I made a good amount of progress on the XC this week.

I installed airbags and seats belts


Took the SRS warning faults down from 13

Down to 4

I found a leather wrapped inscription dash.


And I have the paint work scheduled and the goal for the weekend was to fully strip the car for painting. Stripping the car was, I thought, going to be one of the easiest things to do. How wrong I was!

I started with the roof rails. I popped the end covers off expecting bolts like the P2 XC, but only the tops of the bolts could be seen and were not accessible. Doing some re-search I find the bolts come in from the inside and I’m more or less going to have to take the headliner out.


Everything from the belt line up comes loose or comes out completely.


A, B, and C pillar trim, parts of the seats, lights, grab handles, sun visors, and all other roof/side mounted stuff.

After much work, it was out. It wasn’t hard, just tedious.


Interesting things discovered on this job:

The rear bumper has to be taken loose to remove the rear tail lights. If it wasn’t for the tabs on the bottom of the lights, the bumper bracket wouldn’t need to be removed and life would be simpler. Not actually a big deal for me since everything was apart already, but it was a bit puzzling design choice.

And here is a how to on removing the door handles.

First you remove this little cover


You will need a long driver length T25 screw driver. The entire length of the driver needs to be thin



This is how deep it will go into the door


Once you loosen the screw, the end cover pops off.


Once that’s off, pull the door handle towards you, note the notch in the previous photo and the one here indicated with the arrow.


Then swing the door handle wide, and detach.


Now this is the part that initially had me really worried. The connector for the keyless entry button is up inside the door.


But see this little track?


The connector travels along the track for easy access. Clever.


I also removed the tail lights, door mirrors, door handles, and as much exterior trim as possible. The rocker covers were left loose so they can be more easily painted off the car for a better job.


I do have to say, the P3 cars have more complicated interiors to pull apart than the P2 or P1 cars. The P1 referenced in the previous post I pulled the carpet, seats, radio, and center console in less than an hour.


Oh well, I suspect the next pair of roof rails I pull, will be easier.

Parts or road worthy? 

I purchased a 2011 S40 parts car  for trim and wheels to dress up the v50 because I can’t help but accessorize. It was supposed to be a deep flood but now that it has arrived, I can’t find a sign of water intrusion, it runs and drives, and there are no warning lights.

Maybe it’s not a parts car after all? Stay tuned for how we discover whether a flood car is a parts car or safe to put back on the road. 


More progress of projects:

Last weekend I decided to flush the brake fluid on the V50. I knew it needed to be done so the plan for that Saturday was to flush the brakes and transmission.


I’ve always been happy with the results after doing a power assisted brake flush even if I didn’t know the end result also got rid of the moisture in the brake fluid.


But when I got it up in the air to do the left rear wheel I discovered a shock was badly leaking.


I already ordered a set of rear shocks as they were on sale, but was hoping to not have to need them as the shocks had felt really good. Truth be told, I didn’t even feel the failure while driving. Maybe it has just happened, but I had driven the car some distance just a couple days earlier and didn’t suspect a thing.

For the AWD p1 cars to get rear shocks they have to come directly from Volvo. I haven’t found another supplier as of yet. If it was FWD there are plenty of options…


Switched out the shocks and we’re set.
I flushed the transmission too, but I didn’t take any photos of that process.

I also have purchased a 2011 Volvo S40 R-Design parts car so that I can get the end of production trim pieces. This is the idea of what the parts car looks like.


I worked on the Jaguar a bit too, most significantly was our ability to repair the ABS module. The housing on the unit was cracked but there was damage to the circuit board. The only actual non-cosmetic damage was the pins for the wiring harness connector was damaged and they weren’t making good connection. We repaired those, sealed the unit, and it’s all set once again without ABS or Traction Control faults.

The previous week I had taken a closer look at the tire situation and found I was going to need almost a full set of tires. The tires on it now (Sumitomos) I’m not particularly a fan of, so shopping around I went. I found a full set of wheels with good tires from an XF for not much more the Sumi’s were going to cost me, so I ordered a set of these.

Unfortunately for me, I forgot an important detail: the rear tires on an XF may be the same width as the XK, but the offset is dramatically different. The left is stock, the right side is the XF wheel. Ooops.

Oh well, I guess the Volvo gets this set of wheels then?

Other progress includes:

The windshield was replaced on the XK today

Some trim bits were ordered for the XC as well as the body cladding finished being stripped off.


The donor V70 is now mostly stripped of most of it’s useful things for this conversion.


