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Old 10-07-2019, 03:41 PM   #1
john r h
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Default Hilda the 165

Recently, I was lucky enough to be able to buy one of my dream cars. Not an exotic supercar, but a Volvo that Volvo didn't produce.

I love the luxury and smooth straight six of the 164, and I also love the styling and usefulness of Volvo estate cars. Volvo never combined the two (apart from one experimental car built in the Australian factory).

The "165" I have named Hilda was built in the 1970s by Clutterbucks coachbuilders in the UK. They combined the back of a 1974 145 with the front end of a 164. She was restored gradually in the 90s by a Volvo specialist.

I know a little of the history, but not much. I you have any factual info about the car's history, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Some photos showing her condition as bought:

There's more positive than negative, but still lots of work needed.

It's a 165!
Manual plus overdrive
Body is quite good in many of the typical 100 series rust areas
It has an MOT and some recommissioning is already done (new calipers and flexis)

Paint is dreadful. It's cellulose, which I hate. Very faded, and flaking off in many places
There's rust in some tricky areas; e.g. roof gutters and underneath (more later)
240 interior looks wrong and has to go (it's already sold)
Some poor quality aspects of the restoration work (more later)

The next update will show work commencing!



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Old 10-07-2019, 03:43 PM   #2
john r h
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Join Date: Mar 2009

After Hilda was delivered from Anglia Car Auctions, I changed oil, plugs and fuel, and took her for a drive.

There are quite a lot of mechanical issues to address, but I will deal with those later.


Her first outing was to Ste's house. As a work-swap, I did some bodywork prep on his 164, while he gave Hilda a much needed buff.

Her paint was extremely faded, so the buffing process took a full day. This is Ste's "why-the-hell-did-I-volunteer-for-this?" face

Tom helped out cleaning and conditioning the interior. (He has a vested interest - he's buying the seats for his girlfriend Georgie's 240)

Ste's hard work made a massive difference.

It was very motivating to see Hilda shiny, but being old celly paint, some parts had gone dull again within 24 hours! No big deal; she'll be getting resprayed after the body repairs are done.


The next job was another motivator: changing to the smaller 1973 bumpers. On a 140 or 240, I like the big girder bumpers, but in my opinion they really don't suit the 164 - the front looks like a sulky bottom lip.

The front end was quite straightforward. Apart from having to cut and remake brake pipe mountings, it's a bolt-on swap.

The back is more difficult, because Volvo completely changed the bumper mounting system and the sheet metal below the tailgate for the introduction of the big bumpers in 1974.

I fabricated hybrid brackets to join '74 mounts to '73 bumpers. Work in progress here

And Hilda looks happier already!

Rear mounts still need finishing, and I am making a lower valance panel to fill the gap under the smaller rear bumper, more on that later.


Next I decided to tackle some rust at the back of the car. I knew the fuel tank and left spare wheel well were bad, so I decided to deal with everything behind the axle first. There was more rust than I expected, but isn't there always?

In preparing to fit the new spare wheel well, I found some poor quality repairs at the base of the rear wing. This was already suspect, because it was the wrong shape - a smooth curve lacking the folds that should run along the wing bottom. Sure enough, under a thick layer of filler
I found some crude patches. The driver's side is the same, so I have decided to replace both rear wing bottoms.

Rear underbody stripped and the rusty spare wheel well removed

Repair section in the process of fitting. More on this soon.

The rear chassis rails on both sides need repairs. Photos tomorrow!


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Old 10-07-2019, 03:44 PM   #3
john r h
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Join Date: Mar 2009

More progress to report:

The left rear chassis rail; I cut out a rusty section and fabricated and welded in the repair section. I reused the captive nuts from the old rail, cleaned up and welded to the repair piece before fitting

The right rear chassis rail, with some rusty areas which need to be cut out and replaced.

Some old repairs on the spare wheel well are sound, but need to be tidied up.

Cutting in progress

Here I have made a fitted three repair pieces. The front section (left of the photo) was most difficult to make because it curves in two planes near the front.

At the forward end of the right spare wheel well, the underseal looked suspect and I expected to see rust underneath. However, this old repair is completely solid, so no need to cut it out

Preparing to replace the lower wind section on the right. The new wheelarch fitted in the past is securely attached, with no evidence of welding over rust, but it's been welded too far in, necessitating a fairly thick layer of filler.

I wondered whether the deep filler was just at the bottom, but it seems to extend quite a way up the joint.

