The great thing about Volvos, aside from their minimalist Swedish design aesthetic and durability, is the fact their rather conservative and plain styling can hide something really fun. And unexpected fun is the best kind – think of the last time you had a surprisingly good meal at that hole in the wall, or hit it off with a new friend. So, you say, what does that metaphor have to do with a red two-door car with a spoiler on the front? Well, it’s a Volvo, so the stock powertrain promises a safe, respectable 95-or-so horsepower, and the 4-speed M41 overdrive transmission promises relaxed freeway cruising. You can find this Volvo 122S for sale for $4000 in Bellingham, WA.
This car also has widened steel wheels, which give the car a pretty tough look. As a clean driver, it’s said to look decent but not be in show condition, something you’d hardly expect at this price level. The seller doesn’t drive the car enough to keep it, because he prefers commuting in his Volvo V90. At the same time, he mentions how the car cruises well at 75 on the freeway. The 122 has IPD springs, anti-roll bars, and poly bushings – perhaps the suspension is rather stiff for a commuter. The seller does concede the car needs new tires. a not-uncommon situation on an older car that’s anything less than a daily driver.
The first visible improvement to the engine is an IPD valve cover, but the car has many upgrades here including a head from a fuel-injected B20 engine with hardened valve seats – there’s no indication given if this also increases power. Beyond that, it has electronic ignition, an alternator instead of a generator, and a revised braking system. The seller doesn’t list any further modifications, though you’d expect more based on the car’s appearance – perhaps more was done prior to the seller’s possession? He does say the car is not suitable for anyone without mechanical skills, without explaining what that means – is it due to the car’s condition, or simply its age?
Inside, the car has good seats, though the fronts are in a non-matching green and covered by seat covers. The door panels and dash are said to have been recovered – they look nice, but perhaps the seller just means replaced since these seem to be heat-stitched, and re-covering wouldn’t retain the original finish detail. The Nardi wheel is a great touch, as are the big white shift knob and center console with a Volvo clock and overdrive switch, the latter of which is said to be not hooked up yet (does that mean no OD until this is done?). The interior does need carpet, and while a new headliner is included, it is not installed. Likewise, the car comes with new tail light seals and a stock muffler included in a bunch of spares. Much like the blue MGB from yesterday, this looks like a great platform for some improvements to add value and have fun at the same time.