I’m really excited for the XC to be finished. Though, there may be competition if the wife likes this Volvo coupe better. 😀


This week’s progress

So my personal projects were going a variety of directions. I have my father in law’s S80, the V50, the Xc70/v70, and now the XK. The XK took the predominant amount of my time this weekend as getting it mobile on it’s own power was the highest priority. As previously noted the car upon arrival would not start. I was hoping this was due to the shock being broken, so that was the goal for the day.

Here is the car when the day started. The upper ball joint broken complete, the control arm badly bent, and the shock in pieces. I took the wheel off upon arrival to take stress off the brake lines and abs wires holding the hub sort of in place.

Here are the broken parts removed from the car and the replacements ready to get put together.

The upper control arm was the wild card of repair. Jaguar puts a premium on this arm with a retail of close to $600. Looking around my options appeared to be genuine or Uro. The aftermarket brand has a retail of a fraction of the genuine part, but it’s a budget brand and not really what I wanted to put on the car. On my Super 8 I also needed the upper arms and I found that the Lincoln LS has the same upper control arm and I got a Moog for it. Looking into options I discovered the same control arm is still used for my XK. I did a bit more poking around on the interchange and ordered a Lemforder, which is the OE supplier that apparently is still under contract with Jaguar and won’t sell it to anyone else.

I thought this was a better photo, but upon review of the arms side by side not only are they identical, the Jaguar logo is scuffed off. This is especially curious as I ordered the arm under a Ford part number.

Here is the suspension all together and ready for a wheel.

The car can now rest comfortably on it’s own wheels!

I removed the fender and discovered the reason why it wouldn’t start.

At the portion right in front of the door there is a jumble of stuff, that stuff is the ABS components and it took impact.

The ABS module is intact, but the housing is definitely cracked. When I first removed the fender the module was pushed against the body and the plug was not making good contact. Taking it loose and moving it out of the way solved the no start issue, but I still have traction control and abs faults in the instrument cluster. Time will tell if I need to source an ABS module or whether this one can be repaired. The circuit board is in tact, but the wiring connection seems to still be the issue. I did not go any further as I would need to take the brake lines loose from the unit to get the module off. Meh, I don’t need to go into all that this weekend. Running is good enough.

Another unfortunate surprise is the oil cooler is damaged.

I certainly don’t have another one on hand and I didn’t want to run the car without coolant, so a solution was needed. I broke the nipple off, sawed off the end, and joined the two lines together.

Not pretty, but it does what I needed it to do.

And here it is, up and running!

Start up exhaust sounds!

The other projects:

I did a test fitment of the wheels on the V50 and a V70.

The V50 was pretty much a bust, especially installing the 9 ½ inch rear wheels running 285/30-20’s. Even running just the 8 ½ inch fronts was just to massive. Haha, so not really a surprise.

The V70 was not at all a waste though.
This looks fantastic to my eyes. Doing some re-search, in Europe Volvo offered the later V70 R-Designs with a 20” wheel option that was a 9 inch wide wheel with a 255/30-20 wheel and an ET of 50. The Jaguar wheel is a 8 ½, 255/35-20, and an ET49. Almost identical, except that the Jag tire set up will curve out past the lip and be slightly taller; both things I would prefer.

The S80 is prepped for painting. Not really much to see here.

The V50 got a very nice upgrade that payed off far more than I expected.

I had installed the strut brace previously and was not at all impressed, but that was, apparently, because I had it installed while the tires were out of balance. Trying again with the tires balanced the difference is striking.

Normally I judge a car’s handling based on how quickly I feel I can safely travel my daily drive to and from work. It’s a road I travel probably 20-50 times a week and I never ever look at my speed while driving on it. I’ve traveled this road quite a number of times on the v50 in the several months we’ve owned it, both with the stock set up, with the IPD swaybar, with higher performance tires, and now finally with the chassis brace. All these elements have transformed the car. Previously I would describe the power output adequate for the suspension, but now I feel it could easy control another 50 hp. I found I’ve carved these back roads with the same speeds as a similar year BMW. BMW generally holds the highest speed records as their suspensions on average are some of the best and I have very few places that I can or even want to open a car up. It’s all about suspension handling and while the V50 is certainly more harsh than the average BMW, I will call it an acceptable compromise and I always sit on the GT side of the sports car equation.

I’m re-learning my driving experience as instead of taking a long turn and holding the wheel at one point I now am having to make adjustments to my steering angle because it steers so much sharper now.

