Only 38K Miles! 1991 Geo Metro Convertible

Here’s another car that is not exactly typical for Barn Finds. It’s not advertised as a “find” and even if it were, it would probably garner scant attention. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting little car and one not seen often anymore, so let’s look it over. This 1991 Geo Metro is located in Surprise, Arizona and is available, here on craigslist for $5,000. Thanks to Pat L. for this tip!

Geo was a mashup of a cooperative effort between GM and Suzuki and at the time, GM had a small equity position in Suzuki. While production spanned the years 1989 through 2001, the Geo name was used through ’97 and a Chevrolet moniker continued through 2001. All production after 1989 occurred at CAMI Automotive, a 50-50 joint GM-Suzuki operation based in Ingersoll, Ontario.

The first time that I spied one of these little cars, it reminded me of an ice-cream truck or wagon. It looked like something that one would sell popsicles out of its trunk. It still reminds me of that. This Metro only has 38K miles and it is in very nice condition. The seller purchased this car from a little old lady from Sun City West (not quite the same excitement as a Super Stock Dodge from Pasadena) and she drove it sparingly with care. There appears to be nothing adverse with the appearance of this Metro, it shows as new. The seller mentions that he recently had it professionally detailed, front windows tinted, and the rear window replaced.

Power(?) is provided by a 55 HP, 1.0 liter, three-cylinder engine. The seller claims, “Mechanically, this car is very sound and super dependable.” He further adds that the A/C has been converted to 134 refrigerant (blows cold), with a compressor rebuild, a new muffler and a new battery added.  An automatic transaxle transmits the “go” to the front wheels.

The interior is in excellent condition, the gray cloth upholstery shows as one would expect on a car of this condition and mileage. While a joint Suzuki-GM project, the instrument panel looks right out of the late ’80s/early ’90s Japanese automotive playbook. It is a simple but attractive environment. It appears that drivers and passengers of size would fit comfortably in this two-seater sub-compact. Interesting to note is the use of a five-digit odometer, most manufacturers had moved to a six-digit display by ’91.

U.S. News and World Report author John M. Vincent penned a 2019 article titled, “Geo Metro: What to Know About This Unlikely Icon that is a lot less than flattering. Knowing no one who has ever owned a Metro and having never experienced one, I’ll admit to being completely uninformed about this GM/Suzuki combination. I don’t even recall ever reading a review. Mr. Vincent’s article, assuming that you buy his analysis, is rather telling. The seller suggests, “I have taken this Metro to several car shows and it gets as much attention as the Ferraris parked across from it!” I am car-showed to death and this one sounds like a stretch. It may be getting a lot of attention but not for the reason that the seller thinks. Whatever the case, this Metro is in fantastic condition especially considering that it’s 30 years old and was considered a disposable vehicle. Show of hands please, has anyone owned a Metro and if so, how was it?

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Comments

  1. Jcs

    No comment.

    Like 5
  2. DWilson

    Had a 88 that was called the Chevy sprint, put over 100k on it, traded for a 93 and put about 150k on it. Simple car for commuting, great fuel mileage. Never left me stranded

    Like 6
    • nlpnt

      I had a ’93 around the turn of the millennium. Gas was flirting with the $1 a gallon mark, I could fill the tank and get a 20oz Coke and change back from $10. 0-60 was “yes” – it was flat out somewhere north of 55 in 2nd so it required two shifts to hit 60 – but it felt fast. If you heard a sewing-machine noise layered on top of the usual idle, it was time to add oil.

      Like 3
  3. Ken Member

    I had a metro hatchback that was my commuter car. It did the job, and was so light that it pulled itself on top of deep snow. Had to be careful when driving in the rain if the wind was blowing.

    Like 2
  4. Dennis

    Back when these things were new, my then girlfriend needed a car as her old one had died. We went to look at a Cavalier but the salesman was convinced her to try the Geo. It was the 4 door wagon version and the three of us got in with me being the driver.

    Started out on a street behind the dealership that had a slight incline. Now, none of the 3 of us were heavy but this car would hardly accelerate at all. I’ve driven a dozen cars that were underpowered but this one took the cake, the icing and the baker.

    Like 3
  5. jerry z

    That’s a coffin on wheels…..

    Like 1
    • PETE

      Maybe not quite as much fun but safer than my Kawasaki and the gas mileage is similar.

