Turbo Convertible: 1984 Pontiac 2000 Sunbird

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New millennium fever was alive and well even back in the early-1980s. Well, of course it was, Prince was partying like it was 1999 way back then. This relatively-futuristically-named car, a 1984 Pontiac 2000 Sunbird Turbo convertible can be found here on Craigslist in Redwood City, California. The seller is asking a mere $2,000 for this punched poncho project. Thanks to J Liu for sending in this great tip!

First off, thanks to the owner/seller for providing photos of the front 3/4 views, one of a rear 3/4 view, an interior photo and even, believe it or not, an engine photo! I know, I’m running out and buying a Powerball ticket right now, this has to be my lucky day. As if finding a fun little box-checker isn’t lucky enough. A small convertible, fuel-injected turbo car for cheap money is a good find, even if it’s a project car. Is this an LE? I can’t quite see the badge on the rear of the front fenders.

The Sunbird, and this is a second-generation car, was known as the J2000 when they went to the front-wheel-drive configuration as seen in this car. The “J” went away for the 1984 model year so this one was known as the Pontiac 2000 Sunbird. And then just like that, in 1985 the dream was over, the 2000 name went away and it was the Sunbird again. Confusing, but there’s something cool about a car named the 2000. I’ve joked for decades about futuristic things being named 2000, like XJ-2000 or when we were in Sweden in the mid-90s, their bullet train was known as the X2000. The Sunbird isn’t very futuristic but I still like them, especially when they’re in almost this exact configuration.

Almost this configuration means that this one has an automatic transmission, unfortunately. A 5-speed would have been the clincher as far as checking boxes for me. The seller has a very unusual listing, I don’t know if these are mostly keywords or if something else is or was going on at the time that they wrote the ad: “Pontiac 2000: 1984, Turbo, SunBird, ‘Convertible’, 4-Cyl, Auto, Runs, Needs: Tlc, Registration, *Love, *Beach, *Babes! ride, comfort, mini, speed, road, tire, motor, living” Alllllllrighty then. Thankfully, the interior looks good other than dirty and/or faded carpets. I’m always worried to see a car parked in the weeds with the windows down. Did they just put them down for the photos, I hope? I sure hope that they haven’t been open for long.

Other than some surface rust on bare metal parts, the engine looks fairly tidy, no? This is a 1.8L inline four with a Garrett turbocharger on it which brought it from a mere 84 hp up to 150 hp! This ride obviously needs some work, or “TLC” as the seller says, but it looks pretty solid and it would be a nice first car for a son or daughter when it’s done.

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  1. D Bohm

    Scotty – what exactly is a futuristic punched poncho project? I’m completely confused. 😂

    Like 1
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      Ha, sorry for the confusion, D Bohm.

      Futuristic = using “2000” as if the year 2000 was a magical, futuristic era.
      Punched = turbo.
      Poncho = Pontiac.
      Project = a dusty car sitting in the weeds with the windows open.
      Although, I think you may have been kidding..

      Like 5
  2. Miguel

    I bought a 1987 Sunbird SE new and it had those same tail lights.

    I loved them. They looked so cool on a car this cheap.

    Like 2

    I remember these cars when new..for the time this was a very good car with not too many problems and that turbo engine yeeesss..if I only had the money to spend it would be mine

    Like 3
  4. Jett

    There’s no way a simple little turbocharger DOUBLED the horsepower of a 1984 sunbird. Is there? 25-30 hp I could see. 50 hp with a healthy tune. But from 84 to 150? Geezus. The ‘84 Grand National with its 3.8L turbo “only” had 200 hp. Makes me want to turbocharge my 172 hp Patriot…

    Like 1
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      Jett: from writer and editor Kurt Ernst at Hemmings in a story about the Sunbird from June of 2014: “Realizing that its performance division needed a compact car with entertainment value, GM upped the ante on the 1984 Pontiac 2000 Sunbird by adding a Garrett turbocharger to the 1.8-liter, multi-port fuel-injected four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels. Output grew from 84 horsepower to 150 horsepower, good enough to drop the turbocharged variant’s 0-60 MPH time into the nine-second range when equipped with the standard five-speed manual transmission.”

      Like 4
  5. Superdessucke

    These 1.8 liter turbos we’re really great engines in these cars. If this was a coupe or hatchback I would seriously be considering it. Just not a fan of J convertibles. My ex had one and it was a complete mess in terms of leakage and rattles.

    Like 1
    • Dave

      If all someone ever did with this was to clean it up, keep it under cover, and cruise it on sunny weekend days then there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s another example of the “Turbo Era”, when everything from motorcycles, computers, and minivans were boldly emblazoned with the word “Turbo” .

      Like 3
      • Fordfan

        Also turbo tax

        Like 4
      • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

        HA! Turbo Tax. That’s comedy gold, Fordfan. I may have to steal that one. I mean borrow that one with the proper attribution and all of that stuff..

        Like 0
  6. Dan

    I owned a 1984 coupe, red with grey trim. Should be an SE. Sadly only came with a 4-speed manual. 5 speed came I think in 1986. And yes, 150hp. Little car could move. Sunroof, cool fog lights. Would enjoy owning one again.

    Like 10
    • davy beam

      My 1984 Sunbird had a five speed.

      Like 0
      • Superdessucke

        5-speed not offered on turbo. 5-speed available on non-turbo though.

        Like 0
  7. PRA4SNW

    Agreed. The verbage in this ad is one of the strangest I’ve read.

    Like 1
  8. Todd Priest

    I like the Buicks better. Here’s mine.

    Like 1

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