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Classic 242 GT - Dedication To a Friend Lost

In memory of Matthew Dionne (3-23-83 to 5-12-03)
By: Dana Howe, Comments by turbobricks members

Matthew Dionne was one of our most well known members, enthusiasts, and most of all a good friend. All of us who knew Matt either in real-life or online through endless discussions about cars, politics, people, and life in general, are at a great loss with out him. You will be missed Matt, you can ride shotgun anytime you’d like.

When Matt first stepped onto our community message board after poking around for a while back in the beginning of February 2002, he began his search for making his ’78 242 GT into the ultimate road warrior. Although his first few posts we’re all about building up a massive turbocharged beast, Matt became one of the most prominent members to advocate the normally aspirated side of things. Focusing on making the most of the stock mechanics, beefing up suspension components, and spending most of the time working on improving the “driver” aspect gave him the opportunity to find the sporty feel he was looking for.

Right from the start, we saw a well versed young Volvo fanatic bringing new aspects to topics and questions to the table one right after another. Matt was able to fire off post after post almost methodically for hours at a time. To this day I don’t know how he managed to read through all the threads so fast and still have time to toss in a few comments dashed with emoticons here and there. In a little over a year he had racked up well over 1000 posts, more then the majority of the board had… many who had been around for years prior. On more then one occasion I’d log into the board and see each forums last post was by none other then “Volvo78GT”, I can even remember Mike taking a screen shot once just for keeps sake.

One of the greatest traits we saw from Matt over the last year or so was that he was willing to go out of his way for anyone who needed it. I myself met up with Matt at his home to pick up an OEM group-a spoiler he had been holding for at least a year. Matt also managed to organize multiple group buys from a popular cam manufacturer, spending hours of his own time, completely with out profit, just for the satisfaction of helping others. In doing so, he managed to piece together valuable information regarding the install, performance specs, and problems on a website of his own.

Even down to his last day with us, Matt was a die-hard Volvo enthusiast. Midway through his journey back east to his grandparents, and to visit many of us, Matt still managed to jump online and tell a story or two about what had happened so far. Minor mishaps with the car or funny things he had observed across the southern states, no matter where he was he could always find a way to get over here to turbobricks and feel at home.

The following pages are our members thoughts, dedications, and stories devoted to Matt and his family. We were blessed to have such a wonderful person among us for what seems now, as only a short amount of time. A great thanks to all who have, and will contribute to the Matthew P. Dionne Scholarship Fund.

Even though I never really expressed it often enough, I considered you a true friend... even when you asked me something I just had explained, your one of the few people that for some reason, I didn't mind that from. Sorry for the lectures, and the joking around, I hope you knew it was all in good fun. Were going to miss you, including my girl friend who always ask's how I can possibly talk to for so long online.

I guess its just going to get boring here with out you, thats the saddest part.

Hope you found that 200+ horse power n/a monster in heaven,

Your bud,

You don't know what a true benefit someone is until they're gone. All the fun, jokes, poking, etc makes it really easy to take things for granted, and thats kinda the way it was with Matt. We all joked about it, about his trip and all, but deep down inside, we all (well at least I did) thought he was going to have the best summer out of all of us. What a complete shot out of the dark. At any rate, Matt, it was all in good fun, we all had some great times, and you're always welcome on my volvo mis-adventures.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones, and to everyone on this board he touched (which is pretty much everyone).

You will be missed

we miss you Matt

I first started conversing with Matt back when he did his first enem cam group buy. I was always waffling whether I would shell out the money and get a cam- some of you know what a cheep bastard I am- just look over my wanted posts. He was so good natured about it, never got pissed off at me for changing my mind over and over again. I knew that he was a good guy that loved his Volvo, he worked very hard on those group buys.

As I got to know him more he told me that he was studying to be an electronic engineer, I couldn't believe it... I am studying to be an EE also. We talked a lot about circuit theory and applications that we could use in our Volvos. It is amazing the type of personal friendship one can make online.

What I remember most about Matt was, when he was online he always had time to help me out with my brick. He would always admit to me if he didn't know enough to help me, and he never gave me bad advice. He was so good-natured about everything, even when I waffled about getting a cam on the SECOND group buy.

With kindness and goodwill my thoughts go out to Matt's family and loved ones. Our community will miss him terribly.

Toby Eidelman
Santa Rosa, CA

It's been a while but not nearly long enough

Matt, I've known you since the Kalazdar days. I never really bothered asking what that name meant... I guess its because you were just Matt to me. You were really that simple; just a real, truthful, honest, sincere guy.

You had an awful lot of energy and could really talk my head off. I remember you high jacking me from my bed a few times to get me on the computer and you were just gushing away about your next big step on the GT, or listening intently about my Volvo exploits. We could go on for hours about all sorts of stuff because you'd always be really interested in anything I had to say. I remember sometimes I had to tell you like 10 times that I needed to sleep before you went along with it. You really are a nice guy, and you've always wanted to learn more and help more and do more with you Volvo brothers.

I remember not really understanding how you could call the GT fast, but you were always so into the thing, telling us about how much fun it was to drive, that I started wanting one too. You just loved that car so much that I couldn't help but feel the love.

Well the place is gonna be less interesting without you man. You weren't just here, you were what this place was. As a self proclaimed 'post whore' I think you'd like to know that you single-handedly brought the most people together in TB chat last night, and yeah we were all talking about you and your car. You'd be amazed by how many memories you left here...at least a few lifetimes worth. You've got an awful lot of friends here man, and a lot who'll be carrying on your spirit. We'll do our part if you do yours.

