V.I.S.I.T. – The Snows of Kilimanjaro Edition

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For the record, these aren’t the snows of Kilimanjaro. These are merely the snows of Connecticut. Mount Kilimanjaro, on the other hand, barely even has ice anymore, due either to increased production of new iPads for Black Friday, or relentless, round the clock stamping of Justin Bieber DVDs half a world away. By the middle of the next decade, Mount Kilimanjaro isn’t expected to have any ice at all. Like the snows of Kilimanjaro, the rear-wheel drive Volvos are receding from New England’s roads, which made finding this 145S station wagon even cooler.  

If there was one series of station wagons that ruled New England’s not-particularly-treacherous roads since the 1960s, it was arguably the Volvo 145 and 245. Numerous appearances in film, such as the 1988 documentary Beetlejuice where Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis’ characters drive a yellow 245DL wagon in the fictional town of Winter River, Connecticut (actually filmed in East Corinth, VT, as Connecticut doesn’t have too many covered bridges) have cemented its place in the pantheon of all things New England. Even in Greater Volvoland, the 145s and 245s were ubiquitous even in staunch French and Italian car enclaves of Poozhoe Province and Alfaville.

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The Volvo cognoscenti among you will immediately recognize this wagon as a first facelift car from between 1971 and 1973, due to its plastic grille, lack of “raccoon mask” sidemarkers, and the position of the logo. The first versions of the 140, you may recall, had a metal grille and a somewhat cleaner look to the front fascia, tacked on DOT side markers notwithstanding.

In 1973 the 140 was facelifted again, receiving an updated plastic grille and raccoon side markers (that I think were the best fascia variant of the 140). And, of course, the 140 series cars morphed into the 240 series cars in 1975, which I am happy to report are still on our roads in significant numbers, making less appearances at local independent shops and the beds of tow trucks than Audis made just a decade ago.

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This example seemed well cared for, and just may have been wearing its original paint. the owner gets bonus points for retaining the original wheels and wheelcovers, and not upgrading to the 5-spoke 240 turbo wheels, which look great on any 240 it has to be said.

While the numbers of daily driver Volvo 145s and 245s certainly are receding, according to an unscientific survey of my memory from the past ten years, Volvo has essentially moved on from the concept of a rear wheel drive station wagon. I can’t say that I was particularly disappointed with this piece of news, as I have heard many a tale of peril at the wheel of a RWD car during a Nor’easter, and because AWD technology is no longer as special or unusual in a family passenger car as it was 20 years ago. But there is something to be said for the disappearance of station wagons that are challenging to drive in the winter, and ones that blend in with their antique surroundings as well as the Volvo 140 and 240 series.

 

By |2013-01-02T10:30:43+00:00January 2nd, 2013|V.I.S.I.T. - Vehicles I Saw In Traffic|16 Comments

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