37k Mile 1994 Chevrolet Lumina Z34 Survivor

For most people, the Chevy Lumina was family car that sold well for GM throughout the 1990s. It had front-wheel drive and a transversely mounted engine – signs of a changing U.S. automobile industry. But the Lumina could also be had in muscle car form that was pretty potent for its time. It was called the Z34 and accounted for less than four percent of all of the first-generation Lumina production. This 1994 edition of the Z34 has been owned by the same family since 1995 and has been sparingly used during this time. It’s located in Lakeville, Massachusetts and available here on craigslist for $11,500. Ikey Heyman has done it again with another great tip!

When Chevy introduced the Lumina for 1990, it consolidated their mid-size nameplates, the Celebrity and Monte Carlo. The first two generations would be produced in the U.S. through 2001, but in other parts of the world for another dozen years. In its second year, Chevy added the high-performance Z34, which was only available in the coupe body style. It came with a sport suspension package, 210 hp LQ1 V-6 engine (200 if an automatic), five-speed Getrag 284 manual transmission, dual exhaust, and four-wheel anti-lock brakes. The Z34 also differently slightly from the stock Lumina in terms of physical appearance, including Z34 striping, a rear spoiler and a louvered hood.

The Z34 was a spunky car. With the 5-speed, it could do 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds, the 1/4 mile in 15.0 seconds, and had a top speed (with a limiter) of 130 mph. Add a half-second for the automatic in the 0-60. Color choices were limited to white, red, black, gray, silver, and light blue and the Z34 was similar to the Dale Earnhardt edition which came in black with its own trim details. In 1995, the Lumina Z34 was replaced with the Chevrolet Monte Carlo Z34, so the consolidation thing had come full circle.

Presented here is a meticulously-maintained ’94 Lumina Z34, the last of the line and one of just 4,478 made that year. As part of the same family for 25 years, the car has accumulated only 37,000 miles and spent its off time in a nice garage. The seller says it’s never been in an accident, which would mean the paint it likely original. The photos provided show a nice exterior and interior, with no issues that seem to need any attention. The front seats have some fuzzy cushions on the bottoms that are likely there for looks and comfort, not to hide anything. A mild detailing and this thing should be ready to go!

The seller has just replaced the tires and the 3.4-liter Dual Overhead Cam V-6 might chirp the front tires. Everything is said to work as it should except the passenger side window switch is not operating properly. Unfortunately, Lumina’s for the most part are priced as used cars in the low 4-digit range. There is a Z34 offered online for $14,000 and a Dale Earnhardt version is going for $16,000, so there isn’t a lot to go on regarding the Z34. The value of this car would depend on who wants one. Not likely to be a car that will shoot up in value overnight.

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Comments

  1. John B

    Had a black 92 Z34 with the 5-speed, that DOHC 3.4 is indeed zippy but is also an absolute serviceability nightmare – the battery itself is underneath the windshield washer reservoir, which is also underneath a fender support bar. Backyard mechanics need not apply…

    Like 21
    • Ed

      Anything was a headache with that engine. For example, the warranty time allowance to replace the alternator was 3.1 hours and that was during the days of less-than-reliable Delcotron alternators so we did quite a few.

      Like 12
      • Tom

        So, was the the engines fault, of the less-than-reliable Delcotron alternators that seemed to fail prematurely? Seems that has nothing to do with the engine.

        Like 1
    • BruceB

      LOL. These were more than direct competition to the Taurus SHO’s of that generation.
      They also wanted it to be mechanical competition for my 1991 Taurus SHO that I bought new. The timing belt needed to be changed and the valves adjusted at 60k. When I saw the book rate was 24 hours I decided to do it myself. After considerable expense, cursing, and many times more than Ford’s 24 hours, I finished. Miraculously it ran great until I sold it at 100k in 2005.
      All kidding aside, looks like it would be a good value for the right person.

      Like 1
      • SirRaoulDuke

        Of course it didn’t drive as good as the SHO. And it sure didn’t sound as good…but what other domestic six cylinder of that period did?

    • Tom Ball

      Oh good lord please, the “fender support bar” is held on by three easily accessible bolts and can be removed in less than 90 seconds. The washer reservoir can be lifted out of place in 30 seconds. If a backyard mechanic cannot figure that out, they aren’t anywhere near backyard mechanic material. Additionally, the serviceability nightmare of this engine has nothing to do with where the battery is located.

      Like 3
  2. Ed Hardt

    Those seat cushions look like they came straight out of a ’70s skin mag.

    Like 13
  3. Vegaman Dan

    Had a 90 Eurosport four door sedan for years. It was… a car. Very reliable, and exceedingly boring. But for a daily driver, that wasn’t a bad thing. It worked, it didn’t break down, looked better than many other 90’s offerings visually, so it was a good deal at the time.

    The Z34 was always a nifty one, but I have learned that two doors means the back seat is always awkward and the doors tend to be longer and heavier meaning the hinges start to wear out and sag. Only maintenance I did was replacing the top dogbone engine mount several times as it did eat through them. Thankfully only two bolts, right up top, quick and easy.

    That all said, still a damned fine car, just not inspiring.

    Got a Volt now. Crazy tech and very sporty. Times sure have changed.

    Like 1
  4. MoragaPulsar

    The 3.4 DOHC had reliability issues, although the one I had went 100k with no problems.

    https://www.angelfire.com/ca2/34Performance/dohc.html

    From the above web page –

    “Think of it as a MG Midget…maintance, maintance, and more maintance. I cannot stress enought that this is NOT a car to give the kids going to college. The 3.4L takes frequent, extensive maintanence to assure its durability.”

