45K Clean Miles: 1992 Geo Metro

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A Geo Metro on Barn Finds? Yup and this one ain’t the first. It is the first for me and I was surprised to find one still in existence, running, and with just 45K miles no less; how unusual! Since it’s 31 years old, it’s worth a gander so let’s see what’s here. Rocco B. found this sub-compact subject for us, it’s located in Long Beach, California and is available, here on craigslist for $4,999.

Geo was a sub-division of Chevrolet and marketed rebadged Japanese sub-compacts between the ’90 and ’97 model years. After ’97, the Geo name was dropped and cars like the Metro were sold as Chevrolets. The Metro, offered between ’90 and ’01, was actually produced by Suzuki and was offered in three trim levels. Our subject Metro is an XFi which was a low-powered, low-end model known for superior fuel mileage courtesy of a 49 HP, 1.0 liter, in-line three-cylinder engine working through a five-speed manual transaxle. The seller doesn’t elaborate on this Metro’s running and driving capabilities, and didn’t include an engine image either, but he did reference the fuel mileage as, “53 city / 58 highway mpg on a 3 cyl. engine“. Zero to 60 MPH times were reported to be 15.1 seconds.

A three-door econobox pretty well defines this ride. It’s obviously small, a bit over twelve feet in length, and weighing in at about 1,600 lbs. This Metro has a rather unremarkable bearing and looks like a lot of other sub-compacts that were all the rage at the time. This example has enjoyed the southern California lifestyle and it is in nice, clean, straight condition. Surprisingly, the black plastic bumper covers haven’t succumbed to the bright California sun. I’d call it a survivor if it weren’t for the goofy-looking LED grid headlights. The seller mentions that this Metro is wearing a $200 hood dent but it’s not evident in the listing images.

The interior is absolutely no-frills, but like the exterior, it’s exceedingly clean – no mean feat for light gray plastic and cloth components. The carpet (what can be seen) and the door/upholstery panels show well. One thing that is evident is that there’s not much wiggle room between the rear bumper and the rear seat’s backrest.

OK, so I suppose that it’s remarkable that this little Metro is still huffing it and has amassed such low mileage over so many years. Considered a throw-away car, that’s what usually happened to these – and it didn’t take anywhere near 31 years for that to happen. A typical barn find? Hardly but it certainly adds to the variety of what comprises the old car hobby, right?

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  1. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    Actually,,,these were great little cars. I mentioned before, the farm I lived on in N.Wis. the guy had 4 of these. 3 parts cars and one good( cough) one. The “parts” cars were all sidelined because of rust, but they all had over 200K with no motor work whatsoever. Eventually, his “good” one rusted too, but the motor still ran great. I don’t think he ever got gas for it, and driving it, there was no indication that it was a 3 cylinder. Fact is, I surprised a friend who didn’t believe me. Californy about the only place you’ll find one that is driveable and gas is creeping up, in case you haven’t noticed. Buy it now before Geo Metros become the next “flash in the pan”.

    Like 13
  2. Bill D

    Agreed, even if they were laughed at back in the day, these were quite good cars and the choice of impoverished college students, pizza delivery drivers, etc., everywhere in the US. They sipped gas and survived all kinds of abuse with minimal maintenance.

    Like 13
  3. bobk

    Would love to have one of these for an electric, possibly plug-in hybrid conversion. But, not at $5k. Ah well, back to combing the back roads and farms of Kansas and Missouri.

    Like 6
  4. Bobby

    These are great. A friend of mine who’s the most knowledgeable mechanic I know who builds race cars that his wife races and also builds truggys and crawlers. He daily drives a metro to work and started his current job a few years ago. One of the other mechanics at his job is also a race car mechanic and also drives a metro to work. Turns out they are best friends now and both have goatees and wear white new balance shoes. Our nicknames for them are “the metrosexuals”. Prefect haha

    Like 11
  5. Scott P Graves

    Have a buddy who banged around in one of those for years. We joked how it was a King Cab Riding Lawn Mower and how it had the blade attachment underneath.

