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Old 04-23-2019, 03:51 PM   #1
R32RennSport
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Default R32rennsport's 1968 Amazon Combi Thread

Well, I went and bought another Amazon, this time a 1968 wagon/combi/estate. I really wasn't planning on it as I'm still wrapping up my '66 2 door. The price on this totally complete, 95% rot free, original plate, 2 owner car was hard to pass on. The best part is I discovered it about 1 mile from my house.

The story on the car was a newly retired gentleman bought the car from it's original owner out of Buena Park back in 1992 as a retirement project. Long story short it spent more time parked in the driveway then running as he wasn't mechanically inclined and the wife (now nearly 80) said it always had ignition issues (see second coil mounted in engine bay). The final straw was the right rear brake drum locked up and it sat ever since, last registered in 1995.

It was always stored outside under a huge oak tree here on the very dry central coast, mostly covered so it has fared decently well considering. The paint is a little powdery and crazing badly on part of the hood, I'll see what some compound and buffing wheel will do. A few exterior cosmetic issues and the only real rot is in the rear wheel arch lips on both sides and some bubbles in the lower hatch door. The floors are super solid on this car from both underside and top side with cursory carpet pulling. The spare tire/tank area is remarkably clean. The engine spins freely though obviously it's going to take a bit of time bringing all the operating systems up to par. Interior is in very good shape as the original seats aren't torn and the floors were professionally recovered in gray carpet prior to storage. Suspension looks like it was partially addressed at some point as newish looking KYB white Gas Adjust shocks on all four corners and bushings and steering linkage all look really good. The rear springs sag a bit but the plan is to mildly lower the car or at least level it out a bit. It has a few other loose ends but all in all a very honest car.

I'm mostly sure I'm just going to get this thing up and running and sell it as this isn't really the wagon for me (I'd prefer one in dark green or dark blue) but it's a great opportunity for me to rescue a car. Luckily I have lots and lots of good used parts from the '66 and even a good spare set of rims and tires (I'm kinda curious how my wide 7 inch steels will look on it actually). I've given myself a goal of getting this car going by the end of the year and a budget of about $1000.

Stay tuned!








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Last edited by R32RennSport; 10-17-2019 at 01:05 PM.. Reason: Added year
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Old 04-23-2019, 04:14 PM   #2
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car looks great. I bet you'll keep it


ps stop copying me
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Don’t bother, I would literally rather throw them away than give you the pleasure. I will never sell to you.
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Old 04-23-2019, 04:34 PM   #3
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car looks great. I bet you'll keep it


ps stop copying me
Thanks! Guess I kinda am... Definitely, not keeping it. I don't need three toys, I already have one to many.
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:16 PM   #4
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So keeping in mind that I'm turning this one loose down the road I thought I'd play a little bench salesman with you guys that are bothering to pay attention to this thread.

For me the first goal is to get the engine fired up, then all the other systems will follow in priority. Honestly if I can't do that well within my budget I'll probably let it go as is. If that's the case what would be a realistic value as it sat?

Open for any and all opinions.

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Old 04-25-2019, 08:40 PM   #5
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Well a budget of $1k will hopefully get it running and maybe the brakes depending on what it needs in the system. But that budget wouldn't do much more than that. It's easy to blow out $1k on fixing things on an Amazon. Especially if you need hydraulics, and suspension. Of course once you refurbish the systems in an Amazon they are good for a long time. So you would amortize the cost over time.

Just the usual tires, battery, and exhaust is $1k.

Last edited by dl242gt; 04-25-2019 at 08:41 PM.. Reason: spelling correction
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dl242gt View Post
Well a budget of $1k will hopefully get it running and maybe the brakes depending on what it needs in the system. But that budget wouldn't do much more than that. It's easy to blow out $1k on fixing things on an Amazon. Especially if you need hydraulics, and suspension. Of course once you refurbish the systems in an Amazon they are good for a long time. So you would amortize the cost over time.

Just the usual tires, battery, and exhaust is $1k.
^truth

2k and it should be worthy of long distance driving
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:32 PM   #7
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Ok, so here are the perks.

Perk 1, I'm a repair shop manager so parts at cost or wholesale. Perk 1.5 shop at my disposal.

Perk 2, lots of good usable leftovers from the '66 build including a good set of tires, spare fuel pump, water pump, secondary ignition and a battery.

Perk 3, I've acquired all the tools and skills needed to rebuild anything mechanical on this car so at worst I'd need to send out the radiator, cylinder head or gas tank for sublet.

Think I can still get her running for $500 with this in mind?
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:46 PM   #8
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Ok, so here are the perks.

Perk 1, I'm a repair shop manager so parts at cost or wholesale. Perk 1.5 shop at my disposal.

Perk 2, lots of good usable leftovers from the '66 build including a good set of tires, spare fuel pump, water pump, secondary ignition and a battery.

Perk 3, I've acquired all the tools and skills needed to rebuild anything mechanical on this car so at worst I'd need to send out the radiator, cylinder head or gas tank for sublet.

