The iconic, boxy silhouette. Their impeccable safety record. There’s a lot to love about a Volvo, and their power to inspire intense nostalgia is pretty magical. We’ve been fans of the Swedish-made automaker at Ledbury HQ for quite some time. Our CMO has owned a record six Volvo’s in his lifetime and wouldn’t consider buying anything else (well, except for that 1987 Saab 900 Turbo). We were lucky to have been given access to Volvo’s historical archives and had a blast digging through their old photos. Here, we pulled out some of our favorites and also gathered some “Volvo Valentines” from a few people around Ledbury HQ. Enjoy, and we bet you’ll be bitten by the Volvo bug by the end!
Reid Collier, Art Director: 1968 Volvo 122s. I loved that car despite some hairy situations. One time I managed to drive it down from Charlottesville to Charleston taking as many back roads as possible for spring break. I noticed that the battery was beginning to fade in the reflection of the tailgate in front of me coming across the Ravenel bridge. I coasted into the neighborhood where I was staying with no juice, landing about a block away from the house. Fortunately some friends were home to help push us the last few feet. I got it fixed up and drove it back home, but that was the last long road trip I took in it.
Tyler Northrup, Shirt Stylist: 1992 Volvo 940GL (Maroon) My first car was a 1992 Volvo 940GL. My dad bought it in 2004 to commute to Washington, DC from Fredericksburg where we were living. So solid and took everything I threw at it, and then some. Got it up to 315,000 miles before the engine seized up. I sold it to a guy who rebuilt the engine and resold it. I actually found it on Craigslist from the guy I sold it to. I ALMOST re-bought it but I remembered everything that I put that car through, so I passed. I still keep an eye out for them and will eventually get another one. I named it Rudy. Miss him.
Molly Szkotak, Head of Community Development: 1997 Volvo 960 Wagon (Hunter Green) This wasn’t my first car technically, but it was my first car after not driving for 6+ years and letting my driver’s license expire. Living in NYC can do that to you. I bought the wagon from my dad after I moved back to Virginia in 2010. My expired license was out-of-state so because of Virginia DMV rules I had to take the driving test again — even though I had at least five years of driving under my belt. I took my (second!) driving test in this car so I felt an odd kinship towards it. The thing was a tank, I felt so safe in it. One time a car pulled out from a blind spot on a busy thoroughfare and side-swiped me. My car barely had a scratch, yet somehow it ripped a huge chunk of plastic out of the bumper of the other driver’s Hyundai
Every detail about it was perfect: The tan leather interior, the hunter green paint with a slight metallic finish, the headlight wipers. A particularly vicious pothole in downtown Richmond led to its ultimate demise, right before it hit 200,000 miles. I cried when I knew I had to give it up!
Bill Eyre, CMO: Between my wife, son and I, we have three Volvos currently on the road – our fourth, fifth and sixth! While our Volvos have not been vintage, I will always remember coveting the classic Volvo 240DL wagon so popular in the field club parking lot back in the 70’s. My first Volvo was a 2000 Cross Country, Java Brown. Not my first choice of color, but I was lucky to get it from the Volvo corporate fleet when Orvis (my former employer) was in talks to do a branded version of the then-forthcoming new XC90. That never happened, but I got the car, which was supposedly the very one the princess of Sweden drove when she was in the States. That made “brown” suddenly a little more attractive. Best car ever. Ran it to 200k then donated it to the Good News Garage charity where I’m sure its legend continued.