A new comrade in PR is getting his daily dose of herring and Swedish coffee along with our promise that Sweden in winter is lovely. At least the herring is good and their coffee is strong enough to be paint remover (but in all fairness to my Swedish friends, their coffee isn’t bitter, it’s rather good, but must be off the caffeine charts). Jawanza Keita – JA to everyone – came to us from an auto insurance company, for a change, their loss is our gain. JA is another car nut, so he’ll fit right in here. I think he’s been driving a Beemer but that’ll change. He really had no idea we made cars that look as good as they perform. Oh, and he is a rather good writer to boot, much better than I. So here’s his report on the Volvo Club of America National Meet. Welcome JA!
When Dave Henderson reflects on the journey it took to bring his parents’ 1966 Volvo 122s Amazon back to life, he smiles with pride. Henderson’s parents, Jim and Jan, scored a clean, rust-free classic from California that just needed a little TLC. Unfortunately during the trip to Kansas, it was pounded by a severe snowstorm on the open-air transport truck, leaving the car layered in ice, salt and dirt.
A personal binder of photographs details the car’s extreme makeover. It’s also been documented in trade newspapers and was highlighted at the most recent Volvo Club of America (VCOA) National Meet in St. Louis.
The 29th National Meet, June 1-3, began with an informal, catered gathering at the local Weiss Brentwood dealership on Friday evening, where owners of newer and vintage cars talked shop, longtime friends caught up on each other’s lives and enthusiasts celebrated all things Volvo.
“The weekend turned out fantastic. We had events scheduled Friday to Sunday, with about 100 cars and participants from 25 states and Canada. Generally the weather was fabulous and just brought everyone out,” noted meet coordinator Glen McMillin, head of VCOA’s St. Louis (Gateway) chapter.
On Saturday morning, a steady flow of onlookers and guests visited Muny Theatre in Forest Park for the VCOA car show. Many stood in awe of the pristine workmanship of the Henderson vehicle, a crowd favorite. Henderson enjoyed transforming his parents Amazon so much he embarked on his own refurbishing project, a 1965 rough-coated Amazon with lots of character, aptly named “Fluffy.”
At Saturday night’s car show awards banquet, Donna Paulsen of Easton, Pa., told a group of guests about a 2011 crash in which she was blindsided by a distracted driver, but protected by her S60: “I was uninjured but really shaken. The sound of the air bag rang in my head for days and I was sore, but considering the car was totaled I was great! The officer who was on the scent kept telling me how lucky I was to be driving a Volvo,” she said emotionally.
After dinner, guests were treated to colorful anecdotes about Volvo history from Claes Rydholm, director of Volvo Heritage, Gothenburg, followed by insights from Lars-Eric Lundin, retired VCC project manager who led development of the 850 FWD.
The weekend wrapped up with Sunday breakfast at a nearby dealership, after which participants took part in a car rally.Volvo Club of America (VCOA), Volvo heritage, Volvo History | Comments Off
If you’ve never been to Carlisle, you are missing the best East Coast showing of cars and junk. Carlisle’s annual Import and Kit Nationals is a show that focuses on “what you bring” togetherness. Volvo has always been there and will be again this year, with a good showing of Swedish Iron. For our first year, probably in 1984, I drove my ’71 VW camper (hey it’s a hoot to drive, easy to fix and slower than a three legged turtle) and we cooked pancakes for our Volvo friends.
Junk…well that’s not really what you will find there but sorting through boxes and boxes of auto parts in the vendors section is just one heck of a great sport. Just amazing what you can find: Volvo NOS hub caps, bumpers, fenders, engine parts, spare transmissions (like you will ever need another M4 or even H3), books and manuals, and folks selling snake oils for everything from “tired engines” to your garlic breath from last night’s dinner. It’s a show well worth taking in if you’re from this side of America.
Thanks Jeff Sanders, a long-time Volvo friend, for sending these photos over.
And HELLO Gretchen. Nice to see you again, albeit via photos.Posted in Volvo classic cars, Volvo Club of America (VCOA) | Comments Off
Volvo Club of America’s annual clan gathering was held in Lindsborg, KS this year. There are only a few ways to get there: Constoga wagon (245), Sunday go to church Surry (850 T5R in Yellow), or modern Chariott (S60 R-Design) and a 737. I chose the latter.
