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I Always Wanted A Volvo: A Personal View

by Andrew Carter

posted in Automotive

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When you spend any time at all on Swedish roads, there are a number of things that will strike you over the first several kilometres/miles of (mostly) pleasurable motoring between the rocks and trees that make up that wonderful country.
Being half Swedish (there, I've shown my cards early on in this piece - I have a natural bias towards the yellow and blue), I have been fortunate to visit my Motherland on a number of occasions, both on business (Automotive) and pleasure (eating, drinking, swimming, fishing, hiking), and have driven many miles around the south of the country.
Back to the roads: there's the landscape, of course - my daughter came up with the 'rocks and trees' descriptor for the country (her main memory); there's the general emptiness (outside of the few main conurbations that is) of the roads; there's the elk fencing along all the main routes, stopping these lumbering great beasts from adding to the road death toll that they are already major contributors to; there are the different (but mostly sensible) road rules and regs. (for example, you have to give way to emerging buses, and in some areas you can't idle your vehicle for more than a few minutes); but the main thing you'll notice is that the majority (it seems) of cars on the road are Volvo or Saab - though of course the Saab brand is no more, and those left on the road are only getting older!
So Volvo has been a background theme for me for my whole life, though I've never actually owned one. We recently acquired one at our yard, though, and it's stirred something in me: like Monty Python's parrot, I've discovered that the Volvo badge causes me to 'pine for the fjords' (or, since that was a Norwegian Blue, and I'm talking about another land, I'm 'pining for the Lakes and Islands' of Sweden's West Coast!).
The XC70 is a seven seater, and this one has an automatic diesel engine, integrated sat nav, leather seats - all sorts of toys ( a fairly well-appointed family car) - and at heart is what I expect of the brand - an estate, solid looking, a family car. I know that they come in other shapes and sizes, but mostly I know that they're built in Gothenburg and that Volvo also make Trucks and Buses.
Let's face it - what does anyone really need (or want) to know about a car manufacturer, or about the ins and outs of the vehicle's specification? It's all about the feeling, the memories, the drive, and, I suppose, the cost.
Cars do evoke memories, don't they? Just writing this article has taken me back several decades, thinking about the old fish-van that used to visit our lake-side 'villa' once a week, and all sorts of other time and place feelings, mostly (in my case) about the freedom and wonders of growing up in the countryside. And what of the drive - purely subjective I suggest? Where some have a need for speed, others want a smooth ride. The cost? It has been suggested to me that Volvo aren't as reliable a brand as they once were - certainly this one would be a thirsty model, and at a dozen years old would probably need to get to know a good mechanic.
I think, secretly, that I still want one though!
About the Author: Andrew is a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL), a farmer with twenty years agricultural (mainly Pigs and Research) experience, and worked for fifteen years in the global automotive industry. He's now breeding bait / garden worms and selling quality used cars, the latter being on show at, the former shortly available on-line!
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