Many of you have seen the bright blue 145 Express at various club events. As a bit of background it was bought a few years back by several club members and is undergoing a continuing process of rebuild and restoration by the current owners - Gregg Morris, Dave McAree and Bob Cuthill and a host of behind the scenes supporters and contributors. For the summer of 2004 it spent most of its time on Vancouver Island at what has become known locally as the “Cuthill Garage”. All photos on this page are approximately 500 kB.
This year, with most of the planned maintenance activities completed by end August, Bob decided it was time to take the Express on the road and tour the Volvo establishments on the southern half of Vancouver Island. On the morning of Tues 14 Sep Bob and the Express started in Victoria with coffee at Landsman Motors with proprietor Peter and son Robert.
The second stop was Volvo of Victoria for another coffee and a brief chat with (L to R) Keith O’Shea, Aftersales Operations Manager, Wayne Buchanan, Parts Advisor and Don Smith, general Sales Manager. On arriving at Chapman Motors a problem with the left rear brake dragging and overheating was detected so the tour was interrupted for repairs back at Cuthill Garage.
On Thurs, 16 Sep, the tour resumed at Chapman Motors in Victoria for morning coffee break with (L to R) Karen Hough and Ross Goldsworthy. Then it was off up the Malahat and north to Chapman’s Cobble Hill facility and a visit with “Happy”. Although I have not made too many stops here, I do check out the supply of used Volvos in the back yard on a regular basis, observing from the air and the cockpit of the Helijet S-76 when flying from Victoria Harbour to Vancouver.
Next stop on the tour was Dancia Motors just north of Nanaimo for a chat with new owner/operator (as of Aug 03) Rich Cote. Lunch stop was in Nanaimo following a call at Chapman’s head office and a visit with (L to R) mechanic Grant Stoddart, head man Terry Little and right hand person on the front desk and in the office, Holly Best.
After lunch it was time for a little bit of open highway and a run for the Express up to Qualicum Beach and a stop at the Smith residence. I guess Nigel is a bit shy because I couldn’t get him to stand by the Express in front of his beautiful three bay garage which is equipped with all the latest gadgets inside. This Volvo maintenance facility is in addition to a lovely house and two other garages on the Smith Estate.
By this time it was getting late in the afternoon so it was time to head south again. The Express seemed to enjoy a chance to get out on the open road and she cruised along nicely, not holding up any traffic on the new island highway. For a 30 plus year old truck she runs extremely well, a testament to the original Volvo design and hard work that has gone into refurbishing her. I’ve still got a list of little things to be done but I’m saving those for next summer when she returns to the island. As with any project car, it’s never really completed is it?