Wagon | My Black Brick - Part 2

My Black Brick

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

Waiting for the Street Sweeper at PVS

I parked on the sidewalk to wait for a street sweeper that never came.


Buy a Volvo Wagon for Your Wife

Pity the poor 70’s Stepford wives. Their husbands run off in cute little MGBs while they’re stuck lugging the kids and groceries in gigantic Detroit wagons. Where’s Fresh Direct when we need it?


1966 Ford Magic Cruiser by Barris Kustoms

I was conflicted when I first saw this concept car from the 60’s. I love wagons, but why would they ruin the sweet slope of the Ford Galaxie fastback? On further examination, however, I was delighted to see that it’s actually a Fastback/Wagon Transformer, converting from a speedster to a grocery getter at the flick of a switch, complete with a third seat. Bad ass!

Barris Kustoms, maker of the original Batmobile, Munster coach and Green Hornet’s Black Beauty created this multi-personality beast for Ford as a concept car. I’m gonna guess that if this went into production it would have leaked like a cheap diaper.

Model Car Science has more Magic Cruiser photos from a 1966 auto show, as well as the creation of a custom scale model.

BONUS: Kargoyle!



These were drawings done while I was bored with something else. I was probably daydreaming about some exhaust repairs.

I have a few sets of drawings on flickr, but not many of the brick. Much more interested in nudes!


Kludge Wagon


I saw a Subaru Baja with a cap on the back yesterday and thought THAT was crazy. But this thing is sheer genius.

Via: There, I Fixed It


Volvo 240 Wagon Specs

Volvo Wagon Specs, 1990-1993:

  • 2.3 liter / 141 cui fuel-injected four cylinder
  • 114 hp, 136 f/p torque
  • EPA – 20 mpg city / 25 mpg highway
  • 0-60mph – 10.1 seconds
  • Wheelbase, in. – 104.3
  • Overall Length, in. – 190.7
  • Overall Width, in. – 67.7
  • Overall Height, in. – 57.5
  • Curb Weight, lbs. – 3051
  • Cargo Volume, cu. ft. – 76.0
  • Seating Capacity – 7
  • Front Head Room, in. – 37.9
  • Max. Front Leg Room, in. – 40.1

The Checker Motors Aerobus


It’s Checker Motors Appreciation Week over at Truth About Cars and they’ve triggered some bad flashbacks of Mr T and the Barbarian Brothers in 1993’s DC Cab. I didn’t realize Checker Motors made wagons, but I’m sure they worked great for cabs.

The 8-door Aerobus pictured above seems dropped in from another planet, however. Before there were Hummer H3 limos driving kids to their prom at the Jersey Shore, there was the Checker Motors Aerobus driving around vacation resorts and large airports. Unlike a limousine, the extended wheelbase Aerobus had forward facing bench seats, which is why it needed so many damn doors.

The Checker Aerobus Resource has some awesome pics of reader rides as well as a list of specs. Built from 1966 to 1974, this beast ran on a 200 hp 350ci V8. There were 6 door and 8 door versions built, with the 8 door having a 12 passenger capacity and a curb weight of 4905 lbs.

aerobus-stretchAs if the original wasn’t long enough, this dude dropped $150k to combine two aerobuses, constructing a 14 door behemoth.

aerobus-armyThe US Army used this one to transport officials on a base in the US Southwest. Roof bins have been added because I guess there wasn’t enough room?


Is the Volvo Wagon Dead?


According to a memo leaked to Jalopnik, the Volvo V70 will not be offered in North America after 2010. And while the V50 will still be available, its time may be numbered. That means the name “Volvo” may no longer be synonymous with “station wagon.”

I remember checking out the NY Auto show 4 or 5 years ago and being surprised that there was no V70 on display. I guess they had started the process of phasing it out back then. I was told that the XC70 was just like the V70, but, I’m sorry, it’s not. I don’t count the XC70 as a wagon, and Jalopnik agrees. However, Volvo execs feel that “the personality of the XC70 is a good fit for today’s lifestyles.” To which commenter chathamh responds:

If the current product lineup of most manufacturers was an accurate reflection of American lifestyles, most Americans would spend their free time fording creeks, hauling trailers, powering through snow drifts and traversing miles of unpaved mountain trails.

