My Volvo chronology is:
1 1958 444 (Hey I had to start somewhere. It was a really ugly color of red, but that didn't stop me from purchasing a custom walnut shift knob with the Volvo emblem in it. I purchased it August 1967 and I think I only had it about 6 months before my dad spotted my next Volvo on a used car lot).
2 1959 544 (My first love that saw me through college. We prototyped our first rear swaybar for the 544 on this car, which made me very happy at the autocrosses. It had the B16 engine, with only 3 main bearings so I tried not to wind it out past 5500 rpm. I was impressed by the roller "shade" that was in front of the radiator, so when it was cold you could just pull the chain and raise the "shade" to block cold air from passing through the radiator. (Those Swedes just thought of everything)! At the end I was running recapped race tires (bias ply) that made the car "hunt" terribly - but for 1971 it stuck really great).
1972 I lost my way for a brief period and bought myself a brand new Toyota Celica. I thought it was kind of sexy looking, and with a little modification it could look even cooler. Of course it was outfitted with as much IPD stuff as I could apply. I enjoyed a couple of years of autocrossing and did one summer of Conference racing with it in the NW. Then I regained my senses.
3 1978 245 (my first company vehicle. We eventually turbocharged it and it started performing more in relation to its sporty looks. We had a outside salesman at the time who had a '77 wagon, and his always seemed to be a little quicker than mine. Finally when the miles got to where the timing belt was due to be replaced, we found that the belt had been off one tooth! Once the cam was properly timed, the bottom end acceleration was noticeably improved. It was written up in Sports Car Graphic Oct/Nov 1980).
4 1983 245GLT (This car I LIKED! I have such a fondness for blue 4 1983 245GLT (This car I LIKED! I have such a fondness for blue that adding the blue paint below the beltline just seemed to work well. We had water injection and an aftermarket intercooler on the S Wagon. It seemed like a pretty hot setup, but compared to today's technology, it was pretty mild. It's funny how the tire and wheel package seemed pretty hot then, 15"x7" 3-piece wheels with 225/50-15 tires. Today they would have to be at least 17" wheels. This one was written up in the March 1984 issue of Car and Driver. Their official 0-60 time was 8 seconds. (I found out, by riding along, that when doing topspeed testing - passing on the right shoulder is OK)).
5 1985 740T (Definitely my very favorite project car. There's just something about a aqua Volvo. Even though we lowered the car our usual 1"+, with the Bilstein shocks it still rode quite comfortably. It showed that the time the Volvo engineers spent on the new 700 series suspension was worth it. We spent more time and effort on this project than any other up to that point. The aero kit was one we imported from Europe, but the rear diffuser was all custom fabricated and turned heads. Road & Track wrote about it in their May 1986 issue).
6 1981 242GLT (The original idea for this car was to tide me over until our next new Volvo. I think this was the only Volvo I've had that wasn't lowered. I put our overload coils on it the first summer I had it for pulling our tent trailer, and then left them on the rest of the 9 years I drove it. I was pleased the overload coils rode as well as they did. Another reliable Volvo that just provided consistently good transportation).
7 1994 940T (It wasn't blue but I thought Volvo did a good job with the teal paint. We affectionately called this the "pickle". I liked the understated look with the matching wheel color).
8 1999 S40 (I liked the compact size of the S40 but I just couldn't get used to the sound of it. It didn't have that solid Volvo sound, either closing the doors or the engine noise. This was my first front wheel drive car. I'm happy Volvo used it for a springboard to the new body style S40).
9 2003 XC90 (This never felt like any Volvo I've ever driven and I didn't like it until we put our swaybars on it. Once we tweaked the suspension it became one of my favorite crusing Volvos. Trips to the mountains, or down to the beach were just great. I didn't like the mileage (averaged 18.8 mpg over the two plus years I drove it) but it had offsetting attributes to make up for it. It was written up in the Robb Report April 2005 and Road & Track's Speed May/Jun 2005).
10 This is the whole in current state. Compare young daughter in photo 6.
Not only have Volvos changed but the people driving them too.