Lifted Survivor: 1997 Geo Tracker

When it comes to classic 90s SUVs, it doesn’t get much more period-correct than a Geo Tracker or its Suzuki Sidekick twin. What’s ironic is when they were new, the hardcore truck guys likely laughed at these light-duty SUVs, not aware of the coming onslaught of mall crawlers that ended up being far less capable that this so-called cute-ute. Now, this particular Tracker has had its already-respectable capabilities amplified even further with several high-caliber upgrades, but looking past that you’ll find a very nice example of a truck we don’t often find in good condition. This Tracker is the four-door variety equipped with an automatic transmission, and is listed here on eBay with bidding at $9,900 and the reserve unmet.

The Tracker and Sidekick ended up being a bit of a home run for GM, as American consumers were clearly beginning to cast a favorable eye on crossover-type vehicles. Of course, Suzuki had already proven its off-road chops years earlier with the venerable Samurai, so its off-road capabilities were well documented. The same couldn’t be said for Geo, which had just built snappy hatchbacks and commuter cars up to that point. The Tracker gave the youth-oriented company a variety of cheap off-road capable vehicles, from soft-top two doors to tin-top four doors like this. Manual transmissions were available across the range, and the trucks came with off-road capable features including a robust four wheel drive system and a high-low range transfer case.

Interiors were cheerful places, with two-tone fabrics and plenty of glass. The cabins weren’t exactly luxurious, though some later editions came with leather. Still, for an off-road vehicle, cloth seating surfaces and thin carpets are just what the doctor ordered if you plan on driving your Tracker deep into the swamp. As you can see from the photo above, modifications and upgrades are numerous, including a Trail Tough center trolley long arm kit; upgraded Suzuki 2-liter engine making a healthy 152 b.h.p.; a rebuilt automatic transmission; and numerous new replacement and rebuilt parts, all detailed in the listing. It’s safe to say the seller has done all the tedious maintenance work necessary to keep the next owner from ending up stranded on the trail.

The engine bay is extremely well detailed, and the upgraded mill looks like it was meant to be there. The Optima red top battery is a plus for the next owner, along with a new starter; new battery and cable; rebuilt transmission; new brakes and rotors; and a new starter and radiator. The seller notes some original details remain, like the exhaust and radiator, both of which should last a while if the Tracker isn’t driven in the wintertime. Overall, this is a very cool, Radwood-approved build that will be just as happy crawling over a snowbank as it will be puttering around town. The reserve is tricky: I know these will be worth more someday, but the current pricing is such that I would hope it won’t take much more than the current bid to get over the reserve price hump.

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Comments

  1. banjo

    He’s gotta have at least 10K in upgrades on this thing! If you are a tracker fan, this is a deal.

    Like 6
    • vintagehotrods

      Absolutely right, its a deal! I’ve never seen on as nice and well executed as this one. If I only had room for one more!

      Like 6
  2. CCFisher

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the “Bro-Dozer Jr.” All of the embarrassment of driving around in a rolling testament to male inadequacy in an easy-to-park package.

    All jokes aside, this looks like a nice, well-executed build.

    Like 4
  3. TCOPPS TCOPPS Member

    I’d take it out in the woods and hunting. That’d be about it I think.

    Like 1
  4. Ike Onick

    Great idea. These are prone to tipping over in the first place. Buy this for someone you really don’t like.

    Like 2
    • Brian

      With that stance and the weight of the tires, it’s not tipping over any time soon. Unless you want it to.

      Like 4
    • vintagehotrods

      I think you are thinking of the Samurai. The Sidekick and Tracker four doors were as stable as any SUV sold today. Even the bad reputation the Samurai received was discredited when Suzuki sued Consumer Reports and they retracted their report. I owned a stock one just like this and it was very stable. This one has a lot of lift so it obviously isn’t going to be stable as a stocker. Any machine is only as dangerous the person behind the wheel. I have owned three Samurais, a Sidekick four door and a Grand Vitara. I currently own a Samurai 4WD and the Grand Vitara AWD, and both are great vehicles.

      Like 3
  5. Pete

    There are not too many in this body style in good condition. I don’t really care for the lift but that’s just me… I’m more of a stock guy.
    No dome light cover? Forget it.

    I had a 1998 “Chevy” (Geo name was dropped by then) Tracker, 4-door, 4WD, automatic. 1.6 L 4 cyl. I should have kept it… it was a great, versatile SUV and reliable as could be. Pretty good in the snow at lower speeds.

    If memory serves, the 2.0 L that Chevy introduced later wasn’t as reliable as the old 1.6. So, is it unfortunate that this one was “upgraded”? I drove a 2.0 L Tracker (1999 I think) about 15 miles and the engine was knocking like crazy. It didn’t have that many miles.

    Like 1
  6. lynn finlayson

    ive got a 93 2 dr i turned into a stubby pickup. welded a toyota back cab in behind the seats, and the roof over the hole where the open top was. installed a goose neck, male and female, plate and front and rear trailer hitches and a permanent towbar. got 300,000 plus.starts every time. gets 20 mpg, average. turns real tight. still has working auto lock hubs. change oil and antifreeze, once a year. has a decent little fully boxed frame but strut towers, bend in so need bracing over the motor, like early mustangs. i has a 4 door roller, for its rolling chassis. ive got 4, first generation kia sportages, which have a super strong frame and double wishbone front suspension.. farmers pay big money for them. perfect for farm use, especially, irrigation.. mount modular rims and that makes them a lot more stable at speed..

  7. vintagehotrods

    High bid was $14,100 but it didn’t make the reserve.

  8. Jim

    Another in a long line of “why” modifications!

    Like 1
  9. chrlsful

    agreed, its either make it a utility or make it a rd vehicle. The 1st? cut the wheel openings’n finish openings properly (esp if keeping the over szed tire/wheel combo’n 6 inch lift). If not lower in a 15 – 17 inch pizza cutter & lower it toward normal.
    Just my 2Ḉ worth.

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