Do I need an econobox?
Here is the situation. I now commute an hour and ten minutes a day each way to work. Surprisingly, the commute is not very burdensome. Iím driving the 1985 Volvo 240 GL with 230,000 miles and still runs like a new engine. The tranny is a 4-speed stick with an overdrive unit going to RWD. The engine is underpowered by todayís standards, being a small 2.3 litre engine that pulls a mid-sized Buick-like body. It has the aerodynamics of a refrigerator built by the Lego Corp and yet it gets 28 mpg on the highway doing 65 to 70 without the AC turned on. 22-23 in the city and 23-24 on the highway with the AC on.
The car is maybe worth $2000 blue book and it will cost me about $1000 a year in maintenance to keep it in top shape. Everything on it works. It still has the original clutch and u-joints. Show me another 20-year-old car, that has not been overhauled, that can say that and Iíll vote for Kerry.
I have done all of the major work on this car since it had 79,000 miles on it. I know the engine, tranny, brakes, electrical system, and body very well. I have a very deep knowledge base built up around this car and know where to find answers when I get stumped. The car has NEVER failed to start for me and it has never gotten stuck. In short, Iím riding a big wave of Volvo joy.
Some Ėread: anal retentive- Volvo owners who maintain their cars like I do manage to take the engine to around 350,000-500,000 miles before a basic overhaul is needed. For some reason this seems to me to be a worthy goal: To run the piss out of the car, to wring every last mile out of it until the men from Gothenburg come and give me the Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson Award for being the tightest assed Volvo owner to ever drive a Brick (secret Volvo Ownerís Code).
I am considering getting another Volvo 240, this time a wagon, and using the current one as the winter beater.
My wife thinks that a 4-5 year old car like an Escort or Focus would be the way to go. They only get moderately better mileage and would require a car payment, insurance and not offer any more safety.
Me, I think two Volvoís are the way to go. Keep overhauling one and driving the other is my plan.
What say ye? Is it time to check into the Gothenburg Home for the Insane?