Molly the Volvo, my second 122S, was delivered new at the Gothenberg, Sweden factory to a man from Georgetown, DC. She moved to Chicago, Berkeley and Arcata before heading back across the country to me in 2010. I love many car designs but none is as perfect to me as the Volvo "Amazon."
My parents, Bill and Selma Thackeray, bought a VW in the early 1960s to tour Europe in. They liked it so much they got into a pattern of taking European delivery, and going exploring, annually. One year they collected a larger VW station wagon for their friends Bill and Erika Stone. And then in 1967, they decided to get a bigger car themselves: A Volvo 122S. They picked up the neat two-door in Paris that July. They had no children, so they opted for the two-door.
One year later, they got pregnant with me. And so in April 1969, I left the hospital and had my first car ride in that nearly new Volvo.
I grew up in that car. My friends and I rode everywhere in that back seat. My Dad had a Triumph TR4 sports car when I was born. That was replaced by a Volvo 245 DL station wagon in 1975. The older white Volvo soldiered on. By the mid-1980s, New York winters had taken a toll. The car was looking ratty. So my Dad and I fixed it up a bit and got it repainted. It became my first car. I was thrilled to drive it the six miles to school. Sure, lots of kids had more expensive cars, but none more unique and charming than mine. I drove my Volvo off to Hamilton College in upstate New York, but I did not want to kill it with the intense winters, so in early 1989 I sold it.
I missed that Volvo powerfully. Other cars came and went, but I never forgot it. I looked at a few over the years but none felt right... until the fall of 2010, when David Q. Rosen of Chicago listed a car he had purchased out in Arcata, California. I bid low but got lucky. The Volvo shipped from Chicago and arrived at my place in decent running order.
My new Volvo was, like my parents' car, a European Delivery -- in this case at the factory in Gothenberg, Sweden, in July of 1967. The owner brought it home to Georgetown in Washington DC, and then moved on to Chicago en route to the Bay Area of California. Molly spent most of her life between Berkeley and up north to Arcata. Living in California surely helped keep the rust at bay. Her journey reversed when David Rosen bought her and brought her to Chicago, and now I have gotten her close to her Georgetown youth. Maybe someday she'll bounce back to Sweden!
I replaced the bumpers, did a little cosmetic prep, and had my Volvo painted by a local shop I trusted. I've enjoyed driving her and showing her too.
Molly the Volvo has served me very well, albeit in lighter use than her forebearer. I have driven this car to New York a few times, including for reunions at the Hackley School, where she climbs that familiar hill up from the Hudson. In 2017, we threw her a 50th birthday party at Makepeace Manor. Her biggest trip was to the Volvo Club's 2018 meet in Stratton Mountain, Vermont, with my 84 year-old mother as the navigator. People enjoyed her stories of driving a Volvo "Amazon" when it was new. We won third place in class. Then we drove on to Cape Cod.
This modest, sturdy Swede gains fans wherever she rambles. She has had star turns at regional Cars and Coffee, and the Rockville Car Show.