When The General created the Geo brand in 1989, the idea was that cars designed and/or built by Toyota, Isuzu, and Suzuki could be sold in the United States under the GM flag (Geos became Chevrolets after 1997). Of all the cars that bore Geo badging, the Tracker stayed in production the longest, when a Suzuki Grand Vitara-based Chevy Tracker could be purchased through 2004.
Here’s a frighteningly corroded 1993 Geo Tracker, spotted in a self-service wrecking yard in Joliet, Illinois.
I visited this yard while in Illinois for the Joliet Prison Break 24 Hours of Lemons race, and it has some of the best junkyard ambience I have ever experienced. Much of the inventory is kept indoors, in the ruins of an ancient factory.
Right next door is the now-closed Joliet Prison, which is best-known for serving as the setting for the opening scenes of the 1980 film, The Blues Brothers. Other than Martin Salvage in northeastern Colorado, I can’t think of a more beautiful wrecking yard.
Cars in the Upper Midwest rust real good, especially when they’re little (Canadian-built) Japanese cars.
The final owner of this Tracker was willing to put up with numerous slush-scooping openings into the passenger compartment. I didn’t feel like crawling in the mud beneath, but we can assume that the suspension mounting points were in less-than-safe condition.
Still, this Tracker made it to age 25, with nearly 150,000 miles on the clock.
Most of the first-gen Trackers (and their Suzuki-badged siblings, the Sidekick and Vitara) came with manual transmission, even in the United States, but this one has the automatic.
The festive tape stripes and pink-and-gray interior remind us of what strange times the early 1990s were.
At least we remember the Tracker today, unlike the Geo Spectrum.