Today’s manufacturers, at least for cars in the US market, don’t understand that not everyone wants to have to choose between a vanilla mid-sized sedan and a blinged out monster truck. I’ve purchased 2 cars in my life, a 745t and my current 245. What brought me to Volvo wasn’t their “personality”. It was the fact that they made really nice station wagons, vehicles that had great carrying capacity, had a relatively low center of gravity and drove like cars. Europeans understand this. In my visits to Germany and France I’m always impressed that they had such beautiful, sleek wagons. They understand that you can increase carrying capacity without raising the vehicle sky-high, tacking on knobby tires and forcing the driver to sit upright. That’s why Volvo will still be making the V70 for the European market.

This news from Volvo goes hand-in-hand with what’s happened to Subaru’s once sexy Legacy wagon. They dropped it a few years ago in favor of the Outback, and then they converted the Outback into a bloated crossover SUV. Someone in my neighborhood just got one of these abominations and I shudder every time I walk by it. Doesn’t Subaru already litter our aesthetic landscape enough with the Tribeca? How is the Outback any different?

Jalopnik posted a heart-warming eulogy to the Volvo wagon, a historic look back at the rise and sudden fall of the iconic boxy brick. RIP.

PS. I hope to wake up tomorrow and find this was all a horrible nightmare. Or maybe I should just get a life, because I’m not in the market for a new car anyway, and I’ll probably drive my precious 245 into my grave!


Fun with Facebook: Honda Accord Edition


Honda is developing the Accord “Crosstour” pictured above, and decided to post some teaser images onto Facebook. Mistake. The page got mobbed by station wagon lovers, and others who are tired of rounded-rear “Cross” badged vehicles. Comments were scathing, and many posted images of what they wished it had been, like the 80’s wagon above, or what they thought it was trying to be, like the Pontiac Aztek.  It was enough to make Honda defend itself for not offering a real wagon:

It’s not the European wagon: We’ve seen a lot of comments about the desire for a wagon, but this is neither a wagon nor designed for wagon buyers. We think the Euro wagon is a cool vehicle, too, and we appreciate the feedback… but a version of that wasn’t our intention here. That’s another segment worthy of our consideration, but the Accord Crosstour, built on the larger, Accord platform, is meant to give you the best of two worlds – the versatility of an SUV with the sportiness of a car.

With a sloped rear like that, you’ll have a hard time calling it versatile. Can I fit all my families bikes in there without folding down the rear seat?

After the jump, a collection of choice words from FB users.



The New Outback

The Truth About Cars lays waste to the 2010 Outback, claiming it’s moved from being a cool off-road wagon into a cookie-cutter CUV. The last redesign was in 2005 and looked handsome and relatively sleek; not quite as sexy as the Legacy Wagon but still cool. Now it just looks chunky and clunky. Let’s hear what TTAC has to say:

Towering more than four inches higher than its predecessor, spanning two inches more across the beam, standing another awkward inch higher off its tires, the new Outback looksIS huge. The super-chunk roof rails are grossly exaggerated (until you discover the trick design that allows the crossbars to disconnect and swing 90 degrees to find residence integrated in the longitudinal rails). The rear quarter view screams “Venza!”—which is like shouting “movie” in a crowded firehouse. Curiously, there wasn’t a Tribeca on the showroom floor. Cannibalism avoidance? Either that or the former “flying vagina” was hidden by the swollen Outback.

The Outback’s ergonomics couldn’t be further from Audi’s if they were designed by Daewoo. Every button on the Outback’s dash now requires reading glasses, a precise finger, and a map. Twin Big Gulps and a swollen armrest bin take precedence over the handbrake, which has been demoted to a tiny button buried left of the steering column amidst a myriad of other tiny, illegible, and obstructed switches for stability control, external mirrors, trunk release, and a bunch of curious blanks. To compensate, the twin steering column stalks are chunkier. Thanks. So much.