Monday, April 06, 2020

My Daily Driver: @dougs_cars's BMW M4


1. How did you come to the decision of buying this car?

I had ordered a new 340i in Estoril Blue that was extremely delayed in production. Stopped in at a local BMW dealer to charge my i3 for a bit on a Sunday (they were closed) and saw this CPO M4 with a manual and the wheels I liked best. Called my sales guy Monday morning, and the rest is history. They actually kept my 340i in production and it sold immediately upon arrival!

2. What has your ownership experience been like?

This car's been fantastic! Having that extra year of CPO warranty was a nice bonus. And there's nothing like putting the exhaust in loud mode and rowing through the gears.

3. What is your fondest memory with this car?

I was alone in the car, had it in full Sport Plus mode, and was headed up the mountain switchbacks at Wintergreen, VA. It was a blast to head up the mountain with!

4. Why do you love cars?

I've loved cars since I was able to speak. I probably did before that, but wasn't able to tell anyone. I'll always have an interesting car, even if I'm broke. I guess some of us are just wired that way...passionate about transportation.

Doug has a YouTube channel.

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If you would like to participate, just answer the above four questions and submit one to three photos of your daily driver to milhousevanh at geemail. Thanks and have fun!

My Daily Driver: @ferio_252's Honda Civic


1. How did you come to the decision of buying this car?

This 1999 Honda Civic has been in my family since new. It was my brother's old car, and naturally I took ownership from him. 

2. What has your ownership experience been like?

I'd like to say driving a Civic has been 100 percent trouble free but I'd be fooling myself. Blissfully ignorant me learning how to drive found that neutral drops in the rain are fun but discovered I was slipping from first to second a couple thousand miles later. A gamble on a used $150 automatic transmission fixed that. I'm reminded that I forget to put in a new main seal with that tranny every winter with a few drops of oil on cardboard in the garage.

Lower it they said, it will be fun they said. I've replaced two ball joints since thanks to an aggressive 2.25 inch drop.

There are a few more instances where, if I let stock sleeping dogs lie, the Civic would be A-OK. The running theme is you can throw a lot of shi* at Hondas, even opt to use cheap parts, and they'll keep chugging along, returning 30+MPG, no problem. They call imports Japanese legos and it's true. Repairs are straightforward and in my experience, light on the wallet if you're handy. Last odo check is 243,670.

3. What is your fondest memory with this car?

The last year of college some friends and I went to Disneyland and a few other parks one weekend. On the drive back it was the middle of the night and there were five us in in my Civic, the trunk with all our luggage. Most of everyone was napping or just looking out the windows enjoying some cheesy pop/emo whatever from an album of burned CDs. The D-series was doing the most, stuck in mostly second, up the Grapevine and down the other side. It was just a lovely little moment, everyone happy.


4. Why do you love cars?

Cars means freedom, it gives its owner the option to go wherever, whenever.  

Paulo runs this website.

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If you would like to participate, just answer the above four questions and submit one to three photos of your daily driver to milhousevanh at geemail. Thanks and have fun!

My Daily Driver: @lahtiain's Peugeot 406 coupe


1. How did you come to the decision of buying this car?

The looks. My first car was a 406 sedan, 200k miles when I bought it. It was way better car than I ever expected, so I became a bit fond of the 406s. Naturally the Pininfarina styled coupé was one to get, so in 2013 I imported this example from Germany to Finland.

2. What has your ownership experience been like?

Pretty fine. You see occasional airbag lights, but they're generally way better build than you'd expect. Mechanicals are strong, and the V6 is trouble free engine. It's a grand tourer, comfortable long distance drives suit it much better than occasional twisty roads. It's a relatively heavy front wheel drive car after all.

3. What is your fondest memory with this car?

Picking it up from Böblingen, right next to Stuttgart in Germany, then finding out that the planned ferry from Sweden to Finland is fully booked. That meant reaching another ferry a day earlier: I had about 20 hours to cover a bit over 1 000 miles. I did that in three stops. Very good way to bond with your new car.


4. Why do you love cars?

Car has a simple task of offering us better mobility, but it achieves this through very complicated mix of design, engineering and cultural behaviour. It's the most complicated thing most individuals can own.

