Volvo released video and images of their Estate concept car, a two-door wagon inspired by the 1800 of old. So I suppose the Volvo wagon isn’t dead after all? We’ll see if it makes it to production.
Jack Black driving a Volvo 245 seems like a pretty good match, at least in the movie “Margot at the Wedding” They’re both low rent, worn-out beaters just trying to get by. The red brick in this movie should get a supporting actor credit because it plays a minor role in the action of the film.
Midway through the movie the characters are driving from a pool party when Jack complains that the brakes aren’t working right (sounds like me back in November). Later in the film Nicole Kidman’s character is driving the car with her sister and son when the brakes give out again. This time she’s unable to get them to engage and drives off into a ditch, causing Jennifer Jason Leigh to soil her panties. Ugh.
Here’s an interpretation of the scene I found on YouTube. Someone edited the original film footage with their own video of high-heeled feet stabbing at the brake pedal. Audio may be NSFW.
I thought Margot at the Wedding was a great movie but, since it delved so deeply in the pathos of these fairly unlikable characters, it’s probably not for everyone.
This Trip and Tyler video is about the inevitable list of crap mechanics find wrong with your car when you bring it in for a simple oil change. Just say… no?
During Thanksgiving I jumped on the Plasti Dip bandwagon and blacked out most of the chrome trim on the brick. I took these photos yesterday so it looks like it’s holding up really well. I wasn’t about to use fluorescent green; I just wanted to keep it simple and sleek with black. I think blacking out the tops of the headlight bezels gives the lights a much better look, slimming them down so they appear more contemporary.
I only dipped the chrome on the front trim but for the back I painted the entire piece of trim, chrome and rubber. This looked much better, as there is consistency across the entire piece of trim and there are no seams from the masking tape. Overall I’m really happy with the look.
I’ve been making a semi annual trek to a wrecking yard pick-n-pull near Quantico Virginia ever since I got my car, with occasional success. This year, however, there was limited rewards for my travels. Actually, there were no rewards. For the first time there were no 200 series Volvos to be found in the European division of their automotive graveyard. There were a couple S70s and one 940, but everything else was of German origin: Mercedes, BMW, Audi and VW.
So I was amused to see this post on Auto Week describing the large numbers of 240s limping through San Fransisco junk yards. I suppose there were just more of these cars purchased in the Bay area than around the DC Beltway. Or perhaps they just lasted longer out in California. Either way, I wish I could have been picking parts out of all those California bricks during Thanksgiving instead of standing in the mud in Virginia looking at an empty, rusted landscape.
BONUS: Here’s a picture I drew while visiting the scrap yard a few years back.
Back in the summer of 2011 I changed the bearing on my left, front wheel and made a note to myself that the process was easy, but messy. I figured I’d get around to the right bearing soon afterward. Well, I finally got around to doing the right wheel two years later.
The process is pretty straight forward. You can see a good step-by-step on the Brickboard so I’m not going to bother documenting it here. I will say this, however: be careful not to get any of that bearing grease on your brake pads and/or rotor. I thought I had done the job well but apparently I got a little glob onto the rotor. Once I got the wheel back on and started driving I noticed inconsistent braking and long stopping distances. I swapped in new pads and cleaned the rotor and that fixed the problem.
Everything is nice and tight now and I’m rolling smoothly. Maybe now I’ll finally get around to putting on my front shocks since it’s been over a year since I installed the rears!
A reader in Nashville wrote an epic post about the Volvo 240 and the role it’s had in his life. Here’s a choice quote:
What exactly does the Volvo 240 project, though? Does it mean I had middle class, safety conscious parents with liberal arts degrees? That I’m a vegan with a beard and tattoos and live in Brooklyn? Maybe it just means I’m a cheap bastard and like old, slow, heavy tank-like bricks that are built to last?
I suppose I’m lucky to have never had to deal with the mess that is current automotive dashboard design. While the 240s climate controls look like they fell out of a strip mall Radio Shack in 1982, at least you can use them by touch when your dash lights are blown. As touch screens take over the dashboard in many new cars, it seems there is rising frustration from drivers being forced to dive deep into menu structures just to adjust their heated seats.
Joe Sharkey in the NY Times relates his recent experience driving a rental Volvo XC60:
The electronic dashboard interface — the controls for everything other than actually making the car go — was baffling. As I drove, I tried to figure out unfathomable symbols and notices, from “Brian’s iPhone,” which for some reason flashed on the dashboard screen whenever I tried in vain to regulate the air-conditioner, to an elaborately designed radio that resisted my efforts to change the channel.
So the guy who passed me on the 105 tapping his horn and waving to signal that my rear windshield wiper remained on, even though it was a sunny day, should know that hip-hop music also was blasting inside my car in maddening synchronization with the wipers that I couldn’t turn off.
The Sad Sack pictured here is enjoying the latest innovation from Apple: a “Digital Dash” that tracks his head and eye movements as he navigates to the closest liquor store. It’s part of a patent application for a giant touch-screen dashboard powered by iOS 7. While the screen will have physical ridges and indentations, it will essentially absorb all physical knobs and switches into its virtual maw. Apple realizes that tactility is important, so they create a cyber solution for a problem they created in the first place.