Once again CNN Money’s Alex Taylor III writes an odd article based on a ridiculous premise that goes nowhere. While we previously heard him pontificate about station wagons, this time Taylor III writes of what he calls the “Curse of the Volvo 240“.
After writing about how the 240 has achieved a cult-like status as the lovable loser of the auto world, he then documents the decline of the Swedish company after the model was discontinued. He gives a basic history lesson that includes the attempt to shape Volvo as a luxury brand, the buyout by Ford in 1999 and the current resting place within the stable of China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
Rather than examining how the 240 cemented the brand’s reputation for safety and reliability, creating a “halo effect” that helped lift the public’s perception of subsequent models, Taylor III writes of the “bad luck” the company endured as it moved away from boxy and homely to sleek and luxurious. He sees the decline in sales as the result of a “jinx”, rather than a series of poor decisions by management and an inability to provide consumers with cars that are affordable and smart.
By allowing branding focus groups to guide decision making, Volvo lost an opportunity to exploit the niche, devoted following their company had established. The resulting decline is sales wasn’t from some weird, supernatural phenomenon; it was from the experience of consumers and their ability to see that the magic was gone. Alex Taylor III has it exactly backwards.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would look like if a giant rooster humped a Volvo 245 you’re in luck. This weekend marks the release of “Fun Size”, a Halloween themed movie starring Victoria Justice and featuring a slick yellow brick as a goofy nerd’s inadvertent party vehicle. The hilarity meets its climax at the local drive in when the wagon is backed into a huge fowl. Oh the humanity!
The banana brick even made it to the movie poster. Click for the full image.
Living in the city there aren’t any opportunities to hand wash my car. I couldn’t even tell you where I’d be able to get to a water spigot. So I deal with the muck by going to overpriced, brushy car washes in Hoboken.
Luckily my daughters jumped at the chance to wash the brick while we were visiting my parents. I applied a little Scratch X to the hood to smooth out the paint before waxing. Claire managed to wash all the window glass, which is no small feat with a car that looks like a rolling greenhouse. Now we’re slick and Rain-Xed.
A brick lover has to be careful when searching YouTube with the term “Volvo 240″. It seems like half the videos involve groups of teenage boys hooning their car into the ground… or off the ground, flying through the air to the music of Rammstein.
The rollover at 5:35 is pretty bad ass. None of the glass broke. Keep watching to see in slo-mo.
I’m in the middle of launching a new blog about drawing and won’t be posting much on this site right now. My car is running great and luckily the only issues I have is with the pigeons in the neighborhood sitting on telephone wires above my car. I’m planning an interactive toy based on my car called “The Black Brick Experience” and hope to launch in the fall.
I post t-shirts as “Stripped Nuts” on Zazzle. I’m always drawing and post my images, like the truck above, on Flickr and I recently updated my portfolio at jayboucher.com.
The weather was pleasant this weekend for checking out my oily crank. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to enjoy a leisurely cruise down the boulevard because of the mega oil leak.
I await a call from DB Volvo on my minor catastrophe. I drove the brick cautiously along the inner loop of the beltway from Braddock Rd. to Route 66 and Don Beyer Volvo, belching plumes of smoke whenever I went over 40 MPH or 2000 RPM. After a short wait I was told none of the mechanics who worked Saturday would be able to service and I’d need to wait till Monday. I was fortunate enough to get a ride from my mother back up to NJ w/ the kids.
Here are shots of some of the work I did. I got plenty of “before” shots but was so beat at the end that I didn’t get a good pic of the new seals and timing belt. I did get one of the old and new covers though.
Here’s a view of how the seals looked when I took the pulleys off, then after I’d removed the seals and cleaned the front end. At least I’ve got a new tension roller.