volvo accidents

I changed the format around a bit - new stories are at the TOP, and interesting sections will have a link.

Have an interesting accident story about you and YOUR Volvo? Tell me and I'll put it up here. Email me and include all details. I'll put it up here VERBATIM. Some content may be edited for readability and/or spelling (that bugs me - personal quirk) but other than that it's YOUR page. Also, if you want to add pictures or links to pictures, let me know and I can either scan them or add the URL for you.

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Special Sections: Third-Seat | My Accident #1 | My Accident #2


Now I'm a Believer, by J

Volvos are the best, and here's why.

Late one evening I was driving on a two-lane, no shoulder Arkansas "highway" in my 1983 Volvo wagon when I encountered a small animal and its offspring in the middle of my lane. Like an idiot, I swerved to the right to avoid hitting it. When I tried to come back on to the road, the passenger side tire caught on the lip of the road. I oversteered and was now headed into an oncoming vehicle in the other lane. Of course, I swerved to avoid a head-on and the whole thing took on a life of its own.I headed down a very steep embankment at highway speed. My car hit a massive tree head-on, spun 90 degrees and smashed the passenger back fender into another tree.

Although the car was totaled, the interior of the car was completely uncompromised and when I got out the lights were still on and the engine was running. If I hadn't seen it myself, I wouldn't have believed it.

I walked away with nothing but a very sore neck.

I bought another Volvo wagon. I have no intention of ever owning anything other than a Volvo, ever.


OOPS! by Mike Kadonoff

So it happened. The epic day I was the cause of pain to my baby. I love my car so much and I would never hurt it, like I mean I yell at my friends for slamming the doors!

Some background first, I love my Sally (Silver Sally is the full name) to bits. Frankly without ever being in an accident to prove it's worth I just fell in love with the car. It's just got such a wicked look to it, and so solid after 18 years abuse including the teaching of three people how to drive as well as my mom's horrible driving habits! (three accidents in total)

So one fine day while restoring my first car, a 1982 244 GLT I decided I needed a couple trim pins to make my car look better, and so the tradition of driving over to the Volvo service area began.

Ironically along the way just about 25 feet before where I was supposed to turn to make my car look better I slam into the end of a freakin' Sienna (God I hate that car) And the worst part is I didn't have time to brake because I was simply distracted! There was a saweeet 850 T-5 R with the crazy rims to my left parked across the street! So naturally, like any other Volvo lover, I gawked at it being totally oblivious to my surroundings and present speed. (about 40 km/h.) So by the time I looked back I had about five feet to brake before the Sienna and Sally met so you can guess what happened, whammo! Since I was pulled halfway into the right lane I messed up my left front fender... bad. You were expecting it to be perfect weren't you? Well it would've been if it weren't for the fact that he had to brake too ( lifting his rear) while my front dipped therefore missing the bumper ENTIRELY! So much in fact here's reference: his muffler just barely hit the top of my bumper rubber taking a nice chunk out of it.

So here I am in my first accident just outside of the Volvo dealership while all the service guys are laughing at me. Just about to cry the worst thing happened when one of the Volvo guys asked if I had hit one of the new cars parked on the roadside. (I DIDN'T!!)

So now after coming in for 50 cents worth in parts, I leave with $400 dollars damage to the car. The fender was sticking out about 6 inches with my headlight dangling like an eye out of its socket. The turn signal assembly took it the worst by literally being embedded into his bumper. (his car being a shoddy piece of plasticy crap!)

A bittersweet bit of happiness came to me about two weeks later when the receipt came in for his damage. A thousand bucks! whooohoo! even with his bumper hitting the soft parts on my front end, my car hurt him more!

Just another testament of the brick's wickedness.

I just can't understand why- as a Volvo owner- a person would pay more money to get less by buying a car like a Sunfire or Civic... yuck. There's a reason Volvo's are TWO TONES dry. Ya beat 'em and they just keep coming back for more!

I'll have pics and undated on the progress of my baby's recovery.


a brush with a Saturn, by Elliott Freis

Just had to put out a thank you and goodbye to my good ol' 83 245.

When I was just a kid, I used to sit in the driver's seat and pretend I was driving it. I thought I would never have it. Then I did. And it was beyond doubt the greatest car. It had problems for most of the time I had it, most of which I repaired myself.

1 month ago, I was driving to my girlfriend's house on a back-road that has a 55mph speed limit. Coming around a blind corner to a stoplight, with a non-functional warning light, I see a brand new saturn 2door. Light turns red. Yep, you guessed it, he slammed on his ABS. Well, I don't have those, so I slid right into the back of him, although i managed to dodge the impact to the front right. SLAM, and it was over. I pulled through the intersection and to the side and turned off the car. The entire front right of the car looked like it had been chopped off at an angle. However, no fluid was leaking. Despite the fact that the right front wheel was back 1/2 foot from the left, the car still handled off the road. The engine was still able to run. What a car. I got out, looked at my car and felt quite bad. It was obviously a total. However, the ENTIRE rear end of the saturn had come off. Literally, the trunk was sitting in the middle of the road, 5 feet away from the car. I walked away with no physical hurt. I checked on the people in the saturn, they all had neck pain (hah..) and one had a blooded nose. Turns out he was in back and not wearing a seatbelt. (Something I have always done) In any case, There is no way I am ever owning a saturn after I saw how much it came apart. I think its volvo's for life for me!

Now I have a 85 760Turbo and its being as wonderful to me as the 240.

Somehow, I will always remember being a kid and sitting behind the wheel of that car pretending to drive it.


Sideswiping road signs, by Henrik

A few years ago, I was playing with my 78 244 DL on a dirt road. My license was fresh, and it was my first car. I was doing about 30-35 mph and had a swell time with heavy over steering in the curves. I got more than I've asked for, and the rear end went fish tailing a few times and then my Volvo smacked right into a road sign on the right side of the road. The road signs here in Sweden are heavy duty stuff, and I felt the the car lose momentum, hitting the sign at approx. 20 mph. The first seconds after the accident, I thought that my car was ready for the junkyard, and that I would have to call for help to get it of the road. I got out of the car to take a look at my wreck, and NO damage what so ever! At least it looked that way at first sight. The 2" steel pipe from the road sign was badly bent, and the end of it was sticking into my suspension on the right side of the car. I had to pull and twist it to get it out. The big 'commando' bumpers saved my head lights, grille and radiator, absorbing all the impact power. The damage to my Volvo from this crash were a small mark on the bumpers rubber strip and a slightly bent bumper. The car even kept the steering alignment!! After removing the road sign, I could get on my way like nothing happened. It was like driving a tank. Do the same thing in a Nissan Micra, and you won't be able to tell it's a Micra ;-). I've owned three Volvo 200 series since then, and I'm currently driving a 244 GLT '83. I Love it!

Will not drive anything else than Volvo.


A bump in the night, by Dennis R. Nordin

Coming home from the St. Pete Gran Prix 1991 on I 275 east bound center lane, traveling at 60mph and had to cross the outer lane to make my friends exit. He had just moved and I had not anticipated the exit. I looked right and slipped right just before the exit and a 1985 Jag was sitting at dead stop on the exit ramp, waiting for a hitch hiker to cross. Choices hit the Jag or kill the hitch hiker! I hit the Jag at about 45mph brakes locked up, seat belts on everyone, except the hitch hiker he just kept on walking down the highway like nothing happened.

My 1979 240 GT five year complete restoration project 10k investment was totaled, front end pushed up to the fire wall, doors opened, no broken glass, engine still running. My friend an SCCA race driver pulls himself out and looks over the roof at me and says sure glad you drive Volvos. Jags rear was repairable - the sun roof popped out on impact, safe car! No injures to any one!

I got the ticket because the Jag driver was not the person who originally stopped to pick up the hitch hiker - it was an old junk car that had stolen plates on it and he was long gone.

The police officer wrote my insurance company a letter explaining why I got the ticket and that I hit the Jag avoiding a pedestrian, no increase from them.

I now own a 1983 240 Turbo SE/FN and a 1991 240 GL, and looking for a 1993 240 Classic, why would you drive anything else?!


Head-on survival, by Natalie Hill

Let me tell about Fido, my Volvo that died for me. I had my beautiful 1987 red, 5 spd 245DL for less than 2 years with only 73k miles. It was in superb condition when I bought it & took great pains to keep it that way. I named him "Fido" because to the unknowing eye he looked like a dog-slow car. God, I miss him.

Just a few days before Christmas 1991, my boyfriend and I left for a restaurant to celebrate my birthday. I drove since he'd had extensive knee surgery 2 wks prior. We live in rural SE Lower Michigan and headed for Toledo OH about 1/2 hour away. Four miles from home we were hit head-on by a drunk driver (0.27 alcohol level) who completely crossed the centerline in a 1978 Ford F-150 pickup (pre-yuppie assault vehicle) on a country road. My speed was ~45mph and his was estimated at ~45 mph, thus the 90 mph approximate closing speed. I could describe the mechanics, but the Michigan State Police accident scene photos here pretty much say it all. By inspecting the pavement gouges, the Trooper said that both vehicles stopped cold upon impact. This was his first Volvo crash, but he had heard about them & was very impressed that we lived. People say that it doesn't look like we were both going that fast. But, what would be left of us in the 1980 Mustang I sold for the 245? As I've said, only another Volvo maven really knows what's in these pictures.

For a dumb reason known only to me, I did not have my seatbelt on, though my boyfriend did. Watching the hood fold up & wondering how much of it would meld with my face/person, I ate the steering wheel, stuck my left fist thru the windshield and jammed my right foot & knee under the dashboard (I am short - 5 ft - and I sat about 6" from the steering wheel just to use the clutch properly). On the recoil, my head slammed into the headrest, then back into the steering wheel. My boyfriend, who had reclined his seat a bit slammed up into his shoulder belt then back into the seat (the knee was ok but he got whiplash and a seatbelt melt streak on his new jacket, but that was it). The noise was deafening.

Everything went quiet & we realized the we were indeed alive - totally freaked - but alive. As I tried catching my breath I kept saying (strange thing, I know) "Fido did it Fido did it He saved our lives!!" I laid on the horn to get help but to no avail - it was in pieces. The pickup driver opened his door and one by one we heard beer bottles crash to the pavement. He fell out flat on his face. He'd done a face plant into the windshield, trashed his face & teeth but because he was so drunk that was about all. I struggled to get out to go kick the s*** out of him but my door was stuck - I'm still incredibly pissed!! We were taken out on backboards so we never did get to look around. We were sent home after only 6 hours in the ER!! The other guy spent a week in the hospital getting his face back. I guess one could say that we limped away from the crash. BTW, I swear, not only was it my birthday but there was also a full moon!

All told, I had severe lacerations of my knee (dashboard bottom - 40 stitches) & scalp (my hair was pulled back in a baret which ripped my scalp) which took 36 staples, three broken ribs, three broken tarsals (gas pedal foot), loosened teeth & bruises everywhere. Amazingly, I've never had any neck problems though my shoulder was badly pulled and causes pinched nerves to this day.

The carnage of vehicles was awesome. Yes, Fido was totaled. The adjuster said he saw $10k in damage just to the exterior without even looking under the hood! Because I'd paid too much for it in the first place (I just HAD to have it!) I got far less than I thought fair. It had new brakes (I skidded on frost trying to avoid the truck) and just had it detailed. And, yes the truck was totaled, too. Because it was jacked up, it mostly went over the top of me. But when his axle hit mine, the frame stopped & the body kept going.

What did I replace it with? Of course - another one - a blue 1986 245DL with 48.5k miles! It was my first automatic - a BIG change for a self-professed control freak, but I got used to it. My little sister even traded her 1989 turbo Thunderbird for a 1985 245DL right after my accident. Right now I'm thinking about finding a nice used V70 XC, but I'll keep this 245 for when my nephew starts driving. God knows, he can't get killed in it! I will always drive Volvos for the only reason I bought the first - as idiot protection.


A bump in the night, by Travis Mitchell

Gotta love Volvos. I bought my first Volvo last year... A 1988 - 740 Turbo Sedan. It's got all the bells and whistles and in just one short year I've grown to love my "Big Blue Beast." (I used to drive a Honda CRX and swore by Honda safety... but nothing compares to "The Beast.")

A couple of months ago I experienced exactly how well built my beast was.

On a rainy, foggy evening I decided to go out to dinner. Coming around a bend I noticed a discoloration in the road ahead. Looking closer it appeared to be a patch job on the road. Expecting a slight bump as I approached the patch job I maintained my speed of 35 mph. Looking over my left shoulder confirmed my suspicion that there was a car next to me and I wouldn't be able to drive around the bump.