New Cat

So, I’ve wanted a Jaguar XK for a long time. Every time I went searching, something got in the way or things didn’t line up. 
Well, this car almost ended up by the way side too, but by luck or ill fortune, it’s now on my possession. 

I wasn’t on hand to see it dropped off, but my wife took pity and sent me these pictures. 

Here is the good side

And the not so great. 

And then a shot of the front

The car was unloaded in a corner where I can’t take photos of it at all, so I have to use these. 

Damage report thus far is pretty much what I expected. The upper control arm broke and that’s why the wheel is hanging off at the top. The shock is also broken in half and the coil spring is gone. The bumper and door can be saved and will be repainted when the currently blue fender turns silver. The windshield is also broken, I wasn’t expecting that. That’s an expensive extra. 

I’ve ordered a fender, shock, control arm, and spring. The fender arrived a week before the car did, but the rest is mostly in transit. The control arm arrived today, the shock gets here tomorrow, and the spring is the big unknown. I ordered it Friday, so hopefully it will be here by the weekend? I ordered that new from the dealer and they can be quite slow. I won’t order a windshield until the car can be moved. 

If all goes well it might be mobile on it’s own power by the weekend and then I can get some nicer photos and give some step by step break downs of faults and repairs. 

One curious surprise that I’m not letting myself worry about is the car will not start because the body control module is off line. I can’t see any damaged wiring and everything is in tact at the place of impact except the upper control arm. I’m assuming the shock being broken in half is the cause as it’s electronically controlled and tied into the abs, but I won’t know until I know. This is always the gamble with buying cars the way I do as there is a very high risk factor. 

Most memorable films

This is it, the films that stood out in my memory the most from my 30th year.

Embrace the Serpent (2016)

It’s impossible for me to not bring up Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness when talking about this film, even though they don’t really have similarities. To me though, it’s the kind of film adaption I hope someone makes of the book. Fantastically shot and full of contrast between grounded realistic elements and spiritual and dream like surrealism.

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

This is one of two of Scorsese’s films that will appear on this list. I’ve been a fan for a long time of his films and I very much liked this one. As I noted on the previous blog entry I’m currently reading the book that inspired the movie. Now, don’t ask me to get into the theology of the film/book, as I avoid theology. As Wilco put it, “theologians, don’t know nothing about my soul” and I don’t bother going much deeper than that. To me this is the most interesting take on Jesus that I’ve ever encountered. Casting him as a deeply flawed person wrestling with his divine appointments haunts me far more than the saintly portraits painted most places. The grittiness of it all also strikes me far deeper than the “hyper graphic” version painted by Mel Gibson. I especially like how the the disciples and other characters feel fleshed out in that world they inhabited instead of being retrospectively painted in modern romantic visions of the world then. Judas not being a one dimensional character is a great touch.


The Neon Demon (2016)

Nicolas Refn’s films are polarizing, but I am on the side that loves his music and art direction even if the underlying story is muddled and confusing. The dream like quality is something that always attracts me to his films and this one is no exception. I admittedly know little to nothing about the fashion world it inhabits, but the images and music are so captivating I can’t help but be stunned.


Picnic at Hanging Rock (1979)

Watching this film was an eye opener for me to understand better the 90’s “alt culture” that I’ve always been drawn too. Since I was a home school Mennonite at the time it was actually going on I’ve had to learn it’s artistic pillars retro-actively and sort out bits and pieces of the puzzle of where some of the artistic visions would have been inspired by. Watching this felt like as much of a key puzzle piece to me as Twin Peaks. Lovely dream like film that even though I really don’t feel I fully understand it’s ramifications, the feelings of loss of innocence and coming of age resonate strongly with me.


The Vanishing (1988)

When it comes to dark themes, I like it when a story explores that theme all the way down the rabbit hole without regards to how it might be received. This film explores the mind of a psycho murder with a cool measured pace without ever resorting to cheap tricks. Stanley Kubrick reportedly has said that this was the most terrifying film he’s ever seen and ranked it as more disturbing than The Shinning. I’m not sure if I would rank it as the most disturbing film I’ve ever seen, but it was one of the most impressive explorations of this theme I’ve ever encountered. It reminded me of one of last years especially memorable films Vengeance is Mine (1979) in it’s detached portraits of deeply disturbed people and their unwillingness to show them in a one dimensional light. Both films coolly unravels the actions and chain reactions to the grisly deeds, yet never dwelling on the graphic parts to feel, to me at least, like exploitation.


