Faster than a 1980 Camaro! 1987 Chevy Sprint Turbo

Okay, so I’m making that claim out of the blue, but I’d guess it’s a pretty close race between a stock Camaro from a few years earlier and this car, with less than half the displacement, cylinders, etc. Before I decided to buy a new car (and ended up with my ’97 Golf), I was test driving some “sensible” used cars and saw one of these on a dealer’s lot. Hey, it’s Japanese, economical, and at the time was only about 10 years old. Even though I realized it was a turbo, I was amazed at how readily it would spin its wheels in second gear. Much like any earlier turbocharged car, the power was only available in a short band and quite explosive when it came on, so I probably would have gone through a lot of clutches trying to accelerate with the turbo spooled up. That said, with its size in mind, it was a real kick to drive.

Check out this specimen on eBay in Fontana, CA, at $1775 with the reserve not yet met. This car actually looks remarkably good, as most of these have been beaten to death in the last 22 years. I’d almost suspect the seller of photochopping the color on the pictures, since the red looks so saturated in some pics, but overall the condition makes it look like the color is really that shiny. Looking at the picture, you can also see he’s got the original wheel covers, spoilers, and turbo sprint graphics on the car, and that the panels all look straight.

1987 Chevrolet Sprint Turbo right

The right side is also just as good, though it has been bumped slightly on the hatch just under the back window, and there’s also some rust nearby. There is apparently also some damage on the right rear fender above the wheel, although this is hard to see. With the paint in such good shape, it shouldn’t be too hard to do the repair and properly color-match… he must have accidentally triggered the turbo while in reverse!

1987 Chevrolet Sprint Turbo left

Even the engine compartment looks pretty tidy. Everything looks to be present, and this little thing even has an intercooler to go with the turbo! With 126K miles on an early turbocharged car, you’d want to ask a lot of questions about recent maintenance, or expect to spend some time here doing catch-up and repairs on the items stressed by being turbocharged.

1987 Chevrolet Sprint Turbo engine

Here’s an honest shot of the interior. So many sellers who have some minor damage to things like side bolsters sneakily hide that damage by taking a shot from the passenger side. As you can see, there’s some tearing on the bolsters, the carpet’s a bit brownish, and the steering wheel has (probably) oxidized a bit. Nonetheless, the condition is still pretty remarkable for a car of this age.

1987 Chevrolet Sprint Turbo interior

Overall, this could be a fun, reliable toy for someone looking to carve up corners during the weekend, and maybe even drive it to work during the week, without worrying about the repairs and attention cars from earlier decades require. Have you owned one? Let me know what living with one of these is really like.


Tags: , , , , ,

5 Responses to “Faster than a 1980 Camaro! 1987 Chevy Sprint Turbo”

  1. kenny Says:

    I have an 87 Sprint Turbo. 193k and runs very well, very fast. I bought it in 1992 with 107k.
    Clutch did go… at 128k, as did the turbo about 1000 miles later.
    Typical stuff that cars go through. A water pump at 158k, replaced the shocks/struts and engine mounts at around 165k.
    Distributor went at 129k and cost me $136 reman at Shucks, $30 to have the dealer put it in (new ones were over $300, no way)
    Tune Ups every 30k average.
    Tires at $15-25 average each. You can get 165’s at places like Walmart (orgin equip size) but I have always just put 155R 12′ of unknown brands.

    It handles balanced, the steering gives plenty of feel and feed back. The brakes are effective and modulate well. The shifter is clean and precise even today.

    The interior is plenty spacious. It is built very well.

    Problems more recently… common ripping of the driver’s seat by the seat belt (the one pictured is in good shape, actually), and the windows are getting tight to open and close…

    I love this little car. Tough, Fast, Cute, Unique, and I have had offers in the high 3-4k range. No way. At 40+ MPG between my mostly bike commuting life style…this car is hard to beat.

    • Chris Keen Says:

      Thanks for the comment – makes me wish I’d bought the one I looked at back in ’97. Amazing that it had accumulated 107K over 5 years when you bought it.

      • kenny Says:

        I know! In 17+ years I have owned it (along side a 92 VW GTI 16v since 2000) I have put less miles than the orig owner’s did in 5 years. I suppose they were commuting long distances and taking advantage of it’s high MPG’s.

  2. Igar Stankovsky Says:

    I have a white 87 turbo sprint, and i live in Chile, the last country in south america. I got this car 1 year ago, and i found it on internet. when i get it it has 89k milles now it has 97k. When i bought it the turbo was broke so i replace it with an ihi turbo from a Subaru Legacy. It runs impresive and it only has 0,3 bar of boost and… still 34 MPG

    My Sprint only has little details like the driver seat don’t have the original cover, the old owner change it and it has a liitle hit in the middle in the passenger’s side. I love my car.

  3. CamaroFan Says:

    Okay first of all, yeah a 1980 Camaro stock, but the Z-28 Customized… I’d pay to see that race!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: