$5k For 6k: 1990 Pontiac 6000 LE

Cash for clunkers greatly reduced the amount of ’80s, ’90s, and even early ’00 cars on the road, which literally crushed so many first cars that many people drove and loved. As these drivers are aging, they are seeking out the cars that first gave them their thrill of the open road. If they look hard enough, there is always someone who has tucked a car away and kept it in amazing shape. This 1990 Pontiac 6000 LE is a prime example of those incredible odds. The craigslist ad here states that it is a two owner car with 83,000 miles on it. It has rarely been driven and serviced regularly. Priced at $4,995, that is a good deal for this 6000.

The 6000 was produced from 1981 until 1991. The model years to purchase however were available starting in 1982 through 1991. Pontiac was GM’s performance brand. This 135 horsepower V6 does have electronic fuel injection. That is a step up from the lower horsepower, carbureted versions before it. The automatic transmission drives the front wheels, which is as sporty as it could get for a sedan from Pontiac in 1990.

This example still has great cloth interior. The bench seat up front allows you to carry six passengers with ease. There are no stains, fading, or tears. You can cruise around town listening to your cassette tapes in the comfort of cool AC. If your first car was one of the many makes and models sent to the scrap yard, then you can buy this one that evaded it and bring back fond memories.

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  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    If only this were an STE…

  2. canadainmarkseh Member

    Worked on lots of these back in the day, and would never want one not even a nice one like this car. I could go on and on about the issues these had but won’t bore you guys with that info. These were not one of GM’s shining stars but if the price is right would make a good beater for winter driving at least until the tin worm ate it. But as they say there’s an a$$ for every seat and this car is no exception.

    • Rob

      Had one for driver’s ed. What a POS, but it did go 80 pretty well
      “you wouldn’t per chance be speeding, would you?”
      “No Sir”
      “Well, good”

      A friend of mine still has its brother, a celebrity his parents bought new. Now, just 10k short of 300k… interior still looks new.

    • michael Ripley

      Those door moldings cost 300$ each back when they were new. More than the metal door. Wonder what they would be today?

  3. John M.

    Back in the early 1990s, I owned a 1988 6000 that was powered by the 2.5 Liter “Iron Duke 4 cylinder engine. It a was a decent car until a city bus forced it to eat a guard rail in the center medium by cutting across the 3 lane road that we were on from the right to left lane right in front of me while I was traveling in the middle lane. The police citied him for the act but he gave me a dirty look and walked away without so much as an apology.

    As for the car, my insurance totaled it out.

  4. RoKo

    These came with either a 2.5 four, 2.8 V6, or 4.3 diesel V6 originally. The 3.1 engine replaced the 2.8 in 1990.

  5. Skorzeny

    canadainmarkseh I wish to disagree slightly. I had a 1991 Buick Regal 4 dr with a 3.1L, got it free from my inlaws, and it had seen very regular maintanence. I drove the heck out of it for about 3 years and went up to 200k miles with it, just replacing one injector, but finally the trans went out… I think A bodies are maligned too much, but, the 2.5L was a TURD without equal, I grant you, and the rear disc brakes were an abomination, but not bad cars…

    • Miguel

      Working on many of these cars is very different than driving one for a while.

      You could have gotten a good one.

      I agree with canadainmarkseh, these had a bunch of problems, especially the distributorless engines, and of course the rack and pinions.

      In case you were wondering, I bought and sold a lot of these used back then.

      If you want to know what problems a car has, buy some ex-rental cars. All the problems show up quickly.

  6. mallthus mallthus Member

    The only 6000 to own is the STE which, by 1990, had been discontinued, with a Grand Prix STE picking up the mantle.

    Arguably, the best STE to get is the 89, which had a HO version of the same 3.1l V6 this car has, married to a full time AWD system from Magna Steyr.

    My parents had a 1985 STE with incredibly adjustable and comfortable seats covered in pigskin suede…FROM THE FACTORY.

    Every now and again, GM’s bean counters would miss the engineers sneaking stuff out into the world quietly.