The Wailing (2016)

This film is a baffling exploration of Judea-Christian and Korean ideas of demon possession. I can’t really say much more than that. Baffling but startling film. I’ve been following this director since 2008 when he released The Chaser and I will continue to observe. There is a lot of good talent coming out of South Korea.


Becket (1964)

Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole are fantastic and I’m not sure what else I can add to it.


Night of the Iguana (1964)
Richard Burton again in a viscous portrait of a minister in crisis and taking on themes that honestly feel shocking to this day. Perhaps that’s just because of how good the source material from Tennessee Williams is and why his plays will continue to live on feeling as relevant today as they did when they were first released.


The Eyes of my Mother (2016)

This is another deeply disturbing film firmly in the graphic horror vein and yet is shot in stark black and white imagery with slow camera movements that are not unlike what you would find in a film by Bergman. This beautiful contrast and nonjudgmental portrayal of someone so deeply disturbed is refreshing? It seems wrong to say it like that, but it’s how I like my horror; stripped down to force you to stare at the thing at the core of our fears and to never force a reaction through cheap genre tricks like musical queues or jump scares. It’s films like this that help me maintain my faith in the genre after films like The Devil’s Backbone (2001) inspired me to explore the genre ten years ago.


Freaks (1932)

Call me not much of a film enthusiast, but I really don’t like many pre-1960’s American films that I can think of. I like some foreign films, but I just can’t seem to get into the domestic product. Shortly after watching this one I watched The Night of the Hunter (1955) and I didn’t even like that classic. I blame most of it on the “code” enforcement, but this film was pre-code which proves my theory. Simple story by today’s standards, but shocking for the time and is still shocking for the use of actual “freaks.” This one should not be missed.

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Like most people who like film I will try and watch anything that uses the word “noir” to describe it in any way. That word is often used to describe the film and this one is really very dense for the genre. It takes staples and twists them into interesting directions that makes for a extremely engaging experience that will stick with anyone who can follow the twists and turns. Stylistic direction from Mr. Ford shouldn’t be missed.

Hell or High Water (2016)

Another modern twist on a classic genre, this neo-western is a solid entry into a evolving genre.


Electra, My Love (1974)

I’ll admit almost complete ignorance about Miklos Jancso, but hopefully I will know more in the future. This film has a stunning 70 minute run time that is composed of only 12 carefully choreographed shots. The number of people in the shots and constant camera movement is stunning to watch even though I barely understood what was going on most of the time…


Silence (2016)

As with the previous film on this list by Scorsese, this one also explores themes of Christian faith on a very deep level. Superficial piety is explored and followed through to the bottom of the rabbit hole and it’s final conclusion. Just like how Last Temptation had Judas as a fully fleshed out character, this one spends a great deal of time on what would be the most one denominational of characters in Christian fiction; a man who gives up on his faith under hardship.


Hunger (2008)

As a rule I don’t get involved in politics, so where this films stands on politics I have no comment. Where it shines as a film, it’s stunningly brilliant. The art direction, the depth of characters allowed to follow their actions to conclusion, and the never resorting to simple answers makes it stunning to watch. I will watch anything Steven McQueen touches after this one.

High-Rise (2015)

Ben Wheatley will be a director I will continue to watch. Kill List was baffling in all the right ways as was A Field in England for those love their cult/horror fairly obscure and dense. High-Rise was perhaps a bit more accessible film in comparison to those too but the trademark choice of a dense and almost familiar but as familiar as you might think theme remains. After watching this I got a fairly complete collection of J.G. Ballard’s short stories to slowly work my way through.


Episode 303
Penny Dreadful (2014-2016)

This was a disappointing series. It had moments of staggering brilliance and then other parts that were mediocre at best standing in very stark contrast. Some parts were fleshed out with entire episodes introducing us to important secondary characters, but then main characters often left me scratching my head as to why they were there at all. It was if the creators worked really hard at some core points that were brilliant – my personal favorite was the episode in season three where Vernessa Ives remembers her time in the asylum while under hypnosis – and then were forced to try to come up with filler material to make it longer. Even the characters themselves have glaring inconsistencies, most specifically Vernessa who flirts between happily helping out others and being so deeply depressed she is on the knife’s edge of suicide, and as a significant point of the plot as that is, little attempt is made to sort it out. The finally added insult to injury of a happy go lucky rag tag hurrah final battle with a climatic ending that was slam, bang, and we’re done, as was the theme to end every season.
But, as frustrated as I was with it in parts, some of was so well realized I could overlook it’s flaws and don’t regret watching it. The best part of every season is the middle area as they delve into their characters.


