Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 21 July 2012
On the basis that it is impossible to say too much about the good value of old Volvos; to help The Broad catch up on recent developments; and to prevent Ms Toa become too relaxed down there in the Australian winter, here is a picture of the new one next to the old one which is being stripped before sent to the knacker's yard.
Note the way the rain is glistening on it's glossy flanks, and note the way I have retouched the number plate before posting up the picture (Me? Paranoid?). Don't feel too sorry for the forlorn red one, huddled up in the corner - I got it to sign a donor card before it got ill, so many of it's vital organs will live on in it's younger sister, should she ever come down with something.
One of the many reasons I have been buying second-hand Volvos for so long is the mechanic who owns the garage where this photo was taken. He worked for Volvo (the company) for 21 years before setting out on his own, and he has now trained his son up to carry on. Between them, there is nothing that they don't know about Volvos, and they regularly attend training courses to acquaint themselves with the later models, as well as keeping all their lap-top diagnostic software up to date to adjust them when they go wrong.
The first Volvo I bought was an 'Amazon', 120 series estate which I sold to a friend with 250,000 miles on the clock. He rebuilt the engine and ran it for another 200,000, then sold it to someone else. I believe it is still being driven around the London area.
The second one I bought was a super-fast (for it's day) 122S saloon with such high mileage that one day it simply refused to carry on, having served me for years at only 25% compression on all four cylinders.
I hired a garage nearby (a Georgian stable, actually), removed the engine and took it completely to pieces, carefully placing all the nuts and bolts into labelled, plastic cups so I knew where they came from. I reconditioned all the moving parts then reassembled it, finally putting the engine back into the car and connecting it all up. All of this work was done at night and in the winter.
You can imagine my surprise and pride when it started first time, roaring into life and begging to be let out onto the road again. Even professional mechanics will tell you that - when an engine is reassembled - there are always about half a dozen nuts and bolts left unattached and lying around with no obvious place to put them, and so it was with this one. After a few uneventful weeks, you simply throw them away and forget about them.
I never carry out work on cars myself these days, other than simple maintenance, partly because - without the software and a lap-top - it would be impossible to do so. Even those ancient cars above have two computers each in them, one for engine management and the other for all the stuff like air-bags, etc. I even had to have the horn fixed by the mechanic, due to the danger of taking a steering-wheel off when there is a small charge of high-explosive behind it.
That blue one would have cost £30,000 when it only had 3 miles on the clock, and I have just paid £850 for it. It ticks all the boxes for me, being a good cruiser, a powerful tower, quick enough to overtake in relative safety, roomy enough to sleep in and boring enough to be ignored by just about everyone except traffic-wardens.