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Old 09-16-2018, 06:40 PM   #1
mikec4193
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Default looking for some vintage Volvo insight

Hi Turbobrick folks.

I have been off an on again about getting a PV series or Amazon to tinker with and make it a driver. I am ok with a wrench, more or less a parts replacer more than a problem solver. Grew up in a Mercedes household (Pontons, Heckflosse and diesel Mercedes of the 1960's up to the mid-1980's stuff)...those cars are mostly nonexistence in the upstate NY part of the country and parts are pretty pricey and few and far between too. I have always loved the PV series but the Amazon stuff is pretty neat. Been looking at both of them online. I am not looking for a hot rod but something simple to fix and something that will be fun to drive around town on a Sunday afternoon.

Would a PV series or an Amazon be a better fit for a first time wanna be Volvo owner?

Also is there anything I should be looking for when I do find one?

Thanks in advance.

MikeC
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Old 09-16-2018, 07:12 PM   #2
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For a while, Amazon parts were a little more easily obtained, but at this point I think they're about the same.

I've owned and driven a PV544, 122 sedan, 122 wagon, 145S, 145E, 2 different 1800e's. And without reservation, I can tell you that the one I have enjoyed driving the most is the PV. I've owned my beater 544 since 1998. It was a bit of a pile when I bought it, parked for 17 years in an open-sided carport. It's a little hard to pin down why I like it so much more than all the other round-fendered pushrod Volvo's I've had. But it was just more enjoyable to drive around even when it still had 90 hp, skinny tires, and a soft suspension that would lean waaaay over in corners. Over the years I've kept tweaking at it, now it has about 175 hp and a pretty good suspension and wide tires - so it's even more fun.

I guess if you're looking to drive an older car like that, you're doing it to get some vintage feels, and the PV simply has a lot more vintage to it than do the newer old Volvos.

Things to look out for:
- rust
- rust
- rust
- rust








- mechanical condition

The mechanical parts on these old things are so easy to fix, and you can get all the parts, I simply wouldn't worry the slightest about one with a million miles on it. But a low mileage one from a salt belt state? Run away. These are simply not economically restorable from rusty shells, probably never will be. Just don't even get into a project like that, regardless of how good a 'deal' it is. SPend the money and make it a road trip to go get one from a dry salt-free state somewhere. money *very* well spent.

PV's are simpler than the Amazons are (and the Amazons are pretty damn simple). They have a simpler body structure, fewer areas for rust to hide out in. One big plus to that is that the PV weighs several hundred pounds less than an Amazon (even a coupe) or an 1800. The downside however, is that they cannot withstand rust as well as those newer overbuilt for safety cars can. On a PV, rust can quickly move to making important parts fall off the car. So if you buy one, get it up on a lift and look underneath carefully.
- Front frame spars - the main arms that stick forward from the firewall to the bumper, the whole front end hangs off that, the rest of the sheetmetal up there is not structural. These can rust at the bumper ends (the bumper falls off, sometime later the steering box or idler arms falls off). They can also rust back at the firewall - and if the bottom part of the arm (that reaches under the front floorboards) rusts the arm can sag 'up'.
- sills - as with any car, but I think they're a bit more structurally significant in a PV since the body is so light.
- floorboards - common to be rusty because of the original rubber floormats (great at keeping dampness underneath them, against the metal) - wouldn't worry *too* much about them though
- rear end of the transmission/driveshaft tunnel - this is an unusually critical part of a PV because of the unusual rear suspension. All 4 control arms (other than the lateral panhard rod) attach to the back end of the tunnel. The lower main arms angle in toward it from near the wheels. And the torque control arms reach straightforward to it from the top of the differential. Significant rust here means that the rear axle falls off. Which is... bad.
- subframe arches over the rear wheels - only notable because the rear springs sit on them - and they can rust out in a way that sends them shooting into the trunk area. I've seen it on rusty old PV's in junkyards here in the salt belt.
- rear-most section of the trunk floor - this is like the floorboards - many cars will rust here - it's not serious. There's just a dropped section of trunk floor, with a rubber mat to hold moisture, and a sometimes leaky trunk lid right above it.

Other than that, like I said, mechanical conditions is practically not worth worrying about unless you're paying *top* dollar and everything is supposed to be sorted already. Interior and paint and all that - all pretty ordinary in prices to do, or not, as your tastes see fit. Interior parts like upholstery, door panels, headliners, etc are all still available.

The older models - 62(?) and older will be 6 volts, unless someone has swapped them. That might be a slight minus. ALong with the 6V cars also cam the B16 (and earlier, the older you go) engines, which are incrementally hard to find parts than the B18 the 63+ cars had (shared with Amazons, 1800's, and in slightly larger size, 140's and 1800E/ES models).

Personally, I like the looks of the 444 models - the ones with the split flat glass windshield. The flat glass just gives it a more authentic vintage look, vs. the slightly anachronistic curved glass on the 544. The 444's also have a much neater looking 'Art Deco' dashboard - vs. the slightly cheaper looking dash the 544 shared with the Amazon. The 444's are just far more rare in the US because, for most of their production, Volvo wasn't officially importing to the US. I think they did in the 444's last year of production, but sales weren't that large then. 544's were imported in much larger numbers.

