1980 Volvo 245 “Chewbacca”
You can’t take your cars too seriously, that’s what I say. Living in Texas was miserably hot in the summers, and after a day spent driving Bella around with no doors while I was replacing her rusty ones, I realized that while I couldn’t afford a convertible, I could certainly afford to rent a SawZall and chop the roof off of a hardtop. And hey–it hardly rained in Austin anyhow, so why not?
When I found a Volvo wagon whose rear roof had been partially removed already a few weeks later, Chewbacca was born. I cut the rest of the roof off, leaving only a “halo” around the front seats and doors. A Jeep CJ’s roll bar was welded in, along with long angle-iron bars from B-pillar to D-pillar, for additional strength. All of Chewbacca’s parts came from junkyards and scrap metal piles; the spare tire carriers were donated by a pair of Geo Trackers, the first tailgate was a piece of heavy metal mesh (later replaced by Bella’s cut-down rusty tailgate), the cargo boxes inside were kitty litter containers and scrap PVC, the rear floor was covered in scrap tires, and the big Hella lights weren’t functional but they were rescued from a VW Bus in a South Austin junkyard and man, did they look cool. Ultimately, a Jeep bikini top was even found, wadded up in the back of an Isuzu Trooper in that same junkyard.
Chewbacca did the grueling Austin-Detroit drive, participated in the Houston Art Car Parade and later in an art car show in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was ultimately sold to a nice fellow Volvo nut in Maine.