When you start out in this sport most of the mental effort goes into picking what boat you want and the gear you want to use. This is the fun part, particularly for blokes because blokes love gear, but you quickly have your attention brought to the fact that you have to transport your kit to where you want to paddle and this has been the source of great anxiety for me. Originally, I had a Mitsubishi Magna Wagon, Mike, who was great. He was reliable and fast with plenty of room but the Newcastle flood in June 2007 did him in and I had to find a replacement. Good thing insurance.Now, I like Volvos for some reason so I resolved to buy yet another one and after a lot of searching I found Inge, a 1996 850GLT Sedan. I did all the research on this model on Volvo forums and knew just what to look for. The main issue was the amount of flood damaged cars going back on the market but Inge was in the Mittagong highlands and there was no sign of water damage on her. In fact, her body was flawless and the interior pretty good. Low k’s and smooth running with no diagnostics alerts meant she was probably OK. At any rate she was cheap and I was back into Volvo.
New Rhino roof racks and kayak cradles later and Inge was prepped for kayaking. In fact, she was much better at it than Mike and Eco is much easier to get on and off. I like driving a tank and there’s a strong feeling of security in Volvos you don’t get on much else.But all’s not well in the Volvo camp. After a few weeks the air-con shat it’s pants followed by front suspension, then engine woes and now a vibrating catalytic converter. Volvos come with more features than you need because after a while only a few still work. Losing the air-con at the start of an Aussie summer is a cruel blow. Recently my odometer stopped and that’s a $500 repair. The air-con is a 20 hour job and I’m too scared to get a quote on that. The front end was fixed easily and the engine just needed a service but the catalytic converter will be dear and I will have to get the serpentine and timing belts replaced soon. Keeping this thing on the road will cost more than the car. I love driving it but my Volvo trained mechanic calls it a Ford and only ranks 240 and 740’s as “real” Volvos. The whole exercise has been costly and pointless because now I have to replace it again. This time it will be a Toyota.