Imagine my surprise as I hit the "bump" and from beneath my car heard a sickening *WHACK* followed immediately by a muffled *BANG* The "bump" turned out to be a dip. To be more precise, a pothole 6-8" deep and nearly 2' long. The thing looked to be about the size of the Grand Canyon without the rainwater in it.

Pulling into the nearest parking lot I discovered, to my dismay, that both tires on the passenger side of the car were flat. Upon closer inspection I found the rims to be trashed. The combination of my 35 mph and the potholes length/depth had creased the rims. These were going to need replacing.

I had the car towed to the nearest tire store to have the rims and tires replaced. Rims, brand new, would have cost $545 a piece, I got lucky and the guy at the tire store found some for $210 a piece. Add tires and labor and the bill came to about $575. From there it was to the mechanic's shop.

Hitting the pothole so hard that the rims were creased I expected major underbody/structural damage. I told the mechanic to look for ANY damage that could have been caused by the accident and call me with an estimate. Imagine my amazement when I called him back later and discovered my car was ready to go and the bill was only $38!!! It turned out all I needed was a front end alignment!

It was at that point I remembered my father's words when he learned I'd bought a Volvo. "They're tanks, kid. They don't drive like tanks, but they're tanks."

My only complaint about my Volvo is the gas mileage. I'm only getting 20-22 mpg. Out of idle curiosity I took a drive over to the dealer where I bought "The Big Blue Beast" and had a talk with the guy that sold it to me. We were discussing the safety of Volvos and he shared a story about a Volvo vs. Caddie accident he'd heard about. Both vehicle's were tossed end over end landing on their respective roofs. The Caddie crumpled like an aluminum soda can, the Volvo spun like a top intact.

The Caddie owners were at the Volvo dealer the next day.

PS My insurance company covered the damage to my Volvo without question, so I still haven't had the pictures I took that night developed. I am considering suing the city for the damage because the pothole was the result of really crummy work by road crews. As soon as I get the pictures of the damage and the pothole (canyon) developed I'll make them available.


Another story courtesy of me, Richard Langis

This one is my fault. I was pulling off a side-street onto a main road and got on the gas pretty hard to merge into traffic. What I failed to realize was that not 100 feet ahead of where I pulled out there was a car turning across-traffic. By the time I realized I needed to stop and not accelerate it was just a bit too late to avoid not hitting one of the cars stopped behind the one turning. I slammed on the brakes, but my feet were kinda tangled and I hit both the brake and the gas with my right foot, so I didn't get full braking power...and I submarined under the truck's bumper.

Hope as much as I want but I _knew_ I wasn't going to go unscathed from this one. Pissed me off because I'm such a firm believer in the strength of my Volvo. Well it was't really too bad, total cost will probably run around $500 for either vehicle, but I only had liability on the '81 242 so that's gonna come out of my pocket.

We both got out, assessed damage and since we were blocking traffic pulled off on a side street to exchange information. The car still drove fine, no fan in the radiator or anything and I drove it home afterwards without incident. Here are the pictures of the aftermath. My bumper went under his, and because of this his bumper smooshed the grille, headlights and turn signals - pushed most of them a good 6-8 inches back. Broke all of the plastic (damn, and I just replaced those too!), tweaked the hood (but it still opened!) and generally just messed up the front of the car.

It sucked.


A couple of stories from Rocky DeVries

I have a sad, but comforting story about volvo safety to share.

In mid-december (1997), my friend and I were cruising in his 1981 245DL. We were cruising up a hill at about 70 and I saw a deer on the side of the road. Before I could open my mouth, the 250 lb doe darted out in front of the car. The last thing I remember is the *BANG* of the deer smashing into the vehicle. The volvo literally PLOWED through the deer, breaking all 4 of its legs. Stunned, my friend pulled the still idling car to the side of the road to see what was going on. The car ran just fine, no overheat, no stall. We drove the wreck 15 miles back to his house and parked it in his garage where it still sits waiting for TLC. The damage? Grille; Light Plastics; Right Blinker assembly; hood; hood assembly that holds in the radiator, lights and grille. No damage was done to either of us, we didn't even shift in our seats when we smashed into the deer at 70+ mph. Miraculously, no work on the engine or fender is needed. We got a parts car for $150 that will patch the brick up and send it back on the road.

What a DAMN safe car.

My second story occurred when I was driving my '80 245DL down main street one gloomy winter afternoon. I was driving down main street when a 2 door honda civic plowed into me a 30 mph from behind. After the recognizable *WHAM*, I pulled my car over to inspect the damage. Not a scratch... nothing was hurt. I look to the honda and the bumper had nearly fallen off. I said "Well.. that accident was clearly your fault.. sorry that you had to take the damage..", got the dazed kid's license plate number and promptly drove away. Beside the solidity of the volvo's bumper, i must complement the head restraints protective quality. I am convinced that I would have had a bad case of whiplash in any other car. What a DAMN safe car.

In conclusion, I renew the vow that I made long ago: I will drive volvos and ONLY volvos (preferably the 200 series:).

Editors note: right on. ---

From Art Mann

Our fairly new (8 month), low mileage (under 3K) 850 T-5 wagon was hit from the rear the other day by a Jeep Cherokee. Our car was stopped at a red light, but the driver of the Cherokee didn't realize that the two blocks worth of cars in front were all stopped!

My wife, who was alone in the car, never saw it coming and doesn't remember anything except for some reason she was now passing (on the right) the car that was just in front of her. I arrived on the scene about 20 minutes later, and was amazed by what I saw...

The Jeep didn't look like anything had happened to it. I was devastated by what the 850 looked like. The rear door was well inside the storage area, it's window (actually what was left of it) was scattered throughout the back area and rear seats, parts of the rear door it was still on the outside but higher than the roof level, both sets of rear lights were gone, and the driver's side rear quarter panel AND it's window were both bowed outward. I never knew that solidified glass could bend so far! The other driver's insurance company is going to pay over $10K for all the repairs, including some damage to the frame.

What we learned from this is:
  1. I'm still glad we no longer had our Subaru Legacy wagon. Can't imagine what would have happened to my wife in that car.
  2. the 850 "did" what it was supposed to
  3. we will never get the 3rd (rear-facing) seat. Where the rear door and glass ended-up would have been extremely dangerous to anyone sitting back there. A child back there could have had serious leg injuries, even if they were not pinned by the door.

