Ford | My Black Brick

My Black Brick

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

Letterman’s Volvo 960 with Ford V8

Jerry Seinfeld takes David Letterman’s Paul Newman Volvo 960 for a drive on his show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Seinfeld tears up a supermarket parking lot, spraying soccer balls and popcorn across the asphalt.

In 1997 Newman commissioned Converse Engineering to shove a Ford 5.0 engine into a brand new Volvo 960 wagon. He then called Letterman and asked if he wanted one.

“Dave, I’m thinking of getting me a Volvo station wagon, and I’m gonna stuff a Ford 302 V8 engine into it. Do you want one?”

Letterman said yes, then Newman called back 2 weeks later:

“Dave, the cars are ready. We got two, on for me, one for you. I’ve got to ask you a question. Do you want a puffer?”

I’m thinking, well, is that like a special inflatable seat? And I said, “Well Paul, are you getting a puffer on yours?”

And Paul says, “Yeah, yeah, I’m getting a puffer on mine. It’s a supercharger. This thing will turn about 400 horsepower, so if you pop the clutch you’re gonna tear up the rear end. I tell ya, from 20 to a hundred you can chew anybody’s ass.”

Letterman seems to regard the car as more of a burden than a pleasure. Throughout the video he complains about it breaking down. He’d prefer to drive his Nissan Leaf.


The Future Road for Volvo Cars


Pictured above is Swedish deputy Prime Minister Maud Olofsson at yesterdays announcement of the sale of Volvo cars to the Chinese company Geely.

“Regardless of who owns Volvo Cars, its brand will still be Swedish.”

Unlike some Volvophiles, I couldn’t care less who owns the company. People are going to start hooting and hollering about this sale now that the rumors have been confirmed, but does it really matter? The important question is “Does the car suck or not?”

Critics, including Consumer Reports, have complained that the quality of Volvo cars has suffered since Ford purchased it in 1999. Is quality really going to get a whole lot worse now that it’s owned by Geely? Or is that just a xenophobic reaction about the supposed inferiority of Chinese workmanship?

Who defines a corporation’s product anyway? The nation that owns the company? The nation that originated the company? The nation where the cars are built? The nation where the cars are driven? Why is a Toyota that’s built in the US still a Japanese car, while a Volvo or Saab that’s owned by an American or Chinese company is still a Swedish car?

The idea of a nationally branded car is quaint. When Ford bought Volvo the brand ceased to “be Swedish,” whatever that means. It became just another commodity in a global marketplace that gets parts contracted out to companies all over the world but has the imprimatur of a corporate board and an aura constructed by the branding wizards of the marketing department.


Your Dream Car, circa 1949

The grandiosity of the narration in this video is hilarious. It’s a 10 minute film documenting the design and testing of 1949 Fords. It’s no ordinary car. It’s “Designed From the Inside Out”:

Here is the idea, a motorcar, conceived as a space for the riders, space that is to be enclosed and powered…

Yup, that’s a motorcar alright.

I love how @6:30 the cars get handed to the marketing guys and angels in heaven sing their approval.


A New 1993 Taurus for $650

From the Onion: Ford Unveils New Car For Cash-Strapped Buyers: The 1993 Taurus

I like how it comes pre-loaded with Primus “Sailing the Seas of Cheese


Back from California

We got back yesterday from a long trip to California. It was nice driving around in a new rental car. We drove up to the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park in our Hertz Mustang convertible. Having the top down was amazing, as the roads wound wind around the mountain, with beautiful views and giant, 3000 year old trees towering overhead. The Ford had a V6, which wasn’t too bad, considering the roads were so twisty that you couldn’t really open up the throttle anyway. But it was low and firm, which was great for the tight turns and switchbacks.


Ford to Sell Volvo? (Part 3)

From TTAC today:

Either Ford gets a signature from a willing buyer or Volvo will be terminated… Ford is reported to be asking between $3b to $4b for Volvo, much less than the $6.4b they paid.

And the potential suitors? China’s Chery. China’s Changan. China’s Dongfeng.

This is a far cry from the Swedish nationalization rumors that were flying around late last year. Whatever happens it looks like it’ll go down this month.


Ford to Sell Volvo? (Part Two)

ford_broken.jpgNews this morning has Ford reviewing the sale of Volvo. The market reaction? Ford shares surge 12%! Then Ford shares drop 23%!

After an embarrassing showing of the big 3 in Congress a couple weeks ago, I guess this is part of Ford’s new plan to profitability.

Jalopnik asks the pertinent question: Who should buy Volvo?


Ford to Sell Volvo? (Part One)

From the AP, October 27th:

Ford Motor Co. may be joining the ranks of U.S. automakers seeking to shed operations, as a newspaper reported Sunday the industry bellwether is weighing a sale of the slow-selling Volvo brand to BMW AG.

Somehow I don’t see Volvo going to BMW. But I wonder if Ford will sell Volvo.

From Jalopnik:

It’s probably a bad thing to fly a private jet from Detroit to Washington, DC when you’re going to ask Congress to provide you a multi-billion dollar loan to bail you out of a financial crisis. That fact hasn’t stopped Ford’s Alan Mulally, along with the heads of the other automakers, who not only flew to D.C. in the Ford private jet but are, apparently, unwilling to fully cut themselves from the corporate crack that is their private air forces.