Chrysler managed to get to the end of the 1980s before General Motors could come up with a credible competitor for Lee Iacocca's K-platform-derived front-wheel-drive minivans, which made their debut in the 1984 model year. This was the U-body minivan, which was sold with badges from three GM divisions: the Pontiac Trans Sport, Oldsmobile Silhouette and Chevrolet Lumina APV. Here's one of those first-year U-vans, a very battered Lumina APV, found in a Denver-area self-service yard recently.
The Chevrolet Lumina sedan had arrived for the previous model year, and GM decided to slap its name on the Chevy version of the new van despite not much relationship between the Lumina car's W platform and the Lumina minivan's U platform.
The Lumina APV/Trans Sport/Silhouette suffered from an unfortunate resemblance to a very popular hand-held vacuum cleaner sold by Black & Decker, and so these machines became known as the "Dustbuster" minivans.
The long snout resulted in the top of the dash being deep enough to store an extra-large pizza or three.
Every Dustbuster van ever sold came with a V6 engine with 3.1, 3.4 or 3.8 liters of displacement. This one has the 3.1-liter, with 120 horsepower driving the front wheels.
There's a digital speedometer, but the rest of the instruments are pretty low-end.
It appears that this van was sold new in the Washington D.C. region by "Happy Jack" Klawans in Woodbridge, Va.
Have you ever traveled like this before?
The Oldsmobile version got Leonard Nimoy and his daughter in its television advertising. How do you top that?
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