I don’t really know what I can say on this that hasn’t already been said. Great plot twists and turns, unanswered questions, very high production values, HBO keeps setting the high bar standard for genre television.

This year I’ve tried to spend less time deciding what to watch and just watching what arrives from my uneddited queue. This has led to watching some films that I didn’t love and even raising questions of whether someone else is modifying my queue. I have tired to not allow myself to not obsess over any part of the film watching experience at some times don’t even look at the queue for weeks. Sometimes it’s a genuine surprise to discover what has shown up in my mail box, and I like that.

30 going on 31

I usually break up my year in review in July and not December 31st, because if I’m going to catalog my experience, my birthday is actually the start of a new year. A little narcissistic, but isn’t it true?

I’m writing this in August as the year hasn’t been especially kind, but that doesn’t mean it was especially unkind either. It’s been an extremely busy year my 30th. Started out fairly normal with a very nice vacation on Sunset Beach with friends. I read a lot on the beach, and that was great, and it was a trend I continued throughout the year. Taking personal time to read and relax was definitely a good thing to re-incorporate into my day to day. I read some large short story collections, works of fiction, and it’s now an evening tradition to read a bit before bed. Current book on the night stand is The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis.

Come about the middle of the year things started heating up. At work we took on some very large building projects at work, but tragedies struck with sudden deaths of family, and things crawled along as we tried to finish projects while trying to keep up with everything else. It’s not been great on our emotions or energy levels…. but, things have improved by dramatic levels on a variety of fronts. The business growth and maturity improves by leaps and bounds as the old is improved or replaced with new. I very much suspect that when we do end of year reports our 5-15% growth rate will be sustained for 2017 even with the difficulties.

The most dramatic improvement that most people will notice when visiting L&B will be improved parking. We rushed 328 cars, cut down about 25+ trees, moved tons and tones of dirt, and are currently spreading milled black top over the entire parking area. The effects of all this work is quite dramatic. Haha, I want to give a play by play of it all, but I’ll have a post by itself with a lot of pictures of the construction/destruction.

With all the activity going on I’ve stripped down some of my own activities and tried to focus on limited priorities, primarily the customer experience when coming in for service. I’ve not purchased a car purely to re-sell for my 30th year even though I’ve gone through a lot of cars.

I’ve been trying very hard to strip down my activities and prioritize not only at work, but also in my day to day. Mostly that’s trying to come to a realization of what things bring meaning and joy to my life vs which kill time, like mindlessly scrolling through social media. I’ve blocked nearly everyone that is not family from my news feed and tried to spend more time creating meaningful content.

I’ve felt a bit self-conscious of growing my hair out since the death of my brother/cousin, but now approaching the two year mark I think I’ve managed to maintain professionalism through out it’s various awkward stages? I don’t regret it and so far no one has been brave enough to say it looks bad.


My wife continues to improve and feel increasingly confident in her ability to interact with the crowded, messy, and demanding world at large. We’ve found a place of worship that we feel at home with and are able to attend regularly again. For my own personal spot of happiness, she’s shown an increasing interest in “high end” cars and was caught bragging when we purchased the Mercedes V12. Her birthday cake this year echoed the theme.


A great persona victory for both of us was that our week vacation in Richmond was great. We got a wonderful Airbnb and spent the week playing video games, binge watching HBO’s Westworld, visiting museums, and doing a puzzle we never finished. In the past vacations were always times of great anxiety for the new place, lack of feelings of safety from being at home, and having the comfort of our wonderful cats. This year though? We made it all the way through without any trouble. After this experience I may have to purchase a PS4 so I can complete Bloodeborne. Haha, that Demon Souls series has had me hooked since they were first released and while I’ve never actually completed a single one, I always like them.

lawn mower
Something that needs a little write up by itself is my lawn mower. I have about 2 acres to mow and that’s been a ongoing frustration for me. I didn’t have money to put into the size of mower needed for this amount of lawn and so I would either borrow my parents larger mower (hauling it back and forth) or cut things in sections with my little push mower. Neither was great options and it was annoying just thinking about it. Well, my brother knew about my frustrations and started watching equipment auctions and got me a Snapper zero turn with a 61” deck and a 28 hp engine. Not only did he do all the leg work to find it, he also handled picking it up and fixing some issues with it. All I had to do was pay for it. Of course because of his resourcefulness I payed only an estimated $.30 on the dollar. The above picture is of the day he dropped it off for the last mow of the year in 2016. Here’s another less awkward photo of it.


