A Family Affair
In the same family from new, MotoFest Team member, Neil Campbell finds out why this Swede, which joined us for our BreakFest Meet last weekend, will always have a link to Coventry.
Built in Gothenburg on December 19th 1957 and landing in Kristiansand on the 30th, this Volvo spent its entire life in Norway until five years ago. Two new cars made their way down to the southern district of Norway that day, this and an identical car. One was purchased by Ellen’s uncle Olaf, and another family member bought the other. They had consecutive number plates.
“My uncle Olaf couldn’t afford to buy all of his car, so he put in 50%, my father Gunnar put in 25% and my granddad Martin put in the other 25%, with Olaf paying them back over time,” Explains Ellen. “My uncle didn’t really need a car – in fact he didn’t even have a driving licence, so my dad got the bus to collect it and drove it home. Olaf wanted a car so he could treat his parents to day trips, as they had endured a hard life.”
After passing his test, Olaf drove the car until 1985 when a mechanical problem took it off the road, but the family couldn’t bear to part with it so stored it away. Ellen’s father Gunnar wished to restore the car but bad health prevented him. Five years ago, he decided to sell it, until Ellen found out. “There was no way the car should leave the family, so I had it shipped over to Coventry where I was living at the time.”
Other projects and a house move got in the way but in January 2021, work began with Ellen determined to preserve as much of the car as possible. “These door ropes that you use to get in and out of the back, they are shredded but I’d never replace them,” she explains. “I can remember sitting in the back as a child holding onto them.”
Ellen’s earliest memory of the car was driving to her uncles wedding and back, when she was two years’ old.
“There were five of us in the car, my dad who was driving, my mum who was eight months pregnant, my uncle and aunt and me, it was a long drive – best part of a day, and I sat on top of the wedding presents on my aunties lap. Half-way home we got a puncture and had to empty the car to fix it,” she laughs.
The restoration by Cars to Go, Coventry, was completed in 2021, and the car has been back on the road for around eight months. It’s not all over for the Volvo’s travels yet either as Ellen and her partner Nick are on the move again; this time to Portugal. “Of course the Volvo will be coming with us,” says Ellen, “but as it was restored here, there will always be a bit of Coventry in it.”