Mint Dustbuster Van is a time machine back to your childhood
If you’re like me, you spent much of your childhood watching the world go by from the windows of a minibus. They offered some kind of magic you can not find in today’s crossovers. And while the minivan struggles to be relevant today, there is a minivan ready to bring your memories back to life. This almost perfect 12,500 mile 1996 Pontiac Trans Sport on Craigslist is ready to be your time machine with a plastic body.
Jalopnik’s office has fond memories of these vans. My parents couldn’t get enough of vans during my formative years and as a result I was able to drive in several of the later vans. Maybe that’s why I loved riding the road with an incredible drummer from a Dodge Caravan. As a child, two vans really stood out from the crowd because they looked like spaceships. These were the suppository-shaped Toyota Previa and GM’s dust-proof vans.
While this Trans Sport certainly looks its age, at the time it seemed like something straight out of the future. These hit the road when consumers expected vans to look like bricks with wheels, including the Chevrolet Astro.
Editor-in-Chief Lalita remembers calling these rockets in college. Editor-in-Chief Rory remembers a friend’s father calling a Starship Transport. I thought of them, especially in white, like space shuttles.
Of course, this was also a product of the days when GM was printing a bunch of “badge-designed” cars that loosely represented their brand identity. The Pontiac was the sporty sister of the economy Chevrolet Lumina APV and the luxurious Oldsmobile Silhouette. It got a front end and a dorky coating to blend in with the rest of the Pontiac fleet.
Even though the vans were disappointing compared to their daring concept, they had the technology to safeguard their appearance. They rolled on a galvanized steel space frame and featured plastic bodies that did not rust. The vans had flexible seats and even an innovative power sliding door.
For children, this was the future. Take a look inside this thing.
The seller doesn’t say how the car managed to get so few miles despite almost 26 years and two owners, but the interior looks so clean it doesn’t look like someone’s child has farted in those back seats. There is a cassette deck and a cigarette lighter; Is there anything more 90s than a minivan with a cigarette lighter?
And like a real classic minivan, there’s only one sliding door and a real awesome dashboard.
Power comes from GM’s 3400 V6 developing 180 horsepower mated to an automatic transmission. These were not meant to win races, but to transport a family or a teenager with their group and equipment.
We sometimes call museum pieces almost perfectly clean cars, but I’ve seen cars in worse condition inside museums.
It’s so clean that the headlights are crystal clear and the edges of the doors don’t even have paint chips. I contacted the seller to find out the history of this van. Hope they can shed some light on things.
It’s hard not to imagine yourself sitting in the back, carried wherever your parents or your friends’ parents take you. The price to take this trip down memory lane is $8,500 on Craigslist in Minneapolis, Minnesota.