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Customer Spotlight - Les Bundy

2014-12-22 - Les Bundy

A Tale of Two Loves: Suzanne and the Volvos

by Les Bundy

My love affair with Volvos began shortly after I met the woman who would become my wife. Suzanne and I met while when we were both teaching in a school in a small mountain community in Colorado. She was driving what at that time was a well and hard used 1958 Volvo 544. Previously she had lived and taught in Germany where she had purchased the 544. By the time we began dating in 1964, the car had been driven all over Europe and parts of the United States. I was driving a brand new Oldsmobile Cutlass, a sporty looking hardtop coupe. When we became engaged I thought we would get rid of the old Volvo and buy something more appropriate for her to drive. But once I began driving the 544 I fell under the Volvo spell.

In 1967 we sold the Cutlass and flew to Sweden where we picked up a brand new 144. The front seats on that model folded back flat and the rear seat could be adjusted so that they could be made into a bed.  We spent the summer of ’67 touring European campgrounds on a “second honeymoon.” In the evening we would pull into a campground, put paper over the windows, blankets over the seats and spend the night. In the morning we would heat water over a small alcohol camping stove and serve breakfast with tea and pastries bought the night before at a local bakery.

At the end of the summer the 144 came home with us and over time logged almost 300,000 miles before it came time to replace it. Our family grew to three kids and a series of well used Volvos. The 544 was finally replaced by a 122 wagon. In 1971 I transitioned from the public schools to university teaching. The 144 with close to 300 thousand miles was replaced by a ’72 wagon.

In 1979 I took a sabbatical leave from my university and we packed up the three kids, sleeping bags and a tent and flew to Europe. At a Volvo dealer in Brussels we picked up a new ’79 two-forty five. The summer of 79 was spent camping in Europe. Late in August we had the reason to give thanks for Volvo’s famous safety systems. While driving on a back road in a Swedish forest we were in a head-on collision. Thanks to Volvo’s seat belts and solid construction none of us suffered injury, but the 245 wagon was totally destroyed. With the help of local authorities we contacted the factory and in a few days we took possession of a replacement 245. September to June was spent in an apartment in Scotland with many side trips in various parts of the British Isles. The summer of 1980 was a repeat summer of camping in Europe. The wagon came home with us and lived a long and hard life, finally being donated to a charity in 1989.

Another sabbatical in 1989 saw Suzanne, me and our daughter Lisa returning to the Volvo factory for a new 240 sedan. From May ’89 until mid January ’90 the three of us traveled from Sweden to Italy spending part of the time camping and finally settling in an apartment in Germany. In January the 240 sedan came home with us and still has a pride of place in our garage. As our current second car we also have a 94 Volvo 850.

But the fullest realization of my Volvo “love affair” came a few years ago with the acquisition of a 1971 Volvo 1800E. With the help of ipd, the pride of “Swedish iron” has been lovingly restored and is now in pristine condition. New parts from ipd and the advice of ipd specialists made it possible to achieve an accurate restoration of the 1800. I began using ipd parts back in the 1970’s and have bought parts from the company for every car that I have owned. A lot of time has passed and Suzanne and I have logged many miles together in our beloved Volvos. When I fell in love with that beautiful young school teacher, I had no idea what lay on the road ahead, or what would become our vehicle of choice. Next year we will celebrate our fiftieth wedding anniversary.

The idea that Volvo “love” is hereditary can be attested to by the fact that our two sons Karl and John have their own 1800s, each in the process of restoration. Additionally, Karl and his family have an S70 sedan and a Volvo SUV. Sadly my daughter married “out of the faith” to a man of Toyota leanings. Still perhaps in time…..

We love featuring some of the great Volvo stories that come across our desk. We plan on doing this on a regular basis so if you have a project car, helpful tech tip or other cool Volvo related story, share it with us and we’ll likely feature you in a future customer spotlight.