We’re helping give away a classic Volvo and you could win!

Griff Shelley

Hey, you!

Yes, you!

Do you want a classic car? Are you short on funds? Are you a fan of scruffy old puppy dogs in need of love? Can you string together a few sentences in English? Are you a citizen of these United States?

Do you want to win a free, and only slightly scruffy, “youngtimer” classic car?

Are you still interested if we tell you this car is a Volvo 240 sedan, that most rad and punk-rock of all Volvos?

If so… Welcome to Project Freebrick!

Details below. As with most things old-car, the story is the best part, and it gives weight to the whole endeavor.

But first, for the impatient, the meat:


Want a Chance to Win an Old Volvo? 

  1. Scroll to the bottom of this post
  2. Read the section titled “How to Enter”
  3. Go to the linked Hagerty Community forum post
  4. Write a response to that post
  5. That’s it!

What goes in the response? A few paragraphs on why you need this exact car, and why you believe the Volvo 240 to be one of the best things on earth. Get creative. Include a picture if you like (no more than one, please). Wax lyrical on Volvos, or old cars in general, or whatever relevant and ridiculous song lives in your heart. Reference your third-grade teacher and that Ikea bookcase you destroyed during a lingonberry-pancake bender in college, whatever. Just have fun with it. Surprise us.

The main rule: Entries must be in the form of a response to our original Hagerty Community forum post and no more than 300 words.

That’s it! Go win a Volvo!

The good ship meatball, in all her glory. She could be yours. Griff Shelley

Why a Scruffy Old Volvo?

A while back, I wrote a column. A series of tongue-in-cheek resolutions for the automotive New Year. Because I am an idiot, I name-checked my absurd lust for a Renault Dauphine.

Then: a reader emailed. A young man named Griff Shelley, from Spokane, Washington. We have never met.

“I don’t have a Dauphine,” he said, “but I do have a Volvo. Do you want it?”

I thought for a moment. “How much?”

“Free,” he said.

Boxy old Volvos are great cars too often maligned. They’re also best when scruffy. The 240 is a simple and virtually unburstable car from the last great era of virtually unburstable Swedish mileage madams. I grew up in Volvo 240s and love them—for their durability and highway poise, but also for their oddly entertaining, Mr. Deeds Eats Some Lutefisk road manners and sense of unstoppable rationality. (I even made a buyer’s-guide video about these cars last year—200,000 views to date.)

I wanted Griff’s car. But it occurred to me that someone else probably needs it. Someone young, perhaps without much disposable income. Someone who has always wanted a practical old classic of their own. A person looking for a ticket into this great hobby, a pastime that can seem so often closed-off and gatekept by funding.

So I talked to a few people here, and then I talked to Griff, and we hatched a plan.

Two hundred and sixty thousand miles later, an interior that still looks… interiorish. Griff Shelley

No, Really: Why?

The best answer I can give is my pitch to Griff. These are the exact words I sent him as reply:

I have a proposition.

Hagerty believes in this kind of goofery. Most of us aren’t oligarchs. Concours cars and fancy new exotics tend to hog media attention in this space, which is silly, because the hobby is so much more than that. More to the point, some of its best bits are tied to humble and affordable iron, old but deep of character.

What if we had a contest? 

If you’re up for it, we want to help find your Volvo its next home. A place where the car might bring new light. Where it could do for someone else what it did for you, and what so many scruffy old classics have done for me. 

We’d like to find the 240 an owner who badly wants a machine like this, but who can’t afford a second car. We want to use this as an opportunity to remind everyone that there’s joy in the attainable dream. And that there are still good and attainable dreams out there, and good, generous people.

Like a certain Mr. Shelley, he said, ahem cough.

The process would be simple. First, we would introduce you, and the car, on Hagerty’s site. (This one! 1.6 million unique viewers a month.—Ed.) We announce a call for submissions. We ask our readers for a short piece of writing, 300 words or less.

Truth in advertising. Sam Smith

Readers, I will say! Tell me why you need a classic car but can’t afford one! Tell me how you are the perfect person for this sort of thing but otherwise unable to live this particular dream! Tell me the places you would go and what you would do in a 260,000-mile Volvo!