Think I can still get her running for $500 with this in mind?
I got my 72 145 running after sitting for like 35 years with like $20- a set of spark plugs and a can of ether. For another $20, I rebuild the carbs and could drive it around the block. I did soak the engine down with ATF to make sure things were well-lubed, but getting carb powered stuff running is pretty easy IMO.
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Old 04-30-2019, 08:43 PM   #9
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Insert video of me riding shotgun in a white block swapped white Amazon wagon with 160whp and ITBs.
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Old 04-30-2019, 11:24 PM   #10
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Getting it running is easy. Nothing is hard on these cars, even body work. It’s all little things that add up quickly. By now you’ll likely need to replace almost everything
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Old 05-01-2019, 01:20 PM   #11
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With the shop at my disposal, used parts from my current restoration and my knowledge gained from it I think I'll have this thing up and running in no time. I'm not going to get to in depth in cosmetics, that will be for the future owner to tackle. Aesthetically I'll give it a little makeover but nothing crazy, most likely just wheels and ride height adjustment to appeal to the eye. Lets be honest, no one really likes 4 inches of fender gap.

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Old 05-02-2019, 04:36 AM   #12
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More pictures
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:59 PM   #13
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More pictures
Plenty of pictures tomorrow Jack. I plan on being out in the garage most of the day working on the '66 but I'll take a few more of the '68 while I'm out there. Need to pour some Marvel into the cylinders anyhow...
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Old 10-16-2019, 08:31 PM   #14
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Back from the dead. Now that the coupe is fairly squared away I dragged the combi out for a bath and inspection. She's not bad but she needs a thorough going through, mostly mechanical/electrical/brakes.





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Old 10-17-2019, 04:20 AM   #15
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1) If this was your project what would be your number one priority? Get it running? Get it running and stopping? Get it registered?
2) How much money would you invest into it and what would be your expected resale? Values on these are a bit all over but a rough driver seems to be in the $5k-$7k area.
3) Would you bother with cosmetics beyond a basic cleaning? Attempt to repair rust bubbles? Address the minor rot in the rear fender lips?

Open for any and all opinions.
Well, since you ask... you're of course free to make any profit you can, but you might not be asking the right audience. I'm envious that you found such a good set of bones and that you have a shop at your disposal. Wish I'd found it first, since what it needs is within my capabilities, and I'd welcome the chance to save a worthy specimen as opposed to paying someone else for the privilege. The world is full of people who can afford a shiny car that needs nothing. The rest of us (and you also, of course) enjoy the thrill of uncovering gems. Pouring passion into a project is pretty cool too. So is living vicariously by watching other people pour their passion into a project. That's why all these car forums thrive.

Regarding price, by total coincidence there have been 2 white wagons popping up here within the past 2 weeks. Both described as running daily drivers with good mechanicals and mostly-solid bodies. One with a "fair" interior had a $2500 price tag. The other was described as new brakes, tires, a repaint, and a rebuilt and balanced B20, for a $4850 price tag. Because each of those has some attraction, I'm struggling to figure out where you came up with the idea of $5-7k for a "rough driver". Maybe it does happen somewhere, but perhaps not here. Certainly my own pocketbook isn't ready for that.

Money can be an end goal, but my heart warms whenever I see club members taking care of each other. Both here and on several other forums, I smile whenever I see a transfer of ownership just because person A realizes that person B would really enjoy the project, they negotiate a deal that feels good to both, and the car never even hits the advertisements. That's beautiful. Well, unless you're the person combing the ads for a car, in which case you lost an opportunity due to insider trading. So I guess it's a double edged sword.

Regarding mechanicals, if it were me it would be useful to have it running and stopping. For reasons I cannot explain, a handful of old cars that are nearly identical can "feel" quite different. Without exception, my favorite vehicles have demonstrated their qualities within about 50' of test drive, and by the time I'd gone a mile there was no doubt. I've been able to decipher it even with old dry-rotted tires and rusty brakes, which frankly makes no sense. Then there are other vehicles which are just mediocre, and I drive them for years but never love them. And occasionally there's a vehicle that looks shiny and wonderful but drives like an old tractor, so I don't buy it. But for any new acquisition, being able to drive it a mile is usually all I need in order to understand whether it's calling my name.

Regarding looks, I wholeheartedly agree that a compound and polish is one of the most satisfying tasks to resurrect old paint, and although I haven't done many, I've loved every result I've obtained. Especially the comments from people who wonder "who did your paint job" and you tell them the name of the manufacturer. Those old single stage enamels were phenomenal. Bringing them back to life is a joy, even more so than simply seeing someone else's result.

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nothing crazy, most likely just wheels and ride height adjustment to appeal to the eye. Lets be honest, no one really likes 4 inches of fender gap.
Hmmm, should I admit that raising my 240 back up was the first thing I did? No interest in those IPD lowering coils. The seller was rather astounded when I pointed to the stack of old springs in his garage and asked if they were the originals, and would he sell them also. "You want 'em? Take 'em!" My thought is threefold: #1. especially in a wagon, stock height is useful. #2. To each his own. #3. You've got a remarkably complete survivor there, my guess is someone may want to keep it as is. (Obviously, a different someone will want to cram an LS under the hood. See thought #2.)

