Saturday, November 14, 2015

Luminac: Repurposed 1958 Cadillac fins find new life on 1995 Chevy Lumina

The Luminac is a 1995 Chevy Lumina with the tail fins of a 1958 Cadillac.  
Reuse, recycle, reimagine. Grafting the famous fins of a 1958 Cadillac onto a less-than-memorable 1995 Chevrolet Lumina must have been a labor of love by a junkyard opportunistThis outlandish, orange, commuter car creation was parked in front of Kenneth Branch’s used car lot near Birmingham, Alabama. One glance, and I had to stop.
  Branch, a genius at attracting customers to car lots, worked his magic on me with a hybrid Chevy Lumina. The front wheel drive family sedan has the hind quarters of a 1958 Cadillac topped with a hot rod paint job.
  “I bought the Luminac to attract customers,” said Branch. “I saw it for sale in Gatlinburg, Tennessee at a car show.
  The Luminac, I meant to say Lumina, has less than 50,000 original miles on its 3100-V6 engine. Inside the cabin a standard gray Chevy Lumina cloth interior offers no clues of the exterior flash. According to Branch, it could be purchased (at the time I took the photos) for $5,000. 
The tail fins on the 1995 Chevrolet Lumina, or Luminac, make people think they are pulling up behind a 1958 Cadillac. An extensive amount of work was done to narrow and graft the trunk lid, bumper, and tail lights.

Junkyard opportunist
   I do hope that the Luminac’s ’58 Caddy fins were scavenged from a Cadillac cadaver. A car so damaged by rot, wreck, and rust that the body could not have been salvaged for restoration. If that was the case, the creative mind that built the Luminac ensured that the Cadillac’s flamboyant fins would receive a new lease on life. That new life, being a finned, metallic orange, conversation starter.
  It should be a surefire hit with younger generations. Selfie-taking teens and tweens may even want to put down their electronic devices to learn about the Luminac’s link to Cadillacs, and America’s fascination with rocket ships during the space race of the 1950s. 
  Who cares if the styling doesn’t match on both ends? This is an almost, modern day, blast from the past. Back to the future on a budget. The rear half of the car is the past, the front is the future - circa 1995. So simple. Brilliant!

A Chevy Lumina would not have been my first choice, if I were deciding how to spend a few hundred hours of my time, on a custom car creation. But...

Custom Chevroelt Lumina rear view with Cadillac fins from 1958.
After comparing the rear views of the Luminac and an original 1958 Cadillac. I believe putting those Cadillac fins back on the street, on whatever project car is available, is a worthy endeavor.

Only original once
  Who wants to damage an irreplaceable classic car? Nobody! That’s why so many classic cars seldom get driven. Mint originals or frame-off restorations remain in solitary confinement for decades. Destined to remain covered up in a basement or in storage, until the once-in-a-blue-moon, convenient summer cruise night. This 1958 Cadillac homage can be seen and driven without fear of damaging a $100,000 show car. Right on! 

Wild paint and Cadillac fins cover a 1995 family sedan made by Chevrolet.
Adding some bling wheels might give the Luminac the chrome Caddy flash that it lacks.

Blue paint under that orange?
  A blue 1995 Luminac turned up in a search of the internet. Could there be two Luminacs? No way!
  The once blue Luminac was for sale in 2011 for $8,500. The blue paint definitely lacks the appeal of the orange and flamed version. Color does help this “not rod” look like a hot rod. Four years later, and the better looking, custom, one-of-a-kind Chevy has gotten cheaper. Win!

A web search turned up old photos of the Chevy Luminac in blue paint. The orange-flamed look suits the fancy fins better in my opinion. What do you think? Shoot me some comments below.

Mad genius, or greatest generation at work?
  The perfect storm of available Cadillac parts, time, and determination were the recipe for the Luminac. Few people would have devoted the hundreds of man hours on this type of custom car creation. 
  I do not know who built the Luminac, but I believe it must have been someone like my grandfather, Gordon Shadix. He was a retired WWII vet, and mechanic who would build something different, just to see if he could do it. The end results didn’t matter. He didn’t care if anybody liked what he built. Only mattered that he did it, and he worked on it to the best of his ability.
  His favorite saying was, “You can do anything you want to do, as good as you think you can.”
  I believe he would have approved of the Luminac” creation.

Jody Potter
– Junkyard Life

The paint on  the Chevy Lumina custom improves the hot rod look of the quite commuter car.
The wild paint covering the Chevy Lumina custom improves the hot rod look of this common commuter car.

The Luminac is proof that the timeless 1958 Cadillac fins can improve the look of any modern car.

Know a junkyard that we need to visit? Tips for our projects? Got a cool car? Send emails to Jody Potter at


1 comment:

Naomi said...

Loveed reading this thank you