Can't wait to see how the car comes out when they return it around the end of the month!


From Corey Bicanich CBICAN@WVNVM.WVNET.garbage.EDU

My wife and I were in an accident driving a 75 240 Volvo wagon. We were T-boned by an early 80's Jeep Wagoneer. The Wagoneer ran a red light and hit our Volvo at 25-30 m.p.h. We were wearing our seat belts, and neither of us were hurt. Our Volvo was badly crushed, but the engine never stopped running and we drove it away. The "Craponeer" was drug onto a flatbed, very nearly destroyed. The 75 Volvo we were driving was retired with both passenger doors crushed, windshield cracked, and the center post pushed in. We use it for parts. The CRAPoneer sits uselessly in a junkyard.

My uncle rolled a 140 series Volvo the day he bought it. It stopped, tipped up against a tree. He pushed it onto its wheels and drove it away... the only damage were minor ripples on the hood and doors. He was unharmed.


John Nichols

My teenage son Steven had just gotten his driver's license only a few days before. He asked if he could take our 1978 245 out to the movies with some friends. We live near Olympia, Washington where traffic is not too bad, so we said OK. As he was turning off an arterial street into the parking lot of the theater at about 35 mph (so says the kid), he took the turn too wide and smacked into the raised curb HARD. He hit it so hard that the impact shattered the concrete curb. The car ended up on the lawn almost hitting a lighted sign. The kid and his friend were really shook up, but not hurt. Of course, the rim was completely toast and the control arm badly twisted up. The center of the right front hub was pushed 6" back from its normal position. I really thought that the car might be totalled, or at least have major $$$ damage. We had a tow truck tow the 245 home. After jacking it up and taking a good look, it appeared that ONLY the control arm had been destroyed. After installing a used one from the bone yard, along with another tire/rim, the car drove just fine. I was astonished that the car could take a hit THAT HARD and sustain only minor damage. It appeared that the control arm was designed to be the 'weak link' and collapse without damaging any other undercarriage parts.

By the way, the kid was grounded BIG TIME!


From James B. Stoney

April, 1988 I395 Wash. DC Beltway 2PM. My partner and I were headed from NYC to Winston-Salem, NC to shoot a bunch of TV commercials and were on 395 in the vicinity of the GW Parkway. We were southbound in the far left lane when a woman in a 1977 Chrysler Cordoba entered the Northbound side of I395 from the GW Parkway. She was speeding and lost control as she came off the ramp onto I395. She rear ended one car into the overpass abutment,(2 fatalities), slid across the middle two lanes pushing 2 cars off the road, (No fatalities), and entered the median at 60+mph. The cordoba became airborne and I saw it from BELOW,(kinda like being under a 747 when it is landing), I jerked the wheel to the right and the cordoba hit the pavement next to me and hooked my rear bumper. My 78-245 was spun around 2 or 3 times and when we pulled out of the skid we were doing 70mph sideways.

We rolled 6 or 7 times, (I lost count), and came to a stop upside down in the median. We rolled down the windows and slid out and checked for injuries. I had whiplash and a bump on the head from when the forces threw me into the roof during the 2nd or 3rd roll. My buddy had just whiplash. I also had a set of 5 bruises on my right shoulder that turned out to be my buddy Steve's fingerprints as he had grabbed my right shoulder to try and stop me from being thrown into the roof.

The 245 was totaled, the front suspension was gone, A arms ripped from the mounts, both wheels at 90 deg. to the body, the roof had come down 1.5 inches (love those roof pillars), and the tailgate came off during the last roll (we found a mile marker pole stuck in the handle and the lock mechanism was sheared). No glass was broken, none of the contents, $80,000 worth of Movie gear, was damaged, and we were able to continue the next day in a rental van.The high seat backs stopped anything from coming into th drivers area and the seat belts kept us in the seats for most of the ride.

I really hated to lose the car as it was my first volvo and served me well. it was a young beast, only 90K on the clock, but my dealer found me an 82 245 within 2 weeks. I got $3500 from the insurance, $15,000 from the state of MD (the accident should not have happened a state cop let her go 10 min previously, no DUI check but the post accident Blood/Urine test showed .20 blood alcohol and positive for Cocaine and 2500 vials of crack were in the trunk)so I did better than the other folks. The driver is now a lifetime resident of the State of MD Dept. of Corrections as she was a 3 time loser, 3 prior felonies and was convicted of 2 counts of Vehicular Manslaughter, 1 DUI, 1 Possession, 1-Possession for sale, 1-Gun Possession by a Convicted Felon, etc...Last I heard was she will see freedom after 25 years are served, no parole is allowed due to Manslaughter/Drug charges.

I got over it, My buddy Steve is a dedicated Volvo owner and I just got a 90-240 sedan. I gave the 82-245 to an Immigrant Refugee from Eastern Europe to use with his new cabinet making business.


Another accident from Todd O.

My 240 GL was the victim of a "hit and run" accident while I was driving back to my home in Minneapolis a few days after Christmas. I was in the far left lane of Portland Ave, a one way going south. My speed was about 25 mph, because of the ice and snow.

As I was about to cross 28th St., the driver of a car in the far RIGHT lane decided to turn at the last second. The standard small Japanese "sports" coupe crossed all four lanes, and was in front of me. I slammed on my brakes, pumped them, but I knew I would hit them. My Volvo hit the coupe on the rear of the driver's side. They went spinning, whereas I simply stopped. I pulled over, got out of my car, and waved. The drive of the other car took a look at me and drove off. I got his license plate number.

My car had no damage other than cracked plastic trim around the license plate. The other car was bashed in pretty good. And they deserved it, don't you think? Volvo bumpers are tough.


An accident, as accounted by Nate Johnston

I own a 1973 145 Station Wagon. My father and I rebuilt the engine. I have owned it for 4 years now and only have had one accident. It happened on December 20th? 1991. I had just gotten my drivers license 3 months before. Well, I was driving on a residential street going 25-30 MPH. A lady in a 1980-1985 Ford Tempo ran a stop sign. I slammed on my brakes(locking all four tires up), down shifted into 1st and laid on the horn. I hit her on the passenger rear wheel corner panel. She spun 90 degrees and ended up on the sidewalk. I got out and looked at my car. I did not see any damage to it. Well, the police came and gave her the ticket. So I was driving back home and I was doing 25mph in 4th gear, with the gas petal down to the floor. I thought, great something broke. Well, I get home and tell my parents what happened. I told my father about my problem. The throttle arm had come off the base.