My final thought is more personal -- I've always loved the look of the 122, but never owned one. Countless enthusiasts have raved about them, especially their balanced handling. Volvo wouldn't have sold millions, otherwise. But the only chance I ever had to drive one… well, see above comment about "old tractor". I couldn't believe that was representative of the model, so didn't purchase. The bottom line is that even though I've been fondly noticing these wonderful wagons for more than 1/4 century, I still don't actually have firsthand experience of how any stock 122 is supposed to drive, and I don't really want to go asking anyone for that opportunity because kicking the tires without intent to buy feels rude. Especially when I know I don't have space in my driveway... though I know that life's situation is about to change for the better in a few months. Maybe some day I'll find an Amazon wagon to fall in love with, and when the heart succumbs, there's precious little way to redirect it.

Your pics look great, love the color. I'll be very curious to see where your special little treasure ends up. If it called my name that could be pretty neat, but if the situation isn't meant to be, I shan't lose any sleep over it. I'm blessed that I have no urgent need. I'm blessed (I suppose) that I enjoy many different kinds of vehicles, though it does get in the way of choosing a favorite. Besides, there's a limit to the amount of time to enjoy multiples, even if I did have a barn to store them, which is looking less and less likely in this incarnation.

That's about all I know for now. I'll bet there's very little I wrote above that you hadn't already at least considered.
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:22 PM   #16
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Thank you Toybox for the thought and time you put into your response, I really appreciate it.

At this point I'm torn. I'd love to enjoy the satisfaction and challenge of resurrecting this one, which isn't totally out of the cards yet and wouldn't be terribly hard, as you so aptly pointed out it has very good bones. Also, I have always wanted to do up a wagon in resto mod style like my coupe.

Here's my dilemma though. Firstly, I promised the wife this one wasn't staying around and that the money I borrowed from savings would be paid back by the end of the year (I didn't pick it up for a smoking deal, it was fairly priced). Secondly, I'm up to my ears in debt from not only finishing the black coupe but we had some expensive misfortunes in the last few months including my wife's vehicle transmission grenading and a trip to the ER with one of my young daughters. I'm the only income provider for my family as well so any kind of car project is certainly a luxury that I usually finance through multiple forms of black magic

As far as the matter of value, it varies widely and truly is determined by the final buyer. Pricing here on the west coast seems much more reasonable as the availability of nicer cars is generally speaking better. The idea once this wagon was road worthy was to auction it off on BaT or sell it to a European buyer which as the market trend has shown has brought significantly higher sales then private party in the western US as eastern or European markets tend to have cars in very poor condition, this car needs very minimal rust repair and isn't missing a lick of trim.

Keep following along though, you never know. I might just get it going and keep it for a season. Maybe even the wife will want to keep it around for awhile longer. Stay tuned!
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:34 PM   #17
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Some more pictures from yesterdays walk around...





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Old 10-17-2019, 01:41 PM   #18
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...and all the ugly that I found. Really not that bad considering it has sat outside uncovered since 1995.








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Old 10-18-2019, 02:22 AM   #19
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you never know. I might just get it going and keep it for a season. Maybe even the wife will want to keep it around for awhile longer.
Good for you. We all saw this coming, right? It's amazing how hard it is to let go of something after it strikes your fancy. Sorry to hear of your $ issues. My prediction is that if the wife likes how it runs, and then you both realize it's a lot easier to keep a white car cooler in the summer than a shiny black wonder, the rest of the history book is well on its way to being written.

Don't think I'm laughing at you, but I find it very amusing that I'm not the only one who gets caught up in these dilemmas, not to mention has too many toys. This particular thread (No I won't keep it, no the car is not for me, no I promised the wife, well it really has to go but maybe not quite yet…) reminds me of the classic pet lover's quandary: the dog will absolutely not sleep in the bedroom. Well, ok, but not on the bed. Well, the bed's fine, but not under the covers….

I must say, that carpet looks pretty darn good for a half century. And most of the rust is negligible, but I gotta wonder about the rear side window. Those pinch welds are always 10x worse than they look, after you take the glass out for a reconnaissance mission.

Carry on!
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Old 10-24-2019, 02:30 PM   #20
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Looks like common rust areas. I wouldn't be surprised to find holes under that rear window when you take it out. Good news though, VP sells new seals and they fit real nice.
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Old 10-24-2019, 02:36 PM   #21
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Looks like common rust areas. I wouldn't be surprised to find holes under that rear window when you take it out. Good news though, VP sells new seals and they fit real nice.
No doubt. I think I'll let the next owner take care of the rust and rubber. I just want to get it running, stopping and registered.
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Old 10-25-2019, 11:16 AM   #22
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I think it's your best course of action. Once you start addressing rust, you add on a whole new level of complexity to the flip. If your goal is to offer a reliable driver for sale, you can probably address all issues for a reasonable amount of money and flip it quickly.
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Old 10-30-2019, 07:04 PM   #23
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Now currently listed for sale. Just got hit with a huge medical bill and need to dig myself out of debt.
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