Having this depth of filler isn't ideal, but it's been on there 30 years with no sign of trouble, so I decided to leave the previous arch repairs in place. (Same story on the left rear arch).

Lower wind section removed, and a side by side comparison with the correct shape

In fitting the rear wing repair sections, I decided to make a subtle styling modification. To explain:

I love the 164's chrome trim on the wheelarches and sills, but to my eye it always looks as though the lower rear wing should have a piece as well, to complete the whole side of the car.

A couple of times, I have seen cars where an owner has added a rear wing chrome piece, but it doesn't look quite right because the bottom edge of the rear wing slopes up too much; the angle is too far different to the sill. Because I was replacing both sides, I had an opportunity to tweak this, so I have mounted my wing panels with the rear corner about 30mm lower than originally. So far I like how it looks, and I think it will suit a full length chrome trim.

Welding in progress. Working very slowly to reduce the risk of warping the panel.

Welded in, with fibreglass over the join

Filling to shape

I'm at the same stage with the left side wing bottom, no point in duplicating photos.

The boot floor is in good condition. I removed the bitumen sound pads to check, but there's only very superficial rust

I think that's it for today, more soon

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Old 10-07-2019, 03:45 PM   #4
john r h
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Join Date: Mar 2009


I have been carrying on with rust repairs. Not very exciting work to look at I'm afraid (or to do!) but I'm aiming for Hilda to last several decades before major work is needed again, so it's worthwhile.

For the same reason, I'm cutting out areas that are rusty-but-solid, and would have scraped through a few more MOTs before failing. I don't want to be stripping out the fuel tank, axle, sound deadening and underseal on a regular basis!

I like to cut out then repair one section at a time, to maintain strength in the structure.

The right chassis rail above the axle needed a few repair sections, and the transverse cross-member was very rusty at the right hand side. (Scary to think she has a current MOT!)

The top section (left of photo) has been cut out and repaired. The cross-member and next section of the chassis rail are cut out ready to weld

Repair sections made and fitted

Next section

The area above the shock-absorber mounts often rusts on 100 and 200 estates in particular (I think the estate body-shell flexes more then the saloon). Rust comes up from below here, so it's always worse than it seems looking inside the boot.

The spot-welded vertical seam between the inner arch and the boot floor was starting to rust, so I decided to cut if off and replace with a much stronger L-section piece seam welded inside the boot.

(I have tack welded in the first section of the repair for the sloping part of the rail, on the right here, to help keep the structure in shape)

Repair sections

First one fitted

Making the replacement section for the transverse cross-member

My metal bender is a very useful tool, but this 2mm thick sheet is at the limit of what it can cope with

Forward part of the rail just awaiting the outer section to complete it

The boot floor above the cross-member looked ok from inside the car, but on the right hand side it was heavily rust-pitted underneath, and the spot welded seams were nasty, so I decided to replace top as well. (It's fine on the left side of the car).

Right hand side structural repairs done!

Moving to the left. There is slightly less rust here, but access is more difficult due to the Panhard rod bracket - which has some very ugly older repairs!

Underseal scraped off (a hateful job)

I had to cut out a chunk of the Panhard rod bracket to gett access to repair the chassis rail properly, so I decided to replace the shonky older repair as well.

Repair section made from 3mm steel


I made and fitted a repair section for the left end of the cross-member

Next job here is to reconstruct the Panhard rod bracket, and hope I can understand my measurements...

There are also two more repairs needed on the left chassis rail.

As a break from working underneath the car, I cut out and replaced a small rusty section on the rear seam

That's all for today, more soon

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Old 10-07-2019, 03:47 PM   #5
john r h
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Join Date: Mar 2009

Hello again,

More rust repair work to update on:

A closer examination of the previous repair of the Panhard rod mounting. Looks reasonably solid on the outside...

... but inside shows several places where the metal would want to fatigue and eventually break. Glad I'm getting rid of this!

I fabricated the new Panhard rod mount from a piece of very sturdy box section. I made an accurate replica in cardboard for test fitting, to enable me to get the positional measurements exactly right.

Making a section of chassis rail for the left side, ahead of the axle. (The repair process here was very similar to the right side, documented previously, so I won't post repetitive photos).

The repair of the seat-pan/wheelarch area on the left was more involved than on the other side. A hole in the floor underneath the strengthener section meant I needed to remove it for a proper repair.

