By on June 26, 2015

02- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

By the 1980s, Japanese carmakers had established themselves as making the most reliable vehicles in the minds of plenty of American car shoppers. Meanwhile, the Europeans had conquered much of the sporty/sophisticated market by that time. General Motors responded by stamping out millions of plastic badges with the magical letters “E-U-R-O” molded in (as well as by doing stuff like putting pushrod front-drive V8s in bodies flown over from Italy). You could get a Chevy Celebrity Eurosport, and— a few years later— a Chevy Lumina Euro. I’ve been overlooking these cars in junkyards for many years, but now I realize that they have a certain historical significance. Here’s one I spotted in Denver.
10- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

You’d think that the Lumina Euro would have come standard with big brakes, stiff suspension, manual transmission, maybe some cool-looking fog lights. Nope. This one has a 140-horse pushrod V6, column-shift automatic, and a not-quite-Audi-grade faux-velour-covered front split-bench seat.

08- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

If it’s a 20-year-old W-body, it’s rolling on at least one space-saver spare tire. That’s the law.

07- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

These weren’t particularly bad cars and several cubic miles of them were sold, but the EURO badging thing is just embarrassing. Instead, they should have offered the Lumina North America, with stereo optimized for Lynyrd Skynyrd and factory-installed Cherry Bomb mufflers.


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143 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro...”


  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    “If it’s a 20-year-old W-body, it’s rolling on at least one space-saver spare tire. That’s the law.”

    Correction: 10 years, and sometimes not even that. A few weeks ago it was an 07-08ish (last body style) Impala towards the ‘bad’ end of my street, a space saver on the rear, and missing a front fender.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I used to see plenty of these rolling around, but they all evaporated in the last decade. Same with the rounded Lumina that followed. I would guess the biodegradable intake gaskets killed them.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Those Luminas (both this and afterward) could never hold their paint very well.

    • 0 avatar
      rave323

      I still see plenty of these guys on the road and for sale. My friend had one with over 400,000 on the odo. It was his dad’s sales car, and he gave it to my friend. Only issues it had were no AC and a bypassed horn. Even the headliner and dash were perfect.
      On the other hand, I had a 93 Lumina z34 that blew its timing chain around 112K. Shame- I liked that car.

  • avatar
    Undefinition

    So … what is “Euro” about it?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Trim package. Body color grille, little or no chrome, round gauges. Aping the fairly Spartan appearance of ’80s German cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Absolutely nothing. That is what makes these cars entertaining, ironic, and sad.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        No, not quite nothing. It has a tachometer, like most European cars.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          A lot of European cars of that vintage had a giant analogue* clock right where the tach was supposed to go :)

          That would have been humorously ironic if Chevy had done that with the “Euro” package.

          *yes, I intentionally used the Euro spelling

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Actually, that was what GM was using for its advertising in the 1980s. GM used “Euro”, Ford used “World Class”, Chrysler used “Buy A Car, Get A Check”, and AMC used “It’s All We Could Do With The Money We Had, So Ignore That It’s A 1970 Hornet”.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      In the case of the Celebrity, and as David C. Holzman attests below, the Eurosport actually did get different suspension tuning versus the base model. Chevy’s website (http://www.chevrolet.com/discontinued-vehicle/lumina.html) indicates this was the case with the Lumina as well.

      I’m generalizing here, but up through the ’80s base American sedans were tuned very softly compared both to contemporary German cars and to mainstream (be they European, American, or Asian) sedans of today. As such, the Eurosport/Euro label did signify something meaningful, even if it was goofy and easy to mock.

      In reading a post by former GM designer Dick Ruzzin at autosofinterest.com, it seems that Eurosport actually was an in-house nickname for their sporty Celebrity project. Some GM execs disliked the name, but no one came up with anything better.

  • avatar
    Power6

    They had to stuff tiny little round “euro” gauges into a space clearly designed for a big old classic ‘merican long bar speedometer. That tells you pretty much everything you need to know right there.

    I still thought the Z34, and the rare Euro 3.4, were cool back in the day.

    *edit* just watched the Ad, for the Euro 3.4 model, the one nobody bought, maybe it sold some regular Euros. The reality of what this car was, was so far apart from what the marketing dept was selling, that’s pretty much the story of GM in the 90s.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      And the DOHC 3.4 HO V6 was an even bigger POS than the regular 3.4 V6. My Uncle Tim who bought a 30th Anniversary Cutlass Convertible with the fender badges proudly screaming DOHC 3.4 eventually gave up on his as coolant started to disappear.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Good thing 3800s bolt right in.

      • 0 avatar
        Liger

        My parents had a ’96 Grand Prix GTP with the 3.4 engine. The car was always in the shop due to engine troubles. It seemed to go through fuel injectors pretty often among other things. And apparently when you buy an extended warranty on a car, there is a dollar limit to how much the warranty company will spend on repairs. After they paid $10,000 in repairs, the warranty company would no longer pay for repairs. The car died with like 75,000 miles on the odo.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      That TDC engine may be the biggest steaming pile ever to come out of GM. Unreliable, near-impossible to service from what I understand, and still makes no more power than GM would get out of similarly sized pushrod V6s a few years later.

      It sounded nice, though.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        The way GM went about making a pushrod motor into DOHC is utterly ridiculous. Timing belt or chain, how about both?? LOL.

        They did sound cool though.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          Didn’t know that about the 3.4 DOHC. What did the intermediate shaft do in that engine? Distributor and oil pump? (The old OHC Volvo red engines were built like that, but at least in those all the shafts ran on just the one timing belt and everything worked just fine.)

