1966 Volvo 122 Wagon

One of the cars that’s always been interesting for me (if you live within an hour of Berkeley, you really can’t avoid them!) is the Volvo 122. They’re really quite attractive sedans in the typical European look of their era. To see what I mean, take a look at a contemporary Fiat 1100, VW Type 3 notchback or squareback, or maybe even an Austin 1100. They’re also still easily modified with cams, suspension, and ignition improvements readily available. And I can’t imagine I’m the first person to think it would be cool to drop a 1980s Volvo turbo engine in one of these, although according to VClassic, supercharging is a better choice. But right now, that’s all academic – today’s Volvo is available for $3500 in Oroville, CA.

1966 Volvo 122 wagon left front

Apparently the car’s been stored for the last few years. All the seller needed to do was bleed the brakes and add fresh gas. So now it’s ready to go cross-country, right? There’s something very Californian about the faded paint and the black plates – if you were a kid in the 1980s, does it bring back memories of the old car the neighbor had parked in the driveway? Figure in your budget for buying an “L” for the hood. Notice the Fiat 124 spider and Cushman pickup in the background, plus a couple other unidentifiable cars in the background of other pictures – going to see this car might uncover some other interesting finds.

1966 Volvo 122 wagon right rear

Looks pretty straight and there’s not much visible rust – if the storage was on the concrete pad in the picture, that will have helped. Bumpers look reasonably straight too. Imagine this lowered a little with some widened steel wheels, and some light engine modifications. You can get to paint later, because, let’s face it, you’re probably going to spend some time and money replacing fluids and rubber parts, as well as the exhaust system.

1966 Volvo 122 wagon engine

Where the power comes from – can you smell that gas/hot oil smell? Lots of space in here, so it must be fairly straightforward working on these. Replacing those dirty filters might help a bit with power, when you need all the power you can get.

1966 Volvo 122 wagon interior

Take a deep breath for more old-car smells – burning oil, gasoline, exhaust, hot vinyl, and more. The seats really look quite good, with no noticeable splitting or other damage. Notice the absence of a handbrake on the center tunnel – it’s on the left side of the driver’s seat. Aside from the residual effects of being parked up for some time, this looks like a worthwhile candidate for back roads rallying.

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