My first two experiences with Volvo products couldn’t be any more bi-polar if I tried to write it into the story. The first time I encountered a Swedish Safety Brick™ was when my aunt Mary’s mid-1970s Malibu got traded for a 240-series similar to the car we’re showing you today. She hated it, I hated it. I loved the Malibu. I loved the way it sat, I loved the Rally wheels, I loved the fact that it was green. I was five, sue me. The Volvo was silver, had all the personality and charisma of a plain Pop-Tart, and was just as tasteless in my eyes.
The second encounter, maybe eight years later, was the first full-fledged tire fire I ever did, in a 1975 or 1976 242DL. The car had been in the yard for a bit and it had been pressed into daily duty for a while as my mother’s Olds Omega was in the middle of gaining engine number three. What better way to teach the young McTaggart the fine art of boiling the hides but by taking the car into a grassy field and easing him into the subject? The grass made it easy to break traction, and a few seconds into the fun the tires found part of the rock slab that had kept said field from being developed and they smoked beautifully. I could ignore the color of the 242DL (“Safari Yellow” my hind end, that’s “Sample Yellow” if I’ve ever seen it) but I couldn’t ignore how much fun I had.
Now look at me. In my mid thirties, looking at a silver-blue Volvo 240DL sedan that looks as dead-stock as they did when I was five. It’s moments like this where I am convinced that the affliction that we all seem to have is genuine insanity, because I see this car and I can hear a turbocharger force-feeding the four-cylinder some fun. I can see it hunkered down on better rolling stock and sticky rubber. And I’m good with that thought. I’m sure the seller wouldn’t care for it, seeing how the car is super-clean and all original, but c’mon…how could you not do something to this car?
Open, airy, and as safe as only the Swedes can manage. I’ve been watching way too many rally videos.