Why drive Volvos?

On the surface, Volvos appear to be unattractive, squarish slow cars driven by suburban yuppies. On the surface they hardly seem like a car worth getting excited about. "But they're so safe..." While I appreciate the safety factor, it is far from the only reason I drive Volvos.


The youngest of my Volvos is a 1983 model. It has over 170,000 miles on the clock and it feels like it's just broken in.  The 242DL has over 200,000 miles and the 245 wagon has just under 300,000!

There is a man, Irv Gordon, living on Long Island, who bought a Volvo 1800S coupe new in 1966. He has over 1,800,000 miles on the odometer!!! This car was the first car to make it over 1,000,000 miles on the same engine! He is a school teacher, and he spends all summer driving across the country.

Why are Volvos so dependable? Well, for one thing, they are made out of REAL steel instead of plastic. The bodies and the engine blocks are designed for Scandinavian weather. The winters in Sweden feature 30 degreesF below temperatures. Back in the 1960's, 80% of all roads in Sweden were unpaved! Volvos are heavy. My '83 wagon weighs 3300 pounds empty. My '69 coupe - which to the naked eye looks like a small car, weighs 2500 pounds empty! There's a lot of steel in those cars!

Another factor that leads to durability is quality of design and construction. In 1956, Dr. Gunnar Engellau took over the leadership of Volvo AB in Sweden. His background was in airplane manufacturing with the company, Flygmotor. This man set very high standards of quality for Volvo's car models.Supposedly the bearings for the various shafts in a Volvo engine are precisely machined and balanced for each engine individually. These engines are designed not to wear out.

This was the biggest factor for me in deciding to buy Volvos. They are just so rugged and durable. I was tired of the idea that cars are designed to be disposable. Look at this picture for an idea of the strength of a Volvo.


My 245 wagon has been used to haul everything imaginable from lumber to horse manure. With the fold down third seat in the back, my wife can haul 6 kids at once (5 of them with shoulder belts). I used to own a GMC S15 Jimmy - the Volvo wagon can haul more cargo.


The 245 wagon has a LOOOOOONG wheel base. I feels like a real car on the road. With all of that weight, it doesn't get blown around on the road. It's quite a comfortable car to take on long trips.

Since it was "Built for Swedes", my 1800 coupe has an ample amount of leg room. I have a few tall friends who were suprised with the comfort of such a small car. And this car too was built for the long drive. I have read several reviews of the 1800 in car magazines from when it was new, and one comment that crops up over and over is that it feels like the driver could ride forever in this car at top speed. It's a true Touring Car.


The 1800 coupe is one of the true 1960's GT cars. It's a classic, and I have fun just thinking about driving that car. Nothing appeals to this car like a curvy country highway. The 1800 handles so well that brakes are rarely necesary. It's not the fastest car in the world on the straights, but it'll take you in the curves for sure.

The 245 isn't exactly a sports car, but our's has got 4 on the floor with electronic overdrive, and it's not hard to squeeze a little zip out of it.

My newly acquired Flathood Turbo definately destroys the stigma of slowness. It's a real sleeper, looking like a boring box-mobile.

oh yeh (almost forgot..), there's:


Because these cars aren't made out of plastic, they are safe. I could spew endless praise for the safety features in Volvos. The new Volvos feature side impact airbags, and I'm sure you've seen the ads on T.V. Did you know that Volvo invented the 3-point seat belt? They were the first to use Safety Glass, also. Did you know that the doors on my 1800 coupe are 6 1/2 inches thick? The most impressive statistic is this:
Between 1988 and 1993, no one died while riding in a Volvo 240. No other car model can say that.

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