Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Chevy is a mobile movie theater with a flip-down screen for the back seats and a video player. Could that all add up to a family van for which someone should throw down a couple grand?
Based on price alone, before anyone could roll in yesterday’s 2015 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG Designo, they’d have to be rolling in cash. At $95,000, that big brick of a Benz would eat into any cash roll and many of you found that to be too pricy a bite. As a result, the AMG G-Wagon hauled home an 86 percent No Dice loss for its troubles.
Lest we forget, there are cheaper ways to get about than an over the top fancy-pants Mercedes 4X4. And, seriously, if you’re not planning any serious off-road excursions, all you really need is something with reasonable traction and a good set of tires to make it through most situations.
Today’s 2000 Chevy Venture offers traction-enhancing FWD and, according to the ad, comes with an extra set of factory alloy wheels mounted with snow tires for those times when the slush hits the streets. Of course, if you’re going to go out at all, you want to drive something that’s not just practical but also offers a little bit of panache. This Venture isn’t just that, it’s Looney Tunes fancy.
This Venture is a Warner Brothers edition, which, from 1999 through 2003 was the top of the line package for the Venture van. What made the WB edition special was a slew of Looney Tunes branded add-ons and, in a move that was eerily prescient of today’s auto industry subscription services, membership in something called the “Venturetainment Club.”
You can identify a WB Venture on the outside by the special badging that features a semi-formally attired (no pants) Bugs Bunny holding a carrot in one hand and leaning on the Warner logo with the other. Tying together car and cartoon, the interior received a flip-down LCD screen for the rear passengers and the choice of a console-mounted DVD player or, if your last car was a Conestoga Wagon, a VHS tape machine. Wireless headphones allowed the moppets in the back to listen to the shows without disturbing the parentals up front.
Of course, this was all offered before the age of smartphones and tablets and so the Venture’s tiny seven-inch screen may seem a bit underwhelming to present-day kidney beans. Chevy offered a bunch of other Warner Brothers-themed accouterments aimed at family fun, stuff like beach towels and folding coolers. It appears that this one still has one of those coolers, which is surprising for something so disposable.
There’s a lot to like on this Venture outside of it offering you Bugs Bunny (my own personal hero, by the way) as a constant companion. The WB edition was based on the top trim level and so you get fancy cloth and leather seating surfaces and lots of bells and whistles like power seats, tilt wheel, and cruise control. Everything in the cabin save for the steering wheel looks to have held up amazingly well. That tiller appears tumorous and is probably nasty to hold. Maybe some company offers a Toon-themed cover that would fit in with the van’s overall appearance.
On the practical side, the curb-side slider is powered and the seat closest to that has a built-in child safety insert, just like in some Volvos. Cup holders abound, and, this being the extended wheelbase version of the Venture, there’s plenty of room for luggage behind the third row. On the downside, while the seller does show us the fold-down screen in the ceiling, no mention is made of whether the van comes with a DVD or VHS entertainment system, or if any at all.
The Venture was based on the platform of the older “Dustbuster” Lumina van, although with steel body panels instead of plastic. The basic drivetrain format remained the same, however, with a transverse engine and automatic transmission powering the front wheels. Here that engine is a 180 horsepower edition of the 3.4 liter LA1 V6. Backing that up is a four-speed automatic. Per the ad, this Venture’s engine has seen upper intake plenum gasket replacement, while the whole transmission has been given a rebuild. The seller claims everything now works as it should. There are 193,000 miles on the clock and the van comes with a clean title.
How much would you pay for this top-of-the-line and beloved cartoon character bedazzled minivan as it sits? The asking price is $2,000 and while that does seem like pocket lint money, especially in today’s crazy car market, one has to ask if this Chevy is the best use of even that meager amount.
What do you say, is this Warner Brothers edition van worth that $2,000 asking? Or does that have you thinking, nothing ventured, nothing gained
H/T to Don R. for the hookup!
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