Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Saturn has one of the greatest performance monikers of all time—Redline. It also comes with Recaro seats, a supercharger, and suicide back doors. What could all of that possibly be worth?
I don’t know about you but I was really on the fence about yesterday’s 1989 Honda GB500 Tourist Trophy. I mean, on the one hand, it represents one of my all-time favorite Hondas. On the other, however, it was rough enough that you’d worry about your mom dating it.
Most of you didn’t suffer such indecisiveness over that little Honda, and at a $3,400 asking, even fewer felt that way over its price. In the end, it came down to a 75 percent Crack Pipe loss to sway me. Thanks, amigos.
Think about the name “Ion Redline.” It sounds like a cool race car driver’s name cooked up by George Lucas, right? Now add to that the brand name Saturn—taken from a Greek God, a giant planet, and the best day of the week—and you have the amazingly named Saturn Ion Redline, a car that… well, I’m not sure if it really ever did anything else of note.
That’s not to damn the model with faint praise, and as this 2005 Saturn Ion Redline proves, there are lots of interesting aspects to the hot model from GM’s defunct import-fighting brand. Just look at some of the specs here. You get a high output supercharged four, Recaro seats, suicide rear doors and a five-speed Getrag gearbox. All are very laudable and in some aspects, very unique elements. Those are all bolted to a small coupe that shared its otherwise somewhat mundane underpants with the Chevy Cobalt and HHR, and across the Atlantic with the Opel Astra.
Were these great cars? No. No, they were not. But as we’ve been told, we should never let perfect be the enemy of good, and with a few exceptions, these were pretty good cars.
The good here starts with a 205 horsepower 1998cc DOHC four. That power is made by way of an Eaton M62 Roots style supercharger bolted purposefully to the front of the ECOTEC’s head. That’s mated to a Getrag F35 gearbox and a stiffer than the average bear suspension. Alloy wheels and subtle ground effects bodywork complete the Quad Coupé’s transformation into the Redline.
This Sebring Silver over black edition sports a modest 74,333 miles and is described by its seller as being in like-new condition. There’s no apparent issue with the bodywork, either in the horizontal metal surfaces or the plastic bits wrapping doors, bumpers, and fenders.
Stepping inside you’ll find a tidy interior that is elevated by the twin-tone Recaros and leather-wrapped tiller, but let down by almost every other bit. The center-mounted instrument cluster is canted toward the driver but it’s still kind of a weird element and in no way says “I’m here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I’m all out of bubble gum.”
The unique double door opening on either side offers excellent access to the two rear seats although your passengers in back will also have to put up with the same plasticky interior as those in front, and they won’t have the benefit of leaning back against the Recaro brand name.
The title is clean and the ad claims the car to have been unmolested its entire life, a rare find in this class. The asking is $4,500 and that raises a conundrum. As a commuter car, that’s not bad for the condition and the miles, but the problem the seller faces is that there are tons of newer and perhaps even lower mileage cars available on the market for even less. Yes, a Kia Rio may be terrible, but if it’s newer and its dealers are still around then maybe it would be a better choice?
Of course, we’re not about making the right choice, we’re all about making the fun one, and this Ion Redline sure sounds like a lot of fun in both specs and that amazingly cool name. What’s your take, could this Saturn ring up $4,500? Or, as that a Redline you would absolutely not cross?
H/T to linewarbr for the hookup!
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