    Until gas prices made a jump in the early 2000s. Then we stopped laughing when he would gas up maybe once month and really only be tipping off the tank…

    I’d buy it if it were closer to South Dakota

    Like 7
  6. Mr Dave

    I bought a 91 Metro XFI new, and loved it. I drove it until 2016. I put gas in it pretty much once a month. I changed the oil every 3,000 miles. I replaced all 4 struts twice, lower ball joints once, 1 alternator, and timing belt twice. I did put 14” wheels on it with 175/65 14 tires, very close to original height and lots more tread Qurans mileage life choices in tires. It did have rust, though. That little car helped me afford my 03 Z06, my 70 SS396 Chevelle, and my 71 SS454 El Camino. I’d love to have this one, but I don’t do the annual miles these days that I used to. Awesome car, just have to remember it’s not built for speed.

    Like 10
  7. Troy

    Ok used car prices are up but $4999 for a $2500 dollar car on a good day they should wait a few weeks were rolling into spring and gas prices will be going back up, probably higher than they were before

    Like 5
    • Bill D

      I’m reminded of the quote from Better Call Saul about “The only way that entire car is worth $500….” It’s a bit family-unfriendly so I’m hesitant to post it here, but IYK,YK.

      Like 2
  8. Big C

    What? No Sierra Club stickers?

    Like 3
  9. Michael Berkemeier

    If this car had A/C, I would buy it right now…awesome cars.

    Like 7
    • Scott P Graves

      My buddy who owned one with AC joked that the AC button was his Turbo Boost. When he turned off the AC the car would go twice as fast.

      Like 8
  10. Stan Pierzanowski

    We had a 1992 Metro convertible. It had all the structural integrity of cooked spaghetti, but great fun. Had the top down as much as possible in New England. Miss the li’l buzzbomb.

    Like 5
  11. Rev. Jim Sutton

    I had my 1990 Geo Metro for 10 years (1990-2000) and it was a fantastic car. With the back seat down, I had loads of cargo space.
    I’d get another if I could guarantee that parts could be found for it.

    Like 5
    • Mr Dave

      The only parts I had to replace routinely was the door handles, inside and outside, but mostly inside, PartsGeek.com had them.

      Like 5
  12. Brad chipman

    I had one in the early 90’s with auto and ac. The only thing it ever needed was brake pads every 20k miles cool little car

    Like 5
  13. RickyMember

    I had a 90 Geo Storm. One of the best cars I ever owned, would love to find another. Alas, they were all used up and tossed away.

    Like 4
  14. Mason Phillips

    Back in ’98 I was riding my bike and one of these ran the red light and hit me. I had to get off the bike to make sure they were okay.

    Like 11
  15. Pit Stop Pauly

    I have owned three of these 3cyl. GEO Metros, when I had a job requirement of using my own car to travel as much as 350 miles a day. Not once did I ever have repairs beyond regular maintenance, and all ran well beyond 250k miles before I sold them. If I had the money I would book a plane seat and go buy this sight unseen. I literally wanted to cry when they quit selling these; without a doubt the best, most dependable cars I have ever owned.

    Like 6
  16. Robert Vlasic

    I have the same car with just over 30,000 miles and Cold AC. Mine has a dented LS front fender. My car is called a Firefly and was sold through Pontiac Dealerships. Mine is an excellent example and I use it for a second car here in Puerto Rico. I would sell it cheaper than the California one and shipping to the states isn’t very expensive.

    Like 4
  17. Randy

    I had one of these is some kind of green… lovingly called it “The Booger”. She wasn’t pretty but good gas mileage and reliable. Wish I had kept it. I’d like to own this but not for $5K. I bought mine in 2000 with a broken trans mission (not sure what the guy did to it) for $300 and put a transmission in it for ant $250 and the rest is history. Oh well, live and learn.

    Like 2
  18. PRA4SNW

    My father-in-law, who bought all of his vehicles from the same salesguy at the local Chevy dealership, walked in needing two cars for the lowest price possible. He left owning 2 Metros, one for him and one for his college bound daughter. Both had zero options and manual shift. Both lasted well longer than they should have on just gas and oil.

    Like 3
  19. Ron Jordan

    The Metro was built in Canada and the quality was not that good.
    The Chevy Sprint was built in Japan and was much better.

