So, as stated earlier, and as evidenced by my driveway, I am a Volvo Tragic. What started out as a search for a weekend wagon, capable of mildly off-road and carting bikes, dogs and punters around, has turned into a mini-obsession. Volvos are not the first thing one might think of when we are talking obsessions, but there ye go, each to their own.
The current focus of this Volvo obsesion is a recently acquired 1979 Volvo 242 GT. The GTs were a factory option that were produced to compete alongside BMW, Audi and Mercedes as a viable sports option. Yes, sports option. Yes, Volvo. The above picture is one of their advertisements from the 70s.
The GT came standard with a 2.1 or 2.3 litre EFI (electronic fuel injection) motor, some were normally aspirated (no turbo or superchargers) and some had forced induction (a turbo charger was fitted). All had front and rear disc brakes with the (for the times) awesome Volvo (Girling/ATE) four-spot calipers. The suspension wasn’t fantastic, but it could be modified to handle even better than factory, a mod still being carried out on most Volvos today, and most, of not all, the work could be done from home by a competent home mechanic.
The GT I have has been fitted with a 2.3 litre Motronic controlled turbocharged engine, close to, but not the original factory motor. They are a classic car, really, and probably only something a mother could love, but they are a great car for the price.
As with any car that is 33 years old (although the motor is 28 years old), there are bound to be a few issues. One of the most common ones is the wiring harness that runs from the ECU to the fuel injectors. Over time, the earlier looms suffer under the heat and oil and become crumbly and brittle – like this:
This wiring controls the firing of the fuel injectors and the cold/hot start sensors for the motor – not something you want shorting out on you, not at all. So. I’ll begin rebuilding it as the time and money allows.
So, as I pondered the sense in working on a vehicle that needs a bit of work before it can begin polluting again, all while whales are being slaughtered, oceans are rising and resources are depleting, I wondered at my sanity.
Why would you do this?
How would you justify this?
Well, how do we ever justify anything! We live in denial, and we cohort…
Whale protestors burned so much fuel in getting to ‘save the whales’ and pootle around the oceans; good luck to them, I say, as they have done an amazing job of bringing this back in to the public eye, but don’t then preach about using fossil fuels for our own uses. I don’t intend to drive this car everyday, nor do I plan on spending great gobs of money travelling all over the world in it, or consuming more than I need, which in my case is pretty low maintenance.
This is a hobby, one I enjoy, and one that helps keep me sane. As the Doomsday Clock moves another minute closer to our destruction, sanity is what I need most…
Is there not an irony in watching a doomsday clock tick and spending time on a car that contributes to the problem? Absolutely! Yet, unless we all stop, and I mean all 7 billions of us, right now, one man tinkering away and not driving his car isn’t really gone amount to much. Cows belch more methane in an hour than I expend in energies or creating pollution…
See, justification is easy, you’ve just got to believe you’re doing the right thing, or the wrong thing for the right reasons.
If you want me, I’ll be out in the garage…