Of course I just generally love driving.

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If you would like to participate, just answer the above four questions and submit one to three photos of your daily driver to milhousevanh at geemail. Thanks and have fun!

Sunday, April 05, 2020

My Daily Driver: @julkinen's Volvo XC70


1. How did you come to the decision of buying this car?

I bought this car over the phone over Christmas. I needed a dependable daily driver diesel for my hour-long commute, and since some of my friends from the UK were coming over to northern Finland in mid-January, we did a deal where I’d locate a car somewhere near them, cover the costs for the car and some initial roadtrip-proof maintenance and they would divide the fuel costs among themselves. It was basically this, a Multipla, a Frontera or a Discovery with a coil conversion, as I wanted something I could use for hauling garbage in the countryside as well as driving to work. I chose the Volvo as they’re the easiest to repair here due to good parts availability. It would also cost a fraction of what similar Volvos cost here. The car is RHD, too, but that’s another story.

2. What has your ownership experience been like?

So, the guys bought the Volvo after determining it was beat and needed servicing but it wasn’t too beat to make it here. It’s far from mint as the paintjob is severely scratched here and there, the interior trim is coming off as a bunch of clips are broken, and the all wheel drive doesn’t actually work as it’s chewed up a sleeve next to the angle gear. “They all do that sir”, I believe, and on my commute it doesn’t really mean anything except wheelspin where there should be none. I’ll have it fixed as it’s not exactly desirable for a jacked-up crossover wagon Volvo to be FWD, but since the car runs and drives fine without any warning lights, I’m not too bothered about it. At least the car is a stout 6-speed manual, as I’ve let myself be told the automatics are more breaky.
I taxed and plated the car here soon after getting it and proceeded to drive it to work every day for months. It quickly proved its worth as it’s really quite frugal for such a big wagon, and really comfortable and capable. The seats are excellent, the leather is in good shape, and the entire car feels like it’s designed to be driven around here. The engine seems to be in alright shape for 160,000 miles, but I want to get some use out of the car before I invest into overhauling the AWD. There’s a lot of “While I’m here” parts that are adjacent to the angle gear, and I’ll have it done at a specialist anyway.
3. What is your fondest memory with this car?

The Volvo is probably the most appliance-like out of any cars I’ve ever bought, so I’ve been happiest just driving it to work and back and filling it up with increasingly cheap diesel. In the future, I plan to do more roadtrips in it, as I’ve only really driven it when necessary and not for fun’s sake. I’d love to chuck some bags in the back and drive to Lapland in it, where it belongs, make some memories. But it’s the one car I’ve bought out of need instead of the more usual “Let’s see if I can get away with buying one of these” approach that has led me to owning the project cars I have in the barn, or roadtrip cars like the one-liter Fiat Panda which I dailied last winter after driving it home from Slovenia. I couldn’t see myself commuting in anything else I own or have owned.
Right now, the Volvo’s declared off the road as keeping a diesel car taxed here is easily double the cost of a comparable gasoline car, due to the higher road tax which needs to be offset with getting use out of the car. As I now work from home instead of doing 100 miles per day, I’m running errands in my dad’s hand-me-down Mercedes S203 M271 C-Class which I initially used for commuting, but which I wanted to replace with a more beat wagon that would offer more countryside capability. The Merc is about the same age as the Volvo, but far better kept, and I don’t want to subject it to too much wear and tear. It’s also factory lowered where the Volvo has a factory lift, low profile tires where the Volvo rides on taller rubber, and it’s also an automatic. Great car, but it would go to waste just racking up the miles on a straight road to work and back. The Volvo’s better for that, and my fondest memories in it come from the countless hours of comfortable commuting.

4. Why do you love cars?

I’ve always loved cars, like many of the others who have taken part in this blog series. I don’t really remember a time in my life where I haven’t strictly been about cars, but of course you have to separate the idea of a car and the reality of owning several. In my life, cars are also linked to movies, music, brochures, adverts, roadtrips, photographs, the car aesthetic where it’s in the center of the frame but there’s either a million things happening around it or because of it or nothing at all, like in a sterile ‘80s brochure shot seemingly set up in a vacuum. I never seem to think about cars as constantly degrading hulks of defunct engineering ideals that gather rust and maladies, but as the way they were depicted in period marketing material and movies. The fact they are quite often a bit beat and broken by the time I get to own them is just a minor inconvenience. This is probably also why I can more readily champion cars that in actuality completely failed on the market. But it’s easier when you have known good, dependable cars that get you to work and then the cars that are fine as they are, working or not, and you can haul parts for the latter in the former.

