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There are two car makers in safety-conscious Sweden, Saab and Volvo. Saab also makes aeroplanes, while Volvo also makes tanks.

Sadly an unusually high proportion of Volvo owners appear to be old farts wearing hats. Opinion is divided on the reasons for this. Some believe that it is a process of attrition: all the Allegros, driven by such people, rusted away long ago, leaving only the Volvo drivers in possession of a current MoT certificate1. Others think that if you drive a Volvo for long enough you will automatically end up doing 68mph in the middle lane while smoking a pipe.

Serial Volvo owners appreciate the car's many virtues. They are solid, reliable, almost impervious to corrosion, and just the teeniest bit dull2.

Volvo Cars is now owned by Ford. A man from Ford said that Volvo shared the same core values as Ford: reliability and longevity. Which presumably explains why Escort odometers never did get that sixth digit3. Happily, the truck, bus, marine diesel engine and earth mover-making part of Volvo is still owned by Volvo.

The best thing about being a Volvo owner is the sense of superiority. After all, there is fun to be had in outlasting your detractors. The worst thing about owning a Volvo is the fuel consumption, and the fact that every 'boy racer' in the world will try to get in front of you so that you don't 'hold them up' by driving considerably faster than they intend to. After all, how could a car with a 2.5 litre twin-cam engine possibly be faster than an Escort?

No discussion of Volvos would be complete without a mention of that heady moment when, surrounded by BMWs, Alfa Romeos and other exotic metal, a Volvo Estate ploughed its lonely way around the track in the British Touring Car Championships. Oh how they cried when it won. Oh how they changed the rules when it won the entire series...

1A certificate which declares that the car has passed the tests which supposedly make it roadworthy.2Dull? A virtue? When was the last time you saw a Volvo on Police, Camera, Action! being driven by joyriders?3Or is that because all Escorts are clocked long before they get to 100,000 miles?

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