Lindsborg is between Witchita and Salina, in the heart of wheat country. Irv Gordon, (2.9 million miles on his Volvo guy) said I had to have Swedish pancakes for breakfast while in town. When I walked into a very small Swedish bakery, about 10 pairs of local eye balls determined I was not from these parts. At the counter, I ordered pancakes and didn’t mention a double espresso skim latte, just coffee. An older guy in overalls said coffee is over there and some cream down below. Cool.
As I was waiting for pancakes, sipping coffee and checking email on my phone, in walks an older couple. The guy barks his order to kitchen staff and then sits down across from me. “You part of that Volvo thing?” Oh boy, here we go – “Yes,” I answer very timidly. “Glad to meet you, my name is John.” We must have talked for a good 45 minutes while we ate. He told me about farming, the difference between summer and winter wheat, how the soil is good here, gets cold in winter, his time in the Navy (some years before my Navy tour) and about Volvo and Sweden. Yep, his history started in Sweden with his grandparents. I must say it was a very enjoyable breakfast and start to a fantastic day.
VCOA timed their meet with Lindsborg’s annual Mid-Summer festival. Lots of singing, dancing, folks in traditional Swedish clothing, girls with flowers in their hair, and lots of Volvo’s.
Posted in Sweden, Volvo Club of America (VCOA) | 2 Comments »
First time I went to the Carlisle Import Show was around 1984. Our kick around car was a ’71 VW Westfalia. My wife and I drove it up there, fixed a pancake breakfast for our Parts Department staff and friends at Volvo Club of America. Was a hoot. Of course it rained that day, as it always seems to do for their Import Show. This was sent over by John from Maryland, there’s a good group of Volvo owners over there, and wanted to share it with you.
danPosted in Auto Shows, Volvo Club of America (VCOA) | 1 Comment »
I think you’ve heard me drone on about “How Safe is an Old Volvo?” It’s one of those tough questions that comes up often, mostly from parents who want a car safe for their children to drive.
I think one reason we have so many teenage driver accidents is our inadequate driver education system. Simply put, the system is designed to give very basic education about how a car is operated and how to the pass test. There is little, if any, dynamic driving skills taught. For example, when you slam on the brakes in a turn, what happens on wet road surfaces? Young drivers aren’t taught enough of the consequences to unpreparedness, not to mention, texting and other driver distractions in a dangerous environment. Really, teens just don’t get how dangerous a 3,000-pound hunk of steel is.
Oh, enough of me. The following is the story of a Volvo Saved My Life (VSML) member. At our Open House couple weeks ago, seems almost everyone had a story about their belief that our car saved their life or the life of someone they know. Nice feeling.
September 16, 2010
My name is Brooke, and on July 13, 2010 my 1997 Volvo S90 saved my life and the lives of my family. As newlyweds, my husband and I – along with our 6 animal ‘children’ – decided to move from Louisiana back to our home state, Washington, so we could start putting down roots. On the first day of our long drive home, we had one more hour of driving before reaching our first stop for the night in Kansas. We had just remarked how happy we were that driving for the day was coming to an end when suddenly, we were in a rollover accident that could have taken our lives.
While driving north on highway 71 in Missouri, a car pulled out directly in front of us trying to get to the highway crossover to go south. The driver underestimated the traffic on the southbound lanes and yielded in our lane. The car was perpendicular to us and we were faced with a choice: to swerve and avoid the car or hit them straight on.
At 70mph, we swerved. Unfortunately,while we had new tires, the heat on the road caused our tires to slip as if we were on ice. When my husband tried to correct the swerve, the car did a 180-degree turn and slid into the grass median. Due to the speed and the small decline in the median, the car proceeded to roll over. We slid upside down on the roof for about 30 feet until we came to a stop just before the oncoming southbound traffic.
My husband and I were both wearing our seatbelts and our four birds, one cat, and dog were all in the backseat. Upside down and fearing the worst, I focused on getting my husband and I out of the car. I released my seatbelt and after falling to the roof of the car, tried to open the passenger side door but dirt that had pushed up from our slide was keeping the door closed. That’s when I saw feet running to help us.
