Daily Features

I’M YOUNG, DUMB, AND I AM GONNA KILL MY CAR: A PERSONAL MEMOIR

By on April 27, 2017
vol

vol

 

I was a generous combination of hormones and bad decisions when I was 17 going on 18.

 

I was also the proud owner of a 1962 Volvo 544 given to me by my older brother Bruce after he went in a different direction as a young newlywed.

 

 

My brother had purchased the car a few years earlier when it already had over 100,000 miles on it and was still black.

 

IMGP0326

 

I was too young for even a learner’s permit at the time  but that never stopped me and my twin brother Jerry from time trial tests on the dusty rural road in front of our place.

 

Screenshot_24

 

We reached speeds well beyond our capabilities (and comprehension of the consequences of bad high speed driving) behind the wheel of the Volvo on that road. We would always slow down to a crawl as we approached our place and subsequently avoided serious consequences when our parents came home early and caught us on one time trial session.

 

ad-MSCC Logo

 

It was a master stroke of luck to idle the car home for the last quarter mile and we got off light with our father who was in the middle of a long career in traffic law enforcement. He curtailed future car adventures in the Volvo but we were not subjected to further punishment for our road adventure.

 

IMGP0322

 

My brother Bruce decided to upgrade the performance in the Volvo and was able to squeeze a significant power increase after an expensive visit to a Volvo performance shop. He celebrated the occasion with a color change and turned the formerly black car into a British racing green Swedish car.

 

may12-volvoIMGP2575-001

 

The minimalist exhaust system meant you could hear the Volvo coming from several blocks away if Bruce was in a hurry. It was a sweet sound for me and I hoped that I could own a car like Bruce’s at some future glorious point in my young life.

 

FACE

 

That day came when I was 17 and Bruce gave me the Volvo. I had blown up the engine on my first car and was burdened with a slow-moving VW microbus as my primary mode of transportation. The VW got even slower when Bruce borrowed it, blew up the 40 horsepower engine while on a camping trip, and replaced it with a worn-out 36 horsepower engine.

 

He felt bad about the engine incident and that emotion was the catalyst for his decision to give me his Volvo when he moved onto his Mercedes phase in life.

 

brucie mercedes 70s 001-001

 

I moved into my Volvo phase of life and proceeded to slowly kill that car for the next 3 years. I think back on the abuse I heaped on that car and wonder how the Volvo and I managed to survive that crazy phase of my life.

 

Bear in mind my brother Bruce had already put the car into a 360 degree flip on a highway and landed it right back on its wheels with only a small dent before I got it.

 

IMGP9478

 

I thought about the Volvo’s long list of repairs under my watch. I drove it fast and hard in an intellectually challenged stunt driver kind of way and paid the price with many episodes of mechanical breakdown. The one constant was willful stupidity on my part.

 

IMGP9475

 

I blew up u-joints in spectacular fashion and almost had one come through the floor in one incident. I also wrecked the shifter forks in the tranny because I wanted to jam gears and get the car up to high speeds as soon as possible so I could blow up the u-joints in a fraction of their normal time.

 

On one occasion of high speed idiocy, I raced the Volvo at speeds over 100 mph and only slowed down when I noticed a loud clacking noise from the front end. It turned out I had lost half the driver’s side brake drum and the resultant mess was just short of a full catastrophe if the shoes had caught the edge of the badly broken drum missing 1/3 of its metal. I drove it home slowly for the first time.

 

IMGP3456

 

I broke both rear shocks completely loose during one major Dukes of Hazzard moment in the Volvo that took place long before the TV show was even a remote concept for a terrible way to wreck a car.

 

I also broke the entire upper control arm assembly on the Volvo’s driver’s side during another adventure and somehow convinced a local welding shop to weld it back in place, despite their heavy protests.

 

I blew the entire exhaust manifold off the car after a series of ignored backfires that sounded like grenade explosions and caused pedestrians to hit the ground before it came loose. I was a few blocks from home and drove the misfiring monster home, despite the noisy and obvious problem.

 

IMGP0328

 

My time with the Volvo eventually came to a close about 2 months after I sank it in a flooded underpass. I would have made it through the underpass if I had just avoided the gas pedal and idled it through the flood, but I was not that smart.