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If you would like to participate, just answer the above four questions and submit one to three photos of your daily driver to milhousevanh at geemail. Thanks and have fun!

My Daily Driver: @otho03's VW Passat W8 wagon


1. How did you come to the decision of buying this car?

Thanks to being raised in a household that exposed me in equal parts to classic muscle cars, NHRA drag racing, rally, and touring car racing, I had a healthy fascination with all things automotive and automotive engineering-related. 
I was always fascinated with the way that the VW/Audi vehicles we owned over the years were engineered and, later on, how they drove.  When the W8 came out, I saw it as the perfect crossroads of everything niche thing I enjoyed about cars. 
Sleeper station wagon?  Check. 
Quirky, unassuming Volkswagen on top of an Audi quattro platform?  Check. 
Available six-speed manual?  Check. 
Bizarre, expensive, over-engineered, and seductively smooth new WR8 engine crammed into a vehicle not intended for such a thing?  Double check.
That, and I really just enjoyed the story. Equal parts understated and borderline-exotic engineering went into the thing for a future of the company that would never be realized.  After a few years, it was gone.  It’s a neat time capsule for a select few VW fanboys.
So naturally, I browsed Craigslist for 16 or so years until a cheap enough one popped up.
2. What has your ownership experience been like?

Overall, very good.  It was pretty well taken care of by its (eight) previous owners, but even so, it’s racked up a hard 200k miles, all of which have taken place in our fantastic Minnesota climate.  And everything still works, save for the passenger side heated seat.
I pulled it out of a dirt field where it had been sitting for a year, put gas in it, and drove it an hour to get home the day I bought it.  I’ve not had to touch or repair anything on the engine outside of a cranky PCV valve.  I did an output shaft seal on the transmission, it needed new CV axles, a general cleanup and normal high-mileage car maintenance stuff.  And it doesn’t even leak oil.
Since then I’ve just been driving it every day, road-tripping it around, cramming it full of camping supplies, remodeling debris, you name it.  Outside of the terrible yet shockingly consistent gas mileage, no complaints.
3. What is your fondest memory with this car?

This years’ winter road trip to a buddy’s cabin was probably the best memory, actually.  Nothing like loading the car to the roof with people and gear and heading out on some long north-woods forest roads in the dead of winter.  She hauled us out and back in perfect comfort, smooth as can be.  And with the traction control fuse pulled, also did some excellent all-wheel drive skids.


4. Why do you love cars?

I love learning how a machine works, doing your own work on it, and then putting it to use.  It’s especially satisfying to do so on a vehicle that you care about, as it’s not only fun to drive and experience in its own right, but it also facilitates some of the best shared experiences in my opinion.

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If you would like to participate, just answer the above four questions and submit one to three photos of your daily driver to milhousevanh at geemail. Thanks and have fun!

My Daily Driver: @DeadclutchDB's 1983 Audi Ur-Quattro


1. How did you come to the decision of buying this car?

My first car was an '86 Audi 4000 Quattro which started the addiction, and as an avid 70s and 80s Audi enthusiast after my first it was the pinnacle of the era's lineup. Wide body, turbo, AWD, manual, all the boxes checked! After prices started to climb a few years back I began dedicating a significant amount of time in to tracking down one to purchase, and when something affordable came up for sale on QuattroWorld within 45 minutes of my house it was a no brain'er.

2. What has your ownership experience been like?

Unpopular opinion, but daily driving a Ur-quattro was rather disappointing. The overall package is very pleasing to drive solo, very well planted through corners and the purr of the 5 cylinder plus its massive laggy turbo whining in at higher RPM was an experience everyone should have. Everything feels very well put together lacking the typical 80s car rattles and squeaks. It certainly feels robust, that is until you're accelerating with any other modern traffic. Even with my engine being modified to European spec, it was lackluster comparatively. Simply put, a V6 Toyota Camry will outrun you to 60mph without breathing hard, even large diesel trucks have the oomph to upset you behind the wheel of the rally legend. So I wanted more horsepower than the 200 I was playing with, easy... right? Begin the long road of disappointment.

