Monday, December 15, 2014


Been a while since I did a car post (or any post for that matter) and with the recent purchase of another Volvo I thought it might be fun to recount the 11 so I've owned over the past 10 years as well as the interesting buying/selling experiences that come with dealings on Craigslist. The collection has spanned almost 30 years of production from 1967-1996 including 4 wagons, one coupe (the rest sedans), 6 turbos, 4 manual transmissions,  3 5cylinders and the rest the venerable b2xx series.  I've learned a lot from tinkering on these Swedish beasts and have hopefully provided a few people with cheap and reliable transportation as well as a project car or two.   Enough with the back story, on to the cars! 

The first, a 1986 240 wagon purchased from a hippie in Hyde Park who had a giant bag of contraband on his coffee table when I walked in his house (not surprisingly I found some remnants when I cleaned the car out).  Drove it for a year and sold it to a guy who proposed paying me with a Discover Card check which I kindly requested he take to the bank and turn into cash...
The next one was one of my favorites,  an '83 244 turbo with a 4spd, sunroof,  and some sweet sheepskin seat covers. Bought it for $250 and drove it 30mi home with no issues other than the fact that it burned a 1/4 tank of gas and a quart of oil in that distance.  The sale of this one was definitely the most memorable, after the transaction the hippie (starting to see a trend here?) that bought it rear ended a Lexus and wanted me to claim it on my insurance because he didn't have any. Thankfully I had already removed it from my insurance (thank you smartphone) and notified the DMV that I was no longer the owner...
Probably the quickest of the rwd bunch, this '87 744 turbo had a cam, exhaust, boost controller and a few other goodies which likely resulted in the blown up transmission that led to it's sub-$500 purchase price.  A trip to the junkyard and $150 later and I had a burnout machine which unfortunately broke during 2 separate showings leading to a sale out of frustration and my first of 2 losses on a flip car.
The next endeavor was kept stock and low risk, a $400 1986 760 turbo with a sketchily installed timing belt and a worn out brake master cylinder (which led to an interesting drive home that included my buddy almost rear ending me in my own car). Sold to a hippie (the trend continues!) who was incredibly stoked about the car but apparently not about retrieving his motorcycle he rode to pick it up which was left at my house for over a week.
Volvo  #5 enjoyed the longest run of ownership spanning a couple of years, 40k miles and multiple road trips including a 4500mi cross country trip with a kid and 2 dogs.  This mint 1990 740 wagon was destined for a v8 swap but unfortunately had to be sold to make room for a Suburban (worst car decision ever) when we found out we were pregnant with twins.  I still have a yearning for an engine-swapped 7-series and will someday find a Swedish home for the $40 2jz sitting on a pallet in the garage.
Probably the coolest of the bunch, this 1967 122s coupe was a complete basketcase that hadn't run in years and had some "interesting" modifications done to it.  It came home on a tow dolly (bad idea considering the condition of the tires) and drove away under the command of a crazy kid that somehow piloted it 3hrs north to Dallas after burning out the starter driving about 30mi on the highway with it engaged (did not heed my advice about the sticky ignition switch).
Next up was an '88 240 sedan purchased for a mere $200 in one of the more "eclectic" areas of East Austin. Resoldering the fuel pump relay got 'er up and running but unfortunately the transmission didn't last much longer than the post-repair test drive.  Fortunately, my previous Volvo ownership had built a network of parts sources and I was able to pick up a cheap transmission from my favorite conspiracy theorist/shadetree mechanic who has a yard full of Volvos and will cut you a deal if you're willing to entertain his "interesting" theories.  This beauty ended up going to my boss who drove it up to Minnesota after relocating for a new job which made me pretty nervous but the 'ol girl made it there without a hitch!
The next 2 cars brought challenges with repairs and buyers and led to a hiatus in car flipping for sanity preservation.  These who shall not be named are undeserving of a picture and in the words of Forrest Gump "that's all I have to say about that."  

I was down but not out of the Volvo game and after recovering from the haze of twin fatherhood I got back on the horse and picked up the most expensive Volvo I've ever purchased, a 1996 850 Turbo which I wrote about in detail here.  It was my first foray into buying something that didn't need work as well as fwd Volvos and has astonishingly needed nothing (save an axle seal) and has been a reliable driver for over a year and 5000 miles. 
Staying on the 8-series wagon (pun intended?), the latest purchase is a $300 850 non-turbo (s-l-o-w) that me and the boy have been tinkering on.  All it needed was a lower radiator hose but we've fixed a few other things like the odometer (surprise), PCV system, and a couple of engine mounts and she's pretty much ready to go.  Being a long-time rwd Volvo fan, I was a little skeptical about the fwd cars but after owning 3 they're growing on me quite a bit and are a lot easier to find dirt cheap as the supply of 2 and 7 series cars seems to have dried up here in the past few years...

No comments:

Post a Comment