An account by Jon Donathon.

A friend of mine is a homicide detective in southern California. Recently he gave me some incredible photos of a Volvo crash.

Seems that two gang bangers were chasing each other at VERY high speeds. The Volvo is a 740 Turbo probably 87 or 88. The guys chasing the Volvo were shooting at the Volvo.

They were going downhill so speeds were increasing...

At some point (I'm not exactly sure why, but lots can go wrong at those speeds) the Volvo loses controls and wraps itself around a tree. Brace yourselves--the car literally ripped apart into two pieces. The car wrapped the tree on the drivers side, and split in half roughly behind the drivers door. Of course the car was utterly mangled. Engine was out of car on the sidewalk.

Driver was killed, passenger lived, but lost a leg. I believe he was still buckled into his seat belt and in his seat. It looks like the pillar behind the door had to be cut in order to remove him from the car.

Hope this was "of interest" to ya' all.

Photos are in the mail and on the way to be scanned and inserted.


Another accident by Perry J. Pessiaa

I had an '86 760 Turbo that was hit by a drunk driver. My car was parked at the time - the woman who hit it was in a Toyota Tercel, and she hit it so hard she moved the Volvo completely up on the sidewalk (all four wheels). She first hit a truck that was parked behind my car - apparently it didn't slow her down a lot. Her car was destroyed - the collision sent her to the hospital.

The 760 was drive able, in fact the trunk still opened and closed perfectly. Most of the damage was to the left rear, but the insurance co. decided to total it (there may have been hidden damage, I don't know). I hated to see that car go - it was without a doubt the best car I've ever owned. It had 135,000 miles and was strong as an ox, original turbo and all. It worked out okay though - I ended up with a 1970 1800E, which is another tale altogether!


Another accident by Brian D. Nattress Jr.

On a dreary night in 1993. I decided to let a former friend drive my 1979 264GL. He said, "I never drove a Volvo before and I want to try it out." I told him it was O.K as long as he drove safely and anything he breaks he pays for. So I gave him the keys and we began driving down a local highway when he decided to make an unexpected turn. After he exclaimed, "Wow this car is great it drives itself," he began driving up a residential dirt road on a mountain. He was driving very fast and I began yelling at him to slow down. Just then I saw a sign that read 15mph turn and we were motoring at 55mph. As I was cursing at him the car started to slide. We could have made it but he didn't compensate and instead we drove off a 60ft bank into oak trees. We hit hard and ended up on a road on the bottom of the mountain. None of us were wearing seat belts and none of us were hurt. After having to rip a 10ft long 16in diameter tree out from under the sway bar we all got back in the Volvo and drove home. The damage was actually pretty light. The bumper was pushed up and the left front fender was crunched. I was going to repair the car until I found out the sway bar that had the tree in it was bent. The car had 283,00mi on the odometer and it would have cost $1200 to fix, so I sold it and bought a 79 242DL. The Volvo saved my life and the passengers.

My family has owned 5 Volvos so far and all of them were precious to us. Needless to say my family will always drive Volvos (in my opinion the best cars in the world). Oh by the way my friend still owes me the money for the damage even though it was my fault for being stupid enough to give him the keys to my baby.


Another accident by Claus Levinsen

We love Classics. At least I do, and consequently, that is what is available for my wife and kids. One sunny day in 1992, when I was on a business trip, my wife found the money under my mattress and immediately stuffed the four kids into our 1966 Volvo 120 wagon, called "Amazon" in this part of the World.. Off they went, towards the next town to get shoes for the kids and other luxury goods. My wife was doing about 55 mph down the straight and clear country road.

From a distance, she saw a Volvo 242 approaching from a side road. No need to worry, in a minute it would have to yield.... But it did not.. The lady in the other car was used to the stretch, and let the old 242 do the driving. It knew the way, she figured. My wife didn't have a chance, when she hit the right side of the 242 flat on its front wing. No skid marks from braking, just a big bang. The 242 went spinning, and that was the end of it. The somewhat dizzy lady in the 242 unbuckled, my wife unbuckled and each of my 4 kids unbuckled and got out of the Amazon. Cecilie, my youngest, who was 3 years old at the time, had bit her lower lip. Apart from that everyone was sound and safe.

A patrol car had arrived immediately after - the officer almost eye witnessed the incident - and took my family home, and the two wrecks were towed away. When examining the damages, the 242 was totalled. Editor's Note: This is the very first story here where a Volvo hit another Volvo and one was Totalled. The whole front end was bent, as could be expected. The 120, however, was fit for fight. Bruised, yes, but nothing more than that. One new front mask, one new bumber horn, one front wing and a hood was bolted on, and off it went for a partial re spray. That's the kind of stuff legends are made of.

We don't drive this car anymore. We have upgraded to a more modern unit, an 1971 Volvo 145 Express with an extra rear seat - and a total of 7 seat belts. This summer we took it to the North Cape and back again. A total of 4,000 miles on country, partly mountain roads. It brought us all 6 safely home, leading the way for our trailer and 8 other classic Volvo's - the oldest being a 1959 P445 milk van driven by the original milk man.


My own accident story. From Richard Langis Jr.

Well now it looks like *I* have an accident story to relay to you all...

Last Friday night (oct 4th, 1996) my wife was out getting groceries and stuff in our 81 242 DL. On her way back she stopped to make a turn and a drunk, uninsured driver in a 81 Honda Civic nailed her from behind going somewhere between 35-45 mph. Our car was pushed forward a good 10 feet and my wife was really shaken. She expected to not have a car anymore. Her first thought was, "Oh no, now how are we going to go the coast tomorrow?" She got out of the car and her jaw dropped.

The front end of the Civic was gone. The windshield was shattered, glass was everywhere. Completely totalled. Her volvo looked completely *undamaged*. As it turns out it was damaged - the rear bumper was twisted slightly and down to the left, and the rear left quarter panel had a slight buckle in the metal. The driver of the Civic was taken away by the police and a couple who witnessed the accident told my wife, "We're buying a Volvo."