    • stu

      jerry z…If you were to wrap bubble pack all over the car, your good to go!

  6. Daniel wright

    My one experience in a geo metro convertible was that the dash shook like a popcorn popper. The car had the structural integrity of wet spaghetti.

    Like 3
  7. Claudio

    My daughters first car , we painted it pink panther , mag wheels , custom interior , big muffler , loud sound system and she drove that thing with the top down all the time !
    She was beautifully tanned and enjoyed but got really annoyed by the attention that it got
    After 2 summers , it was left to rot and for a few years and finally sold it
    We worked on it together and assembled it from 2 other cars , being from canada , all of these were parts cars and finally became one car …that was in 2002 or so , ohh time flies …

    Like 4
  8. Greg

    I have a 1990 that is almost identical to the one above. I love the car and would have no problem taking it anywhere. It can sit for weeks and then start right up. No, it’s not fast, luxurious, classy, quiet, and so on, but what old convertible is? Even when it was new, it was never trying to be a Miata or tried to trick people into thinking it was anything more than what it was. It was an affordable, fuel efficient, reliable car that allows you to have some top down fun.

    Like 4
    • dave

      Well, now that you ask, our ‘83 Mercedes 380 SL is.

      Like 1
  9. David

    Had a 98 chevy metro with 4cyl. 105mph top speed. Loved that little car. I drove a 3cyl one. Not a fan of the 3cyl. Too bad thats not a 4cyl in that convertible.

  10. jeffro

    I had an 89 Metro hatchback with a 5 spd. and 3 banger. It was a fun car. I sold it to a friend of mine and its still running with over 300,000 miles. He still getting 40 mpg. I kinda wish I’d kept it. Never had any issues with it. Cheap to drive and maintain. Pimpin ain’t easy in a 1 liter beater.

    Like 4
  11. Fred Seelig

    Geo wasn’t just a GM partnership with Suzuki. The Geo Prism was a Corolla. The Storm was an Isuzu.

    Like 2
    • 8thNote 8thNote Member

      Yep, Geo wrangled all the GM captive imports into one corral.

  12. wd62vette

    Thanks BarnFinds for listing a Geo Metro. I’m totally into these cars. The Metros have a big following. They are very addicting little cars. Parts are readily available, even NOS parts are still available from Japan. Funny how people say they are dangerous. All small cars can be dangerous just like motorcycles can be. They have lasted for 30 years, not bad for a throw away car. Great gas mileage easy to work on. I have been into collector cars for over 40 years and have 57,58 Chevrolet’s and even a restored 62 FI Corvette. I like all cars. That is why I enjoy BarnFinds.

    Like 4
  13. Chuck F 55chevy

    I bought a new 1988 Chevy Sprint, 4 door with a 4 speed, for $8,000 after my 1980 TR7 dropped a valve. It felt pretty peppy, and got close to 50 mpg on the highway, I drove 100 miles per day. It desperately need another gear and cylinder, and beat you to death in pot hole winters. I always wished I had got a convertible, but on 2nd thought, I wouldn’t buy another one.

  14. 370zpp

    Always thought these in white looked like they escaped from the kitchen and should have been badged “Frigidaire”. .

  15. 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

    I was service manager in a large Chevy dealership in the Metro/Storm/Prism years. Factory parts for these three were horribly expensive compared to the other Chevy products. I was good friends with the GM field engineer who told me that when GM made their sales agreements with the Japanese, they neglected to bargain at all for replacement parts costs. I once had 2 Metros in the shop, a convertible that needed a top and another that needed an automatic transmission. I could have taken a new convertible off our lot and parted it out for the price of a roof and a transmission. I could also go next door to the Toyota dealership and buy replacement parts at retail and pay less than our dealer cost for the same part. Crazy!

    Like 1
  16. Michael L Gregory

    I’ve been driving and restoring a ’93 convertible for the past 19 years. They are easy to work on and there is a huge group of enthusiasts who can answer any question you might have. There are currently four major events every year where people drive their Metros and Suzukis from all over the country to get together. I live right in the middle of the country, but have traveled as far as Florida and go to Minnesota every summer. These are great, long-lasting cars if you take care of them. And you can’t argue about the mileage, although the five-speeds are much thriftier.

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