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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, here goes my story on how I ended up back in the Volvo scene. Volvo really saved my life, but not in the way you would think... If you are a Hunter S. Thompson/Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas fan, this should be a good read :D

A little back story (filled with overtones of great peril, lost love, and self sacrifice):

I've always been very passionate about my cars (and brother, let me tell you theres been a LOT over the last 12 year), about making them my own. These cars are absolutely no exception to that rule. I've always had a soft spot for wagons, and these cars make it worthwhile.

I bought my first Volvo wagon in 2013 after I blew up 2 Subaru Outback wagons and sold my Subaru SVX. A 97 850 base wagon. 167k on the broken odometer gear, ~225k estimated on the car Auto, 2.4l, etc...And I immediately fell in love with the quirkiness of the I5, the luxuries of a near luxury car, and the utilitarian perks of driving a wagon (I was going to a lot of open air concerts at the time, so being able to throw a queen sized air bed in the back of the car and sleep comfortably was a bonus). My stepdad's brother always said "If you ever get a chance to buy a Volvo, do it! Those cars are indestructible and the safest things on the road, but don't buy one made by Ford". This after his experiences with a $600 240DL that he was T boned in at speed and walked away unscathed with a $6000 insurance check. Shortly after I sold that car to a friend of mine and hopped an Amtrak to Denver, he drove it cross country from SE PA to Oregon by way of the southwest, up thru Yosemite and the west coast, finally settling in Boring, OR. She left my care with 245k miles on it, and still runs to this day with just north of 300k at last check.

Moving forward:

Back in Dec 2014 my dad passed away from lung cancer. I had just moved from Nebraska to Washington state and flew back home on Black Friday to see him. Within a week he passed. 2 days later (before we even got him in the ground) my ex girlfriend left me high and dry, took almost EVERYTHING I owned and left me with no explanation. It was a bad time in my life... Everything I owned (the important stuff at least) was still in Washington, packed in my $600 Chevy Venture. I flew back out, picked up my van and crossed my fingers hoping it would make it 3000 miles back across the country to PA. Made it back and my van decided it had had enough. Electrical gremlins and a rod knock that would scare off even the devil himself.

Shortly before moving to Washington I reconnected with someone very near and dear to my heart that I've known since we were kids. I was in need of a car and wasn't really thinking about Volvo's at the time, only looking for something affordable. Ended up buying a 2003 Mazda Protege5 "wagon" with a salvage title from a deer hit for $700. Fast forward to May 2015, this person and I got together for a "weekend turned 2 weeks" visit and I moved back up home where I grew up, where my dad passed away, in June, to be closer to her and her daughter, to try and reconnect after a number of years. She was there for me thru everything with my dad this time around and for that I will always feel indebted and grateful, and I'd be lying to myself if I said that after all that she put me thru I don't care about her and her daughter still, but that chapter is over... At some point in our short time together I started thinking about wagons again, specifically Volvo wagons for safety and reliability. Things were going great and I wanted to be able to provide safe, reliable transport for her daughter and her while I was driving, and the Mazda felt too much like a tin can... Long story short, September comes around and her daughters father gets out of rehab/jail earlier than anticipated (you see where this is going I'm sure)...She leaves and causes a wake of destruction not unlike 3-4 back to back category 5 hurricanes rolling thru Florida, leaving me homeless yet again. Walked me to the edge of darkness and shoved me off the cliff. I about lost it. Severely depressed and seriously contemplating a lead breakfast I pushed forward. Moved into a place in October not too far from work and buried myself in my job to dull the pain. Took a "promotion" at work in November '15 and started working even more insane hours in a second store, 80 miles from home in Johnstown, PA. Drove the Mazda for another 6 months or so until tax time came. At this point I'd been looking for a reason to buy a Volvo wagon, scouring craigslist throughout western and central PA, MD, WV, NY. And I'll tell ya, they aren't very plentiful out there...Sure, there were a bunch around Pittsburgh, but most roached out and with blown head gaskets/transmissions, etc with exorbitant prices for what they were. I was searching high and low for a P80 V70XC, made from unobtanium...found one close to work in Johnstown, a blue 99 V70XC. Transmission was blown, wouldn't drive over 15mph. .Found another one at a car lot with 220k miles on it, a 2000 V70XC. Dealer was smoking crack and wanted $5995 for it, needing timing belt, bevel gear/angle gear service...check engine light was on, rear main seal leaked and the engine bay smelled like burnt oil, and the interior was shot. Everything smelled like stale cigarette smoke and ass to the point of nausea, and coming from someone who smokes thats saying something. I had just about given up, figuring it was hopeless at that point and I was stuck with the slowly dying Protege5 (she was burning 2 qts of oil a week by this point)..

And then I found THE ONE. November 2016. Small Business Saturday. 2 years to the day since I'd last seen my father alive, 2 years since he'd last told me "Find something you love and stick with it" :

THE WanderWagon. The ORIGINAL. The object of my love hate relationship with our cars. My creative outlet if you will, the car that saved my life. A 1995 850 Turbo wagon, ~215k miles with all the bells and whistles, already modded with larger turbo, exhaust, suspension, THE WORKS. Owned by a fellow enthusiast, having made multiple cross country trips. Up to date on service (timing belt, etc), only problem is a semi flaky transmission. Asking price? $2500. Purchase price? $900. See my signature for the build thread, otherwise this will become a 15 page long post ;)

Oh the countless hours and $$$ I spent working on that car. Every moment I had free that I wasn't tied to my desk at work, I was racing home at 7 pm, turning a 1.5 hour drive into 45 minutes on twisty back roads, turning wrenches, raiding junkyards...cursing the engineers who thought it was a smart idea to put the turbo cooling lines in the black hole that is the back of the engine, all while bathing in coolant, wiping grease in my eyes, and eating dirt that fell from the undercarriage. But I loved to hate (hated to love?) every minute of it. The feeling I got when the 16T spooled up with the BSR Stage 3 tune was utterly magical, I felt like a kid again... I felt like this:



Drove her for a year and put 40k-45k miles on her until this past May she finally bit the bullet and dropped reverse from the transmission in the last big snow storm of the year :( It was truly a sad day indeed. The day she rolled away on the flatbed I felt a little piece of myself go with her. But I'm glad to say, her memory will always live on in my heart and mind, and her legacy will live on in the cars of other Forum members here.

Fast forward to today and here I am driving my XC70, the car I wanted all along, an AWD Volvo wagon. Its still a love hate relationship (the car I hate to love) but I'm embracing it. Lessons learned, and I'm a better person for all of it. Still a daily struggle, but one can only eat the elephant a bite at a time. When I bitch and complain about it in my thread, its out of my love and passion for these cars, as is a reminder to be more open and forgiving. To be more flexible and remember to let things happen as they happen.

Owning and driving a Volvo saved me from myself. Enough said. So when they say Volvo for Life, its true on so many levels. Owning a Volvo for me has been a very cathartic experience. I will drive a Volvo for the rest of my days on this speeding ball of mud we call Earth, and my next one will be a SPA XC90, hopefully within the next 3-5 years and 100k miles.
 

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