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Stay an eccentric old kook or join the new generation? (A Car Question)

EG, you should...

  • keep the old Volvo and drive it into Swedish Heaven!

    Votes: 25 78.1%
  • sell that POS and get a nice Toyota Prius for $20K

    Votes: 3 9.4%
  • sell that POS and get a nice Ford Focus for $17K

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • sell that POS, drop out, tune in, and enjoy the colors dude...

    Votes: 1 3.1%
  • consider getting some serious mental help with those fixation issues dude...

    Votes: 2 6.3%
  • do something which I will describe below...

    Votes: 1 3.1%

  • Total voters
    32
  • Poll closed .

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
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. I’m 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 today’s 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 I’ll 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, I’m riding a big wave of Volvo joy.

Some –read: 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 Owner’s 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 Volvo’s 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?
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
I'm sticking

Here I am, newly joined to the throngs of recent divorcees. I've got a tan Windstar with only one more payment to make. It's got 125,000 miles and if I maintain it correctly it should last another 100,000 miles. But I plan on taking out the back seats, installing a matress, tassled curtains and other exterior modifications to turn it into a Retro Booty Wagon. The Black Sabbath and Primus bumper stickers next to the Breast Feeding stick is a little confusing for some. Right now the back if full of sports equipment and camping gear, including 4 fishing poles and an understocked tackle box.

What???? No Segway option?
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,486
Points
41
Keep the brick and buy the Volvo Wagon. If you downgrade the brick to winter slosher, you ultimately reduce the cost per year for maintenance. Plus, Volvos love winter weather.

I just don't see a satisfied Volvo driver happily switching to a Saturn B-)
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,443
Points
34
EG, I'd stay away from the Fords for sure. That is hard for an old Ford guy to say, but here is why. I have an 03 Taurus with 37,000 miles and had to have several repairs done under warranty. Loose ball joints, bearing out in the steering column, and other little things. Leads me to believe that Quality is no longer job 1.

If you can find a decent Volvo I'd go with that, your comfortable with them, you can work on them yourself. Take it from a fellow motor head, it really sucks to be at the mercy of the techs with their $20,000 computers.
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,037
Points
23
Definately stick with the Volvos. The newer cars--almost all brands--aren't as heavy-duty as the old ones, and why bother getting saddled with car payments etc for a car that doesn't have as much character when the brick still has many miles to go?
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
Stick with the Volvo. I bought a newer Accord a few years back and while I love it, I miss not having car payments and the pride of saying that my old car had 180,000 miles on it and was still running.

If you are forced to get a new car, why not go all out and get the new S40?

 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,917
Points
36
Looks like you're in a tough spot El Guapo. I would say stick with what you know and get another brick. But, you've been married long enough to know that your wife is always right, right ;)

I've got a '96 Escort. It runs well (137,000km) on it. I probably spend about $1000 (cdn.) on repairs/oil changes/etc. every year. Something ALWAYS happens to the car, usually in January. This year it was the radiator. Last year it was the timing belt, brakes and tires. I wouldn't say getting a "newer" car will reduce your yearly maintenance budget - especially if you get a North American car.
 

Elisabeth

Cyburbian
Messages
157
Points
7
I say keep it and get the volvo wagon as well. Don't get an escort--you'd regret that decision in a heartbeat (no offense to escort owners out there, just my honest opinion).

It just seems that you take a lot of pride and, needless to say, good care of your cars--you might be disheartened if you go from driving a car with a lot of character to, say, a Focus. The safety issue is huge too--those old volvos are like tanks.

However, this is also coming from the girl who's getting a MINI Cooper S in December...I don't know how to drive stick yet, the cooper is the closest thing to a go-kart on the road (kinda scary in this world of expeditions, H2s, and escalades) and I live in upstate NY...stalling + snow = a good time(?).
 

yaff

Cyburbian
Messages
108
Points
6
EG,

I second Giff's view. You know enough about Volvos and their care and feeding that it would probably be the most effective choice for you. Also, there is a certain retro-cool about an old wagon :)
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
Stick with what you know. I'd go for another used Volvo in your circumstance, unless you really want economy like a prius or other hybrid.

Like budgie, I've paid off my vehicle, and I dont miss the payment. Ihave 165,000 on it, and like your car, I expect I can get into 300,000 miles, but my overhaul will happen this year.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Chet said:
Like budgie, I've paid off my vehicle, and I dont miss the payment.
It's like getting a kid through college. The fixed costs of automobile ownership and the maintenance and construction of highways is the biggest drain of economic resources in this country. EG, make it last and spend your money on more enjoyable things. Don't take on another car payment. It'll bleed you.
 