Having owned so many 80s Audis of the past I knew the pitfalls of the complete lack of factory support and aftermarket part-scarcity but that was part of the fun for me, as an at-home mechanic keeping it going by all means without having factory part support was a challenge I gladly (foolishly) accepted. What I didn't account for was how that lacking and aging part supply would play a role with the California Smog checks. You see, it started with my Ur-quattro tail pipe passing California smog at PZEV levels, however still failed its initial smog check due to a missing EVAP valve. I found a used replacement via a Porsche part # and was able to get passed the smog check, but it did bring up a very serious point of contention with my ownership: Smog acceptable performance or lack there of for California.
The way California engine conversion laws are written, even engines that smog 100 times cleaner than the original are not acceptable to convert depending on what OBD2 sensors need to be in place, how they are installed, what the ECU is doing with all of the information, and how the wiring to those sensors back to the ECU may have been modified. Those IROZ 07K 5 Cylinder TT-RS powered Ur-quattros are all not legal under any circumstances here in California, even though they smog cleaner than the original engines they replaced. The only real upgrade over stock is a 20v turbo motor (AAN or 3B) which have great power potential in their own right however both are quickly approaching 30 years old, have their own part scarcity, and with California smog still in play will be limited to ~250 horsepower to still pass the sniffer (or you know, 50hp less then that V6 Toyota Camry). If you live in California, the Ur-quattro is a car where you need to be completely happy with it in near stock form, or find another chassis to play with. The purists out there would say "find another chassis to play with!" so I suppose it's for the best.

3. What is your fondest memory with this car?

The way people reacted when driving or at car shows will forever be my fondest memory. It's not like other hot-rods I've driven where you get waves and thumbs up, instead you'll notice looks of confusion or interest as you drive around town. The typical car-folk responses you get are replaced with stares that continue as you pass by, generally people wondering what it is you're actually driving. Seeing people's heads turned with eyebrows raised in the rear view mirror is a great feeling even if I didn't get the smile and nod from the get-go.


4. Why do you love cars?

Automotive repair and fabrication have been a passion of mine since high school. I went to college for ASE certs before changing my career path but the wrenching addiction never left, and some 50+ cars later I'm still having fun with it as a pastime even with my local smog.


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If you would like to participate, just answer the above four questions and submit one to three photos of your daily driver to milhousevanh at geemail. Thanks and have fun!

Saturday, April 04, 2020

My Daily Driver: @VW_What's FOUR W12 VW Phaetons


1. How did you come to the decision of buying this car?

Four of the same car count as one daily driver, right? Let’s start from the beginning. My wife and I had been in love with the mid-90s GM B/D bodies for 10 years, with her daily driver being a ’95 Buick Roadmaster Wagon and mine being a ’96 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. Although both of those were extremely reliable, quick and had a great cushy ride, the safety features just didn’t measure up to today’s standards anymore and my wife was facing a 150 mile commute a couple times a week. So it was decided to look for a more modern daily driver with the same creature comforts, soft ride and of course size, that we were used too. Well, a new luxury sedan wasn’t in the cards and even 7 year old Audi A8s and Mercedes S-series were still too expensive plus I’m always tending towards unusual, unique, contrarian cars so those would have been a little too mainstream anyway.

Fortunately, thanks to Dr. Piech’s crazy pet project, there was the VW Phaeton, a car that pretty much ticked all our boxes. Fortunately for us, the Phaeton was a total sales flop in the 3 years it was sold in the US and as a result the resale values were abysmal.  Of course the problem was that on paper a Phaeton was ideal but we wanted to make sure to test drive one first before committing to buy one. Although the prices were affordable, there were no Phaetons for sale locally. I kept monitoring the used car market for three months but none would come up. Meanwhile I ran across the VWVortex Phaeton Forum, an excellent resource for all Phaeton drivers and a very active community. There I noticed a local Phaeton owner, just a couple towns over so in a desperate move I messaged him if he would be willing to just show us his Phaeton and we’d invite him out for lunch. Well, this turned out to be Tamerlane himself! He was gracious enough to let us check out his Phaeton and even take it for a drive at the end of which we both were sold on it. As luck has it, Tamerlane was ready to let go of his V8 Phaeton so we ended up buying his and boy, did that start another story!