      • 0 avatar
        RedStapler

        70s and 80s GM made a lot of crappy engines that are contenders for worse ever. It takes a special kind of arrogance and incompetence to go from having 60% to 20% market share.

    • 0 avatar

      That dashboard is reminiscent of the early 1960s Impalas, a nostalgic snapshot back into GM’s glory days. Given what the Taurus had going on, it was pretty sad.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I always thought the capper was insisting that the Chevy “Dustbuster” minivan be called Lumina MPV. God Forbid the nameplate had been successful or we might have had a “Lumina” sub-brand like Cutlass basically was for Oldsmobile.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Significance yes! Star of “Days of Thunder.”

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Ah the ABS badge.

    What car currently being produced comes with the most 90s-approved badge?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      “4DSC”

      Or maybe the font that Mitsubishi uses for their 4WD/AWD systems? I always thought the font looked like it was straight out of the 90s.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Almost any Honda or Acura feature badge (P-AWS, SH-AWD, AWD, etc.).

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Eddie Bauer.

      Also, TTAC should be paying Land Ark. His QOTD question is better than Doug’s.

    • 0 avatar
      toplessFC3Sman

      The Chevy Sonic has a nice little “Turbo” badge, although that may be a decade too early

      http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/2013-Chevy-Sonic-RS-taillights1.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      It was a good warning to wise non-ABS car owners to not tailgate. Now everyone has ABS so you don’t need that as much.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Gotta give credit where credit is due. GM made a deliberate effort to put R&D into affordable ABS and brought what it called ABS-VI to market with only moderate fanfare. You gotta realize that when ABS started becoming mainstream around 1990, the general public was pretty dumb about understanding it- analogies like the brake pedal vibrating “like a running chainsaw” or advice, like what we now take for granted (simply step hard on the pedal the whole time and steer as necessary), was a big deal in driver education.

      Remember, all-drum brakes was still in living memory and there were also still plenty of cars on the road with severe front or rear brake bias (made for exciting panic stops, especially on steep hills). Before ABS was common, I remember my driver’s ed instructor telling our class that locking up all four wheels would at least yield consistent panic stop results, and while threshold braking sounded great in theory, in practice it required practice and you had to stay calm (easier said than done for many people).

      GM figured ABS was a better safety investment (better cost/benefit than airbags or whatever else). It’s common knowledge nowadays that drivers go faster and take more risks when they have the security blanket of electronic aids, but in the late 1980s/early 1990s that wasn’t a fashionable theory.

      So yeah. Affordable ABS. Kudos to late malaise era GM. Goofy badges and all.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        GM did make a big push on ABS at that time, but they subsequently dropped it from many models in the ’90s as part of a relentless cost-cutting drive.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    1987 Celebrity Eurosport wagon was one of the nicest looking cars of the day.
    I had a white one with the red outlined details.
    The, I believe 3.8, V6 was a nice engine and somehow they got a wonderful sounding exhaust. Driving off it made a nice sound…for a wagon.

    Miss this car.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      That would have been the 2.8 in 1987. Gutless and with a number of issues (weak rods, head gaskets, fragile cams).

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        I had a blue Celebrity Eurosport wagon. With roof racks, it carried a 32 ft extension ladder, 2x lumber up to 16 ft long and had reasonable cargo space inside. Never found out about reliability. Stolen car/hit and run on the front of it made sure it’s accessories – AC and alternator – were unreliable after that – worked only long enough so the ins company could claim it was coincidental. The second accident blew out about half the glass and that totaled it. I was unharmed both times, so I think it was a good car….
        And it looked decent, unfussy and unpretentious.

      • 0 avatar
        blppt

        Its all relative–for its time, the 2.8 was quite punchy, and unless there was something broken, I never heard it being called “gutless” in the smaller vehicles (Century, Celebrity).

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          Compared to the domestic competition in the four cylider/5-6 passenger compact market (Chrysler 2.2/2.5, GM 2.5, Ford 2.3, and AMC 2.5), the 2.8 V6 was indeed punchy and I may have lost a few high school races to friends’ parents cars so equipped. :(

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Didn’t most of the domestic competition’s entries pretty much suck in comparison? Ford’s Lima 2.3 was yuck, GM’s 2.2 OHV was pretty decent but the 2.5 Iron Duke was gutless, and I can’t speak to AMC 2.5. I think the only one of the motors you named which was pretty decent overall was the Chrysler 2.2/2.5.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            The only car that used the 2.3L Lima was the Mustang and Pinto. The rest were optional in Couriers and standard in the Ranger that replaced it. Thunderbird Turbo Coupe and Mustang SVO used Turbocharged versions, and were highly praised in their day. Very early Aerostars jad it, but were quickly replaced ba V-6s.

            The Lima was never used in a FWD application.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Kinda unfair to compare a 2.8 V-6 to a bunch of 4 cyls.
            Ford’s 3.0L V-6 would be a more natural comparison.

            Might as well compare a Metro to a Cavalier Z24.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        The gen II 2.8 V6 did not have issues with weak rods, head gaskets and fragile cams. Where did you make this up from? These Gen II motors were long lived reliable and we have seen bucket loads of these mills with 200-300K miles and still running strong. The 3.4 DOHC not so much!

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I agree, they were great LOOKING cars. Especially in that dark metallic blue. But ultimately pretty crap. I suppose for how cheap they were they weren’t completely awful, but they did not live long here.

