Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Dolores: In Memoriam

This is a love story.

I loved Dolores like no other car I had owned before, and may never love another as much again.

This week, I received an email from the Volvo 480 Club Europe inviting me to their annual event and it took me back to happier times.

Our romance began back in 2006 when my brother's girlfriend's dad was selling her. Buying her was a childhood dream come true.

As a car-mad boy, I had always loved the Volvo 480, even writing off to Volvo for a brochure. I was 10.

My childhood eyes wondered at its unconventional body shape. All angles and bumpers, it was sexy and safe.

The brochure also revealed its hi-tech computer dashboard that owed more to KITT from Knight Rider than any of my dad's Cavaliers or Montegos.

I christened her Dolores, a name whose heritage is too lengthy to go into now. It's deserving of its own blog post.

Twice I crashed in her and, despite the efforts of Direct Line to write her off, I kept the faith and she was always resurrected back into roadworthiness.

Her seats - electronically heated - fitted my frame like a glove.

I was in love; a sensation I felt whenever I walked towards her in a car park. I was so proud that I was getting into that car, and nobody else was.

But all good things...

Unemployed and unable to sustain her, I had to sell.

I spent the final day of the eBay auction at Lord's but even cricket couldn't distract me from the guilt I felt about letting her go.

So, the next morning, I said goodbye. The buyer was a smiley man who knew he'd got a bargain.

"Look after her", I croaked as he closed the driver's door with an all-too familiar thud.

Pitifully, this is the photo I took of Dolores driving out of my life.

As an adult, I try very hard not to be materialistic and it's a trait I despise in others but, in the case of Dolores, I wholeheartedly give in. I am guilty. I wanted to keep her for ever and ever and ever.

And sometimes I find myself browsing for 480s on the AutoTrader website which, as Volvo stopped making them in 1995, are now a dying breed.

But there's always something wrong with the ones I see: the stereo looks shit, the colour's too gaudy, the electrics are dodgy.

They're not Dolores.

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