1990 Chevy Lumina : Regular Car Reviews


Oh good, my baby sitter is here.

Chevy Lumina! It's a car from 1990 and it's quite a looker too.

If you like "Let's Make a Deal".

1990 Chevy Lumina.

The official car of walking into a Uni-Mart in the depths of January and saying "Can I get a get a pack of Salem Slims, my Mom is just out in the car.

" I know you're waiting for me to go full negative on this transparent attempt by General Motors to convince your wood panel parents GM is "with it.

" COOL! YEAH! DAYS OF THUNDER! WE'RE GETTING A SATELLITE DISH! And we've arrived once again at the W-Body platform from that musty old battleaxe that gave us the Buick Regal and the Pontiac Grand Prix.

It's the 1980's parking lot platform the official car of "keep an eye on your brother while I run inside to the bank.

" "I know it's hot, just roll down a window.

" This Lumina is on the first gen W-Body.

The type of car that if it was the family vehicle during your childhood, you had no realistic expectation of having it handed to you as a teenager.

The Lumina is expensive engineering encased in a body that isn't nearly as gaudy.

That's because you're not meant to have it for very long.

It's the automotive equivalent of the common cold.

MY RECTUM IS A NATIONAL TRAGEDY SO MARKY-MARK IS GOING TO DO A MOVIE ABOUT IT! The Chevy Lumina is the first 4-door sedan to be built off the W-Body platform.

The idea was to offer a reasonable mid-sized sedan that could exist as a middle-ground between a family car and a more robust daily driver.

I mean hell, Chevrolet managed to get DISNEY and Disney MGM Studios to classify the Lumina as it's "official company car" in 1990.

There were brochures and everything about it.


For the price of around $13,000 (which is roughly $24,000 in 2017) General Motors had every expectation that this car would sell.

This particular Lumina is in really good shape! It has 41,000 miles on it.

And although it was purchased last march with 33,000 miles on it, all things being equal, it held up well.

It's powered by a 3.

1 Liter V6 which makes 135 HP and 180 LB/FT of Torque It's got a column mounted shifter, coil-over front suspension and a oh we gotta talk about the *micro brain explosion* the rear.

Yeah we're just gonna come back to the rear on this.

Quick thing about the engine, the difference is the Lumina has a 3.

1 liter V6.

Do you remember the Buick Century from a few weeks ago? That had a 3.

3 Liter V6.

But the Lumina has a 4-Speed automatic where 4th is overdrive.

While the Buick has a 3-speed automatic with no overdrive.

So, even though the Lumina has less displacement, It can stay in the powerband longer.

And with a slightly smaller engine, it can rev faster.

So the Lumina is faster than a Buick Century.


The rear suspension.

Independent rear suspension.

Yeah, it's kinda good for 1990 although the Civics had these it was fine.

But it still uses a leaf spring.

And by that I mean a Leaf.



They built an independent rear-wheel suspension using one, solid, single, fiberglass leaf going across the car.

Look at that! The only other car known for having this is the Corvette and you can bet that they oh they paraded this in front of the market.


Yeah it's the same principle that the Corvette used.

Of course it's not the same part numbers.

Even though it's the same design Does it drive like a Corvette? No! I mean if you didn't tell me that this thing had independent suspension in the back with the with the weird transverse mounted singular modular fiberglass leaf spring, I wouldn't have known.

Does it handle sporty? Not really.

You're too busy hanging onto that thin steering wheel because it's a bent seat in the front and if you take a corner too fast you slide away from the steering wheel.

Anyway, Aaron bought this Lumina as a commuter car because his Saab was just one big money pit.

He was looking for just any sort of Craigslist beater and he found this but wouldn't you know it, he started to fall in love with it! So he had the thing detailed, he found new wheel covers, he painted them himself to match the original paint He started to tap out dents.

He really likes this thing.

I mean for one, it's very spacious on the inside.

This is again before gigantic A-pillars so the visibility is amazing out of this thing.

The W-Body platform was a 7 Billion dollar investment for General Motors.

Initiated by Roger Smith, the guy so notoriously bad at business he'd probably try to sell snow in late January to residents of Lower Heidelberg Township.

This car platform was expected to be a big money maker but General Motors lost $2000 on every unit.

So the platform was revised in subsequent years as the W-2 car because why not? The platform that basically screams "My taxes are in the mail.

" The blueprints for the Lumina are from the early 1980's so the car made sense for the era in which it was originally planned.

However, by the time it came out, it had a 7 year old design and you have to compare that with Ford.

And when you're competing against Ford you have to come correct.

Because the Ford Taurus was a bull.

(Heh bad joke) It stampeded everything.

The Taurus was the American game changer car and the Lumina always played catch-up to that.

And even if the Taurus hadn't existed there was still the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry to deal with.

The market was rough for General Motors and the the Lumina didn't really help.

It's like trying to compete with Minute Maid Orange Juice by selling Dick Flavored Capri-Sun.

Not all the quirks about this car were endearing.

Cracks developed on the clear coat pretty regularly which is basically the sign of cheap paint.

The battery, is encased beneath a structural support brace that you have to remove just to change your battery.

These cars weren't designed for ease of service.

Between the complicated engine layout and the trim pieces which just sorta come off in your hand due to shotty adhesive.

The trunk latch catch is right in the middle of where you try to slide suitcases.

So your luggage is going to get caught on that thing and rip it up.

Aaand what was the #1 rental car for airports in the 90's? CHEVY LUMINA! That's a nice set of Samsonite you got there.

It'd be a shame if something happened to it.

The Lumina also had these huge seams.

General Motors made no attempt to hide them.

It gave the appearance of a toy assembled by clicking different parts into place.

You know, like one of those snap-tight model planes because your kid is too spastic to deal with rubber cement.

"Ah, here's a, here's, here's a model, yeah it just snaps together.

No, no, no, you, you don't need, yeah just snap it together.

" The W-Body was the platform for cars that took you to the mall to try on clothes with mom.

You have to find an outfit for Aunt Margret's "thing" and it's 3 months away.

But oh we have to do it now and the first size never fits.

The universe just can't do you a solid.

You have to try on the same wool blazer and itchy trousers, for 7 GOD LOVING times before you can go to Electronics Boutique to try to salvage what's left of your Sunday afternoon.

But looking back where those Sundays all that bad? It's strange, because you can never really appreciate those moments, in the moment.

To be a kid with your parents.

To put on a stuffy outfit at Boscov's because it'll put a genuine smile on her face and those don't come often enough.

The Chevy Lumina may not let you physically travel back in time, but the look and feel even *SNIIIIIFFFF* the smell of the Lumina can help you remember a hundred different Saturday afternoons from your youth.

Each with it's own merit.

The Chevy Lumina is an automotive save point.

The Lumina takes you back to that memory file in your mind where all the Saturdays go.

Some of the saves have been corrupted but in the "what if" of your mind, you get another chance to step out of that dressing room and say "Ok Mom.

How do I look?" In my family since age 4, but it's not my car because I'm grown.

Oooh ooo whoah I want a Chevy of my own.

I close today.

We're stuck at Sears.

Where Boscov's in the local mall.

My Mom won't let me out of heeeerrrrrrrrre.