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Some might call it silly, others will say it’s rad. But everyone will agree it’s a sleeper, because the last time we checked, a 5.0-liter V-8 engine wasn’t an option for a 1996 Geo Tracker. And yet, here we have a pint-sized Tracker with a V-8 badge on the grille, and folks, it’s not fake.

This 28-year-old Tracker is listed for sale at Steel City Classics in Alabama, and if we’re being completely honest, it would’ve caught our eye even without the big motor swap. One doesn’t see a clean-looking Tracker very often, and while they weren’t crazy popular when new, these little soft-top runabouts have a strong cult following in the 2020s.

1996 Geo Tracker V8
1996 Geo Tracker V8
1996 Geo Tracker V8

Ordinarily, you’d find a modest 1.6-liter four-cylinder between the fenders, churning out an optimistic 95-100 horsepower on a good day. This one obviously isn’t ordinary, as evidenced by the extremely clean engine bay with a stonking 5.0 shoved in there. This is an old-school Ford pushrod V-8, and while a power rating isn’t mentioned by the selling dealer, something easily north of 300 hp is likely. It’s listed as having a B303 cam with MSD ignition, and it’s bored slightly so we bet this thing is a legit hoot to drive. Power going to just the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission makes it even better.

Beyond that, the sales description says this Tracker went through a frame-off restoration. From what we see in the photos, it looks pretty darned good all the way around. The top has a snug fit, the interior is clean, and the body looks gloriously stock. It fits the classic definition of a sleeper, at least until you get to the back where dual exhausts and a parachute might tip you off to some horsepower shenanigans taking place.

1996 Geo Tracker V8

Is it worth $17,900? We’ll leave that question up for debate but this looks like a clean build and frankly, it’s the first time we’ve seen a V8 Tracker. Jump into the comments, let us know what you think about this rad build.

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