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The Brick Newsletter June 2010

Page 1: Chris Delano and His Volvo Story

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Sale pricing valid from Thursday, July 01, 2010 through Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chris Delano and His Volvo Story

by: Chris Delano - Executive Assistant/Special Projects Manager

1985 245Ti Wagon showing off near flawless front end.

1985 245Ti Wagon with rare IPD Evolution 15X7" wheels, plus many other goodies!

Growing up I learned to appreciate cars at an early age. My father bought and sold cars as a hobby. He liked working on cars and having the ability to drive something new all the time. My parents belonged to a couple four-wheel drive clubs. This led to a stream of Toyota’s, Ford trucks, and a bunch of Jeep Wranglers. My father basically lived at our local specialty off-road center. I’m guessing the owners loved his ability to spend money on aftermarket accessories. My father was never able to leave any vehicle alone. Every truck or Jeep he owned was completely unique and equipped with plenty of goodies. He felt having added features would help move the sale faster when it was time to turn a car. Those profits usually went right into another project. For years those projects led my family deep into the mountains four-wheeling with friends. We always had cars that suited our recreational activities. Those activities had my father spending countless hours washing off mud, then detailing every nut and bolt hoping the value would maintain. After my mother and I made fun of his obsessive behaviors enough, he eventually moved away from the off-road scene.

In 1989 my father became infatuated with the “Fox Body” Mustang GT 5.0. He bought a brand new convertible 5.0 from Ford. I was 9 years old and I absolutely fell in love with that car. I was excited to ride around in the exact car rapper Vanilla Ice flaunted in all his songs from the chart topping album titled, To the Extreme. For all you closet Vanilla Ice lovers out there, you know the song I’m talking about! Ice Ice Baby can still get anyone of all ages off their chair and dance. Moving on- Not knowing much about cars, I loved the Mustang! It was fast, loud, all my friends loved it, but my father actually hated it. He was a spirited driver and when he pushed it, the car always let him down. The car seriously lacked brakes and suspension. My father purely felt unsafe in it.

My father picked me up from school every day. I waited with my friends so they could see and hear the Mustang. This particular day he didn’t pull up in the Mustang, he was driving a Volvo station wagon. It was a 1981 245 with a M46 manual transmission. He just bought it from a friend that owned a local car wholesaling business. I remember getting into that car and seeing the smile on my father’s face. He absolutely loved it! It had mustard color interior, maroon paint with a chrome plated factory roof rack. I remember the huge knobs, and how simple everything looked. I was extremely embarrassed. Pulling out of my school parking lot I hunkered down in the seat so no one would see me. The whole way home he jabbered about how amazing the brakes and suspension felt. He loved the amount of room it had, and how comfortable it was. All I could hear was this crazy rattling sound coming from under my feet. It was the heat shield surrounding the exhaust coming loose. Anyone who’s owned a 240 knows what I’m talking about. When we got home he told my mother he was going to sell the Mustang and drive the 240. That car is what ultimately changed my life.

After the Mustang sold, all we had was that bright maroon station wagon. When time came to maintain the Volvo, a friend of my father told him about IPD. If you’re a Volvo owner and live in Portland Oregon, it’s beneficial to have IPD in your back yard. Turned out IPD was only about 10 minutes from our house. My father became friends with some of the Customer Service Representatives at the time. I remember visiting IPD and walking around the parking lot looking at all the 240’s accessorized with IPD bits. I could barely see over the front counter but I knew this place was special. I realized how unique it was, and all the possibilities of making a Volvo different than anything else on the road.

IPD became the new hangout. Like all the other specialty shops catering to my father’s cars, IPD had plenty of items he could spend money on. My father upgraded the Volvo suspension with a set of Bilstein shock absorbers, IPD sway bars, new bushings, springs, and a set of “hubbies” to dress up the steel wheels. On the weekends we drove to the coast. This contains 90 miles of twisty corners and passing lanes where my father felt he had to test the Volvo’s ability to “hang in there” on sweeping corners. I remember how impressed my father was the 240’s braking and handling capabilities. He was more impressed about how he felt after driving long distances. Absolutely no body aches or fatigue from driving. He praised IPD for the suspension upgrades.

My father owned many Volvo’s after that 240 wagon. The import craze began! With IPD’s help he owned many 240, 740, 940, and vintage models my mother cruised around in. He then dabbled in Saab’s. Back then IPD had some pretty good contacts for Saab Turbo products. Those following years he only drove a Volvo or Saab.

1982 245 Turbo Wagon Fitted with TME 2.5" Exhaust.
1982 245 turbo wagon with Bilstein HD's and Full IPD Suspension.
1982 245 Turbo Wagon with 15x7" Panasport Wheels.

