Volvo Goes Home

Just 2500 miles to go!
Mike Dudek goes over the car.
We traded our metric set for some SAE tools.
We stopped by this mountain lake in beautiful Truckee, California.
We stopped at but didn't drive on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Rust, you know.
Cool old gas stations look great at dusk.
We had a long night or two behind these glowing gauges.
John Nikas helped us with the charging system.
We also saw this cool old town at end of the trip.

Just after picking up our 1966 Volvo 1800S, we took it to Hi Performance Auto Service. They rebuilt the entire suspension, replacing the bushings, tie rods, ball joints, everything. They even tweaked the shifter and carb.

We were amazed at how well it ran after these repairs, so we decided to drive it back to its new home in Chicago.

We first gave it a short test run, meeting up with the Vintage triumph register at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the 2011 Kastner Cup. Along the way we had few problems and found that we were averaging an amazing 35 miles per gallon of gas.

Before going to the track, we made pair of detours. The first to iRoll Motors to have the car checked out after its first long trip in many years. Owner Mike Dudek gave it a nice once-over and suggested some spares. We made sure to purchase those spares from him and continued on our way.

Our next stop was to Sears for some tools as we did not have a toolkit. On our first try we bought Metric tools only. After a quick call to Mike to verify the tool choices, we went back to Sears and exchanged many of our metric tools for SAE ones. It turns out that even though Volvo is Swedish, the 1800S is much more of a British car as far as fasteners go. Metric tools would not be much help.

After hanging out with the Friends of Triumph guys we hit the road to Chicago. Our first stop along the way was in Truckee, California. This is a beautiful mountain town. We shot the picture of the Volvo in front of the lake there.

The next day we hit the road after getting McDonald’s and gas, making our way as fast as we could through Nevada. That had to be the most boring stretch of road in the U.S. Our first stop that day was at the Bonneville Salt Flats. We did not take the car on the salt: Not only do they ask you not to, but we were afraid of what the salt might do to our largely rust-free 1800S. We settled for a few pictures.

We got on the road again after our Bonneville photo op, ending our longest day behind the wheel day in Park City, Utah for a much needed stop. The Volvo is comfortable but 12 hours is a long time behind the wheel of any vintage car.

We had been celebrating our good fortune, but likely should have just kept our mouths shut. The next day we started the car and the generator light failed to go out after the car was running.

We first replaced the voltage regulator with our spare. This turned out not to be the problem so our next step was to remove the generator. John, our driving companion, did the under-car work in the parking lot of a local import garage. We replaced the brushes in the generator and also realized that on the other side of the generator, one of our power leads had broken off. We reattached the lead with copious amounts of solder. After installing the generator, we were back in business.

The rest of our trip was thankfully uneventful. We made a few stops in some small towns along the way and after 3 1/2 days, our Volvo was parked in our garage in Illinois.

Along the way, we learned that the Volvo 1800S is a great touring car, offering high levels of comfort and sophistication.

Get vintage Volvos delivered to your mailbox: Subscribe now for tons of sports car content delivered throughout the year.
Join Free Join our community to easily find more project updates.
View comments on the CMS forums
Sponsored by

The Tire Rack





Tire Rack


POR 15

Our Preferred Partners