    Like 6
    • Skorzeny

      MoravaPulsar, that article was a very interesting read. IMHO, GM should have ***NEVER*** offered that car with an automatic. They would have had a real winner with 281 HP and a stout Getrag 5 speed. If someone needed an auto they could have bought a Century. Hope this one finds an owner that has a nice set of tools and likes maintenance.

      Like 7
      • Jerry Member

        Skorzeny my friend if they didnt make it a auto they wouldn’t have sold many.
        Very few people in the USA buy mid size 4 doors and want to shift in rush hour traffic picking up the kids from school.

        Like 4
    • John

      The 3.4L DOHC has gotten a bad rap. The timing belt is not that hard to do unless you have to unbolt and retime the cams themselves, the intake plenum is kind of annoying to remove but after that everything is pretty easy to get to. Spark plugs aren’t hard to do, just kind of annoying. It’s not at all hard to maintain.

      Except the alternator. Every bit of complaining about the alternator is 100% justified. And the oil pump drive is a problem since the seal likes to leak but I have had two cars with this engine recently (out of the half dozen I’ve owned with the 3.4L) that have not leaked a drop of oil, strangely enough.

      This is the engine you want if you get one of these older W-Body vehicles. The 3.1L makes lots of noise but it’s useless past 2500-3500RPM and is just barely enough to haul these heavy cars around. The 3.4L has enough power to make it fun to drive, and it gets decent enough fuel economy.

      Like 4
    • Tom Ball

      The 3.4 DOHC did not have reliability issues, it had lazy owner issues. These are not maintenance-free engines, but people acted as if they were. If GM pushed an engine out to a public who didn’t understand that there are consequences for not keeping up with maintenance, that is NOT a reliability issue. It’s a PR issue. When properly maintained, these engines are extremely reliable.

      Like 1
  5. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    If you zoom On the drivers side floor pan where the carpet meets the console there is what looks like scratch ticket shavings or cigarette ash’s. I hope it’s not the latter, a non smoker will smell that forever.

    Like 1
  6. Doc

    This car has been for sale locally for a few years shows up and then goes away. When seller gets it close to the market price it will sell.

    Like 3
    • Superdessucke

      I’m no expert on these but I can’t imagine the market price is anywhere near $11,500. A Z28 or Corvette with this mileage would sell for less than that.

      Like 4
      • steve

        You are correct, he will never seen anything near 11k for a Lumina.

  7. OIL SLICK

    Good looking car BUT my son had one and we found out that it was the worst designed car ever made by GM, now china motors. Compared to the Toyota Camry that I had, 95, it was the BEST designed car ever.

  8. glenn hilpert

    With all the maintenance required for these cars and with only 37K, I’m sure this could be a reason to unload it for someone else.

    Like 1
  9. Jerry Member

    If u want a GM V6, Get the 3.8 ltr, MUCH better motor than the 3.1 or 3.4!

    Like 2
  10. morrisangelo

    A real shame. A very attractive, nicely styled car that I would love to drive.

    With GMs bean-counting underpinnings, it’s just a miserable car that will require carefully driving on eggshells.

    Beware GMs bean-counting era cars of the 80’s and 90’s. There are good reasons why the buying public left GM en masse.

    Like 2
  11. irocrobb

    I had 2 different 4 door Lumina Euros. A 1992 and a 1990. I put almost 200,000 miles on the 1990. Mine had the 3100 motor that never caused much grief. A waterpump and alternator are all that come to mind.The rear disc brakes were a pain and I used the emergency brake all the time.A comfortable ride and good fuel mileage.
    AS for this one I think it is about 5,000 dollars too much plus I would run from that crappy 3.4 motor

  12. Andrew

    My dad had a ’95 lumina with the 3.4. The auto gearing was too far spaced. It pulled hard in the power band, but was dull down low in the revs. Always wanted to try it with the manual. Yeah, they are maintenance intensive, but if you keep up with it it will pile on the miles.

  13. Tom

    The 3.4 DOHC V6 is as reliable as any engine out there. Now, they will not tolerate a lack of maintenance, but neither will a Ferrari. The people who love and appreciate these engines today understand the maintenance requirements. Being that these engines are almost 30 years old, all of the weak points are well known and can be mitigated. I currently own four cars with this motor and they are fun and trusty power plants.

    Like 1
    • Jerry Member

      Didnt the 3.4 have a lot of head gasket failures? Or was it the 3.1??

  14. John

    You’re confusing the 3.4L DOHC with the 3400 V6 that came out in ‘97-98. The 3100/3400 were known for intake gasket failures, the 3400 especially. Combined with GM advertising Dexcool (which is fine when maintained properly) as “maintenance free”, the lower intake gaskets were prone to leaking and when I worked at a GM dealership in the mid ‘00s, it was literally a conga line of vans and cars with leaking intake gaskets on a daily basis.

    Head gaskets are occasionally an issue but I’d say that’s more serious when the car is overheated repeatedly when the intake gasket fails and the owner keeps driving it. The Gen III 60*V6 is a fairly robust if slightly underwhelming engine lineup. If you maintain them properly, they’ll treat you right.

    Like 1
    • Jerry Member

      Ok, thanks for the clarification John!
      According ti this site the 94s were one of the best years for Lumina reliability…..
      http://www.carcomplaints.com

      I use that site quite a bit when I’m looking for a used car, I have no affiliation just a reference tool.

  15. Jerry Member

    What do u consider “properly maintained” to be??
    Most drivers know about oil changes and timing belts if needed…..maintaining fluid levels ect……

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