1974 Volvo 164E: Goteborg Goes Brougham

There was just something about that grille and that beautiful leather trim. As a fourth grader in about 1989, I knew nor cared one whit about British styling influences on the plushest Volvo. I just knew I liked them. As most of you fine folks know, save a few persistently negative persons of interest, love has little to no basis in rationality.

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Road Test: 2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Momentum

I first spotted the redesigned 2019 Volvo S60 at my local dealer, McLaughlin Motors, late last year. It was sitting right outside the showroom, finished in gunmetal gray with black interior. My salesman buddy there, Brian Cox, informed me it was the first U.S. built Volvo. Interesting. I thought the car looked pretty good too. So I knew I was going to have to try one out sooner or later.

Sadly, a particularly nasty winter that didn’t really start ramping up until mid-January precluded any test drives for a while. But finally, on March sixth, Brian put me behind the wheel of a S60 Momentum, finished in Pebble Gray Metallic with an especially attractive off-white and black interior. So much nicer than the common all-black interiors, which have always reminded me of a cave. I prefer lighter interior colors; they come in handy during our Midwestern summers, too. A/C has to work a lot harder in 90 degree heat when the car’s interior is black.

Volvos of today are not quite the Volvos of my youth. My first one was a 940SE, built in Goteborg, unapologetically boxy, with a ‘redblock’ turbo four and rear-wheel drive. Today’s Volvos are anything but boxy (including the wagons), are front wheel drive (with AWD optional), and mostly sporting various four-pot mills with direct injection.

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Late Model Review: 2017 Volvo S90 T6

On September 22, 2016, I drove the then-new grande dame of Volvo’s lineup, the all-new S90 sedan. It replaces the S80, which itself replaced the good old boxy Volvo 940/960/S90 Series in 1999. I miss those boxy Volvos, owned a couple of those boxy Volvos, and was curious to see what the new, non-boxy, sleek new Volvo flagship was like.

So, what’s new? Pretty much everything. Including the engines. Gone is the venerable 3.2L straight six and the T6 twin-turbo, replaced with a four cylinder, 2.0L turbocharged, supercharged engine with 316 hp. Confusingly, the two available engines, despite being four-cylinder powerplants, are labeled T5 and T6. If you speak Volvo, you know that used to designate five or six cylinders. No idea why that was done. I blame marketing.

And now, let me pause for all the know-it-alls to go, “AUGH! A four cylinder in a $65,000 Volvo! What?!” But let me tell you, the only way I knew this was a four-cylinder was reading the brochure. If you told a test-driver that it was a six, you’d probably get away with it if they weren’t car guys. But first, a walkaround. However, I still miss the 3.2 six in the S80. It was, as Ferris Bueller once said, so choice…but I digress. Onward!

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Remembering A Friend: Julie’s Cars

A good friend, Julie Werthmann, passed away last week. A close friend of my parents, and probably one of my mom’s best friends. Well, hell, she was a friend of mine too. Yesterday, we attended the memorial and said goodbye. She was a terrific lady. She and her then-husband met my folks back in the ’80s when they moved our Chris-Craft to a new dock at Sunset Marina. Mike and Julie became our ‘boat neighbors.’ They lived year-round on their boat, a Grand Banks double-cabin cruiser. I have known her since I was about five years old. And since I was a car nut even at that early age, I remember all the cars she had. And rode in most of them over the years.

The earliest car I remember was a dark green 1982 Delta 88 Royale Brougham. Just like the car in the brochure picture above, it had the color-keyed styled steel wheels, plus a sage green interior with matching top. And the 350 Diesel V8! But they never had an issue with this car. In fact, they kept it well into the 1990s, and it stayed nice and reliable all that time. The sound of that GM Diesel is permanently etched into my memory.

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1989 Volvo 740GL: Volvo Vexation

Remember the Volvo 740 and 760? Remember when Volvos were boxy? And still made in Sweden? Well, OK, I guess a couple of current Ovlovs are still made in their home country, but far few for my taste. Sure, the new ones are swoopy and fresh, with lots of new gadgets and smartphone-influenced distractions (oops, I mean ‘features’), but I still miss those rectilinear 740s and 240s of the 80s. I grew up with them.

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Our 1973 Volvo 1800ES – Super Sportswagon!

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.

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1973 Volvo 1800ES – That Most Beautiful Volvo

“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.

1984 Volvo 240 GL

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!

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What Was Your First Automotive Mishap?

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.

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2018 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription – Swedish Brougham

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.

Dad’s new 740 Turbo, circa summer 1988.

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!

The 940SE at Lake Carroll, late ’90s.

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.

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