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1990 Chevrolet Lumina Eurosport Sedan
There are things in this world that serve as nothing other than an
attractive nuisance to me. Such was the case with a 1990 Chevrolet
Lumina Eurosport automobile parked down the street from me. It had been
sitting there for several years with a few flat tires and a "for sale"
sign that had long since fallen down onto the package shelf. Though it
looked forgotten and was probably best left that way, I inquired as to
whether or not it was still for sale and made an offer of $100.
In case you're just tuning in, I have a bit of familiarity with $100 cars.
I'm not sure I ever took a decent picture of the Lumina. It was dark grey with red accents.
The Lumina's owner didn't take my offer until a few weeks had passed,
at which point I paid for it with cash, gave it a good jump starting
and drove it home. The brakes were poor, but the engine ran well on
whatever stale gas was in the tank.
I had been told by the previous owner that the intake manifold gaskets
were bad. Although this is a known problem with the GM 3.1 V6 engine,
this car didn't seem to have that issue. I've worked on some things
diagnosed by the same mechanics who looked at this car, and my belief
is that they don't understand the fine art of diagnosing car problems.
In fact, the only real problems to be dealt with were a power window
that continually fell out of its track when operated and a radio that
only vaguely worked. I had the window fixed and replaced the radio with
a cheap CD player. At that point, I had a pretty decent looking and
driving car. At its very best, the Lumina managed 26 miles per US
gallon of fuel.
A couple of things about the Lumina surprised me. Though officially
considered a mid-size car, the Lumina felt much more like a full size
car once I was inside it. It had a massive dash, massive trunk area,
loads of interior room and a massive hood. People told me that even the
Eurosport version wasn't particularly fast. All I can say is that I'd
have to disagree. The 3.1L LHO V6 engine would get this car moving
There were some problems I never fixed or totally finished
investigating. The first (and most annoying) was an issue with random
stalling when slowing down or stopping after traveling at speed. I've
since come to the impression that this was probably an issue with a
faulty crankshaft rotation sensor. The second and only somewhat less
annoying issue had to do with the throttle body tending to "stick" shut
at idle. Cleaning it helped things quite a bit, but I never managed to
get it completely fixed.
The worst thing I ever did to this car was to take it over a pair of
banked railroad tracks at somewhere north of 60 miles an hour. It came
down hard to say the least. That was pretty much it for any
particularly interesting experiences while driving this car. To date
this is still one of (if not the) stupidest things I have ever done in
the course of driving any car.
Eventually the starter failed and the Lumina ended up sitting. I could
smell something getting hot whenever I hit the key. Someone stopped by
one day and expressed interest in buying the car. I told them of my
asking price. Instead of selling it, I traded the Lumina for a 1988
Plymouth Reliant station wagon. My dad, who had been against my
purchasing the Lumina to start with, was confident that I had to be out
of my mind to consider trading a Chevrolet for a Chrysler.
What eventually happened to the Lumina? I'm not entirely sure. I drove
it for about 3,500 miles before trading it away. The person who got the
Lumina more or less ran it into the ground. The last I saw of it, they
had broken the ignition switch and were driving it around with a
screwdriver jammed into the place of a key. The car was running
extremely poorly. Someone later told me that the Lumina eventually
wound up in the junkyard. It's probably since been broken down to scrap
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