Am I the only one noticing all those old Volvo 850’s out there in the hood? Nevermind they’ve got a few dents & peeling paint, & they’re not as sleek as the newer class of 21st century cars…like a favorite chair, my old 850 with the engine-that-never-dies has molded itself over the years to its companion driver. It’s hard to let it go.
A broken air conditioner, broken odometer (years ago at 149K), disintegrating seats, & broken driver-side window have led to near-fatal 850 dysfunction. & this was after repairing the broken-in-the-open-position sunroof. It was time for a newer car – I’d held on as long as I could.
I know…its slightly embarrassing for a climate change freak to have such warm feelings for a funky, dusty old car. That old 850 has been a part of our family since 2001…life was definitely different a decade ago. We’ve been through a lot together. I’ve even tenderly washed it myself recently – its deep teal blue really attracts that useless highway construction detritus. & hey, I’ve noticed (have you too?) that I have old-car company out there!…at least here in our hometown of Santa Cruz. Housing costs are so high that many of us need to skimp on transportation, & really, that’s OK – who needs a new car anyhow? Some say it may be better greenwise to hang onto those old favorites until they really bite the dust…manufacturing a new car can rack up energy & GHG costs.
But the sealed window sealed the Volvo’s fate – we recently bought a 2009 Jetta TDI. It gets great mileage & husband R can offer it without embarrassment for carpools on frequent out-of-town trips. It’s a safe & sane & silver & all the mechanics work. But, sigh, it just doesn’t have that comfy 850 feeling.
So I decided to get that old glove-of-a-car functional again (now that we’re not dependent on it for serious driving). I decided, for now, that I can live with no odometer & no air conditioner, but even as a back up car, I can’t live without the wind in my face. I decided to revive the 850 with a salvaged door from one of it’s permanently-off-road sisters.
A window that opens! The lovely cooling effect of a breeze! Maybe I’ll even invest in new seat covers. I’ll resist fixing the air conditioner, at least until the inevitable accelerating global warming feedback loop shifts into high gear, & really, who needs an odomoter anyway?
These 850’s are going to be a classic some day – maybe as representative of a past way of life. Maybe by then I’ll be ready to let that old car go…as a gift to the Museum of Past Extravagances.
For now, every once in a while, you’ll still see me 850 cruising…as long as that window keeps rolling up & down.
ps. did you see that full moon last night?? omg, love that sister orb of ours.
I think restoring the old car makes sense, energy wise. I often think of getting a new car that is not called a Gross Polluter, as is my 1972 VW bug. But then, hey, we drive the bug less than 500 miles a year, because we walk or bicycle everywhere. When we take a long trip (more than 100 miles) about twice a year, we rent a car from Auto World (love those ladies!) and feel swish! As you remarked, the air of an open window is sufficient. Who needs air conditioning in Santa Cruz?
Back to thoughts of a new car: our VW has 400,000 miles on it, 30,000 on this latest rebuilt engine. Since VW bug rebuilt engines last about 180,000 miles, at the rate we use our car, we will have it for over 150 more years. That is sufficient too.
Having Swedish ancestors (gg grandmother was an immigrant) I always thought I should drive a Volvo. At least my VW is yellow…one half of the yellow and blue of the Swedish flag.
i can verify your walking habits, jean, as i see you & michael out on our live oak sidewalks not infrequently. & your ancient vw bug is a classic – i’ve even seen you driving it once or twice. thanks for the comments!
Love this post, the sentiments therein… I feel this way about a lot of things…meant to last but that fight us every step along the way to lasting…music has this effect on me as well…it’s been said that ‘nothing lasts’, but I’ve come to believe that everything tries to…and with a little help can, at least a little bit longer…it’s true of our human connections as well…I still love my old friends, even though I haven’t seen many of them for oh so long…the memories of them linger in my heart, and I love them still…yes, like old Volvos still working, taking us to places in our memories that still mean so much…
i almost rewrote this post when it was finished…because i realized exactly what you said, bruce…that wasn’t just about the volvo. it’s about the worn old sofa, the art on the walls, the new parts for the old grill, cherished deep friendships, & music too as you say…it really is a lifestyle that works, but is underrated in our commercial consumer culture. thanks for the connection, old friend.
I absolutely love your writing style, Linda. Your posts are poetry.
it’s really an honor to receive such lovely feedback from an esteemed literature professor, marilyn! much love to you & the family.
Loved my Volvo 850. It also had a broken air conditioner and disintegrating seats. Funny how we get attached to cars. I am enjoying your posts
thanks claudine! i still feel a little sigh when i see those teal 850’s around town…still tempted to replace it but trying to ‘make do’ w the jetta & rock’s red truck (which drives like a…truck! – maybe writing a post about it would be a bonding experience.)