My Black Brick - Part 2

My Black Brick

Keeping a '92 Volvo 240 Wagon on the Road & Other Automotive & DIY Musings

Mustang Brick

It’s the 50th anniversary of the debut of the Ford Mustang so it’s the perfect day for a Volvo post, right? How could I possibly relate the sporty American icon to Swedish iron? Well, look at the picture above. Does that roof line look familiar?

Ford didn’t manufacture a Mustang station wagon so MJC Classic Cars made one by fusing a 1966 mustang body with a roof and hatch from a Volvo 240DL. Hitch it all up to a 518 cubic inch mill and getting your Söderhamn sofa home from Ikea will happen in about 11.3 seconds.


April Foolish


It looks like the April Fool is thinking that it’s April when we’re actually still stuck in February.

I didn’t understand this tweet when I woke up this morning:

But then I walked outside and saw people scraping snow off their cars. Huh? My brick had a glaze of ice across the windshield from a brief snow shower last night. And to think, I was walking around in a t-shirt on Sunday.

Speaking of t-shirts, I posted a t-shirt design the other day that wound up being pulled by Zazzle. It seems that using the word “Volvo” in the title of the product triggered their intellectual property alarm and they removed the shirt from their site. I apologize for any confusion. I’ve posted the shirt again under the name “Turtle Engine” and Zazzle has approved it for sale. You can purchase from the link below and it’s available on many different shirt styles and colors for men, women and kids.

Turtle Engine Tee Shirt
Turtle Engine Tee Shirt by strippednuts
Create a unique custom t-shirt design online at Zazzle.

Now Posting on FCP Euro

redblock-tortoise-300wI’m excited to announce that I’ll be posting how-tos and Volvo musings on the FCP Euro blog. I’ve been buying parts from FCP since I bought my brick in 2006 and am grateful for the chance to share bits of automotive wisdom and misinformation! I plan to post there once a week and will be creating illustrations and diagrams to accompany the text.

For my first post I wrote a general overview of Volvo redblocks and their reputation for slow reliability, “The Volvo Redblock: Aging Tortoise of the Automotive World“. For the illustration I rendered the B230 engine block as a steady, reliable tortoise.


Ghost Dad

I saw this sticker family on the back window of a Mitsubishi Eclipse and thought it was a weird indication of an absentee dad. Don’t know if it’s intended or not, but it’s spooky and sad.


Volvo Concept Estate


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.


Margot at the Wedding

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.


Everyday Courage: Oil Change

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?


Plasti Dip Your Brick

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.


Frosty & Frozen

We had a little bit of snow last week in Jersey City. Luckily it wasn’t nearly as bad as 2010 or 2011. I guess we’ll see what January brings.


Scrapped Bricks

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.