Why the heck do I have this car?
The Volvo 740 was introduced in 1982 as a successor to the wildly popular Volvo 240. It came in four primary variations: the Volvo 740, the Volvo 740 Wagon, the Volvo 740 Turbo, and the Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon. For years, Volvo had been shipping automobiles with variants of the same 4cyl engine design (commonly know as Redblocks). These engines were outrageously well built, but were somewhat lacking in power. By adding a turbocharger to the 740's B230 engine, Volvo was able to increase the power from 115HP (naturally aspirated) to 165HP, without seriously sacrificing fuel economy. As the 740 weighed 2900-3200lbs, this increase in power was quite dramatically felt. Volvo very heavily advertised the performance and practicality of their new turbocharged vehicles.
My grandmother had her Volvo 740 Turbo for as long as I can remember, and I slowly watched it fall into disrepair as she didn't know better and couldn't afford to fix it properly when it broke. Eventually, it became my cousin's car and I learned enough to wrench on it a bit. We replaced the brakes, spark plugs, oil, air filter, all the things necessary to keep it on the road right then, but I knew that it was gonna need some serious overhauling, and soon.
Eventually the timing belt jumped (although we didn't know it at the time) and the engine wouldn't turn over, and the mechanic informed (incorrectly, as we will soon see) my cousin that the engine was destroyed. My cousin bought a new car, and the car sat abandoned in my grandmother's driveway for the better part of a year while they debated what to do with it. It was going to be donated, but I finally got out of school for the year and was able to get down to her house to take a look at it. With the knowledge of one of my coworkers, we were able to troubleshoot what had happened (the belt had in fact slipped).
Once I had gotten the engine to turn over, proving that it could be repaired, it was arranged that I'd take ownership of the car after returning from IQP, and get it roadworthy. I began reading as much as I could on the mechanics and electrical systems of the car to prepare myself. When I got back, I was ready to get to work and bring my Volvo back from the brink.