 

I gunned it, the fan sucked up water, and suddenly I was up to my waist in water in a stalled car. A tow truck pushed me out and the driver told me he would hook up the car because I undoubtedly pushed the fan blades through the radiator. Instead I got lucky and the Volvo fired right up, so I smugly drove it home wrapped in self-delusion about minimal damage to the car.

 

IMGP3647

 

I may not have wiped out the radiator in the great flood but I introduced water to every part of my car up to the door handles and the results were predictable to everyone but me in terms of unseen damage.

 

IMGP9477

 

Things got even worse shortly after the flood incident when I towed a buddy and his 544 back into town after he blew up his transmission. The tranny explosion also cut a brake line on his car and he avoided a collision with my Volvo by steering around me and spinning my car completely around into a curb at about 30 mph while tethered to the tow rope.

 

The damage was mostly concentrated on the rear axle of my car and I needed to replace the wheel bearing on the side that hit the curb. But there was more damage than a mere wheel bearing inflicted by the impact and the cumulative total from years of abuse was finally too much for the car. I was forced to let the car go in favor of a Datsun truck at a local dealership.

 

volvo

 

My last ride in the car was in the passenger seat while a salesman ignored my warnings about how to drive the Volvo during a brief test drive. He was a former rally driver who was “racing before I was even born”, in his words.

 

I told him he had never driven my Volvo and he got scared back into reality after only 2 blocks of driving the car. I saw fear in the eyes of a salesman who had served in World War Two but he did take the car as a trade-in for the Datsun. Many years later, I found out he told his then-teenage daughter that in no way, shape or form was she going to buy my Volvo off the lot.

 

I said goodbye to my Volvo that day and never looked back at the time. Then I spotted a Volvo with an unconventional green paint job just like mine back in the 90s. I almost turned around to see whether my old friend had indeed survived its time with me all those years ago when it was a big part of my teenage misadventures.

 

IMGP9474

 

But I kept going that day, despite the enormous temptation to find out whether it actually was my car. I took a cooling-off period of about a month before I drove by the place. The green Volvo was gone and I felt a conflicting sense of intense relief and deep regret because I would have bought the car if it was mine.

 

In reality, some things in life are best left in the rear view mirror.    

 

Jim Sutherland

 

CLICK HERE to Like us on Facebook

 

CLICK HERE to Follow us on Twitter

 

CLICK HERE to Follow us on Pinterest

 

Please re-post this if you like this article.

 

print
207126 Total Views 5 Views Today

About admin

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Facebook

Featured Ads

Rear View Mirror

64-imgp6225

MARCH 27, 2014: HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY TO THE FIRST PONY CAR-THE BARRACUDA

  There are indelible memories in life and one of mine is the first time I saw a 1964 Barracuda.   I’ve talked about this before but this was...

March 27, 2014 View more...
apr13-68bujimpix 036-001

MARCH 26, 2013 (APRIL 2013) A 1968 BUICK SPORT WAGON IS A RARE VISITOR TO ANY CAR SHOW

  The Buick Sport Wagon was a first cousin of the more famous Olds Vista Cruiser and there was reason to confuse the two luxury wagons from the General....

March 26, 2013 View more...
mar12-55studebimgp6016-2

MARCH 1, 2012: 1955 STUDEBAKER PICKUP-WHAT A BIG RIG DRIVER RUNS ON THE WEEKEND

  Ted Draeger loves the big iron.   His full time job is pushing a big rig and on the weekends he’s still behind the wheel of a truck....

March 1, 2012 View more...
68 charger imgp6660

MARCH 16, 2010: SUPERSTARS ON FOUR WHEELS–WE PICK THE BRIGHTEST STARS OF A CAR BRAND NAME

  Everybody is entitled to an opinion.   It is a basic fundamental right in any country not run on the highly flawed North Korean model.   We’re all...

March 16, 2010 View more...

Most Viewed

My Star Showcase

news-mill-jjmscc_Neon-001

SIGN UP FOR THE MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR DAILY NEWSLETTER!

SIGN UP FOR THE MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR DAILY NEWSLETTER!   Are you too busy to check out MSCC regularly? That’s too bad because MyStarCollectorCar is updated every day.   You don’t...

October 25, 2017 View more...
mill-jjmscc_Neon

MSCC MARKET REPORT 2018

  MSCC MARKET REPORT 2018   Welcome to the MyStarCollectorCar Market Report.   This will be a regional look at prices for collector vehicles based on actual sales so...

