Other People's 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.
DIY Interior & Sound
During Thanksgiving I had a chance to go to the local pick-n-pull near my parents house. There were three 200 series in there, as well as a turbo 940 and turbo 740, both turbos about 1994. There was a manual tranny in one of the 240s, but I don’t have the scratch to buy it. Instead I pulled the tan seat covers off of one, then took out the bottom passenger cushion. They charged me for the whole seat, but I didn’t need it. I’m gonna swap it into the driver side with a new set of springs. Above is my current seat, below is the “fresh” vinyl and slip cover.
BONUS: I drew a picture of a towering pile of cars and posted to my Flickr page.
Don’t have enough room in the trunk of your crusty Impala? Time for a slick conversion. American ingenuity at its finest.
Cash for Clunkers
The government released a listing of all cars traded in for the Cash for Clunkers program. I had admonished the Big Money for claiming the 240 was a Clunker. Turns out they were almost correct. According to Cars.gov, one particular model of one particular year has been deemed to have a fuel economy rating of 18 mpg. Huh? I’ve got to investigate…
I thought the idea of giving vouchers to people for turning in their used cars had died. Looks like it’s back for the attack.
It’s been four months since the guys at Jalopnik rescued this ’75 242 and started a V8 conversion similar to their Black Metal V8olvo. The plan was to “make a super-sleeper drag car out of it.” How’s that working out for you guys?
Is this even a debatable question? Jalopnik asks, and then answers its own question of what’s the best, cheap car to ride across the country this summer:
Though we’ll always answer Volvo 240 wagon when it comes to reliability, a working wagon with A/C is getting somewhat harder to find.
This makes me feel a little better about all the money I dumped into my AC last year. My brick is now a rare find.
But ultimately Jalopnik decides the brick just doesn’t make the grade and instead choose the Subaru Forester. Be sure to add your answers.
Congress’s stimulus package included a proposal to pay drivers to junk their old cars in return for cash to buy a new car. Luckily, it just died this week.
The “Cash for Clunkers” program would have given up to $10,000 to people of cars older than 10 years as long as they used it to buy a new American car. The idea was that it would pull allegedly polluting deathtraps off the road and jump start Detroit. But it was such a dumb, misguided idea that we can rejoice in its defeat.
I’d been putting together some links to make a mega-post about the subject, but it’s moot now. So here’s a link dump.
• Freakonomics points out what should be obvious; people who drive older cars aren’t the kind of people who are in the market for a new car. They buy used!
• The Truth About Cars takes a look at the potential for fraud. If you were in the market for a new car, wouldn’t you try to find the cheapest POS on CraigsList and get it to limp into the federal garage for your incentive check?
• SEMA opposed the program because it would do more harm than good. How many crap cars are really out there anyway, and do we really need to scrap them when they could have perfectly good parts that could be picked and pulled?
• Hot Rod Magazine follows a similar logic and opposes the scrapping of cars that could be candidates for restoration and repair.
• Wired points out that if you want to do something about global warming, buy a used car. “…it takes 113 million BTUs of energy to make a Toyota Prius. Because there are about 113,000 BTUs of energy in a gallon of gasoline, the Prius has consumed the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gasoline before it reaches the showroom. Think of it as a carbon debt — one you won’t pay off until the Prius has turned over 46,000 miles or so.”
Here’s hoping “Cash for Clunkers” doesn’t raise its ugly head again in the near future.
Other People's Bricks
An ’83 Volvo wagon on Craigslist is on the verge of being dumped for scrap. The description is pretty funny:
…though it always starts right up, if it has been running and you turn it off and restart it, 9 times out of 10 you’ll have to keep your foot on the gas or it’ll conk out… but once you get it going again it wont stall and leave you stranded or anything like that. oh, you must let it warm up for at least 2 to 5 minutes or it has no power and it will leave you stuck putting through an intersection at 2-5 miles per hour with on coming traffic and it can be a little unnerving…
and lastly, it is a little loud. not illegal loud, as i haven’t been pulled yet and i have pulled up along side cops and got stopped and waived on at check point once, but people look for sure when i’m coming down the road and if you embarrass easy, this is not the car for you. i have been told the noise stems from a leak where the exhaust pipe meets the engine, and that the knocking is this hole and not anything more serious. i think the muffler is also shot, but from the inside out (if that is possible?) because it appears to have no holes… though i did slap some goo on some holes i found in the pipe and the very end of it, the tail that exits the exhaust out after the muffler is rusted off and so the noise resonates against the underside of the car.
It’s a shame, because it’s a turbo… but the turbo doesn’t work, and neither does the overdrive.