As any prudent Phaeton owner knows, spare parts are always good to have but having a parts car is even better. So a year into blissful Phaeton ownership I got the opportunity to buy a cheap, high miler, one-owner, 4-seater Phaeton in LA. It had some quarter panel damage from a parking lot accident but was otherwise dealer maintained from day one, had a clear title and was fully roadworthy. Perfect parts car I thought, flew down there and drove it home. By the time I got home it was clear that this Phaeton was too nice to part out so I bondo-ed it up on the cheap, did some maintenance and figured I drive it a year before I part it out. Not so, 6 years and 35k miles later we still enjoy driving it. Well, now having two daily driver Phaeton meant a search for another parts car was even more crucial. Fast forward a year later, a wrecked W12 comes up locally at an insurance auction and I jumped on the opportunity. Well, turns out it had only cosmetic damage so I rebuilt it myself, got it titled and it’s been our third Phaeton in the daily driver rotation.

Of course driving a W12 takes the Phaeton experience to another level, let’s just say once you go to 12, you’ll never go back! The W12 was becoming very popular in my household so logically this meant we “needed” another W12. We found a nice blue W12 and now having 4 Ps was starting to feel a little excessive even for us. Tamerlane’s V8 had become a garage queen by now owing to the fact that it was a low miler in pristine condition so we passed it on to another Phaeton lover. After that I finally found a V8 parts Phaeton that was too far gone to restore and even a W12 parts car, damn, we were back up to 5 Ps! So the V8 was parted out but then Tamerlane sends us a local CL ad for a pristine low miler W12. You probably can figure out where this is going … after only paying 13% of its original 2004 MSRP of $103,000, it now resides in our garage … and we are back up to a total of 5 Ps. Btw, a friend of us in Philadelphia also has 5 Phaetons, one for himself, one for the wife and each kid and a spare so it looks like we are not the only ones that are that Phaeton crazy.


2. What has your ownership experience been like?

Nothing like the high-maintenance stereotype nightmare stories that we hear all the time. In the seven years we have been driving Phaetons none has ever stranded us and since I do all maintenance and repairs myself, it’s been pretty affordable also. Of course there are always some minor issues like the infamously temperamental TPMS system or the automatic trunk opener getting confused. However, nothing besides expected maintenance in line with the car’s age (suspension bushings, axle boots on the W12s, timing belt on the V8). Even the nightmare stories about having to replace all four air struts and the controller for about $10k if one strut fails, have been proven to be not true and aftermarket rebuilt struts are now readily available (that’s the advantage of sharing the same struts with the Bentley Continentals which are way more common here) and can be replaced one at a time.

From a driving standpoint it’s just amazing, a perfect road trip car. Due to the 4-corner air suspension with adjustable damping settings, it can be a floaty magic carpet ride one day and a sporty harsh ride the next. This car is just built to cruise on the freeway, has amazing stability and is SOOOO quiet inside, thanks to the dual pane windows all around, that it’s easy to forget that you are approaching triple digit speeds. Of course any freeway onramp is just plain fun with the W12s!


3. What is your fondest memory with this car?

Owning a fleet of them has meant lots of great memories. From the occasional twitter & Instagram posts when somebody drives by our place and realizes there’s >1 Phaeton parked out front, to car-people getting all excited on the freeway when they realize there is a Phaeton next to them, especially so in the W12s. However, meeting all the other wonderful Phaeton-crazy people that we have crossed paths with (Or is that crazy Phaeton people?) are my fondest memories and number one is definitely getting to know and becoming friends with Tamerlane himself.

A particularly cool memory is the fact that there’s a local kid out there now that got a Phaeton as his first car. His dad had bought a Phaeton with a bad engine a year ago and it was just sitting in his driveway. He bought the engine & trans from my parts car and got his Phaeton running and all fixed up and recently, when his son had his 16th birthday, he gifted it to him.

