GM's Geo Tracker Concepts of the 1990s

The Geo brand launched in August 1989 with the assurance that Geo customers would find, purchase, and service their vehicles through existing Chevrolet dealerships. It also launched with the somnolent theme song "Getting to Know You," a Rodgers and Hammerstein ditty from the 33-year-old musical "The King and I," a surefire bet to show younger buyers you know what they like.

1990 GM California Concept Storm

The first indication that GM wanted to refocus the Geo brand to go after younger buyers came in 1990 when the brand showed off a few concept vehicles. The first, the California Concept Storm, looked like a mix between a Dodge Daytona and a GM F-body -- almost timeless if not for the directional slotted chrome wheels that looked like the budget choice for the 17-year-old who'd just been handed down mom and dad's old car. Chevrolet's PR office described it as a rolling testimonial to the personalizing potential of Geo's newest car -- features full headlight covers, a blackout greenhouse, and Cerello bucket seats. The body is lowered two inches front and rear. A steel panel replaces the quarter glass, and side panels are molded to the body. Body side moldings have been removed.

1990 Geo Tracker Hugger

The Tracker Hugger's second 1990 concept took its namesake's focus on flashy colors and cranked it to 11. Neon yellow paint looked like "a landing beacon for UFOs," as Popular Mechanics described it. Conflictingly complementary purple coated the interior, the grille, and the bumper ends while the wheels and tube bumpers took an orange dipping. Aside from the windshield, it had no glass, ostensibly a roadster with its Pontiac Stinger-like door cutouts but also blocked in by chunky B-pillars and roof rails. According to the Chevrolet PR office's writeup:

Geo Tracker Hugger is a highly modified convertible Geo Tracker 4x4 with a production 1.6-liter engine. The interior features leather-trimmed front seats and a steering wheel, with the rear seat, quarter-trim, and carpet removed. The individualized exterior has front and rear tube bumpers, rocker extensions, roof panels, and roof quarter extensions. The body panels have been removed, and the vehicle sports "Hugger" graphics.

The 1990 Geo Sand Tracker Concept

Another concept from 1990, the Sand Tracker, had a G.I. Joe camouflage paint scheme but in no other way appeared youth-oriented. Later Tracker concepts, including the 1991 Dirt and the 1994 Kalahari, also attempted to display the Tracker's off-road prowess.

For 1991, possibly for that year's SEMA show, GM doubled down with a quartet of themed Tracker concepts. The first, a radical custom take on the Tracker, saw nearly every body panel save for the hood and doors modified. Wide fender flares sat low over the Geo-branded five-spokes while the windshield got chopped and all the roof except for a rollbar removed. The second (haven't yet found its name) and third (Surf Tracker), also lowered, showed far fewer body mods but more focus on boardwalk cruising and surfing, respectively. The fourth, apparently named Boom Box, looked like somebody just lifted the car stereo section from Circuit City and dropped it in the back, along with pole- and bumper-mounted speakers, a B-pillar-mounted microphone, and -- lest one forget this concept was music-themed -- light purple music note graphics on the dark purple paint.

A year later, the folks in charge of Geo's concept cars just gave up. Down to just one Tracker, the Back Pack concept flashed some cheap alu