Thankfully, a witness stopped to help us when he saw our car roll and the other vehicle we avoided hitting speed away. Our witness, along with many other tremendously nice strangers, were able to open the door to our vehicle and help us and the pets to safety.
I am thrilled to report that not only did my husband and I make it out without any sort of bump, scratch, or soreness, but so did all of our pets. I was raised in a Volvo family ever since my dad’ s Volvo wagon was sandwiched between two 18-wheelers and he walked away with only a minor bump on the head.
Knowing of the safety and reliability of my Volvo and having to rely on it for the safety of your family are two entirely different things. Volvo is synonymous with safety and only until a month ago, did I realize the truth in that statement.
Even though our car was totaled by the insurance, it maintained the structural integrity and looked pretty darn good for rolling over. Now, safe and sound back in Washington State, my husband and I are waiting to buy a car until we can afford another Volvo.
As you can imagine, we do not feel safe in any other car and will wait as long as it takes to get our family into another one of the safest cars on the road. We will continue the tradition and forever be a Volvo family.
Thank you very much for making such a safe and dependable car.
Very truly yours,
BrookePosted in safety, Volvo Club of America (VCOA), Volvo Saved My Life | 4 Comments »
Amazing how the years just blow by. Friends who work here now have sons and daughters working here, new cars have been launched, people change positions. So many things are different. But not our Open House.
Around nine months ago, Doug Speck, our CEO, told us it’s time to do one again. Working with Volvo Sports America (VSA) and Volvo Club of America (VCOA), we had one heck of a successful event. In all, about 370 club members showed up, putting 774 miles on our demo cars, testing City Safety with our XC60, trying Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake (still haven’t gotten used to all those words) with our S60, drooling over our classic car collection, and having lunch served by VCNA employees.
Beside these loyal owners, what makes me proud are the 70 employees who gave up a Saturday to staff and support what needed to get done.
Owners who love their Volvos, employees who love their work. Nice combination.
Have a great weekend,
Seems Dave is onto something. He wrote that unless his eyes are playing tricks, he has a dash plaque with “REVOLVOLUTION”, “Open House 10th Anniversary”, “October 28th 2000″, “Rockleigh, NJ” and “Volvo for life”. Revolvolution was about launching our S60 back in 2000. Seems absolutely no one here remembered that event. And to think we launched our new S60 with this Open House. Someone is looking over our shoulders. Thanks Dave!
On a breezy spring Sunday morning just outside of Fort Worth, Texas, I found myself standing among a group of car geeks. Or maybe fans is a nicer way to say it.
Okay, fans it is.
I’m here because the day before I had been a guest of the Texas Chapter of the Volvo Club of America. The idea was simple: Show the club folks that we actually make cars that are no longer called 242D or 760GLE. So I brought along a bunch of new hardware from corporate and a couple of the regional field guys brought their cars. The club loved it and spent the entire day reacquainting themselves with the newest cars.
It was here that I met Ben Castillo.
Ben’s been with Volvo since 1971 and got his start working for the Guatemalan importer back when mutton shops were in vogue. Life happens and Ben found himself in the U.S. Today he’s what is known in Volvospeak as an FTS, or Field Technical Specialist. Primarily he visits our retailers in the Southern Region to diagnose particularly tricky service issues. Needless to say, Ben knows how to use a wrench and he knows a hell of a lot about Volvos.
But Ben’s passion for Volvo runs deeper than a 9-to-5 job. “I’ve had about 1oo Volvos since I joined the Guatemala distributor back in 1971,” he says between bites of an enormous Reuben sandwich. He smiles and his eyes squint and he’s the kind of guy you’d like to have a beer with. Or a Reuben sandwich.
He’s also an SCCA certified race driver. His ride is a lowered 2008 C30 T5 with a six-speed manual. He races in the Stock class which allows for some modifications, but not much. He’s swapped the shocks for some Konis and he’s running a low-restriction exhaust which adds a very nice burble at idle and a nicer bark when he’s on the track. He went to the Volvo parts catalog for some lowering springs and he’s running on a pair of racing slicks up front and some performance tires at the rear. “I’m trying to get the car to rotate more with throttle input,” he says. “I’m losing traction in the corners because the inside drive wheel isn’t sticking to the ground.”
