Timing belt broke at 45,000 miles. Since this is an interference-type engine, it required a complete engine re-build. This was a $1200 repair bill (in 1989 $'s).
Fuel pump and hose failed at 50,000 miles. Gasoline poured out from under vehicle on the middle of a major interstate bridge, where the car died. Despite the fact that this problem was the source of a major factory recall, Chevrolet failed to inform me of this and I ended up paying $550 (in 1990 $'s) out of pocket for the repair.
Speedometer cable failure at 65,000 miles.
EVAP canister failure at 65,000 miles.
Clutch failure at 70,000 miles.
This was the worst car I have ever owned. The amount I spent in repairs in the first year of ownership could have afforded me a brand new Nissan Sentra. I bought the Spectrum when it was 3 years old with 45,000 miles on the ODO.
The good things about owning a Spectrum:
1. I'm actually a mechanic today thanks to all the work I was forced to do to keep this car running. I learned most of what I now know out of necessity due to this little beast.
2. It drove great in the snow. The thin tires and front wheel drive was great on ski trips. The only major winter problem I had was when the heater core broke in negative 10 degree F temps in the middle of nowhere in British Columbia.
That's about it. The Chevy Spectrum is a rolling deathtrap. I know this because I was making a lot of trips to the pick-a-part wrecking yards whenever something failed in my car, which was often. I can't remember a single wrecked Spectrum that looked like it didn't involve a fatality.
The next car I purchased was a Saturn, which turned out to be another piece of garbage. I'll never own another GM.