GUEST BLOG POST - RON WIDEMAN on european cars and dealing with Parolin's

One of our long serving clients, Ron Wideman was recently kind enough to chime in on his collected experiances with European cars and more specifically, buying and servicing these cars with Parolin's. This is a really nice piece, and we are always thankful to have a number of realy great personalities like Ron as everyday clients. Please take the few minutes to read it.


Ron Wideman

Guest Blog Entry for T. E. Parolin and Sons

August 27, 2013



            I’ve been buying cars from Terry Parolin for almost 15 years now.  I first heard about Parolin’s soon after I arrived in North Bay to accept a faculty position at Nipissing University.   


            The first car I bought from Terry was a 1996 Volvo 850 sedan - bright red, with a sunroof, leather upholstery, and a spoiler!  It was three years old; the mileage was 95,000 kilometers, just broken in by Volvo standards.  I’d always lusted after Volvos but never bought one previously because I considered them too expensive. And I never felt comfortable buying used – that is until I met Terry Parolin.


            What’s great about Parolin’s is that they find high quality European cars in excellent condition, recondition them as needed, and then stand behind them with a sixty-day, bumper-to-bumper warranty. The result is that I was able to buy that 1996 Volvo for just a fraction of what I would have had to pay for it “new.”  And Terry also services the cars he sells. Parolin’s knows both the customer and the car and looks after both with integrity and attention to detail.


            I’ve always loved cars.  When I was very young, I’d insist on standing on the front bench seat of my grandfather’s 1948 Ford Mercury (no child seats then), my arm hooked around the seat-back for balance.  From this vantage point, I’d track each car as it approached us from the opposite direction, turning to continue to watch intently as it sped past and disappeared astern.  Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I remember being able to name by sight pretty much every make and model of American car, and I waited excitedly for the new models to appear on the roads each fall.


            But my greatest enthusiasm was reserved for European imports.  As teenagers, my friends and I would spend afternoons at the Automotive Building of the CNE in Toronto: sitting in the Triumphs, MGAs, Austin Healeys and Jaguars; drinking in the smell of leather upholstery and walnut dashboards; trying out the clutch and floor mounted gearshifts; and dreaming of owning such marvelous machines in the future.


            When I was about 18 years old a friend bought a Volvo 122 “Canadian” – the first car I had ever ridden in that had disk brakes and radial ply tires.  It would actually stop and turn, unlike my father’s “Detroit Iron” which did neither very well.


            Once I bought my first Volvo from Terry Parolin, and began to fully understand his own love of cars and dedication to customers and service, it dawned on me that I now had a trusted supplier through whom I could indulge my longstanding “auto-enthusiasm.”  I realized that it was now within my reach to own and drive many of the European cars that, in the past, I could only dream about.


            Since that time I have happily purchased vehicles exclusively from Parolin’s. I generally spend no more than about $12,000 on a car (sometimes quite a bit less) and keep it for two or three years before trading back to Terry for something else.  These cars don’t depreciate much when they’re older so the cost is quite reasonable in the long run.


            For example, I was able to buy one of the earliest all-wheel-drive Volvo XC70s, already with 300,000 kilometers recorded; I drove it reliably for another 70,000 kilometers over two years - mostly to and from business meetings in Toronto and through all of the winter weather that nature could throw at us.  My son learned to drive on that car; he called it “The Orbiter” because it was white, sleek, and plenty fast. 


            On another occasion, I bought a Mercedes Benz E320 from Terry; it was the last of the Teutonic, over-built Mercedes equipped with a totally bullet-proof, six cylinder, normally aspirated engine that made 230 horsepower.  The E320 was luxurious, comfortable to drive, and the gas mileage on the highway was 9 liters per 100 kilometers or better (over 30 miles per imperial gallon)! 


            When my two children went away to school, I equipped them both with well-used 1998 Volvo V70s.  Each car was about nine years old when purchased and cost no more than $6,000 to buy through Parolin’s.  They were safe, sporty, and reliable vehicles and my kids drove them all over Ontario for 4 years or more.


            Today, everyone in my family drives cars from Parolin’s.  My wife owns a 2007 Volvo XC90, which she loves. My son and daughter both drive Volvo XC70 Cross Country station wagons; his is a 2004 and hers is a 2003; both now have over 200,000 kilometers on the clock.  At the moment, I’m driving my first BMW - a 2005 X5 that I bought about a year ago.  It’s comfortable, fun to drive, and will haul or trailer anything I want. By owning it, I’m getting to try out the BMW marque at a low cost, with the possibility purchasing another one later on.


            In short, Parolin’s has enabled me to be a practical and discerning consumer, able to enjoy some quite wonderful, high quality European automobiles at a very reasonable cost.  Every time I visit Terry’s lot, he has one or more cars that I’d love to own.  For me it’s like a car show all the time.  Over the years, I’ve also been able to indulge my love of “two-seater” sports cars – but that’s a topic for another posting.