August 3, 2017 View more...
products-IMGP5647

MSCC Products and Services Showcase

These are all great businesses and they support MyStarCollector Car through their advertising  so we can continue to bring you our  insight into the old car hobby 365 days...

July 13, 2016 View more...

More At My Star

A BOAT BY ANY OTHER NAME—WHAT’S THE TRUTH BEHIND OLD IRON’S WEIGHT PROBLEM?

  I used to get into some pretty serious debates when I owned a ’59 Plymouth–it was always about the weight of the car .   The term “boat” came up more often than the term “sketchy” does with online money requests from Nigerian royalty.   Boat is an uninformed opinion when it’s assigned to See More

DOES A BREXIT DEBATE BELONG ON A CAR HOBBY PAGE?

  I look at hundreds of car related pages every week because they relate directly to what I do at MyStarCollectorCar.   I get a trifecta out of this because these pages educate, inform and entertain — that’s nearly impossible in today’s cyber-connected world.   Car pages are a comfortable fit because they remove you See More

CRYSTAL BALL TIME: WHAT IS ON THE COLLECTOR CAR HORIZON?

  The source of the current collector car hobby is rooted firmly in the past.   Most car guys lean heavily toward the vehicles that lassoed their interests when they were kids with a paper route and a meager income source.   The proceeds from a paper route were a long way from the necessary See More

FIVE MUST SEE CONVERTIBLES FROM THE POST WAR ERA

  Post World War II Detroit played a big game of catch up because the factories were stuck in pre-war phase.   Nobody cared about the outdated style because every new car had a waiting list.   Most buyers wanted a sedan because this was the starting line for the Baby Boom so convertibles were See More

Editor’s Picks

SEAN-5

MSCC FIVE FOR FRIDAY: SEAN BELL–A FORD GUY PICKS HIS FIVE FAVORITE FORDS

  A guy who sells Fords for a living will definitely have a strong list of favorite Blue Oval rides.   Sean Bell is the General Manager at Cam...

January 11, 2018 View more...
5-auc

FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CAR AUCTIONS

  Car auctions have become a TV hit thanks to extensive coverage over the last twenty years so auctions have been turned into show business.   They are run...

December 14, 2017 View more...
sein

CONNECTING WITH SEINFELD—THE FRATERNITY OF THE JEROMES WASN’T ENOUGH

  MyStarCollectorCar is based on the average guy in the car hobby—the kind of guy who puts gallons of blood, countless hours of sweat equity, and a big pile...

October 11, 2017 View more...
IMGP7176-001

THE GUILD GARAGE: WHEN A HALF HOUR CAR SHOW JUST SEEMS LIKE AN HOUR

  Restoration Garage always lived up to its non-car guy producers’ goal to produce a docu-drama.   The producers appeared to believe in the standard TV playbook wherein a...

August 3, 2017 View more...

Car Shows and Events

ST1
SAINT ALBERT ROCK’N AUGUST—THE BIG SHOW RETURNS AUGUST 7-11

  Rock’n August is one of Western Canada’s biggest annual car shows.   The whole community gets behind this week-long event because this is a showcase for the best...

December 16, 2017
57-1
MICHENER ALLEN AUCTION OCTOBER 28, 2017: 1957 CHEVY 1500 STREET ROD

1957 Chevrolet Street Rod 1500      Make:   Chevrolet            Model:                 Street Rod 1500 Drivetrain:           RWD      Ext Color:             White Engine:                 4Spd Automatic TR700  ...

June 19, 2017
BACH2
MARCH 16-18 2018: 12TH ANNUAL RED DEER COLLECTOR CAR AUCTION & SPEED SHOW

12th ANNUAL RED DEER COLLECTOR CAR AUCTION AND SPEED SHOW  TIME TO CONSIGN 1888 296 0528 EXT 102     OVER 200 CARS UP FOR AUCTION FRIDAY NIGHT-50 CARS...

April 21, 2017
116
JANUARY 2018 CAR SHOWS AND EVENTS MYSTARCOLLECTOR CAR

  JAN 20: CALGARY, AB  Michener Allen Auto and RV Auction   JAN 27: EDMONTON, AB  Michener Allen Auto and RV Auction   JAN 28: WOODSTOCK, ON: Woodstock Automotive...

October 8, 2015

Ads

Ads responsive