It’s no secret that I’m a Ford man, through and through. As I’ve previously mentioned, I trace it back to the overwhelming presence of Ford trucks in my formative years. I’ve been heartened by the latest news that Ford seems to be cautiously weathering the storm in various markets, even if they are apparently overly reliant upon the F-Series for sales in the NA markets.
I think I’ve been spending too much time with Jim of Old Dead Volvos‘ fame, because now I’m starting to think a Volvo 240 might make a great project car. Case in point, here’s a brace of old Volvo 240 coupes…
Just need that tranny swap.
This ‘83 Volvo 240 “flathood” coupe has me thinking all sorts of unsavory thoughts about Sweden’s lesser brand. Things I dig: it’s the coupe, it’s a turbo, its got late-model 940 wheels. Things I don’t dig: it’s an autotragic, it’s a little too “stanced out,” it’s in Texas.
Like a Swedish Werther’s Original.
No, maybe I need something a little bit more humble and down to earth, like this
butterscotch, er beige, 242 coupe (hey Jim, care to give us the rundown on the difference between the 240 and 242). I like it has a very no-nonsense almost schoolmaster “cut out that loud exhaust, cut springs, and stretched tires crap” way about it. The addition of the turbofan wheels from a diesel model also fit the car nicely. The only problem here is, again, the autotragic.
So while neither get my heart racing like a 900 SPG or a gently used Porsche 911, the 240 and its odd ball brethren are starting to grow on me in a worrying way.
This past weekend found Zack and myself at the 53rd annual Newport Motor Car Show (oddly enough in Portsmouth, RI). There will be plenty forthcoming with that, but first, a Miniature Monday: Matchbox’s newest Willys Jeep MB.
Every once in a while we like to invite another voice to the mix; here The People’s Wheels own sweetheart, Elle, writes about a recent trip to the Cape. See, we’re not all about motor oil and foul language here, we’ve got a sensitive side!
Growing up, the end of the Cape had this mythical quality. My grandparents’ had a house in Osterville, much closer to the bridge, and occasionally we’d convince my Pop-Pop to take us out to the beautiful beaches in Wellfleet. We’d load up his Jeep with beach toys, towels, sunblock and a picnic and wind our way out toward the waves that crashed on the shore, the kind of waves that as a little kid both scare and excite you. Aside from those days at the beach, I had never been to the very tip of Cape Cod. So when Zack and I found out that our dear friends Karen and Ben chose to get married in Provincetown, I couldn’t wait to finally experience the end of the Cape.
So while Tim was standing around drinking beer and getting in the way of an engine removal, I was under my car cursing and grunting as I struggled to change the spark plugs on the 3.0 flat-six under the hood of my Subaru. The really shameful thing about it (besides my general mechanical ineptitude) was that the job was such a pain in the ass that in the almost three and a half hour it took to accomplish the plug change, Jim fully pulled the motor and transmission from his Volvo 1800 Coupe. I swear last time I did a plug job it wasn’t nearly this hard or labor intensive.
Oh, sure it looks easy now…
‘Tis a thing of beauty, this Impala. Spotted in South Providence a while back, I couldn’t stop looking at this beautiful car.
You’re probably thinking I should seek help already. This is bordering on obsession. And I’m inclined to agree with you, but sometimes facts are facts and today is the 64th birthday of the very first Saab, the Ursaab, which would be known to the buying public as the Saab 92. Hooray Saab you’ve reached retirement age and can collect SSI benefits! Obviously, I couldn’t let such a day slip by uncelebrated, so here is the original in all its glory.
Designed and built almost completely as a side project by a team numbering no more than 16, project 92.001 as it was known internally, resulted in a ground breaking car for its time. Front wheel drive for extra traction during Sweden’s deep, dark and cold winters. Also befitting its aircraft origins, the Ursaab was very slippery, generating a drag figure of just 0.32 degrees. To engineers and pilots I’m sure that means something, all I know is its damned slippery.
Slippery both wet and dry.
Turbos were a long way off, so motive power was provided by DKW two-cylinder, two-stroke motor. Those smokey and clattering two-stroke motors would become a signature of the early models. Kurt Vonnegut, perhaps Saab’s most famous salesman, hilariously described how the two-stroke would smoke on a cold start thus laying ”down a smokescreen like a destroyer in a naval engagement.” Naval engagements aside, the Ursaab was and is pretty awesome and the orignal car is still functional to this day! So while later Saabs surely stretched credibility with the claim, the original, the Ursaab, certainly was born from jets.