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Performance Specialists Since 1963

Customer Feature - Brian

2010-12-24 - Brian

[#[!Customer Feature - There & Back Again!]

 I came upon my current vehicle via a rather circuitous route, not of my own choosing.

After 5 years of car payments, I proudly walked into my credit union on Friday, December 3rd, 2010 with the final installment for my 2004 Jeep Liberty. I was excited to finally be finished with paying the Jeep down, and the teller smiled as she stamped my title, removing the lien. The jeep had been a fun vehicle thus far. Little did I know that less than 26 hours later, my vehicular life would take a hard left-turn.

The next evening after my trip to the c.u., my band mate Tom and I were carpooling in the Liberty to a gig in Northern Ohio. The Jeep was packed with our gear, and I was merging onto I-94 East, accelerating to get up to speed. That’s when something terrible happened. The car lurched and the power dropped, and it slowed from 65mph to about 30. I looked at Tom and said, “This is not good! There’s no way we’re taking this car to Ohio!” I limped the Jeep off the freeway at the next exit, and blew numerous stop signs just to keep the vehicle running as we drove back to my house and transferred our instruments into Tom’s car. We made it to the gig, just 20 minutes behind schedule.

The following Monday, I had my local service station mechanics evaluate the situation. Both Ron & John seemed to agree there was something very wrong with the Jeep, and referred me to another mechanic a couple miles away. The Jeep was towed to the facility and 2 days later pronounced dead-- timing chain failure on the right side of the engine. The estimate to rebuild the engine was $2500-3000. I was in shock. The car had always been trouble-free and had been regularly maintained.

After a few weeks of shopping around looking for replacement engines to no avail, I opted to re-sell the Jeep to a grey market buyer. They actually offered me a fair price and the car was picked up on a flatbed and out of my life. But I was still in shock that a car with such vitality had just imploded at the blink of an eye.

Word got out among my friends that my horse had been shot out from under me. One afternoon I remembered that our friend Julia had offered up a Volvo a while back and I asked my wife if it was still around. It was the dead of winter, and I needed anything to get back and forth to gigs. After checking with Julia, we found that yes, the vehicle was still parked in her driveway, where it had been for the last 2 years, not driven.

Julia, having heard my plight, generously offered me the car. Just what it was I had yet to learn, but I knew she was much attached to it, and wanted it to find the right home. So on Sunday, January 2nd, 2011 I got my first glimpse. It was a 1988 Volvo 240 DL Sedan,gold exterior. According to Julia, it had spent most of its life in Florida, and eventually made it up to Michigan. It was stone cold that Sunday morning, but I was without wheels and determined to try and get it functioning. I popped the hood and attempted to charge the battery, but checking its date I knew it was long gone. After a trip to Sears, I exchanged the battery for a hot one, pulled the plugs, added a squirt of starting fluid into each cylinder, and fired the 240 up. It started right up, and after a few minutes of smoking, finally settled into a nice idle.

Julia very generously offered me the car- I could have it! But I thought that I should make some kind of deal, so we agreed on $100 cash and some taco dinners, to be redeemed in the future. I put the Jeep plate on the 240 and drove it home.

Since having it titled in my name, I have been upgrading various parts of the car, including the Mass Airflow Sensor, motor mounts, tires, tuneup, rear exhaust and most importantly a heater core flush, which took 2 tries to complete. The car is running better with every new mile and I’m really looking forward to further upgrades, including the suspension and an odometer, which gave it up at 88K.

No car payments have really been wonderful for the last 13 months. I spend what I can afford on the car, but none of the service has been too expensive to perform. This wonderful old 240 has taken me “There And Back Again” to and from many gigs in the last year. It fondly reminds me of bombing around at age 16 in my first driving experience, my Dad’s old 122 Wagon—but that’s another story altogether…

-Brian, Ann Arbor MI #]

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