Big Easy King

Cyburbian
Messages
1,361
Points
23
el Guapo said:
Is it time to check into the Gothenburg Home for the Insane?
Hell no! I agree with Chet...stick with what you know. You'll never get 350,000-500,000 miles out of an Escort or a Focus.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,901
Points
57
I voted for going with the new Prius, but I did that before I read your heartfelt post.

I want to change my vote to "stick with the Volvo"

I agree with everyone that you should stay with the Volvo and get another one.

I also, like not having a car payment. Now, I just need to convince my wife that we should get rid of the full coverage insurance, and go to basic liability insurance. I mean, we have a 98 Tracer with 76000 miles and if it got totaled, we might get, maybe, $3,000 back for it.

Anyways, stick with the Brick! :-D
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
Repo Man said:
If you are forced to get a new car, why not go all out and get the new S40?
Sounds good. I have a friend with an S80. He's had only a few minor problems in 90K miles. I voted you keep the Brick though.

My Chevy is 108K and counting. I suspect a transmission rebuild in my not too distant future, though I have decided to keep it for eternity, or until gas is no longer available for my 13mpg beast.
 

ebeech121

Cyburbian
Messages
83
Points
4
I'd say stick with the one you know.

But maybe try a newer model? And slip in the phrase "Customer Loyalty Bonus" and you might get a discount.

My parents are on their second Hyundai (excellent vehicles I must say) and they got one of those deals. But you might have to go to the same dealer. Who knows.

Volvos are supposedly one of the top 5 safest cars too. I think Porches are number one. Not Toyota.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
A used Escort or Focus? Forget it. They will never last like the Volvo. You could compromise and get a Subaru.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
UPDATE: While at the mid-point of my journey home tonight the car directly in front of me clips a deer at 70. Mr. Deer does a Flying Walenda* dismount among a cloud of glass, plastic, antifreeze and dies instantly. I stop to help the elderly couple in the car. After much deep breathing, looking over the damage we formulate a plan. The plan is that I will follow them as they limp back home and we get back on the road at deer +30min. Because the damaged car can only do 50-55 mph safely, all the idiots that stacked up briefly decided to go all road-rage. Nice. This one idiot decides to almost cause a 70mph+70mph head-on when he tried to pass the injured Honda and me up hill on a curve in a no-passing zone. I dive INTO the ditch, at 50mph, to avoid the after effects of what is sure to kill at least two people. I can’t believe it is illegal for me to cap this idiot and remove him from the gene pool. But the guy in the oncoming lane avoids the accident. Moron boy lives to drive another day. We made it to the local Honda dealer and all was well.

That made the decision for me. I'm driving a tank for now on. Screw the Planet on this Earth Day.

The photo is their car at the local Honda dealer. In the background you can see the Brick.

*Sorry to get personal Mike.
 
Last edited:

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,443
Points
34
Those Hondas are tough units as well, a couple of years ago the rescue squad was called out to a head on between an Accord and a Semi. The poor honda was crushed back to the firewall. The driver walked away with some scratches from flying glass. Never saw anything like it before or since.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,901
Points
57
el Guapo said:
Screw the Planet on this Earth Day.
Well, actually, I've heard that maintaining a good used car has a smaller impact on the environment than buying a new car.

The amount of energy it takes to produce a new car is more energy than the car will ever consume in its lifetime, so a long-lived, properly maintained used car is good.

If I'm way off base, someone correct me.
 
Last edited:

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
mendelman
I don't know the numbers, but I do know it is innately wrong to consume huge gobbly gooks of non-renewable energy to keep up with the Jones. If I was a Greenie, I'd be pushing the car companies to make less biodegradable cars. But that position is counter to the concept of selling lots of cars over and over again to the same client. I know the market for a car that you could count on to last 1 million miles is very limited in our Madison Avenue mindsets, but imagine if instead of buying a new car every 4 to 6 years you could take your old one in and get the latest brakes, airbags, and anti intrusion bars retrofitted to the old beast. Call me a mad visionary, but the only reason we have 37 choices in small sedans is marketing. There is not much difference between them.