A few years went by and it was time for me to start driving. By then I was obsessed with Volvo’s. IPD was ultimately the reason I fell in love with Volvo cars. I would read every catalog front to back dreaming of products I wanted for my own car. My father would only allow me to drive a Volvo. He offered to help me purchase a 240. The safety aspects of a 240 eased his mind. I would ride my bike to IPD and visit the “AS-IS” room. You would always find little treasures in there. They also had a huge peg board where other customers had their cars for sale. That is where I found the ad for my first car.

The ad was for a 1981 242 Turbo. My father and I went and test drove it. We bought the car together. It had a little over 250K miles on it. The clear coat was starting to peel and needed a little mechanical work, but I loved it! We replaced the timing belt, water pump, front and rear engine seals along with a fresh tune up. We purchased all the parts from IPD. In high school everyone was putting exhaust on their cars. My claim to fame was having a full custom exhaust made from 3.0” stainless. Back then all my friends had VW’s. The 242 Turbo had so much more to offer. It was faster, handled better with the help from IPD, and I had vented four wheel disc brakes! I also loved the fact I had something different and unique. I was also very proud of the “Suspension by IPD” sticker ran across the front windshield.

I eventually sold that car to one of my closest friends and someone you might know. Bud Cowgill- IPD’s current Customer Service Manager. He bought that car from me our Junior Year in high school. I like to think that I inspired him with that sale. That’s another article I’ll have to do in the future. I went on to a Saab 9000T followed by more Saab 900T’s, and a bunch of Volvo 240 and 740 models. I bought and sold Volvos making as much profit as I could. My goal was to earn enough money to buy the Volvo I always wanted. The summer I graduated high school I bought and sold enough Volvo’s to purchase a 1985 245 Turbo with a factory intercooler. It was black on black leather with a M46 manual transmission. I bought it from the original owner with 105K miles on it. It was perfect! I loved the fact it was bone stock! Earlier that summer I put a job application in at IPD. One week after I bought that 245Ti I was hired! I worked in the warehouse while attending community college. IPD was very generous working around my college schedule. Working at IPD allowed me to source parts and information like I never thought possible. Soon that 245Ti was equipped with a larger hybrid turbocharger, IPD Evolution wheels, full suspension, bushings and a bunch of polished bits under the hood. The car was absolutely flawless inside and out. I’ve never kept a car longer than a year so I sold it once completed. A few years later Scott Hart and I were on the hunt for another 245 turbo wagon. We found another wagon that was purchased by the original owners here in Portland Oregon. It was garaged from day one. It was a 1982 245 turbo wagon that looked brand new. The interior looked as if no one has ever sat on the seat! That particular car was bone stock as well. I only owned it a week before it got wheels, full suspension modifications, bushings, chassis braces, exhaust, camshafts and a nice stereo system. After 1 year that car was sold to a lucky enthusiast on the East Coast. I remember shipping it off wondering if I would ever regret it.

Now that I think about how amazing those vehicles were, I wish I could go back and preserve them. Looking back at pictures of my father’s first 245wagon it was flawless. These days it’s hard to find cars in that good of shape.

The past 13 years my life has been committed building and establishing relationship along with an illustrious career here at IPD. I started working in the warehouse when I was a punk kid out of high school. I got the opportunity to work in Customer Service for many years sharing my knowledge and experiences with Volvo cars. Every day I learn something new, and that’s what drives me. I love Volvo cars. I love all the relationships I’ve built being a Volvo owner. Seven out of the eight groomsmen in my wedding were all people I met working here at IPD! IPD’s success has been built from the amazing relationships established over the years. Even though my job title has me doing more “behind the scenes work” and the development of our Subaru Division, I’m still a Volvo lover at heart!

I’ve owned many RWD/ FWD Volvo’s, but I have to say, I’m most famous around here for my flawless 240 builds. I’m currently driving a 2008 Forester XT that scoots around pretty well. I tell everyone the Subaru Forester is my favorite because of its boxy resemblance to the 240 series. My friends here at work remind me every day why I need to buy another 240. 5-cylinder motor swaps, 16V turbo conversion, who knows what my fellow co-workers are going to think of next. I’m very proud to be a part of a community and organization that has made automobiles so intriguing. Until the next time I catch you on the phone or see you at an event, have a great day!

2008 Forester XT sporting Bilstein PSS9 Coilover suspension along with many other go fast bits! Chris Delano with his first of many Subaru WRX's. 2003 WRX Stage III APS equipped Subaru.

Sale pricing valid from Thursday, July 01, 2010 through Saturday, August 21, 2010

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