Another unforgettable memory was our visit to the Transparent Factory in Dresden, Germany, at the time when Phaetons were still being built there. Being a Phaeton owner meant you got a personal tour of the “Atelier” (the huge room where you customize your Phaeton, think whole cow hides in every color, all wood trim options, wheels, paint colors …) and, after donning a white lab coat, they would let you out onto that famous Canadian maple floor production line. Somewhere out there is a Chinese spec Phaeton that had the “marriage” of body and chassis initiated by me because the workers let me start the fully automated bolt robot.

4. Why do you love cars?

That’s the hardest question to answer. I think people are either born with that car-crazy gene or not. I love the feeling of freedom and adventure that the car brings, driving down the open road, and all the different possibilities you can find there. But I also enjoy learning about the history and impact of cars on society over the decades, all the different models manufacturer came up with in different countries. Last but not least, I really enjoy working on my cars and getting the satisfaction of fixing an issue. It requires complete focus and to me at least, is relaxing … at least until the O-ring on the cooling line to the W12 alternator springs a leak and you need to drop the whole drivetrain to fix it :-) Just kidding, there’s a work-around for that!


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If you would like to participate, just answer the above four questions and submit one to three photos of your daily driver to milhousevanh at geemail. Thanks and have fun!

My Daily Driver: @jumpingjehovahs's Toyota Prius T Spirit


1. How did you come to the decision of buying this car?

In 2015 I was on holiday in California and when I pitched up at the rental desk to collect my Intermediate, I was given the keys to a Corolla 🤔 I'd paid for a bigger car, so asked for it and I'll never forget seeing a Barcelona Red Prius driving down the ramp. I turned to my girlfriend at the time and said: "that's not ours, don't worry".

Well, it was.

I was so dead against it, I'm a petrolhead, I can't drive a Prius in the land of the V8! Within 10 minutes of driving I was in love, within an hour I was smitten.

Fast forward to this year and my Lexus RX450h was too big, too thirsty and maintenance was getting expensive on an older luxury car. So I bought a Prius T-Spirit, in Barcelona/Vermillion Red with a grey interior. I actually went to buy a Yaris Hybrid, but when I saw this, I was swept back to sunny California from rainy West London and that was it. It saves me a ton of money and I think it looks, and sounds, pretty cool.


2. What has your ownership experience been like?

Short, so far, but I love it. It's comfortable, reliable, efficient and has more space inside than it has any right to. The only downside is other drivers, who tailgate it and speed up when I overtake - I've never experienced it in any car I've owned, including my Smart car! Interestingly, although the seats aren't as comfortable, the noise levels on the motorway are similar to my Lexus and it does a great job of handling wind, rain, snow and the very narrow muddy lanes that living in rural England brings.

The savings on running costs are great and have freed up a little money for my other car, which is a bit of fun (that only cost £5!)

3. What is your fondest memory with this car?

I've only owned it 4 months, so I've not done any super-cool activities in it yet (but watch this space for my Habitent!) However, the moment that I think about the most is the day I took it home to see my family and it sparked some kind of deep-rooted engineering/car-loving gene in my teenage sister and my octogenarian grandfather. Their eyes both lit up in the same way at the way the car cruises in silence, sounds like a robot under regenerative braking and their excitement at the technology, especially seeing it park itself. My grandad's face of amazement/fear as the car steered itself onto the street from the driveway is etched into my mind. Pretty cool!


4. Why do you love cars?

They create freedom, I can go wherever I want and I've got a hotel room that I can add a kitchen to, an extension for more space and a way to get home. There's also this feeling of 'man & machine' that's hard to beat. Throwing a car fast into a bend (even a Prius) and it responding in the way you wanted, maintaining speed, it's a thrill. I also love the community they bring, no matter what car you have, if it's £50 or £50,000 there's a group of people out there who want to hear about it, learn about it and take it for a spin. If you've got a car, you've got somewhere to belong and I love that.


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If you would like to participate, just answer the above four questions and submit one to three photos of your daily driver to milhousevanh at geemail. Thanks and have fun!

