By on July 26, 2021

2002 Chevrolet Venture WB Edition in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBack in the days before smartphones and cheap tablet computers, parents planning to take some screaming ankle-biters on a long road trip needed some means of hypnotizing the little darlings into submission, something that didn’t involve extreme measures such as tranquilizer dart guns or child literacy. Minivan makers began installing airliner-style flip-down video displays in the 1990s, enabling The Slime to ooze out of tiny flat screens on the road. The General took this idea one step further, partnering with Warner Brothers to issue a special-edition Chevy Venture packed with Looney Tunes goodies and branding. I spent years trying to find one of these rare vans in the U-Wrench-It yards I frequent, and I hit pay dirt last month in Denver.

2002 Chevrolet Venture WB Edition in Colorado junkyard, emblem - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe WB was the top-of-the-line Venture for the 1999 through 2003 model years, featuring Bugs Bunny badging, WB-themed goodies, and cartoon compilations. The 2002 version even came with a complimentary membership in the VentureTainment Club and an MCI calling card!

It’s unclear today what the real benefits of VentureTainment were, but WB Edition Venture families got special beach towels, pajamas, ice chests, cameras, and other WB/GM-badged items suitable for family vacations.

2002 Chevrolet Venture WB Edition in Colorado junkyard, video screen - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe flip-down display measured 70inch diagonally and the WB Venture came with four sets of wireless headphones for passengers to wear while watching Looney Tunes cartoons (we can assume that no Plymouth Road Runner commercials made it onto the WB Venture compilation videos).

2002 Chevrolet Venture WB Edition in Colorado junkyard, DVD Player - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSome early WB Ventures came with 1983-style VHS video cassette players, but the ’02 was equipped with futuristic DVD technology. I think I need to build a car-parts boombox with a complete early-21st-century video player installed… just after I build one incorporating a 1988 Buick Riviera touchscreen computer.

2002 Chevrolet Venture WB Edition in Colorado junkyard, interior - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThough I’m a member of the older end of Generation X and went on many family road trips during the 1970s, I never experienced such trips in the big Detroit station wagons of the era. Instead, we had a 1973 Chevy Sportvan Beauville, and that van offered an old-school solution to the sanity-shredding sounds of bored children: NVH so overwhelming that we yowling kids couldn’t be heard over a symphony of tire noise, oil-canning body panels, squeaks, differential howl, and wind shriek from open windows mandated by the lack of air conditioning.

2002 Chevrolet Venture WB Edition in Colorado junkyard, emblem - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis van even has Versatrak all-wheel-drive, a popular option in Colorado. The price tag of the WB Edition ’02 Venture started at $30,660, but you had to give The General 33,345 carrots to get it with AWD (that’s about $47,035 and $51,160, respectively, in 2021 carrots). All 2002 Ventures came with automatic transmission, air conditioning, and power door locks… but the cheapskate-level Venture Value Van (not to be confused with the GMC Value Van of an earlier era) had manual-crank windows.

2002 Chevrolet Venture WB Edition in Colorado junkyard, manuals - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis van still had most of the original documentation in the glovebox when it came to this place.

2002 Chevrolet Venture WB Edition in Colorado junkyard, ignition switch - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWhen you find a junkyard car with just the ignition key inside, it’s a safe bet that you’re looking at a dealership trade-in or insurance total. However, an ignition key accompanied by house keys suggests that the car may have been confiscated by Johnny Law under less-than-happy circumstances. If you’d like to see many such vehicles, just head to your local police auction.

2002 Chevrolet Venture WB Edition in Colorado junkyard, interior - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsAt least this machine’s final owner knew the value of a dollar.

2002 Chevrolet Venture WB Edition in Colorado junkyard, engine - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Venture was the descendant of the “Dustbuster” Lumina APV and thus a close cousin to the Pontiac Aztek.

Kids could plug their video-game consoles into the Venture’s screen if they got sick watching The Ducktators on an endless loop while wearing Chevy-WB jammies.

Much quieter than a ’73 Beauville.

Perhaps GM scored a big victory by partnering with Warner Brothers, but we mustn’t forget that Mitsubishi made a deal with Disney for home-market ads back in the early 1980s. Yes, that’s the little van we knew as the Colt Vista on this side of the Pacific.

In China, this minivan was sold as the Buick GL8.

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29 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2002 Chevrolet Venture Warner Brothers Edition...”

  • avatar

    These were the 60 deg v6s with the manifold gaskets that leaked coolant into the oil, eventually resulting in a total engine failure, often in “middle age”. My buddy had this happen 2000 miles away on a vacation trip. Another reason The General lost a lot of customers.

