Volvo Man

Over the years, I have had a number of nicknames.  In this Blog, I use the appellation MUD for Mean Uncle Denny.  No, I will not tell that story again, at least not right now.  What I do intend this short blog to cover is my nickname Volvo Man. 

It all started with my Dad's love of that ugly Volvo he bought back in the early 60's.  You know, the one that looked like a 2/3rd size model of a 47 Ford.  It was a four cylinder rear wheel drive four door that drove great but looked like a "Dog Turd" (Dad's description)   For some reason the Sweeds must have had a ton of OD Paint left over from WWII and they sprayed it on a lot of the Volvo's.  One applied, there was no amount of car wax that could keep that paint shiny.  I know that I personally applied a coat of wax every year for several years and it would soon shine like a brick.  If you wanted it to be shiny, you would have to wet it down with a garden hose.  The engine also had a pair of SW side draft Carburetors and you had to keep adding oil to the little damper in the carb and they never were quite in sync.  I know that one job my dad would do is about once a month was to take a screwdriver out and "Tune" those darned carbs. 

I loved my mother, but she was not the most bright person when it came to old cars.  One of the cars we had was a 56 Chevy and if you wanted it to start, you had to pump the accelerator pedal several times prior to turning the key.  Mother one day went out and pumped the pedal so many times that the carb flooded and she kept pumping and cranking until the engine started on fire.  End of that car.  When Dad bought the Volvo, he knew that there was no pump attached to the accelerator so there was little chance of mom burning the car up.   Mom, being a creature of habit would still go out and pump the accelerator prior to cranking the engine.  In fact, you could hear the linkage squeak inside the house for clear out in the driveway.  Dad and I would laugh at that but he never oiled the linkage.

Just as I was getting drafted,  Dad found a 63 Volvo in great shape and used my old Renault as a trade in.  As soon as I turned Middle Class in Officer candidate School, I could have a car.  Dad brought that Volvo down to Fort Sill.  To get it registered on post, I had to add a seat belt.  I found a Foreign Car salvage nearby and the only belt in any of their cars was a shoulder belt without a lap belt.  I put it in the car and faked my way through the inspection station.  That car did have all the bells and whistles, and they all worked.   I drove that car until I went to Vietnam.  Dad was on one of his trips to Arkansas in that car and a drunk pulled right out in front of him.  The only thing that saved him was the seatbelt I installed.  He did manage to separate some ribs because of the lack of a lap belt but he did live.  The accident was so strong that Dad broke his nose with his knee and it totaled that car.  

In spite of the damage, you could open and close all four doors on that car after the wreck
Over the years Dad bought a few more Volvo's and was very happy when my brother wrecked one of them.  It was a station wagon with an automatic transmission that would not get out of its own way.  It was a Dog and Dad hated it.  When that car died, he bought a new station wagon with a 4 speed transmission.  Dad racked up at least 100,000 miles on that wagon running back and forth to Arkansas. 

When Dad got sick in 1971, he was laid up for a few years and the Volvo wagon became excess to his needs.  I bought it from him and it became the source of my name Volvo Man.  Back then, 100,000 miles was about the life expectancy of the motor in a Volvo and I go wind of a man near Topeka that had a train car load of Volvo's that had fallen off a train in a wreck.   Imagine I could lift up the steering wheel and drive a new car under it.  I searched the rumor down and found that it was true.  There was a wrecking yard with a bunch of smashed Volvo's and I could buy one cheap.  I bought a sedan and for the next few months planned how I was going to swap it all out.  At first I was going to haul it out to California and do the swap there.  After hauling it to Wichita from Leavenworth, I saw that was a bad idea.  I did the swap there in a friends shop.   Long story short, the new engine had fuel injection and an overdrive and I loved it. 

When we wound up in Topeka, a good friend of mine here had a Volvo and I stopped by there several times to see how he was coming as he rebuilt it.  His wife one day saw me pull in the yard and she hollered that Volvo Man was here to visit.  Yep'er, that nickname stuck for a long time.  I think I lived in Topeka at the time and finally sold that car with something near 200,000 miles on it.  Not sure of the exact miles as I had to replace the speedometer part of the dash from the wrecked car somewhere in the middle.  No, I did not record it all down and sold the car as is.  It was obvious that the engine and complete drive train had been replaced.

So, if you want to get my attention, you can yell Hey MUD or Hey Volvo man.   I would buy another Volvo today but there is no dealer here in Topeka to fix it if it broke.  I love that quirky darned car and still go look at one if I see it on a car lot.  Someday...

MUD, aka Volvo Man

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