We're getting estimates on the damages this week, but we DID drive the car to the coast this weekend and I drove it to work this morning. My wife had been entertaining the thought of getting a BMW or some 'other' car when we could afford it, she now vows to never drive anything but Volvos. Yay!

Update: We got $1500 in damages...where they are *I* don't know. I'll post pictures when we get them developed. And _now_ the wife wants to look at 'other' cars. What the hell?! Didn't this thing save her life? Women.

Update: Got the film developed, here's what the damage looks like: Click Here. Not bad for being hit at 40+ mph, eh?

another story involving this same car.


An accident from Graeme J Quinn

Finally did it. Finally hit someone in my brick. Bummer.

In a three-lane approach to a large junction, I was in the left-hand lane which was empty. The middle lane had a line of slow-moving traffic and one member of this queue decided he wanted my lane, but took it just as I draw level with the car behind him. Newton's fourth law should have been "No two cars can occupy the same lane at the same time".

My bumper bar hit his rear fender on the left of his VW Rabbit, and proceeded to flatten all the body panels on that side from his exhaust to his headlights. This forced my car left and the wheel hit the sidewalk on the left (remember we in the UK drive on the opposite side!).

End result? His '84 Rabbit is totalled. I broke an indicator lens, and have a scar on the bumper. There is also a mild dent just behind the bumper - something you have to *look* for and not too obvious.

But then I tried to drive home.

When I hit the edge of the sidewalk the wheel was forced backwards, and this has 'corrugated' the wishbone/control arm. The wheel is toast and the tyre is, therefore, the butter.

The car was drive able, but unhappy. I 'limped' the 30 miles (!) home and she now sits outside awaiting insurance involvement.

If I visit a junkyard and ignore the dent then I could fix her for $75. $75 vs totalled. I suspect I'll be driving Bessy for a long time.

(Do I get to stamp a little VW Rabbit on my door like WW2 Fighter Pilots?)


Another accident from Charley W. Viehland

I was about 13 years old at the time (my mom was driving). We were coming back from a week in Florida, traveling north on I-75 in Georgia. My mom's 1990 240DL was singing along at 70 mph. Out of the corner of my eye I saw some "commotion" (to this day we don't know if it was a wreck) in the south-bound lanes around an auto carrier. Our attentions snapped back to the road in front of us when a tire on a wheel came rolling into our path. My mom made a split second decision at that moment that I still think was very wise (so much for the "women drivers" theory). She did not slam on the brakes as we were in extremely heavy traffic. Instead, she kept on her course at 70 mph! Anyway, the tire glanced off of the front of our Volvo and into the ditch. The 240's grill was vaporized, left headlight lens and turn signal broken. the left front fender required replacement because of a tear in the metal. The bumper's plastic cover was torn (two cuts caused by the rim) and needed replacement. And, finally, the hood had (and still has) a very slight bow to it.

Nothing mechanical was damaged and the car was driven the rest of the journey from Georgia to Missouri. This was due to a: luck and b: one heck of a well-built car.


A hilarious accident from Andrew Miller

I was in my old 1979 245 waiting at a stop light, and was rear-ended. The collision didn't feel too bad, (my head was against the headrest anyway.) I got out to look at the car behind me, a brand new Honda. While my car was completely unscathed, the Honda's front end was all pushed in.

A bunch of teenagers got out of the little car to look. They all stared silently for a moment and then a part of the grill fell off and clattered to the ground. The driver mumbled an apology and I got back in my car and left.


A couple of accidents by John H. Laughlin

Here's a couple involving our '84 245GL:

  1. August 12th(?), 1991: 2:30 PM My father was driving home from a travel agency (we were going on a trip to Montana the next week) on Mercer Island (this was when we lived on Mercer Island), stopped at a stop sign, saw nobody coming, started crossing the intersection, and Whack! Some old lady in a 1980 Toyota Corolla had ran a stop sign and moved our car into the next lane. Car stopped running. Right front fender (right where the ECU is located) was crunched, frame was bent, right front door got whacked so hard that it no longer would close and was at a 15 degree angle from what it should've been, engine mounts were busted, and the radiator fan was broken. Cost of body damage: $2800. The Mercer Island cop who responded to the wreck fined my father for not giving this old lady the right of way and said that both cars were drive able, yet he had to help my father push our car into the parking lot of a drug store. Car's fixed and drive able.

  2. September 14th 1994: 5:00 PM: Again, my father was at the wheel, coming home from work at Boeing. He was accelerating onto I-405 in Renton, WA, looked behind to see if there was an open space for him to get over, and didn't see a truck's spare tire right in the path of the car. Tilted down the left fog light assembly, damaged the underside of the car (caused the floorboard to get warped, and bent the left front jack bracket) , blew out the left front tire, disabled the power windows, and realigned the driver side fender and driver's door. Another $2300.00 worth of damage done to the car. The car is now repaired and is usable, but if we ever have a flat tire on the left front wheel, it's going to be rather hard to get the car lifted.


Another accident by John Klier

I had a relatively minor accident back in 1989 with my '78 264GL. Even though it was minor I think it shows the strength of the Volvo's design.

I was traveling down a side street getting ready to turn left into my apartment complex when a '84 Cadillac came out of the entrance at a high rate of speed. He turned into my lane and saw my at the last second and swerved to avoid hitting me head on. The front, left corner of my car took out his front fender, drivers door and rear fender.

The Cadillac had to be towed away. My Volvo on the other hand was completely drive able. I had to replace the hood, and front fender. The bumper was only cosmetically damaged and I only had to replace the rubber strip wrapping around the front.


A REAL accident, from Todd French

Well bricksters I've finally done it now. I got in a accident with my beautiful brick (86 244 DL 142K B230F). A guy pulled out from a stop sign into the middle of a through street. The accident was totally his fault but my brick took it hard. I locked up my brakes and swerved to avoid him but with a car on the other side of the street I couldn't go very far. I nailed his car's drivers side front wheel which looks like it has caused major damage to axle and frame.

Luckily I was able to avoid hitting his side doors because he had his wife and two small girls inside. His car spun about 90 degrees. I was able to drive off to the side of the road. The hood was totally buckled and unopen able. The fenders on both sides were trashed as well. Both front doors were difficult to open so I'm not sure whether the frame is bent or just the body pushed back. The right side (the main side of impact) seemed significantly lower than the right. The radiator was still holding pressure but I don't know about the AC. And the grill was broken only one light broke the right front turn signal.

