A Fiery Finish: The End Of Jeff Z.’s BMX Transportation Machine

Southern California is a car culture. If you really want to experience all that SoCal has to offer, you need a car—or a know someone who does. And that’s where I come in, being a photographer, I’ve become accustomed to always driving. And I’m totally fine with it—because over the years of driving everywhere not only have I learned my way around LA as if I grew up there, but I can also bring all of my camera gear as well as the other little odds and ends that can make or break a session—tubes, pump, tires, tools, extra pedals and chain links, and so many other random things. If something has ever come between me and getting a photo, I vowed to be prepared incase it where to ever happen again. When it comes to street riding, realistically, there are only eight days a month (sometimes only four depending on the spot) when you can get shit done, so I’m not going to let all that time spent driving and searching be in vain because we didn’t have a friggin’ tube. Feel me?

The formula for a weekend of fun was simple—four people, four bikes, pull the trunk down with the bungee cord, make the mandatory gas station stop, and hit the road. Sometimes it’s an exploratory mission, and other times we have an agenda. After a few years of incessant weekends like these, the wear and tear on my car began to show. But I never really stressed about the cosmetic stuff, if a barend scratched the door, or somebody wanted to stand on the hood to get a better angle to film, it didn’t matter to me. Because as far as I was concerned, as long as my car was running well, I wasn’t hung up on the aesthetics—BMX paid for it, so BMX could ruin it. I will have time for a nice and clean car when I’m an old man. For the time being, I looked at my car as a tool—a sturdy, square, Swedish driving machine perfect for daily BMX missions. And when it comes to missions, while I embarked on plenty of solo excursions, anybody and everybody in BMX has been in the car, as well. If a rider was passing through town and they wanted to hit some spots, they probably got a ride in the Volvo. There’s also a solid crew of regulars who pretty much have a seat with their name on it, and they all know who they are.

So why am I making such a fuss over my car that caught fire and burned to a point beyond repair? Well, for starters, half of the photos you see in the pages of Ride and on this website wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t drive that car to those spots—and the same goes for plenty of video clips as well. But more importantly, it’s an end of an era, not only did that car take my friends and I on countless adventures, but on a more personal level, I took my wife out on our first date in that car. So to say that the sentimental value runs deep is an understatement. Like I said, California is a car culture, and I’ve fully succumbed to it. What follows is a collection of photos of my car in numerous stages, as well as a bunch of riding photos I shot as a result of driving it. It’s hard to put into words the contribution this 1987 Volvo 240 DL Sedan had on BMX over the last seven years, but maybe this very small sample of photos will help.