Andy Reid Auction Editor
June 21, 2011 1:42 p.m.

So as usual, I decided to drive my new 1966 Volvo 1800S from LA to Chicago, by way of Monterey and San Francisco. While this might sound a bit crazy, I did insure that the car was ready for the trip.

I had already had Eric and Ian at Hi Performance in Southern California rebuild the front end and fix various systems that needed attention.

After flying into LAX I went to their shop and picked up the car. All was great and the car and I were making good time until I tried the headlights. It seemed that they did not work.

With the assistance of my brother in law and Eric who at 7PM called me back to help, we found that the connections to the floor hi/low beam switch had been disconnected. We had lights and made our way to Buttonwillow with no incident.

After spending Saturday at the VARA race and the Smallbore Cup enduro, we drove up to Pleasanton, again with no incident. Amazingly, our fuel mileage average so far was 33MPG at an average of 75MPH. Not bad for a 45 year old car.

On Monday we took the car to I Roll Motors to return some parts we did not need and to have Mike check the car over a final time. He replaced a hat seal on the speedo drive and proclaimed the car cross country drive worthy.

We also bought the sheetmetal we needed for our rust repairs from Mike and he sent us on our way.

We had put together a toolkit for the trip. Unfortunately after checking with Mike about needing metric or SAE tools we learned that metric was wrong and SAE was correct. Sears was happy enough to exchange the tools for us and we are happy we did this as we needed these tools later.

After attending the Friends of Triumph race for 2 days at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, I picked up my driving partner and friend John Nikas and we headed out on our trip, making it to the Donner Lake area.

The next day saw us drive through Nevada and Utah. We stopped at Bonneville for a photo op and then quit for the night in Park City Utah.

During the drive in Nevada, we were able to really see what the car could do. Happily it can definitely still move down the road.

In Park City we ran into our only problem during the trip. We had a generator light not go off when we started the car. Hoping for the easiest solution, I first replaced the regulator with our spare but still no go. After testing the charging system we found we had volts but no amps, pointing at the generator. master mechanic and driving partner John not only replaced the work brushes in the generator but also found that a lead had broken off inside. he was amazingly able to repair the lead with a soldering iron bought at the most expensive hardware store on earth and it was fixed.

The rest of the trip was nice and uneventful. We stopped at a few roadside sites that offered great photo ops.

On Saturday night, we parked the car in my driveway in Barrington and celebrated the end of the trip.

This should be a lesson that many of our cars can be very reliable transportation and offer great motoring pleasure on cross country trips, or trips to the local Coffeehouse. Get out there and drive.

AngryCorvair SuperDork
June 21, 2011 3:12 p.m.

Outstanding! But 5500 rpm @ 100 mph is screaming for another gear. Gonna put an OD unit in there?

leeputmanjr New Reader
June 21, 2011 3:56 p.m.

Nice work, Andy! You should bring it out to The Chick 'n Dip on Friday night - you can park with all our Fiats :)

VClassics Reader
June 21, 2011 4:07 p.m.
AngryCorvair wrote: Outstanding! But 5500 rpm @ 100 mph is screaming for another gear. Gonna put an OD unit in there?

That is with OD. The B18-powered cars have 4.56 gears. The old Smiths tachs are a bit optimistic, though -- 100 in OD is really about 4800 RPM.

Andy Reid Auction Editor
June 21, 2011 7:48 p.m.

Yes that is with O.D. The reading you stated is what I thought as well. I knew it was off quite a bit. I was thinking it was only at about 4500. Either that or it was the quietest 5000 RPM of any engine, ever. :) It does have electronic ignition which I thought could also be the reason for the weird tach readings.

VClassics Reader
June 22, 2011 9:57 a.m.

It's aging electronic components in the tach, not the upgraded ignition. All the chrome bezel 1800 tachs I've encountered are like that these days.

There's a guy who converts them to modern innards so they read accurately...

Volvo Solutions

It doesn't change the appearance in any way, and it's even reversible should you ever wish to.

maseratiguy New Reader
June 22, 2011 7:42 p.m.

Reminds me of my old '68 1800. I love those earlyier dashboards. I'm currently driving a '72 142s but longing for something Italian. Kinda' the reverse of you getting rid of the 124 for the Volvo.

Andy Reid Auction Editor
June 22, 2011 8:21 p.m.

Totally understand. I think there is enough Italian stuff in the 1800 to make me happy. The car is really terrific.

Gary Reader
June 23, 2011 12:18 p.m.

Damn you Andy … I’ve been successfully fighting off the siren song of an available ’66 that’s been trying to lure me in. Then you come along with this little beauty. I’ve gotta take a cold shower now.

pjr300 New Reader
June 24, 2011 7:37 a.m.

Great trip report!! You are a braver person than me. Sounds like a fun time. So, how is the back (and, pending on the exhaust) your ears after this venture?

GrantMLS Reader
June 24, 2011 2:42 p.m.

Love that car.. always wanted on, had a 122s amazon for a few years, would drive it cross country in a heartbeat..

Andy Reid Auction Editor
June 27, 2011 9:02 a.m.

Car was a very competent touring car and seats were very comfortable. The drivers side window definitely needs to have its frame adjusted so that it seals though. Lots of drivers side wind noise.

I love this car!

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