I had two passengers one in front passenger and one behind her. No injuries in either car. I had a little of a chafe on my neck from the seat belt rubbing and the front passenger said the seat belt hurt her hip. I had a camera with me so I documented everything and will post pictures with whoever was talking about an accident page. I'm not sure whether or not his insurance company will try to settle with me or fix the car. The body shop guys thought it would be close. I'll tell you all one thing, I think I'll be driving Volvos for a _very_ long time. God bless you all. And another thing, a disposable camera is a good thing for your glove box.

a couple of pictures of the results of this accident: pic #1 and pic #2.


A REAL accident, from Scott B. Husted

Unfortunately I got into my first accident with a Volvo. My 89 240DL came through ok... but there is some damage. I was stopped at a light with a 92 Buick Skylark stopped behind me. A young girl in a Subaru Legacy for some reason did not stop and ran into the rear of the skylark, slamming her into the rear of my volvo. The Skylarks front hit my bumper and proceeded to force itself underneath the rear end of my car nearly lifting my rear tires completely off of the ground. The Subaru had a relatively minor dent on the front and hood. The skylark was totalled !! The rear end was destroyed.. the rear bumper was in front of the rear tires, the trunk pushed up nearly to the rear window. The front of the car was also destroyed. The hood folded and was pushed back half-way to the front windshield.

Nobody was hurt... which is the most important thing. My volvo sustained some minor denting above the rear bumper where the license plate is along with some broken molding that goes above the rear bumper. The bumper will need replaced a long with the guard underneath the rear of the car which was pushed up into the exhaust and gas tank. No apparent damage to any suspension and there is no damage to any major sheet metal at all. This in itself justifies me continuing to drive Volvos. I was surprised at how well the Subaru came through considering how hard it hit the skylark... although the insurance company is not happy about the air bags not deploying on the subaru. Although I am not surprised the Buick is totalled and had trouble being loaded onto a tow truck.

--- 3rd Seat Section

As some of you may or may not know, most Volvo wagons have the option of a third seat that folds up from the cargo area. This seat is well-designed, made for two passengers BOTH with 3-point harnesses. There was a discussion on the VCOA listserver a while ago about the relative safety of the passengers in that seat, and some of the more pertinent issues that arose are shown here:


From John APM

Anyone seen what a Volvo wagon looks like after being rear ended? I remember seeing pictures and video of Volvo sedans being rear ended. They demonstrate how the rear struts crush up to but not past the passenger cage. In the case of a 3rd seat in a wagon, meant of kids, and given the wagon uses the same technology, the 3rd seat passengers would be crushed in a rear end accident.

I have spoken to different people that all say it is perfectly safe because;

  1. it is a Volvo
  2. the rear structure is extremely strong
  3. the 3rd seat passengers are seated towards the back seat and some distance away from the rear of the car.

Seems to me a passengers feet and legs would be about where the trunk is on a sedan...we all know what the trunk looks like after it has been crushed. To my knowledge Volvo has never show pictures of a wagon crunched from the rear. I am still having a hard time convincing my wife that the 3rd seat is safe for the kids. Can anyone help?


From Bruce W. Glassford

Sometime about 1982, the _Orlando Sentinel_ newspaper had a picture on the front page of the local section which showed an accident that at first glance looked quite gruesome. It was a Volvo wagon that had been rear-ended by a loaded dump truck while waiting at a red light. The picture showed the Volvo from an oblique rear angle, smashed up to about where one would expect the rear of 3rd seat to be. The sheet metal expanded outward. From what I remember, it was probably a 78 to 81 model (couldn't see the headlights, and I'm horrible at recognizing tail lights, especially mooshed ones).

What caught my eye in the photo was the driver of the car standing to the vehicle's left taking photos of it. There were lots of emergency vehicles around the accident scene, but the driver was alone and he was obviously uninjured.

For me, that picture was mesmerizing - I may still have it lying about. The more I studied it, the more I saw about Volvos. The fire department hadn't bothered foaming or even spreading sand - NOTHING was leaking though the rear of the car was completely demolished. It sold me. Despite the risk of a nerdy reputation (a badge of honor with me now), my wife and I traded my bachelor-days Fiat convertible for a '77 244. I figured if Volvo could engineer a car to be that safe under those conditions, it would keep us safe under considerably less severe circumstances. Haven't been sorry since.


From Barry Robinson

For your data bank-not a rear impact, but to be considered:

My wife's 87 245 was side impacted at the left rear quarter by a larger, faster Lexus. While things were jumbled up in the rear:

  1. no glass was broken.
  2. The hatch hinge on the left side was severed but the door remained on the vehicle and closed, though the opening was distorted which caused the door to not be firmly in its normal closed nesting with the body.
  3. The spare tire did not go into the space that would have been occupied by a third seat. Just pressed against the metal structure. Gas tank intact.
  4. The roof was barely changed. Nothing seemed changed forward of the middle of the rear doors on the left, and the right side was clean.
  5. Driver not injured. No passengers.
  6. Basic damage was body work, under structure, loss of rear bumper (caught by Lexus as it released).

oh, the car was totaled.

prior to the above, wrote:

Anyone seen what a Volvo wagon looks like after being rear ended? I remember seeing pictures and video of Volvo sedans being rear ended. They demonstrate how the rear struts crush up to but not past the passenger cage. In the case of a 3rd seat in a wagon, meant of kids, and given the wagon uses the same technology, the 3rd seat passengers would be crushed in a rear end accident. I have spoken to different people that all say it is perfectly safe because; 1. it is a Volvo 2. the rear structure is extremely strong 3. the 3rd seat passengers are seated towards the back seat and some distance away from the rear of the car. Seems to me a passengers feet and legs would be about where the trunk is on a sedan...we all know what the trunk looks like after it has been crushed. To my knowledge Volvo has never show pictures of a wagon crunched from the rear. I am still having a hard time convincing my wife that the 3rd seat is safe for the kids. Can anyone help?

87 765T
92 944

In response, wrote:

Actually, the wagons are much stronger in the rear. The sedans are designed to use the trunk area as a crush zone, but the wagons are designed to keep the rear structurer reasonably intact, like the rest of the cabin. And on the 850s at least, the wagon roofs are actually stronger than the sedan roofs.



