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Cheap 1988 Pontiac Sunbird GT Turbo Convertible

This 1988 Pontiac Sunbird may not be the most exhilarating ragtop ever made, but for a late-eighties J-platform car this one’s pretty cool and seems like a lot of fun for a driver officially priced at $3,650, but in the ad body the seller mentions he’ll take $3,500.  Some really good news is there are just 32,000 miles on the odometer plus it’s a GT Turbo model, so if you’ve been searching for a practical droptop with some extra punch under the hood that won’t break the bank, this one’s probably worth investigating.  The Sunbird can be found here on eBay and it’s currently nesting in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, but the owner says he’s also got it for sale locally, so you may want to step things up a bit if this one captures your interest.

We don’t get much information as to the Pontiac’s past whereabouts or why the mileage is so low, but the owner is realistic in pointing out that his car isn’t flawless and could stand a few repairs such as a new top.  There’s also no word on whether or not that’s the original paint, but white is typically a forgiving color and the finish actually seems pretty good.  I’m not spotting any serious body flaws or concerns regarding the panels, though the motors will need some work for the partly concealed headlights to open properly.  This one’s also got that love-it-or-hate-it luggage rack on the trunk, with the incorporated center brake light.

Stepping up to the turbo got you significantly more horsepower from the 2-liter, bumping it from just under 100 HP to 165, not exactly blistering performance but not really all that shabby either for the time period.  The 4-cylinder has also recently undergone some maintenance, including a timing belt, a new water pump, an alternator, a coolant change, and new filters.  There’s also a brand new set of B.F. Goodrich Radial T/As outside which hadn’t even had the blue protective coating hosed off yet when the photos were taken.

Not a whole lot is specifically addressed regarding the interior, but other than just a bit of wear and tear in a few areas, it still appears to be in nice shape overall.  Farther down we do get to see half a dozen photos from the undercarriage, and while it may not be a complete stranger from those Wisconsin winters most of the corrosion down below appears to be mainly in the form of some surface rust, with nothing glaring jumping out as an immediate cause for major concern.  For $3,500, this convertible seems like a good bet for the money and I’m a bit surprised this 1988 Pontiac Sunbird GT Turbo hasn’t found a taker yet.  What are your thoughts on this one?


  1. Tim

    Seems like a good price. It would be nice to see a photo or 2 with the top up.

    Like 4
    • Stan

      Cheerful little cruiser. A stick shift would really add to the convertible 🌞 ⛱️ fun, but turbos do pair well w autoloaders.

      Like 2
  2. Bryan

    Had one with the V6. So many squeaks and rattles.

    Like 3
    • Rank

      Except for the typical GM build you describe, the V6 was the way to go with these. No turbo lag and more low end grunt.

      Like 3
  3. Troy

    Not bad its about 1700 miles away wonder if I did buy it if I could manage to make it the 1700 miles with the top down for nice weather? Not going to try because I’ve never had good luck with a GM vehicle built after 1977

    Like 4
  4. RalphP

    Would have liked to see photos with the top up and inside the trunk.

    Like 2
  5. Lothar... of the Hill People

    Mike Stephens who gave you the tip on this one? I honestly can’t remember if it was me or not but it looks like something I’d share w/ BF.

    I worked at a church / monastery back in the day and the priests and brothers had a couple of these. I used to get to take them to get washed or to buy something at the store once in a while. They moved along nicely!

    Like 4
    • Mike Stephens Staff

      Hi Lothar…

      Thanks for your message! We didn’t get any reader notifications on this one, it was actually spotted by the Barn Finds staff a couple of days ago, but you’ve sent us many great tips and we’d like to express our gratitude for your spotting so many cool rides and sharing them with us, please keep them coming in the future!

      Like 1
      • Lothar... of the Hill People

        Thanks for that. I’ve submitted a whole bunch so its hard to remember sometimes, especially when I see a Wisconsin one. Pewaukee is only about an hour from my home and if I was in the market, I’d snap this up for $3500.
        I REALLY like Barn Finds so I’m happy to be part of the process and I get a kick out of seeing my name on here.
        BTW, good write up, Mike… keep up the good work!
        ~Lothar… of the Hill People

        Like 1
  6. Jim in FL

    Hey, my girlfriend in 1995 had one of these. Slightly later model, exposed headlights with the v6, same white, same interior and a black top. Was a great car for 23 year old kids. If it were closer, sure at that price.

    I would go on a limb and call it reliable. We drove it all over the US for a couple years with no issues.

    Like 1
  7. Jwzg

    Specific output from the 2.0 L turbo was quite impressive for the day—especially for a 2-valve engine. The Quad 4 only made 150 hp with .3 liters more displacement. Too bad the car around it was dynamically inferior to the Toyotas and Hondas of the day in every way.

    Like 2
  8. nlpnt

    It was seldom ordered, but you could get the GT package with this nose on a wagon. Was that as close to a wagon with pop-up headlights you could get from the factory?

    Like 2
  9. Glenn Schwass Member

    A co-worker had one with a hard top. He hated the radio so it took it apart and cut one of the LED pins so it lost a digit. He then asked for a different radio and got it. I left that job and don’t know how well it did but he took good care of his cars. He had a creampuff of a Maverick before that, which was clean.

    Like 0
  10. Blake, does my opinion really matter ???

    Wow, I’m tempted to have classic cars in full size again, and at this price, I could almost afford to. Sometimes a 1500+ collection of models is not the same as a real life size collectible car. My mums had a 1990 Sunbird LE sedan in turquoise with red body accents and a backlit red dashboard. Mom still misses and talks about that car! This car has got to go up in value sometime, someone please grab it and give it a good home! I would if I could, but right now I just can’t, or I for sure would.

    Like 0
  11. Blake, does my opinion really matter ???

    PS, remember when TURBO was such a marketing buzz word? If you do, your getting to be antique like the cars on this site just like me ha ha ha LOL!!! I remember when even a new Hoover vacuum proudly displayed a TURBO label. OMG even shaving cream spray cans bragged about turbo action in the 80s. the 80s, everything worth a poo MUST BE TURBO!

    Like 0

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