It’s made my law care so much easier. I no longer dread having to handle it or prepare to invest hours to cut it. It’s a simple process of starting, cutting, and putting away in quite literally a 6th of the time. That was one of the best gifts of my 30th year. I really have a fantastic family.


Another write up by itself would be going camping with some good friends I’ve made through swedespeed, twice. Those two events are probably the first times I’ve gone camping since I was in my teens. It was fantastic and I hope to do more of it. For my birthday I got lots of camping themed things so that I will look like less of an unequiped fool on my third trip.

On the last trip we met up at the international car show in Carlisle PA. I drove pinky.


A third thing is I usually I have a end of the year most memorable movie list, but I’ll write a separate post for that.
Things to start out my 31st year in a good way!


I now have a “paved” driveway. It’s milled black top from the road crews and my dad and spread and leveled it. It holds up much better than gravel, looks nicer, doesn’t erode, and is probably cheaper. $500 got me two loads and it was spread and leveled in a couple hours.


I purchased a 2009 XK coupe. I’ve been wanting this car since they were released and in a few days I will have one in my hands. The plan was once I sold my Super 8 to purchase a coupe or convertible. There was much debate over the 2 years I owned the Super as to whether I would get an SL, a 6, or an XK. The SL is actually the best car of the lot, the 6 probably has the best seats, but the XK has the most attractive body and was the one I actually wanted the most. Me and Jaguars, I don’t think I’ll out grow it.


I created a birthday party for me. My idea of the best birthday party is where I invite all my nieces and nephews over and throw them all a birthday party at the same time. This year it happened and they loved it. I’m pretty sure I shall forever be in the highly coveted “favorite uncle” spot. Hearing 4 year olds try and figure out why they get presents on my birthday was priceless.


Here’s to my 31st year being a good one!

Redeeming the time, for the days are evil

When I was a child there was some well meaning Christian evangelist that had a book/talk show/traveling seminar/ministry that his whole focus was on time management. The man was a focused driven type personality and he was always talking about things that could be done to save time – “redeem” the time as he phrased it – and get things done. He was of course putting a spiritual bend on the idea but it resonated with my young mind having grown up with a Puritan work ethic.

My personality is one that wakes up at with dawn, does things, goes to work on time, works late, comes home and works on something else. I enjoy work, I enjoy exploring, I enjoy chasing new all the time. “Sleep is the cousin of death” is the motto, and for the most part it’s served me well. I’ve accomplished a reasonable bit in my 31 years, but not really enough to be considered successful by most standards.

This Redeeming the time idea is one I’ve never really known how to address because if I’m not moving, depression will set in. It’s hard to relax, and the drive turns into a slog, and I loose more productivity than my need for action generates.

This past quarter at work has been especially exhausting. I won’t go into the technical details, but in effect I worked 70 hour weeks for nearly the entire second quarter. My body has warn down mentally and physically, but even in a state of exhaustion the drum keeps beating, “redeem the time! redeem the time!”

If you’ve not guessed it by now, I’m not very good at self care. Taking a break, relaxing, and getting rid of stress are not ideas I consciously search for. Nearly 95% of the time I’m doing the opposite. I’m looking for a project, looking for another way to make a dollar, dreaming of the how I want to live 10 years from now, and so on. This isn’t actually useful, or helpful.

In recently years I’ve been thinking a lot about corrupting influence of power. The more I become aware of the manipulative options available, the more I realize what corners I could cut to get further ahead. These are ideas sit very much in the gray zones of morality, not lies, not truths, semi-justifiable omissions of information, and so one. In many ways time management in my resonates on a similar frequency except that I’m cheating my own body instead of cheating someone else.

In automotive terms I could sell a part or even an entire car, hiding a flaw that I’m aware of that could potentially be a major issue down the road, and that’s similar to me taking on a project that could potentially generate a lot of stress and require me to work a lot more hours than are healthy. Both examples could potentially generate me a lot of financial gain, but at the cost of moral or relational degradation depending on which one we are talking about.

My automotive investments usually generate a 30% return or greater, and it’s very lucrative, but forcing myself to not seek it feels just as important right now to return to a healthy place physically and mentally. As my mates would say, “it’s time for a focus check!”

