Road Trip | My Black Brick

My Black Brick

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

Farah Goes Bang


I think film schools across the country have taught students that if you’re going to make a movie about a road trip then you have to cast a Volvo 240 in the lead role. Once again we have an indie film featuring a group of liberal 20 year olds riding in a classic brick.

The film Farah Goes Bang is the story of a group of women who travel around America campaigning for John Kerry. Like all good Democrats they do so from the comfort of the classic Swedish wagon. Many great shots in the film trailer below.


Camping on the River


Another great photo from David White.

I put the rack over the back, which put most of the weight over the rear of the car. It wallowed a little on bumps, but nothing too bad. The sport springs and anti-sways stabilize the ride so the car doesn’t feel overloaded. And the Yokohamas were pretty quiet.


Top Heavy Camper

Went camping at Covered Bridge campsite in the Catskills this weekend and somehow my buddy David managed to shoot a pic of us tooling around the curvy roads along the river without wrecking his SUV.

I was luck enough to have a neighbor of my parents donate the roof bin they used to use on their 940. The Sears “Ex-Cargo” was the same model my parents used to have on top of our 1979 Olds Delta 88 when we made trips to the beaches of North Carolina. It’s nice and tall and practically doubles the cargo area, enabling me to actually see out the back window with all our equipment.


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.