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dankspeed
dankspeed HalfDork
4/11/18 6:42 p.m.

One of these popped up on Craigslist today and I'm going to check it out on Friday. Always loved these but admittedly do t know too much about these. Anyone familiar with them care to share what I should be looking for, problem areas or known issues? The car is a '63 four door manual trans. Owner says hasn't been driven lately due to a transmission problem. 

 

Thanks

Dan

 

yupididit
yupididit SuperDork
4/11/18 6:48 p.m.

Other than rust not much could keep me from picking one of these up if the opportunity arises. 

Also, I love your username 

dankspeed
dankspeed HalfDork
4/11/18 7:58 p.m.

In reply to yupididit :

Thanks!

The only thing that scares me is the availibility of replacement parts and what exactly is meant by " transmission problem". In the pics at least the car appears to be complete and in good condition.

 

Jumper K Balls
Jumper K Balls PowerDork
4/11/18 8:27 p.m.

I can tell you that they are far better driving cars than they have any right to be. 

I have always loved the look of them and then had the opportunity to drive one and was pleasantly surprised that it felt much more modern than I expected.  

coexist
coexist Reader
4/11/18 8:33 p.m.

Alfa Romeo 1900 body dies sold to Volvo. 

 

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy SuperDork
4/11/18 8:39 p.m.

In reply to coexist :

Is that why they're just so stinking good lookin?

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
4/11/18 8:56 p.m.

Classic Volvo owners are kind of weird among the classic  car crowd in that they tend to just drive the things as if they were real cars. 

 

Pete

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
4/11/18 11:50 p.m.

I haven't much experience with the 122, but many years ago had a 544, which is a bit lighter and shares most of the same bits. Old Volvos (122, 544, 1800, 142) were not what you'd call sophisticated, but they were very well designed and made.  As a result, they lasted forever, didn't cost much to keep going, and could be made surprisingly fast. GRM did a 122 autocrosser 10 years or so ago and it was pretty competitive. In vintage racing, these cars aren't very far off of the Alfas and sometimes faster. 

As for the gearbox, I never had to mess with mine. It had a long stalk and wasn't very crisp. It was also undergeared. So while it will keep up with freeway traffic, it has to rev pretty high to do so and the pushrod motor isn't one with a particularly sweet song. If yours needs serious attentions, I'd try and get a replacement with an overdrive 5th. It makes the freeway more relaxing. If you have more cash to spend, VPD makes a conversion kit to put a modern 5-speed on it. 

buzzboy
buzzboy Reader
4/12/18 12:15 a.m.

They drive like they're 20+ years newer than they actually are. There are plenty of places that sell replacement and upgrade parts for the engines and suspensions. As long as rust isn't' an issue go for it. A tranny replacement on one is an hour job if you've got all the right pieces.

And if you've not driven an M40 car, it's a lovely shifting box. Long throws but very smooth and pretty quick.

dankspeed
dankspeed HalfDork
4/12/18 10:09 a.m.

In reply to Kreb :

Spent some time last night reading about the grm project 122S. I'm hoping the tranny issue I'd an easy fix but obviously won't know for sure till I get it. Thanks for posting the info on the tranny swap. I'd like to keep a Volvo tranny in there if not the original one to the car.

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
4/12/18 4:22 p.m.

I think (don't take this as gospel) that the overdrive-equipped volvos were basically the same 4-speed tranny with an electrically engaged overdrive bolted on. So it is possible to get that relaxed gear while staying within the marque. 

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
4/12/18 5:51 p.m.

Ten years ago I had to train a bunch of HVACR guys in Berkeley, CA and in my spare time I drove around the city and took pictures of all the old cars parked on the streets.  Probably a couple of dozen of these along with a ton of Saab's and BMW 2002's.  Coming from the rust belt I was impressed.    

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
4/12/18 5:56 p.m.

In reply to Kreb :

Unfortunately not just "bolted on" unique output shaft and very rare castings to mate the gearbox to the OD. That said, when I was trying to get rid of the OD gearbox from the Molvo donor, I could not give it away.

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
4/12/18 11:08 p.m.
Datsun310Guy said:

Ten years ago I had to train a bunch of HVACR guys in Berkeley, CA and in my spare time I drove around the city and took pictures of all the old cars parked on the streets.  Probably a couple of dozen of these along with a ton of Saab's and BMW 2002's.  Coming from the rust belt I was impressed.    

