Old Cars | My Black Brick

My Black Brick

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

State of the Art

pg21bWhile cruising Hudson County in my brick one of my buddies had a hard time figuring out how to open the window. I pointed out the power windows and he exclaimed, sarcastically, “Wow, this car is state of the art for the 80’s!”

“But this is a ’92.”



Corvette Z06 vs Volvo 240

Truth About Cars finds a space in his heart for older cars that new cars just don’t make.

An old car that is well kept through the years shows a level of loyalty and priority that is rare in this day and age. I always enjoy meeting these folks in my travels and should I pick up their car at a sale, I make sure they end up in a good home.


Studebaker Wagonaire


This almost-a-convertible-not-quite-an-El-Camino wagon was created by Studebaker on the Lark station wagon body. The retractable roof was built into the rear to allow tall cargo to be transported upright. From the ad above, I assume this meant your fishing poles, or your daughter, but I’m sure there were other ways to get them into a converntional wagon.

Any owner of a 240 with a sunroof can guess what problems arose from the Wagonaire’s retractable roof; it leaked like a sieve. Although Studebaker fixed this problem in later years, the model was doomed to a production run of 3 years and open air rear styling for wagons never caught on.


Studebaker Scotsman


I had never heard of the stereotype of Scotsmen being frugal and cheap until I saw this post on Sociological Images. It was well known enough in the 1950s, however, that Studebaker made a line of vehicles under the “Scotsman” name. This included the station wagon pictured above.

According to info on Wikipedia, the Scotsman was Studebaker’s attempt to position itself as the maker of inexpensive, bare-bones cars, in contrast to the Big Three automakers miles of chrome, fins and gimmicks. Base price for a 2 door was the patriotic $1776, but it could be had for less than that if the buyer opted for painted bumpers and wheels instead of chrome.

The interior had no carpeting, just rubber mats on top of steel. Gray vinyl seats and painted cardboard trim (!) were the only interior options and rear passengers were unable to open their windows. Accessories were limited, and dealers were instructed to steer buyers looking for frills to upgrade to the Champion line.

Studebaker managed to deliver a reported 30 MPG from the inline six, making it one of the most economical cars of its size. With 0-60 times of around 20 seconds, it was also one of the slowest.


Not Cash for Trash again!

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.


Roughing it in her BMW

220-usedThe NY Times, in another attempt to elicit sympathy for the poor people who drive used cars, profiles Ryan Moore of Los Angeles. She’s hunkering down in this tough economy by holding onto her current vehicle and riding out the recession.

The car she’s stuck with? A 2004 BMX X3 with 25,000 miles on it.

A few months ago, Ms. Moore worried that the cost of maintaining her 2004 BMW X3 would rise because the warranty had expired. She looked at trading it in and buying a new Infiniti EX35. But the money she was offered for the X3 was well below what she had hoped. So she held on to her BMW, which has 25,000 miles on it.

“Basically, my story is just one of excess versus caution,” Ms. Moore said. “I don’t need a new car. I’ve decided to wait out the storm, not get into any debt and hope I still have a job in a month.”

Am I to understand that the build quality of this Bavarian crossover is so poor that you wouldn’t want to own one out of warranty? That a woman who is currently employed and could afford a $30,000 car 4 years ago is now roughing it by keeping her car? I’m mystified that people think driving anything other than a new car is a form of sacrifice.