SoCal VSA member Munyungo Jackson recently drove to Arizona to meet the vintage Volvo caravan Team 83 from The Netherlands. Read his story below!
Text and Photos by Munyungo Jackson
When Jay Norton, President of the Cactus Chapter Volvo Club of America, told me about the possibility of joining him and John Manning, Vice President of the same chapter, in meeting some European Volvo drivers, driving about 20 Old Volvos from Panama to Alaska, my 1st thought was, “You gotta be kidding!”
To me that sounds pretty major! After checking with a few more Volvo people, I realized not many of them knew about this. No one is talking about it, and there’s no press other than a small bit I found in eRolling #45…!!
Also, as a Southern Cal Volvo driver, my experience in driving to Arizona this time of year, or between May and Oct, is also Crazy…and HOT…!!
And that’s why Jay suggested that I drive something with air conditioning, like maybe my 98 C70, because he said he was driving his air conditioned 1800E.
But then, with further investigation by checking the European Volvo drivers online through team83.nl, and seeing what they’re doing, I said, “If they can drive Old Volvos, with No Air Conditioning, from PANAMA to ALASKA, at this time of year, then I can drive my ‘no-air-conditioned’ 62′ 1800 Jensen from L.A. to Tucson…!”
And of course, I also have my WD80* available that I could try.
(*Windows Down at 80mph) ☺
So, I got started on July 30, 2014 around 7am. And of course, after over 9hrs of driving (which usually takes me a little over 6hrs), and after about 8 water stops and refill-my-ice-bag stops, and a few cool-down-the-sweating-back-of-my-shirt stops, I reached the Best Western Inn swimming pool in Tucson after 5pm…at 105 degrees…!!
The next morning Jay and John met me around 9am, and we went down to the border at Nogales to welcome them. We were keeping track on team83.nl where they were.
After waiting 3 hours, it came up on team83.nl that they were at the border, but we didn’t see them.
Finally, an American guy who lives in Nogales, Mexico told us that we may be at the wrong entrance, that there is another entrance on hwy 19. So we sent John over to check, which he did. He then called us back and said “Yes… They’re here..!!”
We then drove over and found at least 25 old Volvos, different models..!!
And there were about 35 more Volvos still on the other side of the border…!!
And we think we Americans know about driving Volvos…!!? I love the fact that Irv Gordon has driven over 3,000,000 miles, and is well known, well promoted and well advertised. But what has blown my mind are the Dutch guys!
They shipped 60 Volvos on a boat from The Netherlands to Panama. Then they flew there to drive them, 2 people per car, and some 3 per car, from Panama to Alaska, enjoying stops like the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas! And although there where 60 Volvos, they don’t all caravan together on their trips. They travel in small groups or teams 2 to 6 or more. And some travel alone. But they stay in touch with each other. Everybody has maps, so they choose amongst themselves where they would venture to, to enjoy themselves! As long as they all meet at certain points, like the hotel they are registered at.
These Dutch from The Netherlands have driven Volvos almost around the world…For Fun…!! And Nobody knows about them! These are the plaques that they put on their cars for journeys they have taken, and are taking now!
They’re even traveling with a truck that’s supplied with any Volvo part they may need, and mechanics who are there to install, repair, and take care of those Classics!
Here are some of the vintage and special Volvos that were on this journey:
I really enjoyed this trip, and would like to thank Mr. Jay Norton, President of the Cactus Chapter of Volvo Club of America, for letting me know about the European Volvo Lovers, and inviting me to join him and John Manning in welcoming them into the USA! It was a lot of fun to drive with Team 83 from Nogales to Tucson to Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon… and then back to LA via Route 66. Even though the Dutch may look at it as something normal that they’ve done many times… I took it as a Great Adventure, and that more Volvo Lovers in the USA and around the world should take notice, Love, and Respect!
Member of SoCal VSA and VCOA
’62 P1800, ’72 1800ES, ’98 C70, ’03 XC90