Volvo For Life | My Black Brick

My Black Brick

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

Plasti Dip Your Brick


During Thanksgiving I jumped on the Plasti Dip bandwagon and blacked out most of the chrome trim on the brick. I took these photos yesterday so it looks like it’s holding up really well. I wasn’t about to use fluorescent green; I just wanted to keep it simple and sleek with black. I think blacking out the tops of the headlight bezels gives the lights a much better look, slimming them down so they appear more contemporary.

I only dipped the chrome on the front trim but for the back I painted the entire piece of trim, chrome and rubber. This looked much better, as there is consistency across the entire piece of trim and there are no seams from the masking tape. Overall I’m really happy with the look.

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Volvo on Fire in Michigan


This sweet white 240 caught fire this week in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A passerby alerted the driver that her car was on fire and she was able to get away safely.

Acting Ann Arbor fire Battalion Chief Derek Wiseley said the fire likely started in the engine compartment underneath the car.

“It appears to be mechanical,” he said.

Photo by Norman Tyler

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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.

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The Jinx of the Volvo 240? Not quite.

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.

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Fun Size




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.

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Savages Explode a Brick




Another Volvo 240 wagon sacrificed at the cinematic altar, this time in the movie “Savages” by Oliver Stone and starring Blake Lively. I made the above GIF from the movie trailer. Looks like it got blasted by a rocket launcher and went BOOM.

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Labor Day Car Wash


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.

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Can’t Kill It

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.

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Black Brick on Blocks

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.

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At least my nose is clean


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.

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