  7. Sanity Factor

    3100 wasn’t a stunner but was ok…better than tech4 iron puke but these a bodys were nightmares…i really wanted to like em but they were a repair nightmare…

  8. Howard A Member

    The farm I lived on in N.Wis., they guy had many beaters, and this was one of them. It had a TON of miles ( way over 100g’s) and a weird electronic dash. He had a bunch of sensor problems ( preventing it from starting at most inopportune times)and ultimately, the rear suspension rusted, and that was that. I’m sure it’s “out back” now with his other “non-drivables”. It seemed like a good car at one time.

  9. Jeff K

    My 92 Accord has a 125 horse 4 cyl lol. And likely faster and way more efficient. GM sure liked building dinosaurs when Honda was focusing on new technology and reliability!!

  10. rod444

    I drove a 6000 for several years and found it a very surprisingly quiet highway car. Used it for a lot of road trips because, despite the boxy design, it somehow maintained a very nicely hushed interior and decent handling. I think the 2.8 was what I would call “slightly” peppy 🙂

    Got totaled in a hailstorm whereby insurance paid us out about about double what the old girl was worth for a repaint that never happened, and we just kept on driving it. Have never had any luck with insurance since so I guess we used up all our karma that time.

  11. JimmyJ Member

    Small wonder there’s little new blood in the hobby when all we have to look forward to are these ugly beaters at future car shows!

    • theGasHole

      This era of cars, save for Corvettes, Mustangs and a few other outliers such as the G-Body cars, will largely be skipped over by “the hobby”. It is not too dis-similar to the 1946-1953 era of cars which has quite a big “meh” factor (for the most part), and thus you do not see too many cars from that era at car shows, either.

  12. Robert S

    Do people who learned to drive in the ‘80s and ‘90s really want to relive the crappy cars of that era? I learned to drive in boring sedans of my day, but being a natural born gearhead I aspired to the sexy 2 door muscle versions of those cars. Non-gearheads see cars as mere transportation, or at best status symbols, and aren’t interested in “hobby cars”, and prefer to upgrade to the latest and greatest, not retrograde to the old and mediocre, so I fail to see how cars like this Pontiac will ever be worth anything.

  13. Andy

    Also known as the 6000 SUX of ‘Robocop’ fame…

  14. Superdessucke

    Way back in 1990, I bought a dark blue ’85 Celebrity Eurosport with the 2.8 V-6 from the local Chevy dealer. It was only 5 years old but it was cheap because it had higher mileage on it (don’t recall exactly but 80,000 rings a bell) and a little bit of rust on the trunk lid.

    Despite the sporting pretensions of the Eurosport package, it was a pretty boring car. It wasn’t very fast, didn’t make cool engine sounds, and had average road feel and handling dynamics. It was reliable though, which was its main positive attribute. Beyond that, it was dishwater dull. A slightly tarted up family sedan really.

    So I just don’t see the appeal here. You won’t get any fun to drive factor and I don’t know if the reliability would be there now that this car is pushing 30 years old, and some parts are probably tough to get given GM’s propensity to discontinue parts for cars more than 20 years old. I can get a much newer car – Sentra, Corolla, or a Cruze – for this same price and have a more reliable car that’s also going to be more fuel efficient and fun to drive (using that term in very relative sense).

  15. RichS

    My ’86 Celebrity I got for $100 with 214K on it made it all the way to 377K and still ran like a top when the transmission finally failed. Never had the valve covers off of it. Did put a timing set on it around 280K but that was the most invasive repair I did during the 5+ years I had it. It was also totalled twice in that time period (neither accident was my fault, bought it back both times)

    Most reliable car I have ever owned.

    That said, for this kind of money it really should be an STE.

  16. David Miraglia

    Had a standard Chevy Celebrity with a six. Good car, reliable but boring.

  17. greg Wentzell

    It’s always good to see daily drivers preserved like this. “Six passengers with ease”? Really? No adults over six feet tall and all must weigh 100lbs.

  18. Ron P

    Bought a used 89 STE years ago for my daughter for her to drive to school her senior year for 800.00. It had light front end damage, but the 3.1 ran great. Went to a junkyard to look for a hood and found one from a Chevy Celebrity that was an exact fit. It was pre internet days, I couldn’t find a passenger side headlight bezel in three states. Great highway driver though, and all of the stereo buttons where on the steering wheel, and who could forget those gold trimmed Pontiac wheels?

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