All hail the Volchero

Volvo ute pickup

The beauty of crappy old cars is that you never feel guilty taking drastic measures to turn them into something else, which in this case means something awesome. Take a Sawzall to a Ferrari F40 and people will call for blood. Take that same Sawzall to an early Volvo 245 wagon, and guys like me double take, make an illegal U-turn, and come back for a picture.

Volvos are a quirky, inexpensive way to get into classic cars. I like quirky almost as much as I like cheap, so Volvos have always been the main focus of my car life. I first became aware of the “Volvomino”—or “Volchero,” if you will—several years ago, when I saw a photo of one online. I then spent the better part of the afternoon in a “custom Volvo pickup” rabbit hole and noted that some were definitely done to higher standards than others.

I then briefly contemplated my own 245 in the driveway and the Milwaukee Sawzall in my basement and considered the standard to which I might aspire in a High Life-fueled weekend: Knowing my attention to detail, I'd really just end up cutting the roof off, poorly, and not finishing anything else. So lots of jagged steel and dangerously negative structural rigidity, in other words. But a boy can dream, can't he? And he can certainly appreciate the fruits of others' labor.

Until yesterday, I'd never seen one of these things in the wild. So it was a real treat to turn back, pull up next to it, and share this magical creature with my two young children. Because it's important to me that they grow up knowing that human ingenuity knows no bounds. Especially when it costs next to nothing.