Pocket Rocket: 1987 Chevrolet Turbo Sprint

031416 Barn Finds - 1987 Chevrolet Sprint 1

I know that these types of cars aren’t for everyone, but this genre is on the rise and this is a nice example. This 1987 Chevrolet Turbo Sprint is found on craigslist in Kingman, Arizona and it’s a little pocket rocket. Well, more like a pocket prop plane, but it’s still a fun car to drive. The seller is asking $2,195, the price of a decent watch.

031416 Barn Finds - 1987 Chevrolet Sprint 2

Yep, there’s a wad of gum or something holding the trim together under the RF light but, other than that and a couple of marks on the bumpers, I don’t see too many glitches with the exterior of this 29-year old car. This is a captive import based on the Suzuki Cultus and was marketed worldwide as the Suzuki Swift. The Chevrolet Turbo Sprint came in either red or white. Even though I’m not a red car guy, in general, I think I would prefer a red one, or at least I would change the wheels here; I’m not a fan of white wheels.

031416 Barn Finds - 1987 Chevrolet Sprint 4

Thankfully there’s a 5-speed in there as an automatic was offered for the first time in the previous year. I always worry when I see a dash pad, especially in a sales ad. If the dash was perfect I would assume that the pad would come off for the photos. But, other than what might be lurking under there, the rest of the interior looks almost like new. Believe it or not, this car has 0.1″ more legroom in the front than a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu; no, really.

031416 Barn Finds - 1987 Chevrolet Sprint 5

This is where you’ll put your custom Chevy Turbo Sprint fitted leather luggage. Or, maybe just the dresser that you picked up at the flea market. Either way, you can fit a lot of volume in there with the back seats folded down as seen here. It’s not too fancy back there: painted metal and a little stained blanket, but for the price of a watch you can’t expect it to be a Range Rover.

031416 Barn Finds - 1987 Chevrolet Sprint 3

Unfortunately there are no engine photos included in the ad, but this is what would be under the hood of this car. Ha, just kidding, this is actually what the 72hp, 3-cylinder, 1.0L turbo would look like. 72hp doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s about 1.5 times the power that the non-turbo car is packing and the car only weighs about 1,600 pounds soaking wet. The 240hp 1987 Corvette does 0-60 in 6.1 seconds whereas this 72hp 1987 Turbo Sprint, with only 3-cylinders, mind you, will do 0-60 in 10.5 seconds. That, my friends, is not bad for a car with about 1/3 the power. This little car will go 18 mph over the highest speed limit in the US; that should be fast enough. I love this car, it would be a fun commuter for zipping around in traffic with; while, of course, obeying all appropriate traffic laws, which we all do anyway (crickets). Could you see yourself driving a pocket rocket like this Chevrolet Turbo Sprint or are you an American-V8-muscle-car-only person?

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Comments

  1. Fred

    Seems to be gone already. 0-60 in 10.5 is not bad for 3 cylinders. For the first 70 years of automotive history that was considered smokin’ hot.

  2. Steven C

    I had an 89 Geo Metro for a while, the next body style of this car. It was blue, called it “the blue hamster”. It had the 1.0 3 cylinder and a 5spd, but no turbo. Bullet proof reliable. It was actually one of the most fun cars to drive i have ever had because you had to drive it flat out race car style all the time. Handled pretty well at the limit too, which you could do on a regular basis on the street and not get in any trouble. It never broke down once.

    Like 1
  3. KO

    Nice write-up. I enjoy your writing Scotty G. Either you have crazy taste in watches or you don’t know where to shop.

    Like 1
  4. Don

    Damn, been looking for one as a beater. They go quick!

    Like 1
    • Christin Templin

      This may be too late, but I actually have THREE of these old cars! 2 red and 1 white. Bodies are nice but don’t run, not sure why? If anyone reading this is looking for an 87′ Turbo Sprint let me know, Christin. Located in Cohocton, NY.

      Like 1
      • Josh Mortensen Staff

        Hi Christin,
        If you’d like to list your Turbo Sprints for sale here on Barn Finds, we would love to feature them! You can get more info about listing them for sale here. As a matter of fact, I might even be interested in buying one of them!

      • Jon

        Hi
        I am also in NY and interested in buying your sprint(s). Please let me if they’re still available. Jon

      • Adam Alexander

        I am interested

      • Tim

        Still have those turbo sprint cars

  5. grant

    Little cars are fun to flog on and this one is in nice shape but I have to wonder what kind of watches Scotty wears. A $30 Timex is decent, 2 grand should step you up to something more than decent.

