What Happens When The Prius Conquers Berkeley? Volvo Valhalla!S

Berkeley and its nearby East Bay cities (including Alameda) have long been inhabited by legions of folks who swear the Volvo 200 series was the Best Car Ever Made. You'd have to pry their cold, dead fingers from the ignition key of that beloved mustard-yellow 245 or brick-red DL before they'd give up driving their lefty-bumper-sticker-bedecked Swedish bricks (at 49MPH in the fast lane)... that is, until the Prius arrived. Once a bulletproof hybrid Toyota enters the stable, paying Sven the Volvo Mechanic $1,800 every six months to fix a car that gets 18 MPG no longer seems like the bargain it once was... and thus begins the long tow-truck ride to the junkyards of Oakland and Hayward.

As a result, you'll find that a huge percentage of the import-car sections at East Bay wrecking yards is comprised of Volvo 200s. This reality was a huge factor in the decision to go with a Volvo 240 as a 24 Hours of LeMons hopeful, since parts are laughably easy to find (we'd considered a Datsun Z, but you're lucky to find even one Z at a big self-service yard these days). To illustrate my point, I photographed many of the Volvo 200s I saw at one such yard last weekend.


And, as an added bonus, here's an Amazon that survived a good 40 years before becoming a parts donor.