You'll be with us always since your help has changed all of us. We can't ignore that you're gone, but what you've helped us with we keep with us, and pass on to others, so guess what? 10 years from now it's still really gonna be you posting on here. Volvo for life? You're TB for life now man. There's no avoiding it, not that you would want to. Part of you is stuck here forever, and I've got a feeling you'd like that.

Of course you did get to finally leave Texas, which you were really itchin to do. I'm sure Tennessee was beautiful too. I drove through there on a cross country trip too once. The mountains and trees overlooking lakes below...it really is spectacular. Lucky you, you got to see it at sunrise. It must have been fantastic stuff. Kinda like heaven really, which I'm sure is where you are now. When you think about it, there really is no other place for a guy like you. Lets hope you got your wish list up there: a bunch of shiny new tools, megasquirt system, turbo to bolt onto that GT (c'mon you know you want one), and an even more insane suspension than you had. Good luck surprising guys like Alberto Ascari, Colin Chapman, and Ayrton Senna up there. I suggest you race them for pinks. Who'da thought a Volvo could take an F1 car? Hey thats why it's heaven right? Take care man. We'll be missing you until we meet again.


Matt, I spoke with you every now and then. Always on a high note at that. I was looking forward to your trip! I was reading it for the first time last night, then I stumbled upon what happened. This will never be forgotten by anyone as I am sure you know. Directly or indirectly, you have affected us all in a way. It is all about the small things that make a difference, one message, one post, or one word.

Turbobricks and the volvo community never really knew what it had until it was gone so to speak, and now we know. You will be missed my friend. You have moved on to a place we will all reach someday, sometime. I wish we spoke more often, no one expected this. God bless.

[I can only wish Matt's family the best in dealing with this terrible loss.]

Daniel Barcutian

Hey Matt.

Matt. What can I say. Man, I knew you however briefly, but you were a great guy. The times that we talked online, the advice you gave, the laughs we shared will never be forgotten. We all know your in that great big garage up there, building up the best turbo GT ever. Look down upon us, we'll keep building em up and tearing em down if you do the same. You'll be sorely missed man.

All the brick brethren send our deepest condolences to the family. Even though our friendship may have been over something as trivial as the brand of transportation we drove, we were all a big family. To the Dionne family, we cannot begin to understand the loss that you must be experiencing, but we send our sympathy. Matt's magnetic personality and wonderful spirit brought him a large extra family online. We all send our love and prayers to him and the family he left behind.

Mark Atchison

Matt, you know you were there for any problems that I had with Bricks or other "normal" things I don't think there will be anyone that could ever replace what you have done for me. you will always be in my heart, and be greatly missed.

Kevin Elliot O'Brien

p.s. matt... my mech says the 79 is a 242... so once I get it in a moth or so.. I will try to build it up like we always talked about.

You know that even though I sold my GT, I still think that 242GTs are Da Bomb. In you I found somebody who was even more GT obsessed than me, somebody who would actually build the sick NA motors we'd think up.
Every time I thought I was fast, you were faster. Every time I thought I was saying something inane, you'd out-do me. You had the Volvo I wished I had from the beginning, and you were taking the road trip I wished I had the time to do. Even to the end, you still knew what was really important - taking time for family and friends. I am glad to have known you, even if I only knew you through emails and posts.

See you on the other side


Well, Matt, I made it. Here I am in Florence living with my grandparents and soon to have a job. If any one person ever encouraged me how to get on with life in spite of the crappiest crap, it was you. My trip went wonderfully and I wish so much that yours could've gone the same way. I never got to see "THE PAINTLESS WONDER" but screw that now...when I get up there, I'll see that GT you dreamed of, and I know that, had you not been cut short down here, would've had eventually. Nice, shiny GT silver paint, complete with the GT stripes, and not a scratch or blemish on it. Not to mention the 10-sec timeslip. Not to forget your 990/1000w Cibies, 1500w Cibie driving lights, and 900w Cibie foglights.

Until then, I'm stuck with the 16 second timeslip and 55/65w sealed beams, but hey, I know you would've wanted me to make the best of it, so that's what I'll sure as hell do. See you up there someday man...until then, you bet I'll make my brick as fast and as cool as I can while I'm still down here.

Oh yeah, one last thing...your name is still, yes, still on my AIM list...and mark my words...it's there to stay.

Later, man.

  • Model: 1978 242 GT
  • Owner: Matt Dionne
  • Photographer: (himself)
  • Motor: Matt and his father rebuilt the stock B21F from the ground up. Just about everything about the motor was replaced. Later they added a 16" Permacool electric fan conversion strapped to the back of a triple core Nissen radiator to help with the Texas summer heat. A K&N panel filter was added to help open up the intake to feed an Enem V15 camshaft. The 2.5" "turbo" cat-back exhaust was installed to replace the original exhaust system as well.
  • Transmission: The Volvo stock M46 transmission was left in place for simplicity.
  • Suspension: Revalved Bilstein HD custom shocks matched with the stiffer wagon springs in the rear gave the car some needed stiffness while keeping the "rally style" stance. 23mm IPD sway bars front and back, original GT style chassis braces along with poly-urethane bushings all around helped keep things solid while drifting through dirt roads.
  • Wheels & Brakes: The original 14" GT lightweight aluminum wheels were left in place with Dunlop SP Sport A2's in 195/70-14.
  • Cosmetic: Matt swapped out the turn signals for the 2 pane Euro style. The rest of the car was left looking completely stock.
  • Interior: Keeping with its stock appearance was the GT black'n'red pinstriped interior and seats.


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