I’ve not figured out how I’m going to do this well yet as this has been the theme for the entire year. At the start of the year my resolution was to to buy one or two cars cars, but I’ve so far purchased 7 and was extremely close to purchasing an 8th last week. Haha, this feels like something of a problem that I haven’t actually made progress on. I feel like I’m perhaps not as self aware as I would like to believe. Realizing how deep seated these habits are and facing them is the continuing goal for the year.

On a positive note, this quarter starts with creating a blog and going on vacation, so there is hope still. 😀

Here is a photo of the identical twin of the car I nearly purchased. All the above statements aside, I’m still really annoyed that someone else got the car before I did!


Current Projects

Current Short Term Projects:

I have several cars that I’m playing with that I may have for only a few months or possibly a few years. How long I keep a car is always up in the air, much to my wife’s annoyance.


There is a 2005 CL600 Mercedes that I split the purchase price with a friend so that we could pick up our first v12 without investing much. It has 54K miles on the clock, some nice wheels, it was an unregrettable purchase even though neither of us have driven it much during our 6 months of ownership. Having a twin turbo v12 that you get to take out and flog any time you like is a nice thing to brag about even if you don’t do it often.


2008 V50 T5 AWD: this is the supposed to be the daily driver in a few weeks. Reasonably nice car, even though when it arrived it was not the car described in the add at all. After weeks of deliberation prices were adjusted and I ended up keeping the car and in the process of personalizing it.

2012 XC70 T6 Polestar tuned: this is the project I’m most excited about. I’m going to turn this into the only V70 T6 AWD R-Design in North America. It’s probably about half completed at this point. This is similar to what the finished results should look like.


I will write individual entries about each of the Volvos for sure. Maybe or maybe not on the Benz.


Longer term projects:

Currently I am trying my hand at buying cars and trying to make a profit marketing parts to the Volvo community. I’ve grow tired of the headache and drama of fixing an entire car to re-sell, but selling parts has less drama and a slower pace. I enjoy the interaction with the community too, so hopefully it will pay off OK.

My long term goal is to live off my job income and use the extra income to catch up on debts accrued during the years of hospital visits. The dream is of course debt free living, but that’s still a ways off as deleting a house payment is a good bit of work. There is $69k left on the principle as of the time of writing this and a portion of all sales go to the principle. And yes, to you finance nerds out there I realize that if money invested has a higher rate of return than the house it’s a bad idea to put more on the principle. I want to because removing the mortgage has been a goal all along. I also really want a different house, so that weighs in here too…

The amount is low enough that I could cash in a lot of investments and nearly pay it off, but if I did that I wouldn’t have any money to invest with, so slowly slowly I will take down the principle and focus on keeping the money floating around in investments that pay dividends. Current investments? First generation Volvo C70’s.


and lots of rare Volvo wheels



Extra long term project:


I want a Bentley Brooklands. My wife is a writer and the arrangement is that when she gets famous she will buy me one. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll get one by my own means eventually. She claims she wants a Koenigsegg, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen. I’ll not give up hope though. I firmly believe anything is possible but I also am a bit of a realist though and realize the odds of having one due the compromise necessary to purchase a car in that price bracket is probably not ones we are willing to make.

Another personal dream of a car is an Arden Jaguar Series 3 replica with a modern drive train and custom interior. The same is true in wanting a custom 560SEC wide-body replica. A retrofit of modern and vintage is my strongest dream at the moment. A modern reliable drive drain combined with the vintage styling, and subtle interior tweaks for an over all seem-less retrofit of modern technology. If taking one on I would hands down pick the SEC as it would be infinitely easier to work on than the XJ.

Prolix’s World: how we got where we are

Today I have a great interest in cars, but I was not always this way. Once upon a time I had no interest in cars at all. They were transportation, I put gas in them, and that was about it. My first car was a 1995 Volvo 850 non-turbo sedan and I “liked” it a lot. It had a strange smell not unlike smelly socks. Things didn’t work, there were faults with it, the transmission would shift funny, but I didn’t really care. It went where I wanted it to go, the cd player and a/c worked, and it was great!

This is the only photo I could find of the 850.

Fast forward a couple years when I was 19 or 20 and I discovered BMW after the accident pictures above forced me to replace the 850. I purchased a 1994 318i with a manual transmission. It had a primer M body kit, replica M3 wheels, and a manual transmission. To my eye, it was pretty fantastic.

I don’t even remember learner to drive a manual, it just happened and my world changed on one magical day. I was performing a task I would have never dreamed of doing – washing and waxing the car – and I realized, I was an enthusiast and wanted to drop all kinds of money on the car to make it special. It was a light bulb moment and my world changed forever. My tattered 318i with 200,000+ miles on it got a new interior and many other things. I remember feeling like I memorized where every screw and bolt in the interior went from having it apart so many times.

