Does your “friend” want a European classic car? The one who doesn’t have a lot of time to mess around with things like “maintenance”, “strange noises”, and “aging luxury features”, but a Beetle is too common? Or maybe your “friend” likes the classic car aesthetic, but you don’t really think they’re up to the lifestyle? What
you your friend needs is a starter classic – a car to see if the noise, vibration and general harshness is tolerable, even enjoyable, and fits into the rest of life. A Volvo 122S might be the droid you are looking for. Check out this 1965 Volvo 122S Wagon for sale for $3950 in Berkeley (where else?), CA.
When it’s time to find a vintage driver, you’re best off going to where their population density is greatest – Berkeley. Berkeley is full of old VWs, Volvos, and Toyotas, which helps make up for the alarming number of Priuses and Nissan Leaves (Leafs?) on the street. This car actually has a shockingly empty rear bumper – where are all the student/street parking permits? Is there an Alameda Naval Base sticker on the right front corner to explain this bizarre phenomenon? It’s nice to see the black plate on the back, confirming likely lifelong California residence. Not that it’s prevented all corrosion – there seems to be a little rust in the door bottoms, and the lower trunk lid has been replaced.
Pretty straight, and the grey is trendy again after 45 years. Perhaps you can go all the way and renovate the interior with red vinyl, or follow Audi’s lead with something chestnut-ish. Were either of those offered by Volvo from the factory? It’s nice to see that the car has all its trim and hubcaps, and generally gives a very straight, stock impression.
While the floors are said to be solid, the interior is said to need some attention, and brakes are said to be a little stiff (maybe because there’s no brake booster?). Those seats look comfortable and in decent shape, but for a driver you’d want headrests in case someone doesn’t see your cute little tail lights. Carpets are torn and the dash top is cracked, but given the aftermarket for these cars, these parts should be available.
The engine compartment looks pretty tidy for a driver project, and there’s plenty of room under the hood for any light repairs your “friend” might perform with his first set of tools from
Walmart Harbor Freight. The engine is said to fire up easily and run smoothly, the clutch is said to be good, and the seller has records from new (imagine how thick that stack of paper is). With a 4-speed manual, any vintage rallies you participate in should be fun, and you can take a couple of friends or the kids along. The only hitch is wagons do not get into every event, so if you see a notchback 122, send it in.