It’s All Relative: 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Turbo

This 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Turbo is a relative – a cousin or a brother from another mother – to the Suzuki Cultus. This zippy little thing can be found here on eBay in Santa Maria, California. The current bid price is $2,000 and there are still over five days left on the auction!

I’ve been enamored by these little 3-cylinder Suzuki relatives for years, hence my 3-cylinder icon thingy. They aren’t super powerful, of course, but they’re like a little hornet, zipping around waiting for someone in an SUV or muscle car to swat them but they can’t seem to hone in on them. Figuratively, I mean, of course almost any vehicle could beat them in a straight line but they were really fun cars to drive. As they say, it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.

This example is a California car with no rust, according to the seller. It’s far from being perfect but rust-free is rust-free and that’s always a good thing. They mention that a piece was welded in the RF corner and they put a piece of tape on it but I can’t see it and I don’t really even know what that means. With a salvage title and a mention of the bumper, fender, and hood being original pieces, I’m assuming that this car was in an accident at some point. It’s already past NADA’s high value so that obviously isn’t hurting the value any.

This is a first-generation Chevy Sprint and being a turbo model makes it cool in my world. The photos are pretty high-contrast with a lot of glare so it’s hard to pick out many clear details but I’ve always been a fan of the graduated-color seat fabric in the Sprint Turbo cars. These seats look like they’re in great shape. The dash is cracked and they have a cover on it but everything else that I can see inside looks good to me, just maybe a little dirty and a little faded from the California sun.

I think there’s an engine under those plastic boxes and hoses! This three-popper is Suzuki’s 1.0L inline-three cylinder with 70 hp and 107 ft-lb of torque. For a 1,600-pound car, that little engine rocketed it from 0-60 in 9.5 seconds. Almost any car today would throw down on this Sprint, and be safer and more reliable, and.. wait, where was I going with that.. Anyway, for those of us who like tiny turbo cars, this rust-free Chevy Sprint Turbo is one to watch. Have any of you owned a Sprint Turbo?

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Comments

  1. Fred W

    0-60 in 9.5 was faster than a lot of other 80’s cars, including my former ride, a V-8 ’83 El Camino. Not bad for an Econo-box.

    2
  2. Melissa Williams-Brown

    I drove one every day to Jeff Davis County High School in Hazlehurst, GA. I didn’t have the turbo but mine was still pretty zippy. Got 48 MPG and I kept it even after I graduated and joined the US Marines!

    Melissa Williams-Brown
    Adelaide, SA

    8
    • DN

      I’m in Douglas RIGHT NOW reading your comment 😄
      Small 🌏 indeed!

      1
    • Jeffro

      I grew up in Macon

      2
    • Don

      cars aside Melissa, Thank you for your service to our country!

  3. SebastianX1/9

    omg! I owned one of these in college at Chicago. They do NOT suck. It was entirely reliable and quick, super agile and easy to park. Anything over 70 mph requires a little countersteering :)

    Always started – 3 winters in Hyde Park by the Lake. I sold it to a local teenager for like $500 in 1997. It’s like American Fiat Ritmo hot-hatch.

    2
  4. CanuckCarGuy

    I haven’t seen one of these in years…awesome find! I was a young Private posted to Quebec at the time, and these along with their Suzuki twin, were hugely popular with the French crowd in those days. Would be a super fun car to own today, beyond the nostalgic aspects.

    2
  5. Jeffro

    I owned one of these! Fun little car. Surprised some drivers at stop lights. Was great on insurance and got great gas mileage. I sold it to a friend and had over 200,000 miles on it.

    1
  6. Howard A Member

    A Chevy Sprint turbo,(whistles), who was sportin’ that kind of cash in the late 80’s? The 3 cylinder was actually a pretty good motor, I drove a Geo that had one, and while I had to literally show someone, who didn’t believe anybody made a 3 cylinder car, it had over 200K, and still ran good. To put a turbocharger on this, is a bit of a joke. It defeats the very purpose of having a 3 cylinder. At least GM didn’t call this a 1988 Chevelle.( like the LeMans,,,shudder)

    1
  7. Miguel

    These were a lot of fun to play with when they were new on the lot.

    I should have bought this instead of the Sunbird I did buy in 1987.

    1
  8. Danh

    Poor mans Lancia Delta? Suspension & Tires, maybe a Turbo upgrade. I’m into this, could be a really fun canyon car!

    2
  9. KevinLee

    I bought one from a co-worker for $300 in 2000. I lived about 15 miles from my job, and the Sprint got unreal mpg. Really easy to work on too. Mine was blue and my youngest daughter named it the Smurfmobile.

    2
  10. Will Owen

    My mom had a white non-turbo one she named Bunny. She lived in the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri, and most summers she’d leave her pushy and too-doting husband at home and drive to see us in Nashville for a week, then down to Gainesville GA for another week with my sister and family, then back for another week with us … and then home again. That’s the better part of 2,000 miles, and I believe she did it about six times. Bunny was a sweet little thing – I loved everything about it except for the fuzzy sleeves she’d put on the shoulder belts – and except for its annual checkups it needed nothing but simple good maintenance … until the day she caught a narrow shoulder wrong on her gravel road and put Bunny upside down in a large ditch, from which she was rescued by a couple of young hikers. She was unhurt, but Bunny was totalled. I drove the bigger, “safer” Corolla she’d been sold as a replacement after she’d left us, and its handling was so frightening I was glad she’d given up on long trips.
    This one is an easy half-day’s drive for me, and if I weren’t in trouble already for a full garage I might give it a look. Seems to be pretty sweet.

    3
  11. PRA4SNW Member

    Can someone explain to me how the bidding is legit:
    It was $105, and then a single bidder kept outbidding himself, up to the current $2000.

  12. Don

    I had one of these non=turbo that I bought from a kid @ work for $100.00..drove it for 3 yrs till my son came home from Florida & needed a car for a bit..My son drove it for close to 2 yrs & ran it hard, but it kept going & was fine mechanically..I sold it to a High school kid as his 1st car for $750.00..The car was great fun to drive & I’d like to have another one.

  13. Dupper

    Worked at a Chevrolet dealer in 89, had a turbocharged one leftover. Always thought it was odd, bout 5 years ago i was coming home from work and saw it on the back of a scrap truck. I thought, saw her new, saw her at the end….

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