I'd also like to see a car designed for total occupant protection. We got used to seatbelts. Why can't someone design a four or five point harness for common use? Why don't we wear something as simple and light as bicycle helmet inside of a car? We have all seen the head of that crash test dummy whipping, smashing and snapping all over the place in the Dateline: Cars that are going to kill you and your family report? Why is there not a "U" shaped airbag that shoots out of the roof and keeps your head immobile during the impact?

I guess my father's car accident (if that is the appropriate term for a junkie hitting your dad with his speeding car) has caused me to really approach the Car Cult with some doubt.

Just some thoughts about life in these days. :)
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,037
Points
23
How are you and the brick? From the photo it looks like it survived its ordeal pretty intact--impressive, to say the least. I had an old VW that survived flooding, rear-end collisions, an episode with a support beam in a parking garage, and being hit head-on by a sheet of roof decking. It was slightly dented, but fine otherwise. Those older cars are incredibly tough. Even though my new VW has a top safety rating, I'm not sure how it would make it through all that the old one went through. Isn't a Volvo about as close to a tank as you can get and still be street-legal?
 

yaff

Cyburbian
Messages
108
Points
6
Guap,
Sorry to hear about your harrowing commute. I am glad you and your brick are not any worse the experience. On behalf of the couple and their honda, I also want to express my gratitute that there are still good samaritans that will try to help get you out of life's difficult situations. I once got stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when my car's water pump failed and the car overheated. I was very grateful when a towtruck driver stopped and helped get me and my car to a garage. He did say that he stoped because I was a woman by myself and could be at risk out there. He told my male cousin who picked me up that he would not have stopped for him.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,901
Points
57
eG

I agree that the Car Cult Culture we have is not good.

Example:

My wife recently was a law clerk for a local bankruptcy trustee (a person that oversees bankrupcty cases for the government). Well, she came to find out that buying a new car every 3 years is the fastest way to get yourself in deep, paralysing debt.

Unfettered Avarice: brought to you by Madison Avenue thanks MST 3K

In terms of more safety:
the automakers are getting better - with the introduction of side-curtain air bags in addition to in-dash air bags, they are effectively creating the U air bag to mention.

All the above is very central to the reason that I am doing everything I can to reduce my car usage as much as possible. I would even go to zero, if I'm able. Plus, I like walking to do stuff.
 

tsc

Cyburbian
Messages
1,905
Points
23
el Guapo said:
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. I’m 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 today’s 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.
QUOTE]

Ohhh EG... you're getting me all hot and bothered.... ;-)

I had the same debate... I actually got in an accident with my 91 740... it killed the Chevy... It was the other persons fault and their people said my lovely was totalled... cracked headlight, grill and slightly crinkled hood. They cut me a check for $3700.... and $250 worth of used parts later... and we are zooming down the commuter corridor as smooth as ever....

I wouldn't trade my cage of steel safety for another car....
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,486
Points
41
eG -- glad to hear you made it safely through what had to be a miserable commute. Look at it this way, moron boy won't live to drive many more days if he keeps that stuff up.

[OT]Our mailman was killed instantly when a deer was hit by an oncoming car that propelled the deer into his windshield.[/OT]
 

DecaturHawk

Cyburbian
Messages
880
Points
22
el Guapo said:
...I stop to help the elderly couple in the car. After much deep breathing, looking over the damage we formulate a plan. The plan is that I will follow them as they limp back home and we get back on the road at deer +30min. Because the damaged car can only do 50-55 mph safely, all the idiots that stacked up briefly decided to go all road-rage. Nice. This one idiot decides to almost cause a 70mph+70mph head-on when he tried to pass the injured Honda and me up hill on a curve in a no-passing zone. I dive INTO the ditch, at 50mph, to avoid the after effects of what is sure to kill at least two people. I can’t believe it is illegal for me to cap this idiot and remove him from the gene pool. But the guy in the oncoming lane avoids the accident. Moron boy lives to drive another day. We made it to the local Honda dealer and all was well...
el Guapo, you are to be commended for your act of unselfishness. The crassness of Moron boy was more than offset by your willingness to help an otherwise stranded motorist. I'm certain that those folks went home heartened by the fact that there are still people in this country willing to help.

I don't need to tell you that you've made the right choice. Every time I hear of someone surviving a disastrous accident in a Volvo I thank God for the sense of security I feel in my '93 940.
 

Miles Ignatius

Cyburbian
Messages
368
Points
12
Living Cheaply Is The Best Revenge...

I'd do everything to keep that solid albeit boxy 240 on the road.

So, a measly $1K in repairs @ year?

You know what lease payments add up to?

Save the money and buy beer instead
 
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