Two pack of 1990 Geo Prizms – Good Thing They’re Automatics
You may have read my lament on Hooniverse.com regarding the fact that whenever I see a car I may be interested in on ebay or the like – it ends up being an automatic? My conclusion at the time was that was a good thing. See, I don’t have the garage space or the finances to be going out and buying every weird hatchback I see, so the 10% or so take rate on manual transmissions in this country saves me quite frequently.
Now why would I care about a couple of 20+ year old econo-boxes? Well, I used to own one, ya know? And it was a truly great little car – and perhaps most of all, full of good memories.
But these two – they’re both slushboxes. And a truly horrible 3-speed at that. The Prizm with a stick shift was a snappy if not quick performer that got very good gas mileage. Swap out the sweet-shifting manual for the 3-speed and it pretty much kills the car.
What I really want, after seeing a shiny black one at the local Chevy dealership way back in high school, was the Prizm GSi. At the time, I thought it was way cooler than the Corvette they had in the showroom. Just gives you a little window into my psyche, no? In any case, it was black over gray, hatchback, stick shift and awesome. But I was 15 and still 2 years from purchasing a car – of course I had no idea at the time that I’d end up with a lesser Prizm.
Now, if I ever saw a GSi version of a hatchback Prizm in good shape for a decent price, I would probably have to make up for missing out on that black one and snatch it up. That’s what I was looking for yesterday when I found these two non-GSi for sale. 1990 models, so they were built before GM decontented the interior, removing the nice velour upholstery and remote adjustable mirrors.
They’re both the base version, equipped with a sweet little 1.6 liter 4 cylinder. A truly pleasant and stone-cold reliable engine, they were developed before the days of variable valve timing and other fancy doo-dads and put out a paltry (for modern times) 102 horses. But in the featherweight Prizm, it was enough to keep up with traffic while still maintaining a high level of fuel efficiency.
But again, that stupid automatic.
Not a chance…
But… the red example only has 36,800 miles on it – almost exactly what my Prizm had on it when I purchased it back in 1992! And in very nice shape – except for one dent in the front fender, this car is pristine. Even the wheel covers are look good – no curb rash and no loss of the silvery finish.
Sigh – so close, yet so far. And the $4999 asking price was a bit rich, even for this little trip down memory lane.
Another base model with the nice interior. This one is even the same color combination as mine. Light Chestnut Metallic over beige. Same power locks/manual window combination as mine. Only 94,000 miles – barely broken in.
Wrong stinkin’ transmission.
Looking through these pictures, I can remember the fact that I’d have to manually return the driver’s door handle back because of a broken spring. I can see the vinyl trim in the Chestnut car separating from the door panel ever so slightly – I’d take a plastic spackle knife and shove it back in every year or so. Pleasant memories, but in the long run, I’m waiting for that GSi.
If I do ever find it, I just might accept an auto…