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Irv Gordon's Classic Volvo



  • I think, if I recall correctly, that the 444 and 544 steering wasn't very heavy at all. It's when the cars got heavier and the tires got fatter, like in the 140 series, that Volvos started to feel like locomotives. I guess the 240 was the first with power steering? A Volvo 140, when parking, steers like a 1930s American car.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    Yes, the 240 was the first with power steering, but they, and the following 740s/940s do steer like old American cars; very heavy and trucklike. No fun at all and very disappointing. In comparison, my 850 steers very precisely, like a Miata.
  • WEll, the joke back then in the 70s and 80s was that "Volvo built cars for people who hated cars but needed to drive somewhere".
  • amazonamazon Posts: 293
    There were 140's and 160's with Power Steering also. THe 140's were rare, though.
  • amazonamazon Posts: 293
    This engine didn't have enough HP or torque to hurt even that crank.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    Want the complete, entire story on Irv and his car? There's an excellent article about him in the Dec. issue of Classic & Sports Car, a great British publication I read on occasion. Here are a couple of Irv quotes from that article:

    "I've paid for all my parts, all my gasoline, all my servicing: no discounts."

    "The Smiths gauges, I've probably had repaired or replaced numerous times."

    "The transmission seals and 3rd gear synchro have been replaced and the overdrive has been stripped and clean, but that's all."
  • Well, I've stripped down those overdrives and it's tough! The quote makes it sound like a 20 minute job but it's a bear to do.

    The Smiths gauges on a Volvo P1800 are a very bad joke.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    Per many comments made on this board about the safety of old cars, is a '66 Volvo still a safe automobile, or at least really safe compared to many other cars of that same year?
  • It's a strong little car but back them other cars were mostly larger, so I think the billiard ball rule applies....if Ball A weighing 4,000 lbs stirkes Ball B weighing 2,500 lbs, Ball B is going to go flying off somewhere. I guess it depends on what hits your Volvo and what happens to your body as it flying around among all those little pointy things in the dashboard. I'd rather take the hit in the Volvo P1800 than the VW Bug of that era, but if I had a Cadillac Deville, I'd rather take the hit in that.
  • amazonamazon Posts: 293
    Agree with shifty. When the 140 came out in august '66, the big new safety feature was the crumble (sp?) zones. Having been rear ended on I-76 yesterday, that's a big safety improvement.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    You were rear-ended yesterday? I'm really sorry to hear that. Were you in your Volvo?
  • Gee, that's too bad, sorry to hear that. Somebody asleep at the wheel behind you?
  • amazonamazon Posts: 293
    I was driving on business from Central Ohio to a little hole in the wall north of Pittsburgh, PA. It was 6:40 AM and the traffic didn't move due to an accident ahead, so I stopped. All of a sudden I heard tires squeeling and a big bang. I stepped out of the car (a '98 Intrigue- company car) to see what the damage was. The whole rear end was pretty much gone. The girl driving her Jeep Liberty said that she was doing about 55MPH at the time. She didn't realize that I wasn't moving at all. I guess she thought that I had only slowed down.

    BTW, I sold the Volvo ('00 S70)last February due to quality problems, and bought an '03 Acura TL instead. Accidents like this do put things in a different perspective, however. Was selling the Volvo a mistake? I only have a sore neck now, so I think I came out OK after all.

    Thanks for asking.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,356
    Central Ohio ?

    The company I used to work for was in Washington Court House before it moved to Columbus.

    I remember those two lanes and some horrific accidents.

    Glad you didn't get hurt!
  • amazonamazon Posts: 293
    Cool! Yes, those two lane roads ca be deadly.... Didi you live in Ohio too?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,356
    Just had the pleasure of flying in for corporate meetings four or five times a year.
  • esommeresommer Posts: 24
    I came across a 1967 122S for sale this weekend. I don't know a lot about this particular model. The car started right up without smoke, ran great and was surprisingly smooth on the road. I'm looking for information about fair market value, known problems, issues or concerns and availability of parts for restoration. Any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    Great little car, but don't buy an automatic if that's what it is. The automatics have a dreadful Borg Warner transmission that ruins the car and makes it drive like a garbage truck.

    Otherwise, value depends mostly on cosmetics, since bodywork and upholstery is ten times more expensive than the simple mechanicals of the car.

    Mechanical parts are no problem to find, and there are even performance parts for this car, but little chrome trim pieces, lenses or grillwork could be costly and hard to locate.

    It's not a very valuable car nor will it ever be. I'd say $1,500 for a tired running car with some dents and holes in the carpets, $2,500 for a clean daily driver with a few small needs, and $5,000 for a stunning better than new show car.

    Issues include weak water pumps that leak,(grab the fan at 3 & 9 o'clock and wiggle it and see if the water pump shaft moves) exhaust systems that break their rubber doughnut hangers and fall off,(see if doughnuts are cracked and ready to let llose) bad rear brakes caused by the fact that the rear drums are a real pain to get off to check the brakes (low pedal, noise in rear drums). The power brake booster can fail (you'll feel a very hard pedal but little stopping power) and are *very* expensive to rebuild. Timing gears are one steel, one fiber, running on a chain, and they can get rather noisy and sloppy. You can check those by wiggling the fan and belt and seeing if the rotor in the distributor moves as the pulley moves. If the pulley moves 1/2 inch but the rotor doesn't move, then your gears are sloppy. The car won't run right. Sooner or later the fiber gear will break its teeth off.

    Engine bottom end is indestructible. Valve clatter up top is pretty normal. If car seems gutless, probably cause (after tune-up) is worn camshaft, as factory shafts are very soft and a known defect. So watch for this on a low mileage original car that might still have a factory cam in it).

    But basically this is a tough simple little car that isn't hard to work on at all. Some people don't like the SU type carburetors but that's only because they don't understand them. Their biggest problem is worn throttle shafts, so they leak air into the engine, and this causes an erratic idle. Solution is to rebore both throttle shafts.

    But again, take a pass on the automatic transmission, you won't be happy.

    And ALWAYS use high test gasoline at all times!

    Overall, a tough, fun, affordable old hobby car that can be driven daily.
  • esommeresommer Posts: 24
    Thanks for the info. Unfortunately this car is an automatic. Seemed to shift fine, just a bit abrupt. I would categorize this car as a clean daily driver with a few small needs. The person selling the car is firm at $3500. Based on your $2500 estimate and automatic transmission warning I will pass on this one. Thanks again
  • esommeresommer Posts: 24
    We are currently restoring an 83' 242T. The car seems to have fuel system issues. Are there kits available to rebuild this mechanical fuel injection system? Any info greatly appreciated! Thanks.
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