I drove this car for a year or two and decided to upgrade. I got a 1996 328i that was nicer and quicker, then got a 1997 M3 coupe, and the enthusiasm kept snowballing.


My immediate family and a large portion of my extended family has always been involved in cars from having garages to entire salvage yards, and I had a ready and easy access to cars at all times. I started collecting and acquiring a fleet of cars interesting to me in my early 20’s.

This was a fertile time for me: I developed a love of cars and started developing a business sense of how I could have a hobby I enjoyed and make money off it. I made some mistakes for sure, but for the most part it served me well. During this time I also took on the role of “service writer” at my family’s business; which is the managerial role of the person coordinating repairs for people, scheduling, ordering parts, etc.

Fast forward a few more years, and my interest in cars was waning. There wasn’t much desire for speed and my feelings towards cars were leaning towards tedium. I was making money, but I really was getting tired of the continual headache of switching cars all the time. It was during this stage that I met my wife. We dated for a year and a half and then got married on July 13th, 2013. It was a lovely wedding and we drove away from the reception in my triple black Mercedes CLK500 cabrio.


We drove the more traditional Volvo station wagon on our honeymoon to Canada, and life was pretty good. But all was not well, the cracks started showing in my wife’s mental health, and within months of getting married, she was having a full mental breakdown. In the ensuing chaos, it was discovered that she had schizophrenia and the world as I expected it to be was turned upside down.

Our plan had been to pay off the house in 5 years or less, have kids, and do the normal parenting thing. What we got instead was years of hospital visits, dozens of different extremely expensive medications to try, insurance debacle headaches, and all our savings completely disappeared. It was during this terrible time I discovered cars again by accident.

By nature I’m a driven person who has to always be working towards a goal and am a workaholic by some people’s definition. In this time where there was nothing I could do but survive and wait and pray for improvement and I struggled deeply to find something to occupy myself. I played some computer games, read books, watched movies, but these things got old quickly as it was solo play only. In the past I thought of myself as an introvert, but when life took away my social options I realized I was far more extroverted than I thought. I tried blogging to limited success. I first tried a primal scream type blog during the most difficult early stages and that lead only to more depression. I then tried to write a blog of memories in future tense, as in from what I hoped would be the perspective of my future self looking back. Unsurprising to anyone, this failed too. Then in an attempt to work with my driven nature, I decided to write a blog talking about the things I was accomplishing and not bringing up the things that were terrible at all. I was focusing on the positive things and reinforcing the idea that I was getting somewhere rather than thinking about my failing attempts to cope.

It was during this time that I found cars again. My financial circumstances forced me to go from my three completely paid for cars – CLK500, supercharged Range Rover (pictured above), and low mileage XC70 – to a back up cheap option. I bought a high mileage 06 Xc70 and in the spirit of maintaining optimism I started a build thread on SwedeSpeed in an attempt to come with cheap options to make the car better and more reliable without spending money I didn’t have.


This build thread revitalized my love of cars because it brought me the things I desperately needed in a time of crisis: community, something to focus on, and something solid I could depend on.

Through this thread I strengthened friendships with people I already knew and made some very solid new friends too. I discovered I was not the only person on the internet that was willing to admit they were using cars as a form of escape as their world fell apart and the community that developed has been one of the most positive things I’ve encountered in the last several years. Entertainingly, my thread became one of the most viewed threads for it’s side of the board. I went through several XC’s during this period, and here was the most complete version


So, where does that leave me today? I’m about to turn 31 as well as celebrate my 4th wedding anniversary in July, my wife’s health has stabilized, my life has returned to some semblance of normal, and our bank account has gotten reasonably healthy again. It’s in this place that I am working to discover my “voice” as I move forward into the future of the rest of my life. This blog is about some of my experiences.


Things I would like to say moving forward:

I did not spend much time talking about my wife’s schizophrenia by intention. I feel like that is her story to tell, not mine. She’s a very strong woman to have survived with it for so long and I love her even though she’s a little bit crazy.

I want to thank my in laws and my family for helping me in the roughest of times. They gave me comfort, support, and monetary help when I needed it most and gave me space to grieve and seek help.

I want to thank my car mates for being a crash pad of fun when so much else was bleak.

I want to thank God and my spiritual friends who were willing to go out of their way to reach out to a hurting young man frustrated and angry at the cards life dealt him.