1990 GM Minivans See A Retro Review: Video3
It’s 1990. The eighties are fresh, but a new decade beckons with new ideas and opportunities. Chrysler has rolled out something called a “minivan” and it’s quickly turning station wagon customers into van buyers. At General Motors, something must be done.
Oh, and GM did something. The automaker engineered the all-purpose vehicle trio: the Chevrolet Lumina APV, Pontiac Trans Sport and Oldsmobile Silhouette. Frankly, it’s strange to see these minivans in their prime because they look seriously ahead of their time in MotorWeek’s Retro Review.
The Chevy was, of course, to be the volume leader, while the Pontiac was to court performance buyers (somehow?), and the Oldsmobile catered to the luxury folks.
As a direct response to the Caravan and Town & Country, GM put cubbies everywhere, made each of the bucket seats removable, and plopped a 3.1-liter V6 engine under the hood to out displace its rival (even if the engine made less power, and was coupled to a three-speed automatic versus Chrysler’s four-speed).
The vans have a cult following now, sometimes going by their colloquial name of “dustbusters,” and if you’re between the age of 20 and 30 years old, it’s likely you have at least one memory pertaining to the wedgey people haulers. Check out the video right up above.
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We leased a new 1992 Pontiac Trans Sport SE for 48 months. 0nce you got used to the forward view, we found it to be a very pleasant and practical vehicle. Ours had the optional 3800 V6, which was reasonably powerful for that era. The van was a comfortable highway cruiser and the 7 individual seats allowed for a variety of configurations which came in handy shuttling our two kids (and their stuff) back and forth to college. In 4 years and over 40,000 miles of driving, the only problem I recall was a failure of one of the power window motors. Best of all, the lease buyout was $7,000 and a co-worker offered me “bluebook value” to purchase the vehicle from me. That turned out to be $11,400, which allowed me to recoup $4,400 of my lease cost. I had no regrets with that vehicle.
Almost went for a 1995 Lumina van, opted instead for the sedan, same color, options and price. Less than two years later traded it in for a leased 1997 Pontiac Trans sport van. Three years later when the lease was up, a 1999 Lumina sedan.
This car came to Europe as the Chevrolet Trans Sport, and from time to time I still see one of them.
I liked this car (just from the outside appearance, never sat in one).