geo brand. That car was the Geo Prizm, and I’ve found one of the super-rare factory-hot-rod GSi Prizms in a Denver-area self-service yard.

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Geo Prizm With 321,981 Miles

The General established the Geo brand for the 1989 model year, as a way to move low-priced iron designed and/or built by Toyota, Suzuki, and Isuzu (for some reason, Daewoo-built cars didn’t get sheltered under the Geo banner, so the LeMans retained Pontiac badges for its entire 1988-1993 sales run here). Of all the Geos, the Corolla-twin Prizm proved the most durable, and so I still find plenty of Prizms during my junkyard travels. Here’s a ’90 with an exceptionally high final odometer reading, found in a Denver-area yard last month.

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Hammer Time: Is Scion The New Geo?

Imagine if you will.

The world’s largest and most consistently successful automaker is in deep trouble. Not because of profits, but because of products.

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Vellum Venom Vignette: The Brazil Vacation, Part II

A Captiva audience?

Aside from the car-less world of cruise/train travel, my post- CCS Design vacations involve seeing an American on the road only to feel their styling and (more importantly) proportioning are sleeker and prettier. Douchey perhaps, but it’s my benign contribution to American Exceptionalism.

Even if this “proper” Chevy is a German Opel (sold alongside many a Korean Daewoo) introduced in Frankfurt as the Antara GTC. Harley Earl may spin in his perfectly-proportioned grave…but I digress.

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Piston Slap: Get Ready to Lose Much More!

TTAC Commentator LordMurdoc writes:

Sajeev,

I’m finally ready to lose my BORING 2002 Geo Prizm.

Checking eBay for older Lexus LS or a Mercedes C-class(about 2004-2006) . If I went with the Merc with the gasoline V6, what type of Gremlins might I expect to attack me when my wallet is most vulnerable? The Prizm is turning my brain to mush and my right foot is in despair!

Thanks for your excellent advice.

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Piston Slap: Prizm's Intelligence Gathering Leak?

Andrew writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I’m trying to wring a few more years out of my 1994 Geo Prizm, and recently the engine got louder. It’s a very low end bass like sound that makes the whole car vibrate a lot more.

The muffler and resonator are relatively new, and the noise seems localized to the front of the car. What’s odd is that the engine is the loudest when it’s idle. As soon as the RPMs go above 1500, the engine is only a little louder than it normally would be. How do I find out if the problem is the exhaust manifold, or the downpipe from the manifold to the catalytic converter? Over the summer there was a brief time when coolant was leaking and dripping down onto that downpipe and burning off. That leak issue was addressed, but that downpipe has some rusty sections on it anyway.

Sajeev answers:

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Geo Prizm

We’ve seen a few NUMMI-built Junkyard Finds in recent weeks, including this ’87 Nova and this ’87 Corolla FX16 GT-S. However, the car that really comes to mind when you think of NUMMI is the Geo Prizm. Here’s an example of GM’s rebadged Corolla that I found at a self-service junkyard about 20 miles from the car’s birthplace. It’s the circle of automotive life!

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New or Used: College Priorities, Automotive Compromises

Animal...housed?

Brenden writes:

Sajeev and Steve,

My buddy is in college and needs a used set of wheels. After 2 years of depending upon Baltimore’s awful public transportation system and the generosity of friends, roommates, frat brothers, and total strangers for car rides, his school work is starting to suffer and he’s decided to buy a car. Unfortunately, his budget is about $2000. His living situation and total lack of mechanical skills rule out anything German, Swedish, or otherwise maintenance intensive.

His criteria for the car are reliable/durable, fuel efficient, and cheap to run. Working AC and heat would be a bonus, but he really only intends to drive the car about 15-20 minutes per day for school. He has absolutely no pretensions about the car’s badge, perceived coolness, sporty driving dynamics, etc., but he probably won’t spring for a total crapcan like a metro or echo. Also, he’s currently unemployed, and I don’t think he intends to find a job due to his course load.

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  • Jeff S The Cybertruck is one of the most hyped vehicles in decades.
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  • ToolGuy Weren't some of the most powerful engines in the M4 Sherman air-cooled? (And supercharged.)
  • ToolGuy "I installed oil temp and cylinder head temp gauges on various vehicles I was driving, so I could monitor how the engine was doing. I switched from my normal 20W50 and dropped to 15W40 oil and put down thousands of miles. Within that time, I saw a noticeable decrease in oil temps and even cylinder head temps while driving in different situations."ToolGuy has great admiration for your use of the scientific method in conducting original research.