Owning a 3-cylinder Geo is an exercise in frugality. Something this minimally appointed resets your viewpoint of what a car should be, and yet living with less can be freeing in a Tibetan monk sort of way. That sentiment only lasts as long as the first long trip or attempt at rapid acceleration, where the droning three-banger reveals its inefficiency for American driving. Does chopping off the roof and making it a truck make it more American? You can ask that black GMC Sierra in the background, trying to avoid eye contact. Find this El Camino-ized 1996 Geo Metro in Sumter, SC for $1,450 reserve-not-met here on eBay with 3 days to go.
This was built off of the updated, second-generation Metro sedan, promising a few refinements. Meaning, the 1.0-liter 3-cylinder (that’s 61 cubic inches, or 480 shy of the recently featured Chevelle wagon) will still sound like a Dyson picking up ice cubes, but slightly more insulated. Theoretically, the dual front airbags, crumple zones, and side impact bars make it a safer rig than the old Metro, which would all but guarantee your body making an accordion of itself in a 5-mph crash.
Custom wheel arches, body work, and a good bed liner make this among the better El Caminoized/Rancheroized chops we’ve seen in the past. It seems the seller grafted the old roof just behind the front seats, making it oddly proportioned but cosmetically agreeable. Inside, it appears our urban cowboy sipped back on some moonshine before taking the sole interior picture. We see a clean, tan, two-seat interior with a 5-speed, and are promised a CD player, air conditioning, and other basics that shouldn’t be assumed when shopping for a Geo.
Here we see a rare throttle-body injected engine, nearly overshadowed by the adjacent battery. Even in the bigger, heavier second-generation, 45 mpg isn’t out of the question with a light foot. Expect that figure to plummet as you load up the tiny bed (with a working lift gate, always a perk), quickly approaching the car’s tiny max payload. Pack light.
See a thriftier chop job? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.