Hank Manwell

I can only add this to the discussion of third seat safety:

My Volvo shop in Syracuse makes a good side-line of buying rear-ended 7 and 9 series wagons at auction, having them stretched out by a frame shop, splicing in new rear quarters and re-selling them at a profit. They always seem to be folded at the rear wheel arch - the rear bumper down sometimes close to the ground.

Our own 765 was hit rather hard from behind by a full-sized pickup hauling an empty car trailer last spring while my wife waited for a light. Her wheels were turned anticipating a right turn and the impact sent her sailing around the corner.

The front bumper on the pickup was badly damaged, but neither my wife nor the pickup driver could find any damage to our Volvo. Having second thoughts, she had the last-minute forethought to jot down his plate number.

Two days later upon opening the left rear door for the first time since the accident, some pressure was relieved and an instant crease appeared just forward of the gas filler door.

Just under $1,000 later, the car was stretched out again. And it turned out, too, that the plastic trim on the inside of the tailgate was shattered at the bottom accounting for about 20% of the damage cost.

They are indeed strong and I shouldn't worry too much about the occupants of the third seat.


We have had some discussion on the list about Volvo wagon third seat safety. As I mentioned, Volvo has an official statement regarding this which was in answer to the same question several years ago. All of the information (with the possible exemption of the actual accident statistics) is still applicable today.

Steve Seekins

This official statement from Volvo was authored in 1993. Accident stats maybe different than quoted, however, they are correct for the date written. Also, this was written before the 850 hit the market, however, Volvo has assured me that there has been no change in design philosophy regarding rear crash protection in the wagons with the advent of the 850 and 900 series. This was from the office of Mats Ola Palm, President and Chief Executive Officer, Volvo Cars of North America. Current President and CEO is Helge Alten.

October 15, 1993
Mr. Daniel S. Reid
Dear Mr. Reid:

Thank you for your letter of October 5, 1993 regarding the accident your family experienced in their Volvo. I was pleased to see that the Volvo performed as designed and your family was spared any serious injury. I also want to take a few minutes of your time to discuss the issue you raised regarding the optional rear facing third seat which may be installed in our wagons.

The subject of automotive safety is a complex one with very few simple answers. Perhaps the best place to start is by realizing that there is a different relative level of injury exposure for every seating position in every automobile. This stems from a number of real world issues such as the frequency of the type of accident, the structure of the vehicle, the direction of impact, the distance from the point of impact, and the type of restraining device.

According to our Safety Engineers, in most five passenger automobiles this makes the rear center seating position arguable the "safest" if it is equipped with a three-point seat belt. Statistics show that the majority of all impacts are frontal, making the rear seat position more desirable. The next most frequent type of accident is the side impact. Here, the center position in the rear seat is the farthest from the potential points of impact. Again, contributing to the safety of this position when a three-point belt is fitted and used.

I believe it is important to understand the concepts I have stated to appreciate the risks and merits of our optional rear facing third seat. The optional seat has been designed with the same attention to safety as all of the other seating positions in a Volvo. It is solidly built and firmly bolted to the vehicle structure. It has built in head restraints and three-point self-adjusting seat belts. It is designed to carry 2 children up to 88 pounds each in weight.

As I have stated, the most frequent type of accident is a frontal impact. In such an accident the third seat is the farthest from the point of impact and since the seating is rear facing, it allows the occupants to dissipate the crash energy across their entire back which produces even less body loading than a seat belt would produce. In the second most frequent type of accident, the side impact, the two occupants of the third seat sit between the rear wheel wells with the extra structure of the rear axle outside them and extra distance to either side of the car. U.S. government statistics show that frontal impacts account for over 50% of all accidents while side impacts total about 28%.

I realize that your concern lies with rear impacts which account for only 10% of all accidents. The body of a Volvo station wagon is designed to manage crash energy in a different way than our sedans. It is more rigid and designed to help dissipate the crash energy forward to more of the structure of the vehicle. The impact in the rear is also lighter than frontal due to the fact that normally both vehicles move in the same direction, or one is standing still. In laboratory tests, instrumented dummies simulating occupants of the proper size, under 88 pounds, wearing their restraints experienced no significant indications of head, torso, or leg injuries with a rear impact flat barrier at 30 miles per hour. In fact, this seat complies with the performance requirements stipulated by government safety authorities in both the U.S. and Europe.

Moving from the theoretical to the practical, our real world experience bears out the merits of this seat. Approximately one-third of all Volvo station wagons sold in the U.S. are ordered with this option and have been for almost 20 years. In virtually every report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute, Volvo station wagons are consistently rated among the safest vehicles on the roads. During all of this time Volvo Cars of North America has never been contacted regarding an injury or death for an occupant of the third seat in a crash.

While the image in your mind of sitting in the rear facing seat and being struck by a vehicle is frightening, both laboratory and real world experience says there is no inherent safety problem in design of the rear facing third seat. Finally, why does Volvo offer the third seat? Because we have seen that the extra space available in a wagon is often used to carry people, in far too many cases, totally unrestrained. The safety implications of this are truly terrifying. Realizing this, we offered what we genuinely believe to be a far superior solution.

I thank you for your letter and I hope I did not overwhelm you with this somewhat complex answer to your question. Again, I am glad to hear your family is fine. Please call me on the phone at xxx, xxxx, if you want to further elaborate on my comments, or if I can be of further assistance.

Very truly yours,

Mats Ola Palm


Leon Tong

My '88 245 was totaled in a rear-end collision last September. I was stopped on an interstate due to traffic construction when a late-model Firebird rear-ended me at about 50 mph. My wagon was not equipped with a 3rd seat, but it was equipped with a Volvo trailer hitch.

Having a low nose, the Firebird's front end impacted the draw bar of the hitch. The force of the impact caused the hitch to act as a lever, prying the underpan of the wagon apart from the cargo floor. This also caused the cargo floor to buckle such that the ridge of the buckle ended up at about the height of the lower edge of the windows.

There was no horizontal crash intrusion into the cargo compartment. However, had there been an occupied 3rd seat, I'm convinced that this particular impact would have resulted in serious injury, if not worse, due to the floor buckling which would have caused the 3rd seat occupants' heads to hit the roof.

My 14-year old son, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, and I were fortunate to have walked away from this. It's been edifying reading about other owners' experiences in this type of accident. I'd have to say that as safe as our Volvos are, there are experiences such as mine which can prove to be the exception to the rule.