A glance back 100 years, forward to Volvo V90 mild hybrid

The Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 near Erie. (Bud Wells photo)

Let’s take a look back – long ago – in contrast with review of the sleek 2024 Volvo V90 Cross Country Mild Hybrid Wagon.

Advertisement in early1939, a few months before Dale Wells added Ford/Mercury.

One hundred years ago, late May 1924, my dad, Dale Wells, graduated from Burlington High School and in the same week began employment as a mechanic at the town’s Ford garage, operated by Cecil Reed.

Dad’s older brother, Albert Wells, was already working as a salesman at the Reed Ford dealership. Dad and Albert would become Ford dealers themselves down the road a few years – Albert at Cozad, Neb., and dad at Wray.

These happenings merit mention after all these years, in that it marks 100 years that my family has been associated with the automobile business.

Advertisement for 1942 Ford from Wray Gazette in fall of ’41.  

As U.S. auto builders entering year 1942 shifted gears and cleared production lines of new automobiles, they prepared their manufacturing capabilities for the Allied efforts in World War II.

Dad at the time had not only the Ford/Mercury franchises for Wray, but also Chrysler/Plymouth, and bought the last 1942 Chrysler sent his way before the shutdown; he and my mother drove the Chrysler Windsor sedan, with blue body and cream-colored roof, through the war years.

It performed with a 142-horsepower, straight-8-cylinder engine and Chrysler’s relatively new Fluid Drive transmission. General Motors was in the early stages of its Hydra-matic transmission. We all know which prevailed in that competition.

Two chapters, “The Garage at Wray” and “The Chrysler at 100,” add discussion in much more detail in my book. “2,600 Cars and a Dog Sled, Bud Wells’ 67 Years in Newspapering and Automobiles” is offered in soft-cover ($28.50 including shipping) or hard-cover ($38.50 including shipping) and can be ordered through Budwellsbooks.com or [email protected], or by phone or text 303-549-4464.

Dale Wells Sr. in the early 1940s.

2024 Volvo V90 mild hybrid

The anticipated transition to electric automobiles has assembly lines in a state of flux for most manufacturers heading into summer 2024, such as “scrap the Malibu, electrify the Hummer, toss the Hemi, Mach-e or no Mach-e, Tesla this and Tesla that, charging points, etc., etc.”

Volvo, builder of wonderful internal-combustion-engine-powered wagons for 50 years, was one of the first manufacturers to commit to electrifying its fleet.

The sleekly styled and comfortably seated V90 exists yet due to installation of a 48-volt mild hybrid system with regenerative braking. The Cross Country B6 version is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and 8-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive. The regen braking is a product of the mild hybrid, which also is used to start the engine and boost the engine in acceleration, all of which help the wagon’s EPA estimate of 23 city and 29 highway miles per gallon. My overall average was 24.2.

The Ultimate trim level lends Bowers & Wilkins premium sound, Nappa leather, massaging front seats, head-up display, lifted suspension with rear air and a crystal shifter that adds assurance the wagon is of luxury rank.

The V90, built in Torslanda, Sweden, carries sticker price of $73,380.