    Like 0
  20. chrlsful

    I cant believe all the male p/u drivers here that still look 4 one of these (“Gotta B the 3 cyl, aw, shucks, I’ll take the 4 if I cant get one.”) 30 yrs later – every time the gas prices go up (Commonwealth of MA). Y that model? Y over all these yrs? U guys are ed-U-ma-catin me.

    Got one of the Geo Trackers (89/96) w/1.3L we just turbo-ed for a fella. All zukis? No seems diahatsu or nother traded off w/cheb too? Hard to keep track Metro, Tracker, Geo, etc. Didnt follow the off companies (just honda/toy). Round here (Berkshires) they still run the Sammy off rd w/krazy mods (D44 frnt end, 4 link rear, vortec v6…

    Like 1
  21. Jeff

    I acquired one of these from a friend who was getting ready to throw it away because the main seal had worn out and it was throwing oil all over the place. I knew how to fix the main seal without pulling out the engine, so I did. These may be considered throw away cars but I drove that Geo Metro until the coolant transfer pipe was rusting through, the wheels, and doors were ready to fall off. I took it way beyond 200k miles. Fuel economy was as advertised and with a five speed manual transmission I got 50 miles per gallon regardless of the driving conditions. Because it was light, and was front wheel drive it was the best snow car I’d ever had. When fuel prices go through the roof, this will be the car to own.

    Like 2
    • Jeff

      Also, I forgot to mention; it wasn’t a powerful car. I was passed on the freeway by an older Datsun (or was it an old Toyota) 4 door not too much bigger than my Geo, full of girl passengers who stuck their tongues out at me as they sailed past. I pretended to be pedaling as hard as I could, which mad them all laugh.

      Like 2
  22. Harold

    Purchased a1999 during the same year now has 233,309 miles on it. Would drive it anywhere but at 77, 6’4” 240 lbs and an
    ostomy bag it’s getting a little tough to enter and exit. Been a great car, now if it sat higher off the ground I would not be putting it up for sale, $2300.00

    Like 2
  23. Gerald

    I have a ’91 four door that I purchased in 2007 for $200. Bought it because I had a 100 mile per day commute, gasoline was flirting with $2.00 per gallon, and I wanted to replace my Lincoln Town Car. Drove it for four years and about 110k miles until I dropped a valve head. Car sat for 10 years before I rebuilt an engine for it a year and a half ago.

    If you think a Metro is slow, try driving a diesel Mercedes, or a 1960 Corvair with an automatic. Learn what slow REALLY is!

    Like 1
  24. djkenny

    For $2500

    Like 0
  25. David RMember

    I got a 91 when it was about 3 years old… handicap parking blue with blue interior. It was also an XFi, I would brag about it being sub-base. Drove it 6 years, longest I’ve ever had the same car.

    Like 1
  26. Lothar... of the Hill People

    I speak chrlsful, although not fluently, and I offer this approximate translation to his comments from 2/21/23:

    “I am surprised at the male pickup drivers who wish to purchase a Geo Metro. Their preference is for a 3-cylinder engine model. I have spent 30 years in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and I have noticed buyers seek out Geo Metros when gas prices rise. I wonder why they choose that model. Why is this the case after so many years?
    You readers are educating me.”

    “I recently worked on a Geo Tracker manufactured between 1989 and 1996. It had a 1.3 liter engine into which my shop installed a turbocharger for a male customer.
    Were all Geos models similar to Suzuki models?”
    “I believe Daihatsu or another company also worked with Chevrolet.
    It is difficult to remember the various Geo models such as Metro and Tracker.
    I did not learn about off-brand models, such as Geo. Rather, I only learned about Honda and Toyota models.
    In the Berkshire area, where I live, a race is run which is called the “Sammy”. It is held on an off-road course and participants use Geo vehicles with strange modifications.”

    This translation should only be considered as entertainment, especially by chrlsful. (All in good fun, buddy.)

    I am not a professional translator.

    Please, no wagering.

    Like 3
    • PRA4SNW

      Love this post – great job Lothar!

      Like 0

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Barn Finds