  • avatar

    These were truly awful cars. My parents had a 91 Thunderbird that us kids had to crawl in and out of all the time, but we got 90’s 4 door Luminas as rental all the time on vacation and they were truly terrible. I remember being stranded by a nearly new one (had like 1200 miles on it) one vacation in Florida visiting grandparents and my dad cussing out the piece of shit. It had blown a head gasket. Rental company had to come pick us up and tow it off. Probably wasn’t installed right to begin with. But the ride was like driving down the road in a bounce house. Even at 11 I still remember how bumpy of a ride it was compared to the Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I worked for a GM dealer in the early 2000s. I remember having to go to the used lot to get a well-worn Dodge with a Cummins so we could use it to pull *brand new* Blazers off the car hauler.

      I was tasked with driving a brand new Century to another GM dealer for a swap. With a grand total of 12 miles (not 1200 or 12,000) the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light started flashing and I had just enough time to safely pull onto the shoulder before it died and refused to restart. Dealer general manager claimed I was “hot rodding” it, as if thats possible in a 3100 Century.

      But, no, I can honestly say I never even floored it and only attained a speed of 55ish before it self-destructed. They had to replace the engine. Even if I red-lined it, it still shouldnt have taken a $#¡Г like that. God knows I have truly beat the living crap out of Taurus/Sables, Tempos, Stratuses, etc and have yet to have one self destruct on me like that. Ive even “had my way” with a 2.2L Corsica and a Lumima LTZ (3800), none blew up and all had a damn sight more than 12 miles on the odo.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “Dealer general manager claimed I was “hot rodding” it, as if thats possible in a 3100 Century.”

        I remember being accused of such things when I first started as an apprentice mechanic many years ago. I recall the GMC pickup that I was asked to take to the gas station down the road which developed a rod knock on the way back. Yep, musta been “hot rodding” that POS. Anything to point a finger.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Defects happen in all makes.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I worked at GM store in H.S. as a lot boy. I remember when the 24v V6 came out, it was quick for its time and 4v heads were fairly rare in domestics . The Grand Prix looked better , and I think could be had with MT.
    I always joke with my old HS buddy who now runs that dealership, when are the 2016 Luminas coming out?
    The MPV /Silhouhette was the “Cadillac of minimvans” , best auto related movie line while referencing 80s GM products.

    • 0 avatar
      Grant404

      The “Dustbuster” vans began with the ’90 model year, although you could say they were products of the ’80s since they were conceived and designed in the late ’80s and began hitting dealer lots in the fall of ’89.

      Speaking of which, my family owned a ’94 Silhouette with the outstanding 3800 V6. What a great engine. Our particular van was the epitome of the “Cadillac of Minivans” moniker, fully optioned out with dark red leather upholstery and power everything, including the world’s first production power liftgate and a sometimes finicky power sliding door.

      Once you got past the funky styling, and I got such a good deal on it I could overlook or chuckle about its styling quirks, it was an excellent family vehicle. It rode and drove not like a minivan, but more like a full sized FWD GM luxury sedan of that period. For several years we took our kids on many long vacations with no problems except for typical wear and tear items.

      I tend to pamper and over maintain my vehicles, so in 2007 when I finally handed it down to my niece and her new family, it still looked, ran, and drove great and everything worked as intended in spite of being 13 years old with 160k plus on the odometer. The 3800 was burning a little bit of oil by that time, but was still well within tolerance for the miles it had on it.

  • avatar

    I’m still offended that they renamed the Lumina “Impala”, and to a lesser extent, “Monte Carlo”. Not that Luminas were terrible ( I wouldn’t mind one with a bench seat for a drive-in car), but the Impala nameplate needs a car people aspire to own.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      What I find funny is how the last W-body Impala looked for all the world like a modern Lumina. Similar headlamps, similar taillamps, similar overabundand quanities at Avis and Enterprise.

      Seriously, though, chech one out next to a last-gen Lumina. The Impala looks like a slightly updated version (which, in essence, I suppose it was.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I’ve mentioned before that my personal cutoff for full-size car is the 110.8″ WB of the FWD C/H-bodies, so the 110.5″ WB of the W-body Impala, Monte Carlo, Grand Prix, and LaCrosse makes them stretched mid-sizers to me.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    What a turdblossom!

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Wait…

    Did GM just send all of the leftover Celebrity “Eurosport” badges to Oshawa, have workers cut off the “sport” part, and install them on Luminas? It’s the same font.

    I refuse to believe that it happened any other way.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    These used to be pretty common in my neck of the midwest rustbelt. A buddy of mine had one that went 300K miles on it’s original 3.1, blatty exhaust sounds until the very end.

    Look at those doors and windows. I don’t think we’ll ever see a car with those kinds of openings again. I think the Chevy division took a previous generation Honda Accord, copied it at 11/10ths, slapped in an “all-American” interior, equipped it with the generic drivetrain of the day and called it good.

    The early W bodies have grown on me, I’m finding some of their hidden charms. The windows, the spacious interior, four wheel disc brakes and smooth riding independent suspensions were great at the time. Today’s Impala will do everything better than that car (and inflation adjusted, probably for less money), but the chop top road tanks we have today generally turn me off.

    I’d like to drive something as (seemingly) light and airy as this car again.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      No kidding on that – these Luminas have more greenhouse than a garden centre. Sit in a new Impala, and you could probably have a Fiero pull up behind you and not know with how high the decklid is.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        A Fiero? More like a mid 90’s 1500 pickup truck.

        I don’t know how people see out of new cars these days.

        Which would explain all of the rear view cameras…

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      My buddy still drives a 1990 base 3.1 Lumina and it has 362K miles on the original 3.1 V6 and 3 speed 125C transaxle. Other than having to recently replace the computer and the usual solenoid in the transaxle it has been bullet proof and goes down the road just fine and you can see out of the darn thing better than anything today.

  • avatar
    geeber

    That has to be the dullest dashboard ever installed in a GM car that wasn’t meant to be an econobox.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    A year before this here Lumina, you could buy something a little more sporty, probably from the same showroom. Today’s Rare Ebay Find.

    A 92 Grand Prix, Richard Petty Special Edition, modified by ASC. Special button lock out for second gear starts (?) and a ridiculous luggage combo lock for the glove box! Trim specific mesh color-coded wheels!

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pontiac-Grand-Prix-Petty-Editin-/191599937415?vxp=mtr

    Wat!? What’s a “twin dual cam” V6? 3400-mod?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_60%C2%B0_V6_engine#LQ1 – engine info for an engine that likely was the final straw for many GM customers.

      “Tom” Petty, you mean “Richard” Petty?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Lawl. Yup.

        Both are equally relevant in 1992?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Tom Petty was pretty relevant in the early 90s. He sold over 7 million albums between his two records than came out in ’89 and ’91.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            And Nascar was huge then too! (Still is?)

            Just a couple years later I’d be on PC playing that Nascar game of which I forget the title. I mostly just did Watkins Glen because it was easiest track to make huge crashes.

            Oh God found it instantly. “Nascar Racing” from 1994. I remember loving the 3-D graphics.

            https: // http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok5jQJoyzuw

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Oh, I had lots of fun with that. We would set up a 2-player race running Talladega in opposite directions trying to do head-on collisions at 200+ mph.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yes! Always a fight who had to use keyboard and who got to use the Logitech joystick thing I had.

            But that was a gift to me, so most the time it was me.

            Found this as well, it was a Logitech Wingman Extreme!
            https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/fe/76/ce/fe76ce1ed16ed4f0e56395fa6812d765.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @CoreyDL

            I still have a Wingman I use to play emulated DOS Games. Just needs a USB adapter.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Haha, I remember the Wingman had the rubber boot on it, which was constantly chafing against the plastic, and leaving what was basically little pieces of eraser everywhere. Does yours still do that?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Probably. I haven’t used it in awhile so I’ll have to check.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Just one of those very specific memories I have from two decades ago.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            ““Nascar Racing” from 1994. I remember loving the 3-D graphics.”

            If you sit right up close to the screen you might get vertigo!

            I remember being duly impressed with the sound effects (probably on a sound blaster I audio card, putting the PC speaker to shame).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Oh yeah
        All right
        Take it easy, baby
        Make it last all night
        She was an American girl

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Ha, there’s an extra 0 in the price tag.

      After GM gave up on the turbo 3.1 V6, they ginned up a set of DOHC heads and a displacement bump for the old turd.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      Interesting that special edition is a stripper inside! Missing all the 90s Pontiac hallamrks like puffy power sport seats, leather wrapped wheel with radio buttons, and the giant compass that you would have in the GTP model.

      RE: The second gear start switch, I am thinking some engineer had seen this is in a big V8 RWD German car, and decided “hey our trans is electronically controlled, we can make a switch for $2 to lock out first gear too!” Like this thing makes too much torque for first gear ha.

  • avatar
    pbr

    Even Jeffie Gordon couldn’t get out “we’re excited about the new Chevy Lumina” without looking like he was going to puke. Good riddance.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    My grandma’s last car was a Lumina pretty much identical to this, albeit burgundy on burgundy. I got to drive it a couple times, and it wasn’t bad (it could certainly spin the wheels, which didn’t seem to bother said grandma). But, I was driving an Intrepid at the time, which if anything, was more deserving of Euro badges, with that whole AMC connection.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    My nephew had one of these not too long ago. He posts on here and will probably comment on how clapped out his was (I think he got it for $500 or so. Or free. I can’t remember). If you want to see how far outward visibility has decreased over the years, sit in one of these. Also, the fiberglass rear leaf spring may work in the Corvette, but in cars like these that are driven hard and put away wet, it was the back breaker on this car.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Are there any European cars ever made with a column shifter AND bench seat? Closest I can think of is the Citroen DS but that is not a true bench.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      1964 Ford Taunus.

      http://img.favcars.com/ford/taunus/ford_taunus_1964_photos_1.jpg

      Same year Vauxhall Victor.
      http://www.shannons.com.au/library/images/auctions/CDG6SDA98F7C0U3C/medium/1964-vauxhall-victor-super-sedan.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Taxicab-grade ’60s Benzes came with a bench and a 4(!)-speed column shifter.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Not European but Japanese. The Toyota Corona 4 dr sedan and wagon had a standard front bench with column shift automatic up until 1983 when it was replaced here in the states with the Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Early Avalons had bench/coulmn option as well. Trying to wooo elderly customers out of their Grand Marquis’ I guess.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          Back when the 2nd generation was introduced an uncle of mine special ordered one. It’s quite spacious. Toyota was wooing not only the Grand Marquis customers but the Buick Special and LeSabre trade-ins.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    This was a jewel compared to the Corsica/Beretta

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      He man, the Beretta may have sucked, but when I was in high school, so did the good looking girls driving those Berettas.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I disagree. I much preferred the Corsica, so long as it had the updated interior and not the terrible 2.8L (which I think had been replaced by the 3100 by the time the interior was redesigned).

  • avatar
    ceipower

    True Clunkers. They looked foolish when new and time was not kind to them.

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    I believe the Intimidator’s wrap-around sunglasses sold more Luminas than the Euro badging. What’s worse was the 2nd Gen, which was only purchased because people felt like they had to buy a Chevy ’cause that’s whacha drive around here.

  • avatar

    My parents had an ’87 Celebrity Eurosport wagon with the slushbox and the 4cyl. It did handle a lot better than the ’87 Celebrity wagon (non-euro) my brother had, with the six and the slushbox. No power, but it was still reliable at 140k, when they traded it for the minivan with the ramp so my mother could drive her electric scooter into it. Unlike my brother’s which started nickel and diming him to death and he junked it before 100k. Funny how different these cars were in everything but appearance.

  • avatar
    Mervich

    That could be my car! Same color red/orange with boring gray interior. Bought it because I had to have something to drive right now (90 Accord wrecked and caught fire) and the price was right. The brakes would have been better without ABS…causing several “OH GOD, IT WON’T STOP” moments. Underpowered…couldn’t get out of its own way. Trunk sheet metal was so thin, it was bent from slamming shut. Etc, etc, etc. It did have a nice exhaust note though. The last GM product I’ll ever buy. I dumped it for a 93 Eddy Bauer Explorer pretty quickly.

  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    The lights partly concealed in the grille are a cool detail on an otherwise boring car.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    I test drove a Lumina 3.4 sedan with a manual transmission. It was pretty good, but the stick made it seem like an afterthought. Just seemed like they plunked it in the middle of the floor without changing anything around it.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    I remember the saying in reference to these cars that GM lost money on each one but made it up on volume.

    After being told about the new z34 by my brother in law, I spent the early part of 1991 chasing one down to be the first on my block to have one. Not too smart, but selling it as the warrant expired was smart.

  • avatar
    baconator

    “These weren’t particularly bad cars…” I drove them. I beg to differ!

    A 1993 Camry or 1993 Accord is actually still a good car. You get in either one of those and the designs hold up, the driving dynamics are good (great, in the case of the Accord), and assuming they’re not rusted through, probably would be reliable-enough daily drivers. They’re not quiet or fast by today’s standards, but they’re still solid and charming.

    Compare that to the execrable Lumina, and you see how GM got to bankruptcy.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Yes, this.

      Growing up, my first car was an ’87 Taurus, and my mom had an ’88 Accord. At the time, I preferred the Taurus thanks to V6 power, a smoother transmission, and more room.

      It’s amazing how over time the Taurus (which, mind you, was a better car than a Lumina despite the earlier introduction) started to seem like a worse and worse car while the Accord just started to seem better and better. The handling, superlative build and materials quality, and excellent ergonomics of the Accord still stick with me today, and I wish I could forget that dumb Taurus with its rattles, cheapness, and constant alternator failures.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Constant alternator failures on Taurus? I could see one going bad (although as many as I, my friends and family have had, it never happened), but having “constant” problems wouldve left me to question the quality of the replacements. The alternator on the 3.0L V-6 and 3.8L were quite reliable. The special one used on the SHO was frequently troublesom and quite expensive. The people Ive talked to with Duratec engines say that you can bet that at or shortly after 100K, it would fail and it was difficult to replace, however noone has reported repeated failures on those, either.

        My 95, closing in on 200k, has its original alternator, as did my 93 that I sold with around 300k on it. Same with my parent’s 97 Sable that had 200k when they sold it (against my advice). The dozen or so other first and second gen Tauruses never needed one, either.

        As far as squeels and rattles, my 95 was whisper quiet until I did an interior swap on it, and now the center console squeeks over rough terrain, but if I sorta shove it to the side, it goes away. Probably because of my rush job putting it back together after the swap. Im sure I mustve used the wrong bolt somewhere (or even missed one) that is causing it.

        My mom, when riding in the car just after I bought it, remarked at how well it seemed to be put togher and how well it had held up after nearly 20 years.

        My Accords and my Camry had their share of squeeks and rattles, especially the Camry. All of which had fewer miles than my 95.

        As far as ride and handling, I believe the Taurus held its own against the Camcord. It certainly handles and rides much better than a Camry of the era, and although the Accord handles better, it has a stiff, almost uncomfortable ride as a result.

        The Camry similarly rides a bit stiff, but the steering is pretty vauge and does not inspire confidence (no matter how many SE gaudy body kits they stick on it).

        I sand by my view that Taurus, especially the first and second gen, have the best ballance of ride and handling. The steering is well weighted without being a chore to drive. Body roll is acceptable for a car with its intended purpose, and it composes itself nicely. I really enjoy it on curvey roads, and the torque of the Vulcan gives it plenty of oomph when the road turns hilly.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          What specifically in the interior did you swap and why?

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            I took black leather seats, trim, carpet, headliner and door panels from a run-down 1992 Taurus LX to put in my 95 GL.

            The drivers seat (stock) in my car was, while not ripped, well worn. Evidently the previous owner was a bit on the large side. The lower section was way below where it shouldve been, and no adjusting of the power seat corrected this. The leather buckts from the LX are far more supportive, and include inflatable lumbar support, which is outstanding to someone who has a horribly bad back as I do.

            My headliner was trashed. They tried to fix it with ductape, which only made it deterate quicker. The door panels were heavily faded from the sun. The carpet had stains and rips. The sunvisors looked like some kid had attacted them with some scissors and were beyond repair. This allowed me to upgrade to lighted vanity mirrors from the LX (just plugged them int the plug already there) as well as having sunvisors that dont create a toxic (to your eyes) dust when you touch them.

            I kept my original dash (but added a factory tachometer), along with my console and steering wheel. The console and steering wheel were both of an updated design, which I liked. The original parts are grey, and they dont clash with all the black. In fact, it keeps it from looking too dark and dreary that often plauges all-black interior cars (for example, check out a later Monte Carlo with black interior, its kinda depressing rather than classy).

            The main reason why is that I love this car, and sure I couldve had issues like the headliner and carpet replaced with stock colors, but Id rather give it a unique look rather than plain old stock.

            The LX parts car was $300. I reconnected a loose wire and it ran fine (no joke, the idiot loosened the wire going to the POWER DISTRIBUTION BOX and thats why it would only start intermittantly and manifested electrical issues which lead her to dump the car). Even getting it running and driving, I still felt it was worth more dead than alive. For one thing, no windows worked and the A/C was out. In this area, Id have better luck selling convertable Mustangs in January in Alaska than to sell a car here with no aircon and inop windows. Plus, the suspension was well worn, the trans shifted but not very well, and many other nagging issues.

            So, aside from the interior, I removed the doors, hood, decklid, alloys, starter, alternator, fuel tank/pump and anything else I could rip off fairly easily. Then I sold it (the whole carcus) to some Mexican guys who wanted the dispised 3.8L for a Continental, for a whopping $300.

            So, everything I got, including the spares mine doesnt need at this point, for free.

            Oh yeah, and I fixed my cars intermittant cruise control with a “Speed Control Amplifier” from the LX, along with the starter when it went (luckily the starter is the same between 3.0L and 3.8L engines). The starter in the LX, like the alternator, were replaced by them “throwing parts at it” to fix what was actually a poorly connected wire. Both are remanufactured and were probably used less than 5 miles total before I bought the parts car.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Nice post, I imagined you swapped a Mercury interior into it, but it was a good read to see the amount of detail you put into the swap.

            If I ever get another Panther, I’d like to get the Ford and swap either a clean Mercury or Lincoln interior. Just because I can.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Thanks, :) Ive always wanted a 95 decently optioned Taurus with a 3.0L, since way before I had a drivers license. My 93 was a good one, but it was light on options and had 224k when I bought it. Despite the nagging issues it had (leaky steering rack, worn struts, etc), I loved it for the four years or so I had it. I regretted having to sell it, but such is life.

            The Sables interior wouldnt have been that much different, except for the actual dash (a uniqueness it lost after the 96 redesign).

            I prefer the second gen Taurus mostly due to the styling. I think it was simply the best looking sedan of its era (possibly even including cars well above its price range). Its lighter and more nimble than the oval style that replaced it, and that difference is quite noticable after driving one back to back with my parents (former) 1997 Sable and my neighbor’s 1997 Taurus. Not saying they are over weight or anything, but the tossability of the smaller car stands out, to me anyway.

            Ive never been a fan of the Panther (save for the 95-7 Town Car), but if I were to build my ideal Crown Vic, Id start with a retired Interceptor, swap in a manual between the bucket seats, replace the carpet with a rubber mat if not already equipped, and paint the steelies silver, while setting them off with the chrome Ford center caps. Sorta make it a 1960s-style basic full sized sedan with a modern Modular (modified?) engine. Maybe even put “Custom 300” badges on it, unless I felt like people were going to figure my intention was to immitate a Chrysler 300, which certainly isnt my objective.

            **Ponders to himself** I wonder if the 5.0 Coyote would fit? Lol

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The MY93 Camry bests them both, but you’re giving the CB7 Accord too much credit. Sure the F22 motor could run and run but the body and undercarriage started rotting after a few years. W-Impala with a 60V6 could also run a long time (hence the above example which even had the crappy 3.4 OHC) and was no more susceptible to corrosion than the CB7 Accord (in fact I would argue they held up better). There is a reason the CB7 and CD7 Accords are gone, and it wasn’t the motors.

    • 0 avatar
      JD23

      I remember when my father had a ’91 Lumina as a rental for a couple of weeks after his Celica was totaled. I had rarely ridden in American cars growing up and the Lumina seemed archaic even by my standards as a nine year old. The interior, with its faux velour and wide flat seats, was well-suited for geriatrics.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      This is very true. I have had 3 92-93 Accords, and outside of the rust belt you still seem running around in very good shape. I would take a gamble on a 93 Accord over a 2003 domestic pretty much any day of the week.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      There are virtually no 1990-1995 Camry’s or Accords left in my area in Upstate, NY yet I still see quite a few W-body cars and Ford Taurus’s driving around so i call bull

  • avatar
    jbltg

    GM certainly sucked for designing, manufacturing and marketing this garbage and others like it, and if you bought one, you got exactly what you deserved.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    The reason I figure they chose to call them “Euro” or “Eurosport” was a direct response to automotive critics constantly refering to their main rival, Ford Taurus, as being far more European-like than compeditors from GM and Chrysler of the time.

    One look at that rectangle instrument cluster, ripped right out of an early G body Olds or Buick (or countless other GM leftover 70s designed dashes), betrays it as a “Euro-wannabe”.

    What GM failed to realize was that a lot went into Taurus to give it that impression, from the nicely weighted steering, well controlled body motions, and a modern dash that in no way resembled the stodgy old LTD it replaced.

    First GM made jokes about the “jellybean” Fords, then they “tried” to copy it. Since the bean counters wouldnt let them actually engineer a car to that standard, they decided to call it exactly what it certainly was not, and hoped mindless customers would buy into it without considering that, aside from the slight suspension modification, a tachometer, and the “Euro” badging, it was the exact same POS they got stuck with at the rental counter.

    For those of you who take offense that I said they copied Taurus, go look at the dash/instrument panel of a second gen Lumina compared to an early Taurus. Aside from the cheaper materials, theyre nearly identical. HVAC controls, the general shape, everything. They were hoping the second gen Lumina would pick up right where the 1995 Taurus left off.

    I picked up a 98 Lumina at a repo aiction once, and my mom (currently driving her Sable with 160k+ at the time) flew across country to visit me. I loaned her the Lumina (with about 100k on it) while she was there. Upon the end of her trip, I asked her impressions of the Lumina: “it was alright I guess, better than the Mirage I rented last time”. I pushed further by asking how it compared to her one-year-older Sable, to which she responded “ahhh, it seems like a cheap knock off…put it this way, I look forward to being back in the Sable”.

    Couldnt have said it better myself.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      GM10 started in 1982. Now I’m not saying you’re wrong but the project started nearly five years before the Taurus was introduced. Did GM crib some design cues or interior bits toward the end of the project? Maybe. After the fact on a W-body refresh? Very possible, but I’d want some more evidence.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Im not saying the initial Celebrity copied a car yet to be introduced, and I REALLY dont see how you could possibly imply that such was what intended or implied. Really.

        But the later models (speaking mostly of Lumina) with more aerodynamic styling (including flush windows and “aircraft style doors” – the ones that wrap around into the roof, concealing driprails and cleaning up the “A” pillar, that Ford introduced on the 83 Thunderbird, 84 Tempo and then 86 Taurus (which are almost universally still used today) are prime examples, as are the near photo copy versions of the 95-01 Lumina dash layout (incliding, but not limited to, the instrument cluster itself) compared to first and second gen Taurus.

        The early Celebrity proudly held up its diploma from the School of Square. They looked like a very mildly restyled FWD version of the Malibu (etc) they replaced. The 1986 Taurus broke that mold, shattering it into a million pieces. There is nothing about the old LTD (or Celebrity for that matter) that looks remotely like it. Fast forward to the first and especially second gen Lumina, and youd have to be blind not to see where their influance came from. The steeply raked windshields, wrapover doors, the “no-grille” grille on the Cavalier, the smoother “bottom-breather” noses on a lot of them. C’mon, dont be obtuse.

        Hell! Even the Grand Prix sported Mercury’s lightbar for a while (when it didnt have a “no-grille” grille)! You think they came up with that all on their own, without having seen the thousands upon thousands of Sables running around Detroit and hearing everyone in the industry talk about it since they were shown in 1985?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Now that I think about it you’re right on copying many of the styling cues. The mid 90s Grand Prix was obvious in hindsight.

          Btw, W-body was GM10. The Celebrity was an A-body which debuted in 1982. Anything on the original W-bodys couldn’t of been a direct copy from D186 Taurus, however refreshes and later models did copy. For instance in 1990 the Grand Prix sported two headlights with a “no grille” grille, but gained the grille lightbar in MY94 several years after the Sable introduced it.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_W_platform

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Celebrity

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_Grand_Prix

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      As an aside to the GM/Ford p!ss!ng match that’s going on here, I would like to have you look up the new for 1985 Dodge Lancer and Chrysler LeBaron Sedans. Aero styling, optional turbo motors, contemporary interiors, three levels of suspension tuning and handy hatchback functionality. Released in 1984 for public consumption, it beat the aero Taurus by a year, the aero Corsica by two years and the Lumina by five years.

      I was a big Ford fan back in the mid 80’s, I awaited the release of the Taurus/Sable with great anticipation. It was a really a huge step ahead, especially from the Crown Vic and the Fairmont/Granada/LTD3 that proceeded it. There was a reason why it was a best seller out of the gate and sold well until 1996.

      But when I found out we were having kids and I needed a more “family” car, the SHO wasn’t released yet and the higher trim Taurii were way more than I wanted to spend. I bought the Lancer turbo and lived with it for 10 years, 160K miles. Wish I had it back today and there are few cars I say that about.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Lancer

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Released in 1984 didnt beat the aero Thunderbird or Tempo. Virtually all Chryslers, from the K cars on, until the LH and cloud cars in the 90s, had nearly the same basic dash shape.

        Taurus’ instrument panel wraped around to face driver, but not so much that it denied access to the passenger (afeature they lost later). Functions for the power windows and door locks were tactile by design, as well as not being flat on the door panel as was the norm of the time. A liitle bump on the top of the the switch indicated up, a little dimple on the bottom of the switch indicated down. Dual sun visors on each side. HVAC controls placed higher on the dash for accessabity with minimal time spent looking away from the road, instead of buried deep down in the dark recesses of the center stack as was typical of the era. Little touches and features like that were what set Taurus apart.

        I love the Taurus. That should be abundantly clear by now, lol, but my love does not blind me to the virtues of other cars. There are reasons why I love it, but I have other cars (even non-Fords!) that I like and would love to own (and have owned in the past, like my Integra GS-R, my Isuzu Trooper, several Hondas like my CRXs and Accords).

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Back when the Lancer and LeBaron GTS were introduced a few of the auto magazines and Consumer Reports did a test comparison with the Pontiac 6000 STE. Both were very favorably reviewed.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          Ive always wanted a Pontiac 6000. Id do a 3800 Series II swap on it, possibly even Supercharged. Maybe just find a beat up late 90s Regal GS and swap everything into the 6000.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    True or false: Most Luminas of this generation were red or black.

    In my experience, very VERY true.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Ive see a fair amout of white and silver ones. And, a fe blues (not an attractive blue, one that looked well aged even when new).

      But if youre talking Euros, yes, lots of black or red with a few whites.

    • 0 avatar

      Funny, the most common color I can recall seeing is White. And that’s regular Luminas or EURO editions.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I do recall white on the gen2 rounded one, as well as the ahem, Lumina Coupe at that time (eg. Monte carlo).

        For gen1, I’m saying whether Euro or not, most I saw were red and black. I do recall that -very- boring and faded looking blue, which was more at home on the Olds Cutlass Ciera.

        http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/1/1118/181/2792590001_large.jpg

        Ew.

        http://c4600270.r70.cf2.rackcdn.com/47484186_AkoCjA

        I know there were at least three or four of these, in this color, at my grandma’s church in the early 90’s. I felt superior rolling up in grandpa’s red on red M-body Fifth Avenue fo sho.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I read somewhere that, on the first-gen Lumina (like this one, not necessarily applicable to the Grand Prix/Cutlass Supreme/Regal) the panels at the top of the dashboard were deliberately misaligned to aid ease of assembly. It certainly seems true on the interior shots–and as the article stated (wording approximate), “How would you like to see on your $15,000 car a constant reminder of how easy it was to slap together?”

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    For its time the Lumina was not a bad car but neither was it a great car. That could be true as well for Taurus in that some of the Tauruses had transmission problems and the early Taurus with 4 cylinders were not very good. If you are comparing cars from the 80’s and 90’s with today’s cars then there is no comparison,today’s cars are much better. I still see Luminas, Tauruses, and Sables from the 90’s still on the road although fewer. Many of the rural areas there are still a few running along with Centuries,Grand Prix, and Cierras.

    Up until 2 years ago my wife had a 2000 Taurus that was loaded with the 24 valve 3.0 V-6. Overall the Taurus was a good car except it had a tendency to go through air conditioning compressors (4 replacements by the dealer in 6 years for a car not driven a lot), struts, and we had to replace some sensors. My wife traded her Taurus in on a CRV which has been excellent. I would choose a Honda, Toyota, Kia, or Hyundai over a Ford, GM, or Chrysler even though the domestics have improved a lot. The Korean manufacturers have come a long way and are up to the reliability of a Honda or Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      The first 4 cylinder Taurus had the dubious distinction of getting slightly worse fuel economy than the first 6 cylinder Taurus.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Yes, but the three speed auto was the main reason for that. The V-6 had overdrive, whereas the I4 Taurus had a version of the Tempo’s three speed. The very rare Taurus M-T5 (2.5 I-4 with a 5 speed manual) got excellent mileage.

        The Taurus L (I-4/auto) was mostly for fleets, and to lessen the demand of the factory producing the wildly popular Vulan V-6. They had issues keeping up with demand, especially after it became standard in Aerostar (which sold far better than excpected).

        I owned an 88 Taurus L with 0 options. It want bad. However, with five heavier adults on board, it struggled on steep holls. (Not any moreso than my 4cyl Camry, really.)

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I had the misfortune of having a 4-banger Taurus as a rental. Enterprise gave it to me stinking of cat piss. It was a horrible penalty box on wheels in every aspect.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          Well, Id like you to meet the Hyundai Excel, or the larger GM cars with the Iron Duke. With the exception of the Excel, Id take any of them over any Chrysler of the era (well, maybe except the Turbo Daytona, but even then, a Mustang LX 5.0 would litteraly run circles around it, and not look like a heavily modded Dodge 600 while doing so).

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            And you’ve totally forgotten about the Spirit R/T. Runs circles around a Mustang 5.0, and the Taurus SHO.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            I doubt that, given how well the Taurus handles and the Mustang’s ability to spin circles rather than simply drive around.

            I actally liked the Spirit/Acclaim, but I was mostly refering to 1980s products

  • avatar
    RHD

    Note how the lower left portion of the foam dashboard came unglued and separated. GM cars did this for quite a few model years. It’s just another example of their cost-cutting, shortcut-taking and lack of attention to quality.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    These were awful cars. The rotors were paper thin and were throw away, basically needing replacement with the pads. The paint was garbage, interior trim clips broke, rattling messes.

    Some of the worst cars GM made.

  • avatar
    mazdaman007

    From looking at the interior pictures there appears to be a fairly pronounced transmission hump for a front-wheel drive car. Was it ever available with optional all-wheel-drive ? (I don’t recall that it ever was so it just seems odd)

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    My folks bought a 90 Euro coupe. It was the “coolest” car we ever owned growing up and I loved the V6 blat. Then my Dad wrecked it by hydroplaning one morning and it was never the same. My folks traded it on a 92 Camry V6, which was rear-ended a year after we bought it by a scam artist and then stolen.

    Ours had the console and floor shift, might have been a “standard on Euro coupe, optional sedan” thing. It was that Torch Red, which was really common in Pittsburgh, especially on the Pontiac sister ship. And they all basically faded into Elephant Pink.

  • avatar
    nellybud

    I have a 93 red lumina euro 3.1 My daughter had just gotten her license and needed a car . I bought like a year ago for $675 and I have put about $1000 into it. It runs like a tank. A well fine tuned tank . I feel really comfortable and safe that she’s driving this car and not a little plastic Honda . She named her Pheobe. Yes Phoebe from the show Friends. most of her friends parents are well-off , but she loves this car, it’s her pride and joy . I’m really upset that I can’t show it off with some pictures how do I post some pictures of it on here ? It won’t even let me copy and paste them .

  • avatar
    bickel84

    Is it me or does it seem like the rims for these Euro Luminas always end up being slapped on other early-mid 90’s GM cars?


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