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Customer Feature - Angie Longacre

2016-05-12 - Angie Longacre - ipd customer

Breaking Up and Reuniting with My Volvo 244

In 2005 my 1993 Acura Integra blew a u-joint on a windy mountain pass in WA State. I could have died, but an angel was on my shoulder that evening. Feeling lucky to be alive, but not wanting to tempt fate, I decided perhaps it was time to look for something a little safer. I always did like the look of the 240s, but Volvos weren’t really on my radar.

I needed wheels and I needed them fast. My budget was in the $1500 range. I wouldn’t be getting a Mercedes and I didn’t have time to be picky. My only deal-breaker: it had to be manual transmission. Pursuing the print-version of Auto Trader (this was before Craigslist became the go-to for private auto sales), I came across a 1989 maroon 244 DL. Five-speed. I made the call, grabbed a male friend, and set out to test-drive the foreign specimen. At this point in my life I had never owned anything larger or heavier than that Integra. I liked my cars fast and sporty. The antithesis of a 240. But once I sat behind the wheel of that 244, it was all over. I remember my friend being perturbed because I didn’t haggle, didn’t try to get the guy down on price. Just said, “I’ll take it.”

It wasn’t just any 244. The paint was nearly pristine, it had rare black interior (tan makes my eye balls itch), new black pleather lined the interior roof, new black carpeting covered the floor, additional gauges rocked the dash, and the doors and seats were immaculate. This car has been cared-for and upgraded. Sway bars, cold air in-take, rims from a 260, and it handled sweetly. I remember the guy saying, “You can really drive this car.” It was nice. And my plan was to keep it that way.

Fast-forward six years and the heater core went out. I thought, you know, maybe it’s time to get a newer car. Stop futzing with my old girl and get a car with front-wheel drive. Live in the land of new(er) car people. After much deliberation I decided to let her go. I sold her to guy I knew would take care of her and not part her out.

Well, a year into my cheap Saturn Ion3 I was aching for a Volvo. I loved them. I was bitten, I was turned...just like a vampire. No going back to the land of the living new-car people. Never again could I stand to see the sun rise over a 2000-and-something vehicle.

So, I finished paying off the loan to a family member for the Saturn and began trolling Craigslist and Volvo forums looking for another 240. But every Volvo I came across looked every bit its 20+ years. I was beginning to realize what I had in my “Cracklin’ Rose.” She was a gem, an affordable unicorn amongst 240s. Anything I saw that came remotely close to her was way out of my meager price range. What to do?

Well, I called the guy I sold her to and asked him if he’d keep a look out for a nice 240 for me. I knew he was a Volvo enthusiast and had connections in the Volvo arena. I jokingly told him that if he ever wanted to sell my girl, let me know. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what his wife asked him to do. She wanted one less Volvo in the driveway and that was the one to go. Hot damn.

It took him another 2-3 months to finish some mechanical work on it and then it was mine. So, less than two years later I had my old girl back and she’s here to stay. She’s showing 323,XXX on the odometer but that stopped working about a year ago, so more like 340,000-ish. I haven’t had the time yet (with a move, job layoff/hunting, surgery, other repairs, etc) to replace the gear that I think is broken. A new clutch is going in today and I would love to give her a fresh paint job in the next year or so, though even from a slight distance she still looks pretty.

Since I’ve had her back she’s gotten a new rack and pinion, drive-shaft, catalytic converter, and full front and rear-end workup. The only thing I can’t figure out is a leak in the trunk. All my seals are good, the taillights aren’t leaking, can’t figure it out. But I’m glad to have Cracklin’ Rose back – to stay.