You’d never know Ben was struggling with the C30′s setup. While I was visiting he asked if I’d like to join him in the car for the next heat. I explained that adding 200-pounds of ballast wasn’t going to improve his time. At that point he was running third in the standings. He smiled that smile and strapped on his helmet. It was a good thing I didn’t go. On that run he ran his fastest time of the day and took second place in his class. Not bad, he thought, but there is still room for improvement.
So he’s going to keep tinkering. He’s going to swap out the rears for a stickier compound than the high-performance tires he used this time, and he’d love to get his hands on a much thicker front sway bar. “I need one that’s about an inch.” Ah, it’s the ol’ extra inch problem. Who couldn’t use one?
Ben figures he attends about 15 SCCA events annually, including the national meet in Lincoln, Nebraska. He drops about $5,000 a year on tires alone. After each event, he jacks the C30 up, takes off the racing tires and replaces them with the standard 17-inch wheels and tires. The slicks go in the cargo hatch, along with the jack and his helmet, and he drives home.
Tomorrow he’ll be back out visiting his retailers and solving their pesky service issues.
-James HopePosted in C30, General, Quality of Life, Volvo Club of America (VCOA) | 1 Comment »
We are sponsoring a couple of local meet and greet events in May – one in Dallas, TX and the other in Atlanta, GA. Our whole offering will be there for club members to test drive. James Hope and Geno Effler are heading to TX and I get to go to Atlanta, GA. Guess that’s because I love Southern BBQ, James loves big Texas steaks and Geno will eat darn near anything.
|Recently Announced Upcoming Events:
May 1, 2010, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
The Texas Chapter of the VCOA will be having a meet at Cedar Hill State Park in conjunction with Volvo Cars of North America bringing some new models to give our members a chance to drive them. We’ll have a short cruise route to the park (about a 30-minute drive) and then will stop for a cookout, a car show and time to drive the new Volvos. We have a pavilion with a grill and bathrooms, and our own private parking area on the top of a nice little hill that has trees for some shade and some lake views. The site is reserved from 10 a.m.- 10 p.m.
We’ll meet at the Sonic Drive-In at I20 and Great Southwest Pkwy at 9:30 a.m. for a quick breakfast and time to group up. We’ll roll out at 10 a.m. for the park. It will be a 15-mile cruise around Joe Pool Lake that will take roughly 30 minutes. Once at the park (10:30 a.m.) we will have our usual people’s choice show, interact with the VCNA folks and drive some new Volvos. Lunch will be our usual burgers and dogs (with all the fixings), and will be served starting at noon. Lunch is provided by VCNA. You will need $5 to get into the park.
After lunch, people’s choice ballots will be totaled and we will give out awards and do some door prizes. We should wrap it up around 3-4 p.m. If there is interest, we will go as a group to the Bishop Arts district near downtown Dallas for a group dinner.
Cruise start time: 9:30 a.m.
For more details please send Nick Tosie an E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org There is a $5 entry fee to the park. VCNA will cover the food and the pavilion fee in addition to making a sizable donation to the chapter. Please make plans to be in the Dallas area May 1, 2010.
May 15, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Volvo Ride and Drive Event at the Volvo Regional Office
Volvo Cars of North America and the Atlanta Chapter of VCOA
1125 Northbrook Parkway Suwanee GA 30024
Mapquest: Click HERE
VCNA would like to acknowledge VCOA members for their allegiance to the Volvo brand. VCNA will have 6 new models for VCOA members to test drive and evaluate over a 3 mile suburban course. A technical presentation of the new models and the technology behind them will be given by Dan Johnston, VCNA Public Affairs. This event is to educate Volvophiles about the new models and provide answers to any questions you may have about the new Volvos. Please plan to Ride and Drive as many of these cars as you wish – C30, C70, S80, XC60, XC70, XC90.
A buffet lunch will be served and a T-shirt proclaiming your status as “Volvo Ambassador” will be provided. Come and take advantage of this opportunity to drive the new Volvos!
We will be able to accommodate 50 VCOA members.
Please RSVP to email@example.com or Kenny Seeley at 404-790-4087.