    • 0 avatar

      I experienced the same calamity with the General’s 2.8 ltr. V-6 in a 1987 S-10 Blazer. Fortunately, I wasn’t 2000 miles from home when it happened. But such resulted in a total engine rebuild… and after all that, I never bought another GM made vehicle.

      It was “hello” Ford Motor Company post that expensive disaster…!!!

      I learned the same kind of lesson with VW and their Jetta in the early 80’s. The electrical system tended to “eat itself”. I never owned another VW car. Period.

  • avatar

    “The flip-down display measured 70inch diagonally” – lol, that’d have been something.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    No mention of how the Tasmanian Devil “Taz” was heavily used in Monte Carlo marketing at the same time?

    The Mandela Effect makes me think there was actually a “Taz/WB” Edition Monte Carlo too but Google tells me it never happened and instead it was only certain pace car editions that had some Taz decals on it.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Neighbour across the street from me had one of these.

    I had the drop down DVD screen in a Caravan. Still have a spare remote control, for it, never used, in the original box, in my garage.

    We had 2 Pontiac minivans and 1 Chev minivan of this generation. The issues that we had with them were A/C compressors that leaked in 2, and a sliding door in one that never fit properly despite many, many repeated trips to the dealer. It was without a doubt a safety hazard.

    But those individual seats were a great feature during the time before ‘stow and go’ seating in vans.

    The next generation SV6 was however a far superior vehicle in just about every way.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Forgot to add that the built in child seat offered in these was far inferior to the one available in Chrysler/Dodge minivans. The GM version could best be described as an instrument of torture for the child condemned to ride in it.

  • avatar

    Leave the Mickey Mouse engineering to Mitsubishi.

  • avatar

    That Bugs Bunny badge alone is worth $9.50 on eBay!

  • avatar

    Someone at some point loved this van. For 19 years old and built for crotch fruit, this is super clean. Appears this had every option box checked off too.

    If this ended with law enforcement then maybe no one wanted at auction? Or just sent to auction?

    Dexcool monster could be possible too but I don’t see signs of someone taking the heads off and going, “it’s worse than that it’s dead Jim.”

    Generally speaking the gaskets went not the whole engine, unless you just kept driving it with the engine overheat light on and exhuast gases for coolant.

    • 0 avatar

      In my buddy’s, the camshaft seized and broke the timing chain. Sounds improbable but he had pics.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Since it was the Warner Brothers edition the diagnosis is more like “That’s all folks!”
      The best versions of these were the Oldsmobile Silhouette or Pontiac Montana with the 3800.

      • 0 avatar

        After the dustbusters I believe the Buick 3800 went buh-bye and they all got the 3400 60 degree “high value” V6.

        For Gen II they got the 3.5 and the optional 3.9. These engines are pretty darn bulletproof. The 3.5 gets amazing fuel economy while the 3.9 adds some more grunt. I seem to remember the 3.9 had the NVH only slightly better than a paint mixer, it might be the other way around (the 3.5).

        There is a pretty big market for junkyard 3.9’s. My understanding is they are near bolt in for a wide range of malaise era FWD GM products that had some flavor of V6 under the hood.

      • 0 avatar

        I was going to say that, with the music in the background and Porky Pig’s stutter before saying the actual line!

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    The engine and transmission were made by Acme.

  • avatar

    It occurs to me that since most kids have cell-phones, and car based TVs aren’t really a thing, I haven’t caught random glimpses of porn on the freeway in a good while.

  • avatar

    Bargain smokes. House keys. Looney Tunes Venture van

    There’s a story here

  • avatar

    I was behind some Chevrolet the other day (Impala? Malibu?) with a Premier trim level emblem on the back, and it made me think of these, and the Oldsmobile version, the Silhouette Premiere.

    I started laughing out loud when I saw the picture of *all the keys* on the key ring in the ignition switch. Yep, Repo Man.

  • avatar

    We got a new 98 Montana back in the day. It was pretty rare with 8 seats, and it drove well and the seats came out easily if needed. For 3 little kids it was really good, albeit with some GM quality issues here and there. And then of course right around 60k the whole engine went, even though we had the gasket done earlier.

  • avatar

    Little-known facts about this vehicle:

    a) Disney added special encoding on their licensed DVD’s to prevent playback in the WB-branded player.

    b) The Magic Kingdom wouldn’t allow you into the main parking lot until the rear logo was taped over.

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