Junkyard Gem: 1991 Geo Metro LSi Convertible
Americans lost the ability to buy a new Detroit-made convertible starting in the 1977 model year (unless you count aftermarket conversions), not regaining it until drop-top Chrysler K-Cars showed up in showrooms in 1981. This gave convertibles a certain magical quality that lasted for quite a while here, and so it seemed to make sense for GM to offer an open-air version of the Geo Metro. Here’s one of those cars, spotted in a self-service yard in northeastern Colorado.
The Metro was really a second-generation Suzuki Cultus, successor to the 1985-1988 Chevrolet Sprint. While a four-cylinder engine became available in the later Metro (which got Chevrolet badges when the Geo brand got the axe in 1997), all Chevy Sprints and early Metros got this 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine.
You’re looking at 55 Suzuki horsepower here. The XFi version of the Metro (not available with a convertible top) managed to get better than 60 highway miles per gallon with an engine rated at 49 horsepower.
There was an automatic transmission available… for 465 bucks (about $993 in 2022 dollars). That would have added nearly 5% to the cost of this $9,740 car ($20,805 today) and killed the fuel economy, so nearly all Metro buyers got their cars with three pedals.
Do you like simple instruments in cars? You’ll love the Metro!
This one is good and rusty, with some really scary corrosion underneath. I think it sat in a field, buried to the axles, for many years.
However, the bra tells us that it once had an owner who loved their then-shiny red convertible.
No 1991 competitor could offer a new convertible with a price tag even close to that of the $9,740 Metro LSi. Oh, sure, a ragtop version of the wretched Yugo was available in 1990 and maybe 1991, but that doesn’t count. A new Miata cost $13,800 that year, with a Mazda-based Mercury Capri going for $12,588. The 1991 VW Golf Cabriolet cost $16,175, and prices for convertibles just got higher with other competitors.
How much? No way!