A while ago, we asked our readers what they would do with a 1978 Chevrolet Corvette with just 4 miles on the clock, which was one of the cars present at the famed Lambrecht Chevrolet auction in 2013. The 1978 coupe in Indy 500 Official Pace Car colors and with plastic still on the seats had found a buyer willing to pay $80,000 to either use the car, or keep the plastic on the seats and let it marinade a while longer in hopes of something supernatural happening, like an apparition of Zora Arkus-Duntov turning up at midnight and taking it out for a spin, similar to Field of Dreams.

The calculus on a 1978 Corvette was perhaps a little easier to process from a pure investment standpoint: the whole value of the car rested in the fact that it had just 4 miles on the odometer and plastic still on the seats. Otherwise, it would have been worth about $15,000 on a good day had it showed mileage typical for C3 ‘vettes at the moment. This likely made the decision-making a little simpler, because the buyer was already paying about $65,000 for the 4 miles on the clock and was getting a non-driveable piece of metal with seats thrown in for another $15,000. We had a chance to climb into the interior and can confirm that a 1978 Chevy Corvette with 4 miles on the clock smells exactly how you think it would smell like: dust and deteriorating cardboard floormats.

Our contestant today is a little different but hails from the same action, having sat a hundred yards away from the Corvette on the weekend of the sale.

1990 chevrolet lumina interior

The van’s interior was dusty, but the plastic was still on the seats.


It’s a 1990 Chevrolet Lumina APV with 50 miles on the clock, with plastic still on the seats and the MSO sticker in the window. It’s one of the cars that Ray Lambrecht, the longtime owner of the Chevrolet dealership in Pierce, Nebraska, had stashed away for some reason instead of selling.

We spent a few minutes inside the Lumina and can confirm that a 1990 Chevrolet Lumina APV with 50 miles on the clock and plastic still on the seats smells exactly how you think it would smell like: dust and cloth blasted by the prairie sun.

While a low-mileage Lumina APV would not be welcome in the National Corvette Museum unlike the 1978 Corvette despite its originality, it did manage to quadruple the going rate for a used 1990 Lumina, hammering for $5,900 on auction day. And it also defeated a 1982 Chevy Cavalier with 23.6 miles on the clock that sold for $1,800 at the same auction that day. So clearly mileage is not everything, and the demand for minty “Dustbuster” vans is greater than that for Cavaliers.

1990 chevrolet lumina exterior

The Lumina would require some recommissioning work, but it could be put on the road with a little effort.


The math behind this purchase is perhaps not too dissimilar from the Corvette, even if the proportions are different. With a hundred thousand miles on the clock this Lumina would have been struggling to crack a $1,500 on Craigslist, but its 50 miles attracted competing bids from persons interesting in owning just such a thing, and its condition and delivery-mileage status ended up being worth around $5,000, while the car itself was “thrown in” for arguably a few hundred dollars.

Did the winning bidder have grand plans of putting it back on the road and racking up miles, after a lengthy recommissioning that it would have required? All the fuel lines, we suspect, would need fresh plumbing, as would other fluids in addition to brakes and tires. The recommissioning effort would not be complex and it would not be free, but it would take some time to thoroughly resuscitate a Lumina minivan to the point where all the systems would function safely.

1990 chevrolet lumina window

The original manufacturer papers were still with the car.


Here’s our question: What would you do with a Chevy Lumina minivan with 50 miles on the clock?

Would you preserve it as is, recommission it for road use and drive it daily or almost daily, or would you put it in a museum and charge pilgrims $10.00 to see it? And if you drove it, would you only drive it to Chevy shows or would you feel free to put as many miles on it as you wanted?

Let us know in the comments below.

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