And for even more cool points, there is the PV wagon version (445 with split flat windshield, 210 in curved/544 version). Even the 210 is rarer than a 444 is, it seems. And the 445's? Probably all brought over one by one by owners, not by the company.
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Old 09-17-2018, 01:30 AM   #3
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Nowadays 240s & 740s are vintage and require some significant care to keep on the road.

The pushrod cars are antiques and need even more care and feeding since they're on their second or third 20 year R&R cycle.

Good luck whatever you choose, buy the best one you can find, and don't be afraid to pay shipping on it.
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:35 AM   #4
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But they still make everything for 544/122 (mostly) while almost nothing for the later cars
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:14 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Redwood Chair View Post
Nowadays 240s & 740s are vintage and require some significant care to keep on the road.

The pushrod cars are antiques and need even more care and feeding since they're on their second or third 20 year R&R cycle.

Good luck whatever you choose, buy the best one you can find, and don't be afraid to pay shipping on it.
Funny you mention the shipping...I bought a Willys Jeep in May of 2018 from Albuquerque New Mexico and it cost me more to ship it than the Jeep cost...but in the end...I have something I can work with...I will continue to search tho...
I did find one in the next county over from me that is a "barn find" but I am afraid the barn had a dirt floor....the price is right and it runs but I am very skittish of what will turn up once I get it home and start tinkering with it...

Thanks for all the insight folks.

MikeC
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:04 AM   #6
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In retrospect, I shouldn't have bought my PV. Even though it's hung together for coming up on 20 years worth of thrashing, it's really not worth restoring, so it's just on 'palliative' care. Whenever something important falls off, I'll spend some time with the MIG welder sticking it back on. At least it was cheap.

It's a bit riskier buying pretty, high dollar cars. They've had a lot of work put into them to make them look good. And they might be solid. Or they might be hiding a lot of bodged up stuff.

Old Volvo's aren't *BIG* money yet, but here's an interesting thread where a pretty coat of paint tricked someone into paying 6 freaking figures for an old VW bus: https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/vi...er=asc&start=0

In vague general terms, I think a PV is a little better at hiding their rust issues. Most of the external sheetmetal is single layers of sheetmetal - like the fenders. They simply do not have the enclosed cavities behind them to catch and hold dirt/moisture, so they tend to look nicer from the outside. Amazons have many more areas on the outside sheetmetal where stuff can accumulate and cause 'cosmetic' rust holes. The bottom edge of the front grille panel, around the headlights, along the back and back bottom edge of the fender, along the sills, along the rear wheel arches. All places where two layers of sheetmetal make small pockets that are nearly impossible to clean, but readily accessible to grime and water. But the Amazon then has more structural stuff underneath the car that actually makes it hang together. So they might look worse, but still be drivable. And a PV might look pretty nice outside, but then the transmission falls out.
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Old 09-17-2018, 12:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mikec4193 View Post
Funny you mention the shipping...I bought a Willys Jeep in May of 2018 from Albuquerque New Mexico and it cost me more to ship it than the Jeep cost...but in the end...I have something I can work with...I will continue to search tho...
I did find one in the next county over from me that is a "barn find" but I am afraid the barn had a dirt floor....the price is right and it runs but I am very skittish of what will turn up once I get it home and start tinkering with it...

Thanks for all the insight folks.

MikeC
Sounds like a 740 is your cup of tea.
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Old 09-17-2018, 12:57 PM   #8
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Just buy one already built and use your limited wrenching skills on keeping it running. Bxx series engines are super simple beasts. M41 overdrive cars keep up with modern day traffic

Let someone elses 17cents on the dollar restoration project be your enjoyment

https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/...695317784.html



Your best examples of classic cars will always be southern California


But if you like rubbing nickles together hoping they get pregnant so you can make $0.15 then a 740 might be more your style:
https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/...688412181.html
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Old 09-17-2018, 01:04 PM   #9
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You won't find very many of these for sale: https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/...671334010.html

That's a very nice looking body, with no shiny paint to hide atrocities under.
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Old 09-17-2018, 01:07 PM   #10
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Here's one to tread carefully on: https://ventura.craigslist.org/cto/d...675855412.html

A whole bunch of blue paint slapped onto it. Masking tape? Where we're going, Marty, we don't need masking tape!

Who knows what they hid under that.

Twofer deal: https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sf...698283497.html
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Old 09-17-2018, 01:28 PM   #11
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Op what’s your budget? Bubble gum and cheese or actual money ?
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JohnMc View Post
You won't find very many of these for sale: https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/...671334010.html

That's a very nice looking body, with no shiny paint to hide atrocities under.
That's 5 minutes from me. You need some undercarriage shots for another midlife crisis project?
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:08 PM   #13
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Op what’s your budget? Bubble gum and cheese or actual money ?
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About mikec4193
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:29 PM   #14
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That's 5 minutes from me. You need some undercarriage shots for another midlife crisis project?
No!



maybe....



NO!
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:29 PM   #15
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But srsly, no. But thanks for the offer.
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:34 PM   #16
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But if you like rubbing nickles together
I feel like I've heard this before..
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