    Like 1
  6. Howard A Member

    Ah yes, the “turbo” era, where anything and everything could be had with a “hair dryer”. Sure did add some zip. I had a Plymouth mini-van 4 cylinder with a turbo, and it did have some steam ( loved oil though, common problem with turbo’s) I’d think a turbo would blow this little motor to kingdom come, but it must have taken it, for a while. I have no interest or experience with a car like this. Sure looks generic, to me. But hey, it’s “turbocharged”. I wonder how many buyers of these cars knew what that was. For this price, I’d go with the Yamaha dirt bike.

  7. Mike

    For this price, I throw in about $10,000 more and buy a new Chevy Sonic, about the same size and newer, oh that’s right I just bought one. It gets 35-40 miles to the gal, and has that New Car smell!!!!! Mine is Silver!!!!!

    • Jason

      The 3-cylinder Sprint got 40 mpg if you dogged it and if you took it easy, you could get 55 mpg out of it (my personal record across two tanks of gas on a 800+ mile trip).

      Like 1
      • Tim Hammett

        I drove one for a bit also. Because I could. I worked for a dealership and we had one, also in white. I took it on vacation and it got really great mileage and I did run it hard. Just taking off and after the clutch was out, if you floored it it would roast the front tires. Yeah, there were and are faster and quicker cars, but these were a ball to drive. They just felt fast!

  8. jim s

    seemed like a good deal for fun autocross/daily driver. nice find.

  9. angliagt

    I think that this same car was featured in one of the
    Hemmings magazines.

  10. Ron (Florida)

    I always liked these and I’m glad that at least one still exists. I don’t think the front seats are original though. The car looks like it has a grey interior and even though the back seat is folded down it looks red and dark grey or black. Still cool with me, I’d drive it.

  11. Murray

    These were horrid little buzz boxes. Sure they were hard to kill, but that doesn’t make them desirable. Push it back into the barn and leave it there, lock the barn doors lest it get out again…… :-)

    • Tristan Howell

      Have you even driven one? I would assume by your comment that you have not. Try driving one before you make such a negative comment. They are a blast to drive.

      Like 1
  12. Keith

    Guys for those of you looking for one of these there is one that floats on and off the Spoakne, Washington CL.

  13. dj

    These were fun cars. I worked at a GM dealership during this time. If you weren’t holding on to the steering wheel when you punched it, they would run off the road due to torque steer. Great cars for that time period.

  14. djkenny

    I sold my red 87 in 2010 for double the price. But it was MUCH nicer. All records.

    I had it since 92, two very short owners prior.

    New tires, new alternator, new battery, turbo had 65k, new clutch, new suspension, new exhaust, new catalytic converter, a nice Sony Xplode stereo with tweeters in the dash inserts, even the transmission and motor mounts were fresh.. mine was nice.

    But for $2150 not bad..

    This car was never equipped with an Automatic, only the non turbo models. Dumb option.

    Also, clearly the seats fell to pieces since these front seats are NOT the stock seats. The interior looks like a mess. Aside from a few cracked plastic bits and some wear from wear the driver’s seat belt rubbed my seat, my interior was near perfect. This one is faded and dirty.. a real make over needed.

    But for 2 grand? It is alright. I woudl maybe offer $1500 because it would take at least $3000 to get it to the condition my sold for $4250 one was in. Mine had 192k and ran like it had 30k.

  15. Frank

    These rare time machines are selling for 8-$10,000 in Canada in mint shape. I think it’s important to keep these little cars alive and kicking….

  16. Doug Nephew

    Funny to come across this. This sweet little time capsul is all mine now: ) She went to a guy in Vegas and now she calls Salt Lake City home.

    Like 4
  17. gary

    I bought one new in 1987 and still have it. It is my daily driver. 338,000 miles so far. Still a blast to run and 32 mpg around town. it is permanently licensed in Montana and insurance is $100 a year. I must be one of the last still running on the road. They only made 5000 of them in 87 and 88.

    Like 2
    • Tristan Howell

      I just picked one up, and am working on returning it to road ready condition. Mine was used as a land speed car and a road rally car, so is fully caged and stripped. I’ve got 300k less miles than you. My plans are to race it in stage rallies, while keeping it road worthy.

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