Embarrassing Flirtations: The Geo Storm
I actually wanted one of these back in the day. Yes, yes I did.
As a face-saving measure, let me clarify back in what “day” I wanted a Geo Storm: 1993. I was 14 years old. Surely there’s some allowance for my not knowing better at that age? Furthermore, the flirtation was exceedingly brief—the length of one month, during our annual trip back to the States from France for Christmas break. I had been around European cars all year, heaven for most of us, but the upshot for me at that time was that American cars like the Storm were the exotic, unfamiliar ones, so even the most mundane ones held at least some appeal by virtue of their novelty.
As for the hapless 1990-1993 Storm, as with so many sporty-looking FWD coupes, its peppy looks hid some pretty bargain-basement running gear. A stripped-down, badge-engineered Isuzu Impulse, the Storm’s engine choices ranged from a whizzpopping 95-hp SOHC 1.6l 4-banger to an indifferent 1.8l 140-hp 4-pot. Acceleration was merely adequate, although the handling of the lightweight 2,300 lb car was competent. Still, more than anything else, the car was a marketing exercise aimed at the younger driver set, so the resources directed toward its design naturally outweighed those earmarked for developing the Storm’s dynamics.
So why did I like it? The explanation isn’t very interesting: As with most of its buyers, I think I was simply drawn in by the Storm’s sporty looks, oblivious to mediocrity of its engine and chassis. If I had valued what was under the sheetmetal as least as much as its external appearance, I might have thought as poorly of the car as I do now.
Image credits: cars-database.com, edmunds.com, featuredcars.com
Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series discussing cars we used to be fans of, but have since reconsidered our enthusiasm. Read the other installments here: