Junkyard Find: 1996 Oldsmobile Silhouette

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Examples of the first-generation GM “Dustbuster” minivan abound at self-service wrecking yards these days, even as they disappear from the street, and every time I pass a Trans Sport or Lumina APV on my way to shoot something older and/or more interesting I say to myself, “I really need to do a Dustbuster Junkyard Find one of these days.” Well, that day has come!

These vans were startlingly weird-looking when they first showed up in 1990, but then we became jaded and the Dustbuster just looked ugly.

We keep hoping to see one of GM’s long-snouted minivans in a 24 Hours of LeMons race, but so far we’ve had just a single post-Dustbuster Montana in a race.

The dash surface of these things was deep enough that you could lose items if they rolled all the way forward to the windshield. I’ve heard that an extra-large pizza box will fit well here.

Many members of the GM V6 family (both 60° and 90° types) were installed here.


Let’s riiiiiiide!

It’s the King’s ride.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • 1st_one 1st_one on Aug 27, 2013

    I can recall when these vans debut back in late 89 as a 90 model. As a little boy they were actually exciting to see however, my parents refused to look at them as my mother loved the Aerostar and my father was sold on Astro :(.

  • Laserwizard Laserwizard on Dec 14, 2015

    Truly dreadful. If you ever rode in one, sitting in the middle row of seats there was a droning and ear buffeting sound that was very uncomfortable - it was non-stop and grew worse the longer you rode in the garbage can. I've ridden in station wagons and other minivans and never had such an experience. I'm glad these failed.

  • FreedMike I like the looks of the Z, but I'd take the Mustang. V8s are a disappearing breed.
  • Picard234 I can just smell the clove cigarettes and the "oregano" from the interior. Absolutely no dice at any price.
  • Dartdude The Europeans don't understand the American market. That is why they are small players here. Chrysler Group is going to die pretty soon under their control. Europeans have a sense of superiority over Americans that is why the Mercedes merger didn't work out and almost killed Chrysler. Bringing European managers aren't going to help. Just like F1 they want our money. We need Elon Musk to buy out Chrysler, Dodge and Ram from Stellantis.
  • Michael S6 I would take the Mustang for the soundtrack. However, practically a BMW M340ix or M240ix would be my choice.
  • Michael S6 Took my car for oil change on Friday and dealership was working on paper. Recently one of the major health care system in our area was hacked and they had to use paper backup for three weeks. What a nightmare.