My Daily Driver: @markmitchellbro's Volvo S80 3.2


1. How did you come to the decision of buying this car?

In December 2019, I was working as the Sales Manager for my local Kia dealer when an excellent job opportunity I had not been seeking out came and found me, taking me out of the auto industry.  In retrospect, with all that's going on today it was good timing!  Anyways, before I knew the job offer was coming, I had a demo vehicle, my wife drives our family Sorento, so just about a week before the job offer, I sold my beloved but superfluous 2005 BMW 330Ci, which was starting to get a bit frustrating with repairs/maintenance.  Fast forward a week, I'm putting in my two weeks notice (on good terms), and now I need a car again because my demo's going back!

Any reasonable, practical person would have simply chosen any one of the vehicles from the excellent selection of reasonable, practical cars we had on the used lot at the time, but I'm a moron, so I spent the next week scouring used car ads for my next vehicle.  My gut was telling me to get an old pickup truck plus a cheap classic or sports car, but several people (not least of whom was my longsuffering wife) dissuaded me.  I found this Volvo in the as-traded inventory of our nearest Volvo dealer and found myself continually revisiting the ad.  I'd always liked the S80 - it's a bit uncommon, and I always find myself lusting after big comfy sedans.  I had never experienced one, but reviews convinced me it would be a fine vehicle.  The car was about 100km away, and I didn't really have a chance to go see it, but I know the GM there and trusted my interaction with him regarding the car.  My GM at the Kia dealer kindly allowed me to purchase the vehicle through the Kia dealer so that I could write my own deal, control rates, and avoid fees, so I'm still satisfied with the deal I got.  The Volvo dealer drove it down for me, I had a remote starter installed as well as new winter alloys + tires, and I took possession a couple days before new job time.


2. What has your ownership experience been like?

Well, here's the problem - I'm discovering I really don't care that much for it.  The car itself has been mostly fine - details to follow - but I just have no love for it, no bonding.  I just keep wishing I'd gone with my gut and bought a truck + a classic or sports car.  The car did arrive with a "park assist system" error, which I was not told about and which irked me a bit, but I had it scanned and it said three rear sensors and one front sensor were bad.  I ordered replacements and fitted them myself (more on that later) but the error persists.  Front right strut bearing seems to be shot as well, need to get that addressed.  Otherwise, the vehicle is comfortable with an outstanding ride and superb seats.  Engine is plenty powerful, and the stereo sounds great.  It's one of the only S80s in my town, which I kinda like.  Steering isn't amazing but it does the job.

What I'm coming to realize, however, is that, despite years of reading about big sedans in magazines, and agreeing with those online in love with the things, I just don't think I'm a big sedan kind of guy!  Having never had a history of being a truck guy, I now can't stop thinking about experiences I had with them when working in the industry.  Additionally, after ending up with a rental Mustang Ecoboost in Florida earlier this month (long story), I was reminded how much I also enjoy sporty vehicles/coupes, and how I really just want those two types of vehicles in my life.


3. What is your fondest memory with this car?

My first reaction to this question was "I don't have any fond memories with this car."  But then I remembered the parking sensor replacement (I know, a weird memory to be fond of).  After watching way too much Car Wizard and WatchJRGo on YouTube, I had a hankering to wrench again for the first time in many years, so I ordered up some replacement parking sensors.  On a nice, sunny, social-distancing weekend, I went out to replace them, and my 7-year-old son wanted to "help."  Well, he actually was a legitimate help, removing wheel bolts (after I loosened them) and helping me remove and later re-fit the bumper covers.  We had a great time together, and I was able to show him the different components of the braking and suspension systems on the car.


4. Why do you love cars?

No idea!  I got my first toy car when I was 6 months old (a Renault 5, since I can already hear you asking) and that interest has just been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  Not sure where it came from - although my family members certainly don't dislike cars, there's no one else who's really into them (until my boys came along).  But when I was 5 or so, I was already naming all the cars in the parking lots, devouring magazines and buyer's guides, and I once pointed out to the owner of the local Mercury store (at the time) that his vehicle had the wrong hubcaps on (they were his winter set)!  My interest in cars has never waned or been usurped by other hobbies.  I'm just a car guy through and through.


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If you would like to participate, just answer the above four questions and submit one to three photos of your daily driver to milhousevanh at geemail. Thanks and have fun!