Junkyard Gem: 1990 Suzuki Sidekick Convertible

When General Motors decided to create the Geo brand in 1989, for vehicles designed and/or built by Isuzu, Toyota, and Suzuki (strangely, Daewoo-built LeMans retained their Pontiac badges even as the Corolla-based Chevy Nova is become the Geo Prize), the only Geo truck was the Tracker. The tracker (later a Chevrolet) was really a Suzuki Escudo aka Vitara, and Suzuki decided to sell these trucks in North America with Sidekick badging. Here’s one of those early Sidekicks, pictured in a Denver drive-thru yard with vintage aftermarket wheels.

The first-generation Tracker and Sidekick were sold here for model years 1989 through 1998, after which the Tracker name survived for a few more years. the second generation truck and Suzuki dropped the Sidekick name in favor of Vitara and Grand Vitara. Suzuki continued to sell Grand Vitaras here until the very end (which came in 2013).

This is the first Sidekick in which I have documented the Junkyard Gems seriesas they never sold as well as their Tracker siblings and became quite rare.

Power came from that 1.6-litre G16 engine, a bored and stroked version of the engines used in machines such as the Suzuki Samurai and Geo Metro (four-cylinder).

Carburetors were nearly extinct on new vehicles in the US in 1990, but you could still buy a few throwbacks that didn’t have EFI. Might as well brag a bit with a badge like this!

You can get the ’90 Sidekick with a five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic, with your choice of rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive. This one has five speeds and 4 wheel drive.

American Sidekick buyers had a choice of either a hardtop or a two-door convertible; this is the convertible.

It’s fitted with awesome 1990s spoke wheels, complete with the stretched narrow tire treatment.

The brightly painted interior trim further suggests a mid-2000s influence.

Just over 150,000 total miles on the odometer.

Leaf springs? No, the Sidekick has modern coils.

In the homeland of the Sidekick, TV commercials opted for a North African look.

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