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.
“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!
My first mishap with a car was with my first car, a 1991 Volvo 940 SE, black over tan, with sunroof. I was eighteen, had only been driving a few months due to health issues, but LOVED driving. So much so, on occasion I would get up really early, like before sunrise, to take the car for a ride before school. I remember several instances where I’d sneak the car out about 5:30 (so as not to wake anyone up and ask me why I was doing a damfool thing like going for a drive at 5 AM), go for a ride around town listening to the oldies station, and then head back, get my school crap and head off to Alleman High School.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve always had a thing for Volvos. My parents always had them when I was a kid. The earliest cars I remember riding in were Mom’s ’73 1800ES and ’77 245DL wagon, and Dad’s ’81 DL two-door sedan. All through the ’80s, Mom had a Volvo wagon and Dad had a Volvo sedan.
Probably my favorite was my father’s 1988 740 Turbo Sedan. Fire engine red, tan leather, blackout trim, five-spoke alloys and sunroof. Now that was excellent!
So it may come as no surprise that my first car was a Volvo, and my second, and my third. The first one was my dad’s former company car, a 1991 940SE Turbo.
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.
How do we pick what gets published on TTAC? It’s a fair question and one which almost never gets asked by anyone. We’re continually asking for new contributions from readers, but our readers tend to be a pretty shy group. Much of what we get from freelancers is a nightmare to edit — there are a few names which equate to “full rewrite” when I see them in my Inbox. Some of the contributions don’t meet my public standards for work-safe content, political slant, and so on.
In the end, however, there’s a little bit of dart-throwing involved. You throw some articles in the trash and you publish others and you hope you’ve made the right choice. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes, like today, you thought you didn’t, but you did. They don’t think it be like it is, but it do!