I also had to cut out the curved flange that joins wheelarch to floor. I am deleting the spot-welded flange and replacing it with a seam welded joint. It's quite a difficult repair section to make because of curves in two planes.

Here are all the pieces made ready to repair this area. (Re-using the original strengthener, with a repair to its lower section).

I didn't bother photographing the welding stages; very similar to the right side I showed before.

So - finally - all the welding under the rear of the car is finished! Here's how it looks now with the welds sealed with seam sealer and two coats of epoxy paint

For ease of future work, I made a bigger fuel tank access hole. I seam welded right across the original transverse box section immediately behind it, so that will more than compensate in terms of strength for the bigger access hatch.

This shows the left side strengthener refitted

I have started work on restoring fittings.

Dismantling the axle

I wire brushed it clean. (The dust shields will be dealt with after the axle is refitted. They're very prone to damage when it's off the car).

The diff cover was very corroded, and started leaking oil after being attacked with the wire brush. I will fit a new cover. Temporary repair with fibreglass to avoid a mess in the workshop

Applying rust converter

To prolong the life of the new fuel tank, I sealed all edges and joints with seam sealer

And painted it with epoxy paint, half done here. Also painted the axle

I think that's all for today. More soon I hope


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Old 10-07-2019, 07:28 PM   #6
Keep it clean...
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Spokane, WA

Wow. Lots of great restoration work you’ve done. Looks like this one is in good hands.
1980 242
Recaro LX Bs - 16" ARE 398s - 25/25 Sway Bars - Bilstein HDs - SuperPro Poly/STS Derlin Bushings - MSD - R Sport Wheel - 'Skinny' Bumpers'

-Project Thread-

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Old 10-08-2019, 02:53 AM   #7
john r h
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Join Date: Mar 2009


Some more work to report on:

One of the nice features of the saloon 164 is quietness; excellent for a 60's design. Hilda's estate bodyshell is inherently more noisy than a saloon, so I am working hard on soundproofing to try to get the 165 as close as possible to 164 refinement.

Making a start, and rustproofing channels that will drain away any condensation and leaks.

Work in progress. It's a labour intensive job to do neatly

As it stands now. The back of the car about 80% done

I reinforced edges with seam sealer, to avoid water traps and peeling

On the left side, I painted over the sound proofing with chassis paint, hoping to give it more resistance to abrasion from the spare tyre

I'm making a cosmetic lower valance to fill the gap under the new, slimmer bumper.

I bought an Audi A4 rear bumper because it was cheap, local and had the curves I wanted

I cut out the central section to the width I needed. It was quite fun chopping up an Audi!

I profiled back faces of the spare wheel wells to line up with it, using fibreglass. Temporary fitment here

Once the shaping of the wings and rear panel was good enough, I painted the lower rear wings and slam panel with waterproof epoxy primer.

This shows the detail profile at the base of the wing that was missing originally, under a ton of filler

The rear underside is now protected (and further sound proofed) with 3M 08861 Body Schutz

To lengthen their life, I painted the new trailing arms with epoxy chassis paint

Also used schutz to protect the fuel tank and suspension arms

That's the work done to date. In other news, I have decided on the colour I'll spray Hilda. After considering a range of alternatives, not all Volvo colours, I have decided on Volvo wine red.

It's a warm rich colour which looks very distinguished with a good finish. Dark enough to show up the chrome well, but not so dark that it will show every bit of dust and swirl mark.

As I did with my bright red 245, I spray it clear-over-base to avoid the surface oxidation and fading that red pigments are prone to.

This also happens to be the same colour as my first ever Volvo, many years ago - a 1969 164 - so a nostalgic nod to the car that got me into all this!

All for now. More soon I hope


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Old 10-08-2019, 03:19 AM   #8
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Location: Örebro, Sweden

Wow, amazing work here. Giving back the glory that it deserves!
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:02 AM   #9
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: The Ass Cheek Of History

Make your pictures smaller
85 245 | 82 242| 75 245| 69 145 |66 122| 67 220

Originally Posted by paul buck View Post
I love you even more Jack.
Originally Posted by BritishBrick
Don’t bother, I would literally rather throw them away than give you the pleasure. I will never sell to you.
Originally Posted by Tuesday View Post
I expect nothing less from an incel like you, Jack.
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Old 10-08-2019, 08:31 AM   #10
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Location: Back in St. Louis, MO

Great fab skills and repairing the rust! Looks good with the body shutz reapplied.
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