Finite Supply

 Recently, I've watched a Youtube video and an episode of Mythbusters which both entailed destruction of old Volvostation wagons. The Youtube video came to me from Jalopnik and chronicled the abject abuse of an 850 wagon through crashing and rolling and the old 850 just kept coming back for more. In the Mythbusters episode, a scene from a movie was recreated and it involved a dump truck T-boning a 240 wagon. Actually, since they had to do a control test and then a myth busting test, two 240 wagons were sacrificed. While it may seem as though there is little harm in destroying old(er) cars, no matter the reason, is there a point at which we have to start considering older models to be endangered species and thus trying to preserve, rather than destroy them?

I don't know how many 240 wagons or 850 wagons there are still running around. They pop up from time to  time, but we don't see many. The consideration has to be that there is a finite number of these cars, there will never be more of them than there are today, and someday there won't be any. This is likely a long way off, but eventually that day will come. There was a time in my Saab days when we took delight in cutting up Saabs that were too expensive to repair and we culled replacement parts to keep other cars on the road at a lower cost. It made sense. However, these days, every time a car is sacrificed to become a donor, the total fleet is diminished. With no new 240 wagons, or Saabs, in the pipeline, is this practice accelerating the pace toward extinction? Or, does the availability of some used parts make the rest of the fleet more tenable and in fact keep more cars on the road longer? I'm just not sure. Certainly, it is a conundrum.

With regards to truly special cars, we have to at least stop and ask. Does anyone care, though, if the world just runs out of Chevy Cavaliers? Probably not. Not even me, and a 1984 Cavalier was the first new car we ever bought. How about a Pontiac Sunfire? It was as forgettable a car as the Cavalier, but since the Pontiac nameplate is gone forever, do we try to save Sunfires (if indeed there are any left). No. GTOs? Firebirds? Trans Ams? Aztecs? Yes. Yes. Yes. No. I suppose even among Saabs there will be some cars which could just go away forever and I will not care. 1994 900? They can't disappear fast enough. I tried to think of a Volvo that could just disappear without anyone shedding a tear. Perhaps the first generation S40? I don't think it was a terrible car but it doesn't seem to have any following.

Time marches on. Brands fail. Cars disappear from our midst. Some should. Some shouldn't. It is fine for Mythbusters to obliterate cars now and again, and for repair shops to disassemble failed cars to the betterment of the vehicles still in operation. Still, I wonder if some day I'll regret having junked some cars which might have carried on if they had gotten into the right hands.
Categories: Automotive
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