Some of you all have been fortunate enough to receive a free car at some point in your life. Maybe it was a hand-me down. Maybe your parents bought you your first car. Maybe a neighbor agreed to sign the title over to you, if you agree to get that POS off their property. A friend of mine was recently given an old Jeep Comanche by his landlord, simply for being a good tenant.
I am not among the ranks of free car recipients, and for that I will admit to a twinge of jealousy. I've never had any tolerance for people who complained about their free car, either. BTW, I'm really not talking about anybody here. I've always maintained that any free car is awesome, and you should just shut up and be happy.
But something recently occurred to me. I'm wrong, not every free car is awesome. There is one vehicle I would not drive, even if it was free. The Lumina APV minivan. Now, I don't care for minivans in general, but I don't categorically hate them either. No, I hate the Lumina APV with a fiery passion, for it's pure, unadulterated awfulness.
I've had the displeasure of driving a couple of them. Thankfully, not for especially long, but long enough. Let's start with my main complaint, the driving position. The drivers seat, and the gas pedal are positioned in such awkward relationship to each other, that applying the gas requires bending your foot so far back, you feel like you're about to break your ankle.
Let's move on to the interior. Now, let me just say, I am no interior snob. I drive an '06 Sierra, which has a sea of grey plastic interior, and it's fine with me. The Lumina, however, is leagues worse. The plastic that everything is made of is so thin and brittle, that a good stare will break most of it's bits into pieces. The design of all the moving parts is wholly inadequate.
For some unknown reason, my in-laws purchased one of these brand new in the 90's. Within months, the drivers seat back broke (allowing the seat back to just flop around), the armrests broke off, and the gas door release snapped. These were of coursed fixed several times under warranty, only to break again sometimes days later. Once the warranty expired, a 2x4 was jammed between the driver's seat back, and the seat behind it to prop it up (very safe!), armrests became a distant memory, and getting the the gas car required reaching under the car to pull the door release cable. Oh yeah, and the spare tire carrier rusted away, and dropped the spare to the ground. There was also the fact that in went through alternators in the approximate time it took for the tires to need rotating.
My most recent experience with an APV was five years ago. My wife's aunt had gone into a nursing home, and I drove her '92(?) APV back to my house, to sell it on Craigslist for the family. It looked just like the one in the picture, except it was dark red over silver. It only had 82k miles on it, had every option available on it, and was in excellent condition. It was a terrifying 22 miles home. It was chugging and threatening to die the whole time. My ankle was killing me. The service engine soon light came on and went back off three times. The interior rattled like no other I'd ever experienced. The alternator bearing was howling like crazy. At one point I actually yelled out loud, to nobody else in the car, "No wonder GM went bankrupt! They foisted millions of these pieces of shit onto poor, unsuspecting bastards!!!" I managed to get $800 for it, and I still see it running around occasionally.
So no, I would not drive a Lumina APV, not even for free. What free car would you take a pass on, and why?