Meet the winner of Hagerty’s Classic Volvo Giveaway!

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Griff Shelley

Greetings! Here now, the most exciting of updates for Hagerty’s Classic Volvo Giveaway:

We have a winner!

If you’re just now joining us, we are helping give away a vintage car! A 1990 Volvo 240 sedan!

This car is far from perfect, but that’s the point. We are helping this delightful and roadworn automobile find a new home because Hagerty and its media division believe certain truths to be self-evident:

1. Automotive enthusiasm is not limited to any color, stripe, age, or creed

2. Too much of this business focuses on iron expensive and rare

3. Joy delivery bears no relation to odometer reading, market value, or badge prestige

4. Everyone can love an old car. 

A high-mileage and slightly tatty Volvo 240—even in the less desirable sedan trim, even with an automatic—is testament to the mission of this place. Driving matters. Brickish old Volvos matter. Some vintage cars may be less storied and obvious than others, but the key idea remains: Get off the couch, drive something, join the party.

The Volvo in question is currently owned by a Washington State enthusiast named Griff Shelley. Griff is a reader. He emailed me. Do you want my car, he asked.

As I noted in the original post that kicked this whole thing off, I did want it. But taking the car didn’t feel right.

I am very fortunate. I have a garage of low-cost oddballs. I wanted to help someone else, help the family grow, as it were. So I dreamed up this contest and pitched Griff on it. Mr. Shelley is as damaged as the rest of us; he thought it was a great idea. Hagerty bigwigs gave the green light: We would help Mr. Shelley find the thing a new owner, and we would buy that new owner a one-way plane ticket to get the car. As a thank-you for his generosity, we gave Mr. Shelley a free weekend of Hagerty DriveShare rental—basically an Airbnb service for vintage cars.

We asked our readers for writing, a maximum of 300 words: Why are you a good fit for old Volvo? Why do you need a tatty 240? What would you do with it? How would it change your life?

Entries ran the gamut—funny, poignant, heartbreaking. There were poems and songs, one-liners and more complex jokes. To win, you had to do more than just submit a nice piece of writing. You had to make a great case. 

Excerpts from a few of our favorite entries can be found here. 

So: Who took the cake? Goes home with the prize? Meatballs their way into a highway dream of Swedish steel?

Meet mattaboutcars!

Mattaboutcars, congratulations!

It takes a special blend of heart and enthusiasm to impress the staff here. You can read the winning post below. 

Let’s all congratulate mattaboutcars—jump into the comments and tell him what you think!

Later this year, the winner and I will fly across the country and meet at the Volvo’s parking spot, in Spokane, Washington. I’ll assist in the handoff and buy dinner for the winner and Mr. Shelley. And then the car will set off down the road to its new home. I’ll write about all of it. More to come in this space. 

The etymology of “Volvo” is fun: It is rooted in Latin. Roughly translated: I roll. Because Sweden’s most famous carmaker got its start making ball bearings. Which, of course, volvunt.

And so: Onward, we roll.

To everyone who entered, thank you for your time and enthusiasm, thank you for reading, and thank you for being—as the Golden Girls ever so famously put it—a friend.

Have a good week, everybody!

 

***

“Why is the keyhole so much lower than the driver’s door handle?” Boosted in my car seat, this was my first thought as a nursery-schooler, as I observed the 240 parked beside me. The 240 wasn’t an instant love for me. It was a slow, like 114-horsepower slow, kind of love.

As my dad pulled into the driveway with a new-to-us 1991 240, I was taken aback by its size. Perhaps because I was six, or because it dominated the 1985 Jetta it was replacing in our garage. As kids we’d say the vent dials looked like Oreos—they do—and learned to appreciate the trademark slatted headrests.

As the Nineties progressed, I became insanely jealous of the families that upgraded to 850s, S70s, and V70s, cars that were so modern and luxurious relative to our plebeian 240. However, when reality set in on replacing it, I realized I loved the car. My parents caved and kept it for us. I took and passed my driver’s test in it. With straightforward controls and renowned visibility, it was an unbeatable first car.

Finding beauty in the rectilinear design, the 240 was the subject of my final college Drawing, Printmaking, and Painting assignments. During study abroad in Copenhagen, I traveled to Gothenburg to do the Volvo factory tour and museum, where I saw the last 240 ever built.

While studying architecture, I learned that the Danes build structures to last forever. Similarly, the 240 was built to last, and my love of the 240 is just as enduring. After donating ours in 2012, something has been missing. Hoping to fill this void, I would relish the opportunity to call this one my own. —mattaboutcars

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