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Performance Specialists Since 1963

Customer Feature - Thomas Williams

2013-04-23 - Thomas Williams

My story starts overseas. While stationed in England my parents ran into some car trouble and, being the people they are, began looking at vehicles wanting to find something useful, practical, efficient, safe and something that would be an investment. Enter a brand new white 1990 Volvo 240 DL wagon with a 5-speed, cruise control, all the little goodies and a rear flip up seat.

I always asked my dad why he didn't get the turbo, but that's another story. Since that time the wagon traveled back to the states and through about half the US, eventually making its final home in Texas. The car did everything from bring my younger brother home from the hospital after he was born to moving and hauling to road trips and college, and eventually it went from being my dad's daily driver and became my daily driver.

It forded creeks, went through ice and snow, and had been down plenty of dirt and mud roads. It saw it's share of work and fun; lots of work and lots of fun. And that 5-speed sure was fun. I taught my wife how to drive a manual in it and even planned to someday use it as my family car, after some necessary attention to the handling and oomph departments. The wagon would never quit mechanically. No matter what it was, it just kept running. I remember exactly where it rolled over 100,000 miles. A couple mufflers fell off along the way, and the heater core went out along with the trip counter and odometer (all of which were fixed), but it just kept on running strong. 

However, in the Spring of 2011, that 1990 240 wagon that had served my family so well would finally be retired but only after it did what it was designed to do best. I was going through an intersection when another car was speeding well beyond the posted limit and t-boned me. The wagon took the hit in the passenger side, crushing it. After spinning almost a full 360 degrees I gained my bearings and got out of the car with nothing more than a couple marks on my right hand. The old wagon made the sacrifice and finally stopped exactly when it counted.

Now, I miss that wagon a lot, but before the tears start flowing and we all get emotional, while my brother and I were in college my parents bought a 1991 240 sedan and guess what is now my daily driver. You guessed it. The sedan has its quirks and things that I'll address someday when the budget allows. It needs some help in the suspension and oomph departments, too. But, one of these days I will get another wagon and until then I will remember just how blessed I am. 

Community Comments

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 11:50 AM - "RZ"
I own the same type Volvo - 1990 240DL wagon. Through a previous Volvo, two BMWs and a smattering of others I now believe the Volvo 240 DL series was one of the most durable and dependable automobiles manufactured in our time.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 12:17 PM - "LK"
Great story, Thomas. I too have a 1987 Volvo 240DL wagon. It is just 400 miles short of 500,000 miles. It needs some cosmetic work and some power boosting. I am looking forward to the next 500, 000 miles! Leon Koller
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 1:03 PM - "A"
Enjoyed reading your story, Thomas. My story is similar to yours, except I bought my '86 wagon from the original owner, who purchased it new in Germany while an employee of the US embassy. It was also outfitted with a manual, and had a complete set of gauges where most have radios. I loved that car, and lavished it with all kinds of suspension and performance upgrades (thanks, IPD), and after exorcising all the gremlins, expected it would be my last car. Alas, it was taken from me, too, at 200k, after sustaining a hit in the backside while stopped, by a guy in a pickup doing at least 30 mph. You shoulda' seen the guy's car in front of me, after the chain- reaction--squashed like a soda can! The pickup behind me didn't fare too well, either. My son was in the back seat, unharmed, and I was still able to drive away; Even continued to drive it for another month or so, until the inevitable eerie sounds began to emanate from the drivetrain. What a car, and I still miss it, even after 3 years of enjoying my "consolation prize"--a '97 850R--wagon, of course! Heino Kemnitz, Sacramento, Ca
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 4:04 PM - "PW"
I was both pleased and surprised to see this story. Mom and I are both glad we invested in that wagon. It's safety record was one of the biggest reasons we got it. As for as the turbo goes, we didn't plan on driving fast. But we really didn't need it with the 5-Speed! It always amazed me with its performance. Thanks Thomas! Mom and Dad
Thursday, April 25, 2013 5:56 AM - "DA"
Great story! We had a 2005 XC70 that we bought after our family car blew its motor. We loved that car... and like your wagon, ours made the ultimate sacrifice when a minivan crashed into the back of our Volvo at 30 mph. That car's safety features saved my wife from serious injury. We are now the proud owners of a 2008 XC70. We hope to pass this one down to our daughter when she learns how to drive.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 6:44 PM - "PD"
Heartwarming. My life was saved twice by the same 240 wagon. A 5 speed manual that towed a camper, moved kids, went camping, and everything else. One day I was t-boned by a pickup truck going 40 to 50 mph. It pushed me sideways 180 feet. I was totally unhurt, the door was shredded, but the solid tube-beams inside were not even bent. The doors still opened and closed normally. The car was repaired under insurance and the policeman on sight said the car should have folded. Many years later i was rear ended by a Connecticut State Patrol Crown Victoria going 55 mph. The Crown Vic was put on a flatbed, radiator ruptured, front end caved. The 240 wagon had it's frame buckled as it should, and I again had zero injuries, however the rear hatch, and all 4 doors worked, the car drove normally and the rear tail lights still worked with unfractured lenses. Because the frame was crushed, I had to replace the car, but I drove it for 2 months while I searched for and found a 2002 V70. That car is now driven by my daughter, she loves it, it has 160,000 miles and looks like new! Paul Duesler
Thursday, August 29, 2013 3:47 PM - "DE"
I have a 1983 240 Turbo wagon, his name is Bobby. California Redwood is his color. I located him in the Longs drugstore parking lot were I parked my yes 1983 GL wagon, the owner told me they wanted to sell Bobby for a mere $1500 in 2006 I could not resist. Now with matching wagons along with color, we are the proud owners of two! They both have 300k miles and still run like a chariot, thank God my husband is a mechanic!, Bobby has been throughout the west from Los Alamos to Livermore Ca and will continue drive along the asphalt of the state...Man do I love my car!
Thursday, January 30, 2014 8:01 AM - "DA"
I have a 1993 240 Sedan bought from original owner, she's just a baby with 185000 miles on her, I have owned over 28 vehicles in my life time. and I must say, if this car gets hit I don't know what I would do I don't want any other car. How did Volvo make such a simple car so rewarding and enjoyable.

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