My parents have always liked Volvo cars. They had several of them through the years, and I always associate my childhood with Volvo station wagons. Their very first one was bought in 1976. At the time Mom was driving a ’74 Mercury Capri V6, Dad’s former company car. My parents had been friends with Mike and Cathy Lundahl since high school, and his dad owned the Volvo dealership in Moline at the time. As a result, many Volvos lived in their driveway over the past forty years or so. But the ’73 ES was the first.
Say, remember the Mustang? Of course you do. Well…you remember the obvious ones, anyway. Shelby GT350. 1965 2+2 GT. Boss 302. Boss 429. All the usual suspects. But there are a lot of Mustangs out there that have been nearly elbowed off the stage, thanks to Resale Red, American Racing wheel-shod, phony-GT car show and cruise night impostors! In fact, should you mention certain Mustangs to those Foose-footed red Mustang owners, you may cause them to grow pale and run away: Mustang II! Mustang Grandé Mustang Ghia and Mustang L! Mustangs with six-cylinder engines and wheel covers! Augh! To those guys, it’s like throwing cloves of garlic at a vampire! No! No no no! All Mustangs were muscle cars dagnabit! And never mind that his ’67 Hardtop was originally Wimbledon White with dog-dish caps, green interior and six cylinder power! But let me tell you, I love the offbeat Mustangs, which were the majority of Mustangs back in the Sixties and Seventies. And the Broughamiest pony of them all is the subject of today’s post: the Grandé, available from 1969 to 1973.
The Mustang: the Falcon that went to finishing school and came back better than ever, and nearly unrecognizable. Designed from the start to be eminently configurable, it could be equipped as anything from a basic inline-six, zero-option runabout to a thoroughbred V8 sprinter, and the available extras, colors and trim levels only expanded as the decade wore on. The 1967-68s got a bigger engine bay to accommodate big-block power, thanks to Bunkie Knudsen.
“Beautiful Volvo? What are you going on about this time Klockau?” you may be thinking. Nope, I haven’t gone off the deep end. Volvo more or less built their reputation on safety and durability, not beauty. But there are some models out there that look excellent.
I like Volvos, and have a serious soft spot for 240s and 740s thanks to spending my formative years in the back seat of several. And while those sedans and wagons look nice enough (they’re boxy but they’re good, as Dudley Moore once said), I admit it’s a stretch to call them beautiful. I mean, beautiful is a 1936 Cord 810 Westchester. Beautiful is an Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce. But a Volvo? Well, yes!
Remember when Volvos were boxy? It wasn’t so long ago, though if you were born after, say, 1995, you might not remember. The Volvo 140, introduced in 1966 as a ’67 model, was the first boxy Volvo, a square-rigged lineage that lasted all the way through the 2000-model Volvo S70 and V70.