The funnier and more absurd this writing, the better. We’ll narrow submissions to a top three, and then you help pick the winner. We’ll fly that individual to your hometown to retrieve the car. I’ll fly in at the same time and take you both out to dinner. The winner will owe us a short interview on the car; we’ll publish that interview on the site.

All of this arose because I started thinking about help. I’ve helped other people find and fix old cars, never for profit. Others have helped me. You wanted to pass this car to me as a form of help. We will each continue to help other people, because that’s how existence works, if you’re not a jerk. 

Short version: We pass on what we love because it feels right. We welcome newcomers into the fold with an arm up. And like Tommy Lee Jones said of Elvis in Men in Black, old Volvos never get sold, they just go home.

Naturally, because Griff is a hell of a dude, he said yes.

I enjoy Swedish rear impact structures, and I cannot lie. Griff Shelley

A Note From the Current Owner

Nobody dives into a pool without knowing the water depth. I asked Griff for a few words for this post. He cheerily obliged:

This is a Volvo. Specifically, it’s a 1990 240 DL. It has 260,000 miles and is an automatic. It is a locally owned, well-maintained example that I bought in 2021 from the original family. It has never left me stranded.

Griff then included a short list of the good and bad. In summary:

The Good: BF230 redblock four-cylinder. Cruise, power windows, sunroof, overdrive, and it all works. The car drives and stops straight. The timing belt was replaced at 235,000 miles. The previous owner refreshed the fuel system (pump, injectors, filter). The interior has only minimal wear, and there is no visible rust in rockers, trunk, or frame. Recent new parts include plugs and wires, cap and rotor, flame trap, throttle-body gasket, mass-airflow sensor, air filter, and intake tube.

The car comes with the original spare tire, jack, window sticker, and full complement of factory literature.


The Bad: The windshield is maybe a little perhaps just a bit cracked. “The transmission,” Griff says, “has a slight, intermittent whine in lower gears until it gets to operating temp.” The tires are also getting low on tread, he says.

See, they can’t, because then they’d have to cross the River Styx, and everyone knows Volvos don’t float, they just sink like a… brick. (Get it? GET IT?)

The Ugly: The horizontal clear coat is oxidized and peeling. The passenger front door is dented. The headlight lenses—those famous glass cinderblocks—are cloudy. The HVAC blower is noisy. The dash is cracked.

Griff again:

I bought this car for $1000 in late 2021 intending to drive it through winter, do some restoration over spring, and then cruise it in summer. I had a 240 like this years ago and, as nostalgia hounds are wont to do, had to re-claim those feelings from a simpler time.

But: When the Good Reverend Smith wrapped up his Weissrat Chronicles, I knew I had to reach out and dangle this Swedish carrot. If you’re on this site, you probably know how versatile these old bricks are. I had toyed with the idea of a Gambler or Safari project, but ultimately, this car was destined for someone else.

It needs a little work here and there. But overall, it’s in better shape than anything with 32 years and 260,000 miles should be.

So here it is, for you to decide the next chapter. Love it, work on it, share it, drive it.

Told you he was good people.

What do you do with this thing if you win? Simple: Whatever you want. Drive it into the ground; with simple maintenance and a decent supply of something like petroleum products, it will probably outlive your grandchildren. Go crapcan racing. Swap in a V-8. Fray the tender fabric of society while driving around listening to Swedish black metal at ear-bleed volume. (Bork!)

That’s just a start. Anything is possible! Live your truth.

“So tell me: What’s it going to take to put you in a pile of meatball and flat-pack furniture jokes today?” Griff Shelley

The Technicality

A small disclaimer: For boring legal reasons, Hagerty cannot give you the car directly.

The grand and only prize in this contest is a plane ticket to Spokane, Washington, where Mr. Shelley has agreed to hand the car to our contest winner. For free. We trust Mr. Shelley, and so you should, too.

