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Car of the Month

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Car of the Month Februari 2006 belongs to John Robson from the UK.

Dear Volvo fanatics,

My first experience with a Volvo 480 was 11 years ago in 1994. I was on holiday in Wales with my parents near Barmouth, and one of my fatherís friends had a 2 month old Turbo in 235 red. I remember having a ride, along with my father and mother, and sat in the back left seat. I remember being very impressed (at the age of 11-12) by the separate rear seats, and when we got going, I remember my father chuckling and saying, "wow, you can really feel the turbo!". At that age I found the idea of a boost gauge and flip lights simply delightful, and found it hard to believe it was a Volvo; even then I had a good awareness of the available models.

Photos of me in 1994 add to this very much valued memory, since now in 2005 that exact same car is mine:

In February of 2004 I was enjoying the heady delights of a rusty black Seat Ibiza when my father rang to ask if Iíd like a Volvo 440 Turbo. At the time I was quite keen on my Ibiza, and knew the 440 to be quite ugly, and had concerns over the cost of insurance. I later realised that heíd made a mistake, and was in fact referring to the 480Turbo of his friend. The car had just been in for its tenth annual service. The Volvo garage from which it had been bought new, and where it had been serviced and repaired for 10 years, after completing a £300 service, did not do its Mot as instructed. Instead they said that the car would need new wishbone bushings, front to rear brake pipes, new disks and new pads in order to pass. They also said the car wasnít valuable enough for this to be worth doing(!), and should be broken. This I find shocking, but find it hard to be too angry, since for this reason and the preference for a good home, the car was offered to me for free.
To put the car on the road cost a little under £250, and took a weekendís work. Insurance was no where near as bad as I expected, and so in March í04 I drove my 1st 480. I found at the time that 120bhp was a little more than I was used to, my previous two cars weighing in at 60bhp and 57bhp. The car handled well, but the dampers were clearly past their best, and within a fortnight I had fitted 4 new Bilstien shock absorbers and some Pi springs. This transformed the handling from the good to the remarkable. Then, and now too, a quick drive would be all that was needed to put a smile on my face and make me forget any worries.

Since then the car has received various other bits:
  • Car Pc Install
  • Damped ashtray, digital clock
  • Manual boost controller
  • Additional boost gauge
  • Cd player/amp/sub

Reliability has been good, with a broken coil and torn engine mount being the only failures, and this didnít leave me stranded. A new engine mount was moulded by myself, from polyurethane, and a new coil cost a few pounds from ebay. The club has further enhanced my enjoyment of the car, offering advice when needed, and making me feel like a valued member. But it has also given me the opportunity to meet likeminded people in what is becoming an increasing amount of meetings, ranging from locally in Sheffield, to Scotland and even Dunkirk. These meetings have been at the very least fun, and at times have forged memories I hope I will never part with.

Iíve now had 3 Turbos in total, breaking one for parts, while another sits in my garage after an accident in which my friend was drivingÖ.A testament to the safety, since we were not hurt even lightly. Though the car constantly demands little tweaks, and has its rattles and niggles, itís a car I like very strongly, and cannot think of a car which could replace its spirit if I were to swap it. I intend to continue to enjoy and improve my car, and canít imagine ever wanting to sell it.

John Robson, a.k.a. JohnTurbo

Photo's of my 480

John Robson, member 1393