Hipster | My Black Brick

My Black Brick

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

Uncool to Whom?


In a listicle entitled “So Uncool They’re Now Cool: Top 5 cars for Hipsters”, the online publication Digital Trends makes the amazing discovery that people who have no money enjoy the Volvo 240 because it lasts a long time:

Delightfully for hipsters, the Volvo 240 has also proven not only to be safe and fuel-efficient but also one of the most reliable cars ever built. Meaning, as it degrades on the inside and out, it can remain in tip-top running condition without any major financial investment. After all, a true hipster hasn’t any money anyhow.

Ugh. Should I now stroke my beard and feel smug?

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Typecasting the Beater Brick


A beat up Volvo 240 seems to be the vehicle-of-choice when a film script calls for low-income, shabby-chic characters to have a car that could feasibly drive long distances. Witness the new film “Away We Go“, pictured above. How will they get where they go? In a blue brick, of course.


The movie “follows the journey of an expectant couple as they travel the U.S. in search of the perfect place to put down roots and raise their family.”

Raise a family? I highly recommend they upgrade to a wagon.

Who has the responsibility for casting cars in movies like this? Is it the set designer? Cinemetographer? Casting director?

It’s obvious that the vehicle in this movie has an important role transporting the couple around the US and the film makers decided that for this journey, they needed a beat up 240. It’s an older car that has a quirky, hipster feel. Unlike other manufacturers, Volvo made so few stylistic changes over the years of production that it’s hard to place the model year. The sedan looks so generic that it becomes almost invisible. It doesn’t have the retro look that a 1980s Ford Taurus would; with a few rusted panels it just looks like “old car”.

When Rachel McAdams’s character, Amy, slides into the driveway for the holidays in the movie “The Family Stone” she’s also piloting a rusty 240. If we read between the lines in the photo we surmise that it was handed down to her when the parents bought their new V70. In the video below, Amy pulls up at :20.

Amy is the “NPR supporting” black sheep of the family. We immediately know she’s low income from the car she drives. She works as a school teacher and obviously rejects the material rewards the other members of the family have gained from their achievements, as evidenced by the palatial home and slick cars in the driveway. We don’t see the car again, but it plays an important role in introducing her character at the beginning of the movie.

But who are we kidding? In the real world, every one of these people would actually be driving a 1991 Honda Accord.

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