CC Outtake: Suddenly It’s 1970 and 1980!



The inner city is a tough environment for cars, with stop-and-go driving, potholed streets, lack of garages, and break-ins conspiring to send most cars to early deaths, but on one street in Washington, DC two upright European sedans 30 to 50 years of age continue to live the curbside life. 

This Volvo 144, which is from 1966 to 1970 judging by its split grille without the 1971-74 diagonal divider, and Mercedes 300D, which could be of any year from 1976 to 1985, are parked nose tail on an everyday basis only a handful of blocks from the downtown baseball stadium.  They likely belong to the same owner, with the Mercedes as the daily driver and the Volvo with its antique registration plate for occasional use.

I have long thought that beater Mercedes diesel and Volvo sedans of these eras would make excellent urban cars, with their reasonable sizes, panoramic sightlines through their large windows, rugged mechanicals, excellent for their time crash safety, and projecting steel bumpers, and it appears that I have found someone who thinks the same way.