Two decades ago, ViVA Performance was born in the dusty corners of a college dormitory. Today, the company is known throughout the Volvo community as a revered parts supplier delivering premium parts and even better customer service.
Many of you know him from his Swedespeed and email signature, “George @ ViVA”. Wherever you look, whether it be on current Facebook pages or archived Volvospeed threads, members praise the top-tier service he has to offer.
As a founding member to the current Volvo community, George has gone out of his way to help whoever he can all across the world. Unfortunately, he can only be one place at a time, so we put this interview together to help you get to know him on a more personal level.
Swedish Car Day 2008, Boston, MA
George grew up in the Boston area and attended Boston University, graduating in 2004 with a degree in Business Administration. Currently he resides in Los Angeles, California where you can find him wrenching on his cars and collecting rare Volvo parts and collectibles.
Ever since he was a child, George has loved cars. He remembers taking one of his father’s old briefcases to friend’s houses as a means to transport his Matchbox cars. Later in high school when the 850 T-5R debuted, George knew he had to have one. The classy, subtle yet aggressive styling made the T-5R a realistic dream car for the high school freshman.
“I remember seeing articles and photos of it in Car & Driver, Motor Trend, etc., and I just loved how the car was subtle but also aggressive. They used to call it “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, and that resonated with me.”
Fun Fact: At a point in time, George owned 7 T-5R’s concurrently – a black sedan, four yellow sedans, and two yellow wagons. He currently owns 3 T-5R’s.
The idea for ViVA Performance began while George was a senior in high school when he created a page on Yahoo! GeoCities where he was able to list Volvo parts from European distributors, working with family and friends in order to translate foreign product descriptions.
George recognized there was a market for these unique parts after he had corralled over 3,000 visitors in the first year the site was up. In 2000, the site was moved to its own domain and George began listing some of these products for sale. He was selling parts directly from his freshman dorm room.
"At that time, e-commerce was just getting started, so customers would mail me money orders. My roommate thought they were all crazy!”
As the owner of ViVA Performance, George has his hand in just about everything. He often works closely with Connor dealing with the operations of the company, as well as working with customers to ensure that ViVA maintains its excellent customer service reputation.
George describes his experience with ViVA Performance in one word. Fulfilling. He believes it’s absolutely true when people say, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day of your life”. He has taken a passion for his automotive niche and turned it into a high-quality resource for the most premium European parts and accessories.
As a die-hard Volvo enthusiast, George has owned some of the most unique Volvo's in the world. However, his Flash Green 2005 S60R is his most notable. George notes that he wanted to use this car to extend beyond his comfort zone in regards to modification. I think you’ll agree that it paid off, and there is no better person to tell you about it than him.
"It’s probably the most unique car I’ve owned, and you’ll never see another one like it anywhere. On the inside, I’ve installed Inscription soft black leather seat skins and door panels, paint matching colored seat belts, a bunch of custom upholstered interior bits like steering wheel, dash pad, door handles, arm rest, e-brake handle & boot, all with a treatment of leather & Alcantara materials with green thread contrast stitching."
"On the outside, it has Volvo sport kit, 19” VST Monoblock R wheels with Michelin PSS tires, front ViVA Performance 3-piece lip, TME cat-back exhaust, TME lowering springs, upgraded anti-sway bars, S60 Challenge rear trunk spoiler, and custom projectors in Euro-spec headlamps.”
You may recognize George’s caR from last year’s Davis Volvo meet. While this car has been extensively modified, George has helped many other Volvo enthusiasts make their cars custom fit for their preferences. You can continue to find unique Volvo builds like George’s on vivaperformance.com/blog/ or on our Instagram and Facebook pages.