CC Capsule: Geo Tracker – Purple Geode

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The 1990s were the shorty era. What had started as a tiny niche with the Suzuki LJ/SJ in the seventies, and took root in the US with the Samurai starting in 1986, became a full-on fad in the nineties. Just about every Asian CUV was available in a short version (Honda CRV excepted), until the fad wore itself out, or folks got tired of the jiggly rides. But they’re still out there, especially around here, like this fine example of a Geo Tracker, a badge-engineered Suzuki Sidekick.

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Ostensibly, GM had some direct input in these, as they are the product of CAMI, the joint venture between Suzuki and GM  Canada. The Trackers were built in the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, although some of the early Sidekicks were imported from Japan. And unlike the short RAV4 from Toyota, these were built on separate frames, in the Suzuki tradition for its 4x4s.

Power came from a 95 hp 1.6L Suzuki four, adequate for the times and expectations. These vehicles became very popular dinghies behind big motor homes for a number of obvious reasons.

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Stick shifts are the key to keeping these fun. This one has the automatic, which would be the venerable THM180, a design that was originally built for European cars, and widely used there from the late 60s on, in a variety of brands including Fiat, Peugeot, Rover, etc, and even in the evergreen Grumman LLV postal van. Later versions had a GM/Aisin four-speed.

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Purple makes such a nice addition to the fall colors.