Junkyard Find: 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Z34

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Most of the time, you’ll see examples of the Chevrolet Lumina only in the backgrounds of my Junkyard Find photographs, because the most interesting thing about the Lumina is that it replaced the even more forgettable Celebrity.

However, The General did build a high-performance version of the Lumina for a few years: the Z34. Here’s one in a Colorado Springs self-service yard.

In 1994, Chevrolet shoppers could get a Cavalier Z24, a Beretta Z26, or a Camaro Z28. Of those, the Z34 has been toughest for me to find in junkyards; today’s car is just the second Z34 I have documented, after this ’92 in California.

GM made millions of 60° V6s, starting with the 2.8-liter in 1980, but all of them had pushrods except for the version you see here: the 3.4-liter DOHC LQ1 engine. Destined only for W-body cars (Lumina, Cutlass Supreme, Monte Carlo, Grand Prix), LQ1s were made for the 1991 through 1997 model years.

The 1994 Lumina Z34 got an impressive-for-the-time 210 horsepower from its LQ1… unless the buyer opted for the automatic transmission (which, I’m guessing, nearly all of them did). The slushbox cars had 200 horsepower, presumably to keep the 4T60 trans from scattering its guts on the tarmac. Still, this car must have provided some torque-steeringly exciting times during its long life.

While the Z34s rolled out of Oshawa Assembly for just the 1990 through 1994 model years, Lumina production continued through the 2001 model year. After that, Impala badges replaced the Lumina badges, with production of W-body Impalas continuing all the way through 2016.

Pretty much the same car as the 650-horse NASCAR Lumina, except for a few (thousand) minor details.

If you like these Junkyard Finds, you’ll get more than 1,700 of them here at the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

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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  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Sep 19, 2019

    I lusted for 1 of these or a 2.8l Beretta v6 5spd. I worked at Chevy dealership as lot boy in '87-92 , and the v6 5spd was a blast to drive and look at and also wash. So much more fun than hosing off an S10 which sold probably 1000 to 1 at our store in rural MO.

  • Wantahertzdonut Wantahertzdonut on Jun 30, 2022

    I know nobody will ever read this, but that car was exactly where it needed to be. I worked on 5 of these heaps (owned by friends, a girlfriend, and family of friends) and they were pure garbage. Premature rust, electrical problems, and an exhaust note that ALWAYS sounded like a hole in the muffler. They all had failed A/C systems after 5 years and drove more ponderously than my 79 Suburban. One of my big lotto goals is to buy every one of these I see and throw it straight in the shredder. F Luminas!

    • See 1 previous
    • Wantahertzdonut Wantahertzdonut on May 22, 2024

      Flameded- I'm quite surprised!

  • Wjtinfwb "If I had asked idiot traitors what they wanted, they would have said faster horses".... What they wanted, vs. what they'll actually pay for are clearly two different things. It's not hard to want the vision of EV's the Biden admin sold everyone; inexpensive, fast charging with long-range, charging on every corner, minimal impact on the environment. The government delivered none of that. They threw automakers under the bus at the last minute after many of them made huge investment in tech, plants, R&D. Then Biden and his hapless bunch just walked away, built no charging stations, no support for natural resources and doubled down by stoking the labor fires increasing automakers costs substantially. EV's are absurdly expensive for the utility they provide and time is demonstrating their resale value to be in par with a 80's GM diesel wearing a Yugo badge. Sorry, it's not the consumers job to make a fairy tale come true. Making and selling cars is extraordinarily capital intensive, the automakers aren't throwing good money after bad betting on a senile old man who has delivered on none of his promises and is rapidly making himself irrelevant in the national conversation.
  • Fred As a British Car Fan I liked them, but then I sat in one and changed my mind. I like the unique looks of the newer ones.
  • FreedMike Not much to look at, but these were sweet to drive.
  • EBFlex Ford finally making a good decision although they should shut down their EV operations and investment all together. Why lose that money too?
  • Mike Lol. This is the king of suvs. And its made by GM.Why is everyone trashing it?Top of its its class for a quarter century.