Out of curiosity, who were you training? I run a metal fabrication and HVAC shop in Berkeley.

accordionfolder
accordionfolder Dork
4/13/18 9:07 a.m.
Datsun310Guy said:

Ten years ago I had to train a bunch of HVACR guys in Berkeley, CA and in my spare time I drove around the city and took pictures of all the old cars parked on the streets.  Probably a couple of dozen of these along with a ton of Saab's and BMW 2002's.  Coming from the rust belt I was impressed.    

When I worked in the Bay it was astonishing the amount of daily driven old school tin on the road - sometimes by enthusiasts, but many times just by someone who had always driven it. I miss that facet.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
4/13/18 9:32 a.m.

You bought it yet?

 

Pete

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
4/13/18 11:18 a.m.

In reply to accordionfolder :

Yeah, there's still crazy amounts of restorable vintage iron around here - especially foreign. Sadly very little of it is getting restored, and people often hold onto them like family heirlooms. "Yeah, I know that Corvair hasn't run in 30 years, but I know what I've got and I won't sell it cheap!".   

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
4/13/18 11:26 a.m.

One thing to mention about the 122 and 1800 Volvos: they are not friendly to drivetrain swaps unless you are comfortable with doing a lot of tin-work and fabrication.

Up front, the steering linkage, suspension and weird bow-like firewall seems to intrude on any engine you might be thinking of installing.

The transmission tunnel is miniscule so pretty much any gearbox swap  will require some surgery to the tunnel.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
4/13/18 11:40 a.m.
NOHOME said:

One thing to mention about the 122 and 1800 Volvos: they are not friendly to drivetrain swaps unless you are comfortable with doing a lot of tin-work and fabrication.

Up front, the steering linkage, suspension and weird bow-like firewall seems to intrude on any engine you might be thinking of installing.

The transmission tunnel is miniscule so pretty much any gearbox swap  will require some surgery to the tunnel.

this is very true m- good thing the original is very good

dankspeed
dankspeed HalfDork
4/13/18 12:13 p.m.
NOHOME said:

You bought it yet?

 

Pete

Checking it out today after work!

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy SuperDork
4/13/18 12:46 p.m.
dankspeed said:
NOHOME said:

You bought it yet?

 

Pete

BUYING it today after work!

Fixed that for ya wink

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman Dork
4/13/18 12:55 p.m.

I know I want a running one. If you buy it and get it running and decide you don't like it let me know.  

Looks to be a decent car if it is truly a rust free Californian car. 

dankspeed
dankspeed HalfDork
4/13/18 1:02 p.m.
NOHOME said:

One thing to mention about the 122 and 1800 Volvos: they are not friendly to drivetrain swaps unless you are comfortable with doing a lot of tin-work and fabrication.

Up front, the steering linkage, suspension and weird bow-like firewall seems to intrude on any engine you might be thinking of installing.

The transmission tunnel is miniscule so pretty much any gearbox swap  will require some surgery to the tunnel.

Really want to keep the Volvo drivetrain in there. 

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
4/13/18 1:10 p.m.
dankspeed said:
NOHOME said:

One thing to mention about the 122 and 1800 Volvos: they are not friendly to drivetrain swaps unless you are comfortable with doing a lot of tin-work and fabrication.

Up front, the steering linkage, suspension and weird bow-like firewall seems to intrude on any engine you might be thinking of installing.

The transmission tunnel is miniscule so pretty much any gearbox swap  will require some surgery to the tunnel.

Really want to keep the Volvo drivetrain in there. 

Fully endorse your way of thinking...

 

AaronBalto
AaronBalto Reader
4/13/18 1:36 p.m.

My brother still owns the old GRM Project 122. It's a little older and a little rougher at this point, but it's still pretty cool. He is to the point where he either has to paint it and freshen it, or it's time to sell. 

When I bought that car back in 2002 or so, I was following along with the build in the magazine and dreaming of doing one of my own. And then Per went really, really far off the deep end. He had the distributor blueprinted. He put a p1800 rear end in it. And because the 1800 had five lug hubs, had had to swap 1800 front uprights onto the car as well. Etc. Etc. Etc. It got totally out of hand. 

Anyhow, we've had the thing for a long time. Happy to answer any questions I can, or even pass on reasonable offers.

 

Aaron

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