240 | My Black Brick

My Black Brick

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

Volvo Redblock Tortoise T-Shirt Now Available

redblock-volvo-tortoiseAs part of my inaugural post on FCP Euro I created an illustration of the legendary Volvo B230 engine as an aged tortoise.

That image is now available on a range of T-shirts on my Zazzle store and will soon be joined by other gift items, like mugs and pillows. Buy one now!

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Watercolor Brick

florian-drawing
Here’s a cool drawing of the back end of a Volvo 240 wagon by Florian Afflerbach. I’ve posted drawings by Florian before and you can see many more of his car and architectural drawings on his Flickr site.

Did I mention I post many of my own drawings on Flickr? Well, I do.

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Mustang Brick

mustang-wagon
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.

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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.

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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.

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Volvo 240 Wagon Burns Out


Is that tire smoke… or burning oil?

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MythBusters Adam Savage and his 1978 Volvo 245


Wired online has a quick article by Adam Savage, co-host of Discovery Channels “MythBusters“, where he explains how owning a used Volvo 245 helped him develop an understanding of how to break down complex systems into workable steps. He states:

Every repair followed the same progression:
(1) I don’t know how
(2) I can’t afford to pay someone else to do it
(3) I have to do it
(4) hey, that wasn’t so hard!

This was pretty much how I fell into Volvo 240 repair. The most I’d worked on before was bicycles. I had a friend in high school who rebuilt a 1969 Dodge Charger and I remember being mystified by all the parts he had in his garage. How could they possibly be put back together correctly? I don’t know if I’d be able to do a complete rebuild, but I do know that projects that I had previously been mystified by I now am proud to say I’ve done. Some worked out better than others but at least when I stubbornly drive my smoking brick to the mechanic I know what it was that I screwed up.

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Seldon Cooper and His Million Mile Brick

In September of this year Volvo driver Seldon Cooper flipped his 240s odometer to 000000, driving over a million miles in 26 years. That translates to almost 40k miles a year between PA, MD, NJ and DC. Lehman Volvo of Mechanicsburg, MD held a celebration for the turnover and produced the charming video above.

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Waiting for the Street Sweeper at PVS

I parked on the sidewalk to wait for a street sweeper that never came.

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The Diesel Decision: A Short Story


Beardy McBrick was traveling to the annual hacky sack festival with his buds when he came upon the most dreaded of obstacles: a hill. He warned his friends it would be a long, hard slog in his diesel 245 and that they should just relax. “Bummer,” his buddy Phil said. “At least we have a good way to pass the time,” Phil chuckled as he handed around his packed chillum.

An hour later they’d past the half-way mark when something blue flashed in McBrick’s smog-coated side-view mirror. It was a car; a diesel in fact. But this was no ancient Benz or Volvo. It was a BMW, and it was coming up fast. “Maybe you should slow down and let him pass,” his girlfriend, Sunflower, suggested. And he did. They looked in awe as the strange rocket car passed by with nary a puff of smoke. Phil stared with mouth agape as the blue streak sped over the apex and out of sight. “Damn, McBrick!” he exclaimed, “you shoulda’ bought that car instead of taking this donation from your English professor.”

“Yeah…” McBrick thought, as he looked with dread at the climb ahead, “then these damn hills wouldn’t be such a drag.” The wagons’s exhaust belched a dark cloud and woke McBrick from his day-dream. “Hey Phil!” he shouted good-naturedly, “quit bogarting and share the love!” They all laughed. McBrick flipped his cassette of Shakedown Street and settled in for the rest of the hill.

- Inspired by “Changes”, an ad for diesel engined BMWs.

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