Project 122: Chapter 1

Project 122

Volvo Amazons have long been a dream car of mine, with wonderful swooping lines and attractive interior design complimented by decent performance. The 122 especially is a very pretty car, but unlike some more aggressive designs it doesn't look like it's trying too hard to look good; it just does. Add in some rally lights and I’m in love. My dad and I have been looking for a project car for a little while now, and an old 122 seemed to fit the bill. So when a 1965 122S came up for sale in my area, I couldn’t say no. A few hours of driving later and it was in our garage.

The car came with a red interior, which I thought was a little tacky so after a few hours of work we stripped the cockpit down to the metal. The tear down was also motivated by the rust poking out around the edges of the floor mats and carpet. While the doors and interior have white paint, the outside of the car is covered only in white primer. It looks like the previous owner sanded the car down to get it ready to paint, and then never did.

As you can see, the floor pans are rusted out so one of the first major improvements to the car will be cutting these out and replacing them. There is also a minor amount of rust around the rear wheel arches, but it is small and confined to the surface so that will be chemically treated and covered with tar rather than cut out and welded. If you zoom in you can see the holes in the driver side pan, and the worst of it feels weak enough that a decent kick could punch through the floor. The passenger side is better, but it still should be replaced.

The engine runs, but the fuel line needs to be reconnected to the tank and the tank itself needs to be empty and cleaned. The car had been sitting since 2006 when we bought it, which I suspect is why the floor is so badly rusted. The previous owner used low grade weatherstripping to seal the windows and doors, allowing water to leak in and sit on the floor. On the plus side, the rust is contained to the floor and the rest of the body is straight and has no dents, which is amazing for a car of its age. The transmission seems to shift smoothly into each gear, but it definitely needs new fluid before actual use.

The rear end is disconnected at the differential, so it has to be reattached after the diff is inspected and a bearing and some seals are replaced. The short term goal is to get the car running, and go from there. Everything from engine tuning to interior restoration to paint is the works, but for now the car has to be able to move under its own power.