Friday, January 9, 2015

4k: Adoraboosted: 1991 Geo Metro, Firefly Turbo swap

In April, we took the Maple-leaf wraps off of the Canadian-only Pontiac Firefly, basically a turbocharged Geo Metro. Starting with the 1.0-liter G10 three-cylinder engine, Chevy added an intercooler (the size of a postage-stamp) and a snail (the size of... a snail) for a grand total of 70 horsepower. Today, someone has lifted the Firefly drive train, ECU, and dashboard from the Firefly and stuffed it in a Yankee Geo where it belongs. And it looks so right. Find this 1991 Geo Metro with Firefly Turbo powertrain in Renton, WA for $3,500 via craigslist.

The engine is just a modernized, fuel-injected version of the Chevy Sprint Turbo unit. Full boost pressure happens from 2,800 to 6,500 rpm, with peak horsepower happening at 5,500. Compared to the Geo Metro XFi, it's down 15 highway MPG (to just 43) but is up 15 horsepower. That's a good trade-off, although if the fuel efficiency dips below 40, the case for this car gets thrown out in my court.

Along with the OEM hood scoop, rear wing, and turbo decals, the seller added 14" mesh wheels from an RX-7, and a urethane front lip. The effect is a chipmunk with a spiked mohawk, and probably strikes with equal force. The whole interior has been redone with fresh carpet, sound deadening, and - finally - cup holders. Really, most of the car has been recently gone-over, including control arms, springs and shocks, timing belt, and a lot more.

To put this tyke into perspective, here's how it stacks up against a 996 911 Turbo: The Geo has half the cylinders and turbo count of the 911, half as many driven wheels, half the exhaust outlets... and 16.8% of the power. Granted, owning either one is a strictly spiritual pursuit that can't be quantified, and it wouldn't take long to warm up to either machine. Even a cul-de-sac lap in this turbulent tot would do the trick.

See a cuter turbocharged oddball? Email us at

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.


  1. I don't know why -seriously-, but I've always wanted a Suzuki Swift GTi/GT. The glovebox hinge was a piece of cheap plastic with a crease in it, but a curb weight of 1875 pounds and 100 bhp at 6500 rpm sounds like fun to me. It could pull .82 g, too.

    These cars are unicorns now. There aren't even that many that pop up on the Team Swift board. I've never seen a hood scoop like that. I'd be tempted to slap a Holden badge on it for no particular reason.

    91 with 79K

    I love these little cars.

  2. It is too bad these never made it to the US market. If you are vigilant, you can find the 87 Sprint turbos come up for sale every now and then. The Elio is (hopefully) going to be powered by a re-engineered version of the Sprint/Metro engine. A turbo engine like the one in the featured car would be the obvious performance upgrade to make your 1250 lb. Elio haul.

  3. It sounds like a blast, and might even look OE enough to pass a California smog check. seems to be open diff FWD which kicks it way down my bucket list until someone coughs up a Quaife or similar for it.

  4. When I first starting dating my wife she drove a Geo turbo spectrum. Being a smug college student at the time, when I first saw it I asked if her cleaning lady was at her house.
    The turbo lag was very strange. One night when I was driving it on the 110 in the rain I noticed that the front tires would spin at 55mph in a spastic torque steer kind of way. When we started to get serious I sold it and got her a Volvo wagon with a sbc 350 in it. Classy I know.

    1. Oh man, the Chevrolet/Geo Spectrum Turbo...thanks for bringing that one up. Neat little cars, also unicorns. Weren't they a rebadged Isuzu I-Mark/Gemini? If I were interested in one of those cars (which I am), I'd stick it out for a 1989 Isuzu I-Mark RS, with 125 hp and suspension tuned by the folks at Lotus (previously featured here on DT). Any crazy torque steer is half the fun (Saab Viggen, anyone?).

      Chinless Wonder needs "break" pads.

    2. That is pretty Rad for the money

  5. I worked with a guy, in Toronto, in the early 90's and he had one of these. He called it a pocket-rocket and absolutely loved it. This looks like a very good deal, someone is going to buy themselves 'mucho fun' for not a lot of money.


  6. Something doesn't sit right with the pictures. If I have all my facts right, that's a Suzuki GTi steering wheel, I've never seen a "OEM" hood scoop like that and the owner claims the engine is related to the G10...if the motor is turbocharged from the factory (looks like it), then my guess is that it IS a G10. It would have been interesting to research how hard it would have been to put a G13B in it, instead. I would imagine it wouldn't be too difficult. This is clearly a bit of a Frankenstein, but the owner is pretty up front about that. Still, as much as I like this car, it probably isn't worth the $3,500 asking price.

    I'm pretty sure I found videos of this car on YouTube. The owner is clearly a gearhead.

    1. The hood scoop appears to be original to the Canadian Pontiac Firefly (CDM tyte yo!). The motor is indeed the G10T, a factory turbocharged unit.
      That video is great - nice find!

  7. Cool car. My son has a 1990 Chev Sprint Turbo with the G10T and yes that is the factory hood scoop. We have his set up with a Saab turbo adjustable boost control. BOV and a built motor with 3tech cam and running a maximum of 10psi boost. Is it fast? no... but it is what I would call quick and a whole lotta fun quite honestly. Its a blast to drive and will break the tires (195/45/15) loose anytime between 1st and 3rd Makes all the cool hissing and whoosh sounds a little turbo car should make and doesn't break the bank. He loves it and all his buddy's call it retro so hey Why not have some fun!


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