In the previous My Wheels chapter I mentioned that the motorcycle it featured passed through my hands sometime in the period around my second divorce. The same was true of the subject of the chapter before that. The Mazda, the Yamaha, and the wife all came and went while the leased Acura remained. Eventually, however, even it went away. In the fall of 1991 I found myself in need of a car with nothing to trade-in and with credit not all that good in light of the recent divorce.
I’d enjoyed driving the Mazda and, with the family down to just me and my daughter, thought I’d go for something sporty. The Mitsubishi 3000GT had recently been introduced and I really liked its looks. I picked out one I wanted, took it for a quite satisfying test drive, then quickly discovered the credit issue. I simply couldn’t afford the car.
The Isuzu based Geo Storm had appeared at Chevrolet dealers about the same time. It was kinda sporty, kinda fun to drive, and a lot cheaper than the Mitsubishi. My credit was good enough for a blue Geo Storm GSI 5-speed coupe.
Even as I closed the deal, I considered it something of a stop gap. The Storm was a step down from the Acura I had been driving and, more importantly, from the Mitsubishi I wanted. I intended to move on just as soon as the smoke and ashes from the divorce cleared a little. I became more serious about doing that as I quickly realized how wrong I had been about my transportation needs.
Sure, there were now only two of us in the household I headed, but I hadn’t considered the fact that teenage girls hardly ever go anywhere alone. My chauffeuring duties weren’t all that heavy but when I did need to deliver or retrieve my daughter, she was usually accompanied by a friend or two. The storm could handle three teens and me for short distances but that was its limit. In hindsight I was better off realizing this for the price of a Geo rather than the Mitsubishi I’d targeted.
The worst of the impact of the divorce on my credit was over about as quickly as the marriage. I was able to up-size in less than a year. As a result, I really have no stories about the Storm. It did its job even when overloaded with teenagers, and I really had no problems with it at all. My problem free experience made finding an article titled “Famously Unsafe: Geo Storm” a huge surprise.
I found the article (It’s here.) as I searched the internet to refresh my memory for this post. I dived into it expecting to learn of major flaws or failures that I had somehow miraculously avoided. Turns out that the car wasn’t particularly fragile or uncontrollable but supposedly had a reputation I was unaware of. The only hard fact I saw to support this is, “The NHTSA actually rated the Storm as having the most aggressive drivers in its class.” In other words, the “unsafe” reputation came from the car having more than its share of owners who overdrove their and the car’s capabilities. The article ends by referencing the Storm’s “tendency to attract morons”. Nolo contendere.