That plane flight will be one-way, leaving from the major airline hub nearest to your home. This is to encourage you to drive this fine beast home. (Sadly, Hagerty can neither guarantee the car’s readiness for such a journey nor aid in the process, but that’s the fun of old cars. If I can make it to California and back in this pile of madness, you can Volvo 240 anywhere.)

I will fly to Washington and meet you and Mr. Shelley in Spokane to document the official hand-off. Then I will treat you both to dinner. I will order fried cheese at this dinner, because this is America and we have rules.

After that, you’re on your own, plus 240. You choose your destiny. It’s an overbuilt Volvo from a golden era in the company’s history. There are no guarantees expressed or implied here, but really, who doesn’t believe in the power of a Volvo 240 as unstoppable little highway meatball? Live the dream. The charm of the highway strip. Drive it home.

A back seat. Imagine the possibility. Griff Shelley

How to Enter

To enter, you must write a 300-word post on the Hagerty Community forums. Subject: Why do you want this car? Why do you need it? Get creative. Get silly. Avoid cliché. Live in the moment. Take chances. Tell us what you’ll do once you get it home, and how play the notes of the redblock song wafting through your heart. Write like the wind.

CLICK HERE to go to the forum post we’ve set up for this contest.

Once you’re there, log in to your account or create one (it’s free and quick).

Next, REPLY TO THE CONTEST POST. Whatever you write there serves as your entry, up to 300 words.

Please enter only once. Multiple entries will be disqualified.

Entries can be as short as you wish but may be no longer than 300 words. (Here’s a free word counter if you need.) Entries longer than 300 words will be disqualified.

Finally, please make sure the email attached to your Hagerty Community account is one you actually check and have access to. Not just, as our community manager, Sajeev Mehta, put it, “some spam dumpster.” If you win, that email will be how we find you.

Wheels: Not period-correct, still extremely Volvo. Dents give what the French call a certain “I don’t know what.” Griff Shelley

What it Takes to Win

Entries will be judged by a select group of Hagerty edit staff. We’ll be looking for passion, weirdness, fun, individuality, spark, creativity, and a minimum of Ikea jokes. (Or maybe just really good Ikea jokes.)

And really, 300 words isn’t that much. This post is at least a million words long, and you’re at the bottom already—how difficult was that? Just get all hopped up on Mountain Dew, as the line goes, and hit that keyboard like a spider monkey.



Contest start: Wednesday, 6/1/22, 8:00 AM ET

Contest end: Wednesday, 6/22/22, 8:00 PM ET

Three semifinalists announced on this site, and their essays posted for reader perusal: 7/1/22

Winner selected and contacted by email: 7/9/22

Winner announced here and winning essay posted: 7/16/22

Date by which winner must legally retrieve Volvo from Spokane or forfeit claim to car: 10/31/22

Griff Shelley

Select excerpts from the complete and official contest rules, which are embedded in a PDF below:

No purchase necessary to enter or win. This promotion open only to U.S. Citizens. Employees of Hagerty and their immediate families, and any affiliates or partners of Hagerty are not eligible to win. Award is provided “as is,” with no warranty or guarantee, either expressed or implied, by Hagerty. Hagerty is not the legal owner, seller, broker, or dealer of the vehicle. Hagerty has not inspected or determined the condition, safety, drivability, or reliability of the 1990 Volvo 240. Please be aware that federal, state, and local taxes on airfare/winnings may apply.

There will be one (1) Grand Prize awarded. The Grand Prize includes one-way air transportation from a major airport near the winner’s home (determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion) to Spokane, WA for a meet and greet with a Hagerty representative and the owner of the 1990 Volvo 240, and to take possession of the vehicle.

Air transportation date to be scheduled between the Sponsor and the Winner 60 days in advance with trip scheduled for completion by October 31, 2022. Blackout dates apply, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Easter. Total approximate value of the Grand Prize is one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500 USD). The approximate value of the 1990 Volvo 240 is five hundred dollars ($500 USD).

The PDF below contains more, including the full suite of contest rules, disclaimers, and regulations; failing to read this document does not make you exempt from them, so please read!

Good luck and happy writing, folks!


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