APRIL 30, 2009 (MAY 2009): 1978 VOLVO 242 GT- THE “CAREER CAR”



Ed Graff was a rookie teacher when he traded a full-sized custom van in for a 1978 Volvo 242 GT back in 1983.

‘Sure that in itself wasn’t enough to make breaking news on NBC but 27 years and 400,000 miles later the old Swedish warrior is still making the daily 40 mile round trip to school and back.’

Ed’s not a maintenance guy.

In fact. his mechanic wanted to know about the antifreeze schedule a few years ago and the door sticker told him that he last changed it at the end of the Reagan era-17 years earlier. A quart of oil is added every 3 months. That’s about all the care and attention the old trooper gets and it still has its original clutch.This car has been the ultimate automotive investment. The kind that has car salesmen looking for work plus it’s been a bit of a moneymaker.

Years ago when Ed was new to the teaching game one of his kids was “double dog dared” to walk across the roof of his Volvo.Net result-a bent sunroof and 400 bucks worth of damage. There was a happy ending to the story because the kid had a set of values and a job so he forked over the cash for the repairs. Ed took the money and straightened it out himself so the car made its own payment that month.

Later on the car made him another $900 after a hail storm and, thanks to a 21-dollar Midas muffler lifetime deal back in the 80s Ed has had 6 brand new mufflers installed-free of charge.Ed has put the Volvo through the paces over the years. Back in Ed and the car’s misspent youth he ran it up to over 130 miles per hour and it had a little bit left.

Ed lives in an area with real winter weather and he’s slid off the road so many times it’s as routine as breathing. He’s never worried because every trip into the ditch is in his safe predictable Volvo.This car looks like a shoe box but it’s actually a very solid touring sedan. That’s why Ed traded in the camper van-he wanted high performance not a comfortable couch. The incredible mechanical record was a bonus.

Over the years Ed has seen many many students come and go and to a person the question is always the same-does he still have the old Volvo? The answer is obvious because now the reliable old Volvo is worth about 50 bucks as a charitable donation. That’s not an option so in 2 years Ed will be a 30 year teaching veteran and he’ll have been driving the same car to work for 28 years. When Ed hangs up the chalk for the last time he’ll be driving away in the same old ’78 Volvo and it’ll still be running like a clock.

He’ll call it a career and that’s what Ed calls the old Volvo.

A career car.

Jerry Sutherland @mystarcollectorcar.com