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Old 12-28-2021, 11:41 AM   #1
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Default Project Snoevit - 1973 1800ES Restoration

I called my previous 1800 restoration project Roedluvan (Google tells me that this is Swedish for Little Red Riding Hood) because it is little and red (http://forums.turbobricks.com/showth...ight=roedluvan). I decided to keep with the Brothers Grimm theme and call this latest project Snoevit (which Google tells me is Swedish for Snow White). This works for me since not only is the car (California) white, but one of the names for the ES models is “Schnewittchensarg” or Snow White’s Coffin.

I’m starting the project thread with this first lengthy post to pass along the history of car to the extent that I’ve been able to piece it together. The next several posts will cover my plans for the project and will catch everyone up with the work that’s been done to date; once the posts catch up to the current state of work I’ll use the remaining posts to show progress through to completion.

With those preliminaries out of the way, on to the story of Snoevit!

According to Volvo, chassis number 6020 left the assembly line on 12 February 1973. It is color code 42 (California White), upholstery code 460-888 (disco blue upholstery, black armrests, dark blue carpets), engine number 2004, gearbox number 20800 (a BW35 that attained escape velocity long before I acquired the car, thankfully), and body number 5988. According to the car’s data plate it was optioned with codes S-6078 and S-6108.

Option codes S-6078 and S-6108; this is one rare car! Karl Eric’s volvo1800pictures.com site indicates that it is one of only 168 cars with the 6078 option and one of only 22 in the USA for both model years with 6108. We’ll ignore the fact that not even the Norse gods know what these option codes mean for any of the 1800 models (something I find fascinating and inexplicable). In a BMW or Porsche world this would be stratospheric levels of rarity…..but this being a Volvo world it’s just an interesting factoid.

[IMG]1800ES 6020 Build Sheet[/IMG]

The early history of the car is a mystery for now. The one possible link I have is an oil change sticker from Jim Fisher Volvo in Portland Oregon. Unfortunately the ink on the sticker has run and faded so I can’t determine service date or odometer; at some point I plan to cold call them and see if I can get any service history on the car.


So at this point I have no information on who owned Snoevit during the 28 years, 1 month and 23 days of its existence prior to a Bob McN of Salem OR acquiring it in April of 2001. I managed to track down Bob a few months ago and he was kind enough to e-mail me to fill in his part of the story:

“I was at an auto auction in Portland, Oregon and the car came through. I was not there for this car but I saw it and always liked those cars so I purchased it for $1900.00. The car was a repossession so I had no history with the car. I wanted the car because of the automatic (thinking my kids and wife could drive the car) and the air conditioning. I drove the car home and then discovered how little power the automatics had. The motor had a miss we could not tune out of it so after further digging we decided to rebuild the engine. I removed the motor and had the head done, new pistons and rings with boring at .030 over etc. The rebuild was in process when 9/11 happened and we could not get parts for quite awhile and the car sat with the motor dismantled for at least a year. When it was back together and running great I decided to get something different. I took the car to the huge swap meet in Portland, Or. I expected the car to sell quickly but it did not until the last day when when a guy who said he owned a Chevy store somewhere in Washington state bought it from me. I thought it was an odd choice for a Chevy dealer but he wanted it so there you go.”

According to the Oregon title, Bob sold the car to Frontier Chevrolet-Pontiac in Oak Harbor Washington on 31 March 2005 with 69,574 miles on the odometer. Frontier apparently didn’t survive the great automotive shakeout as a GM dealer, but it did (does?) continue to operate as Frontier Auto Outlet; they sold the car on 21 Mar 2010 to RC, a gentleman from the Detroit area who was active for a period of time on the Yahoo 1800 e-mail group and Daily Turismo. At the time of her sale to RC Snoevit had 69,819 actual miles on the clock. Why did Frontier hold the car for nearly five years and only put 245 miles on it? Good question. Part of the verbal history that was handed down with the car was that the owner of Frontier bought the car as a personal vehicle and displayed it in the showroom for all those years. If anyone from Oak Harbor stumbles across this thread and can provide additional information on this part of this history, that would be great!

As mentioned, RC was active on Daily Turismo and shared some of his experiences with the car there. For those who’d like to dive down that rabbit hole the link is here (but I’ll relate the high points in this below): https://dailyturismo.com/5k-dt-exclu...-volvo-1800es/

RC was working overseas in 2010 and had always dreamed of owning and resto-modding an 1800ES when he saw Snoevit pop up on Ebay and he bought it for $6,000. When RC finally managed to see the car in person it was not as nice as he had expected but he reckoned it was still a solid basis for a resto mod. Some of the shortcomings he noted were: sticking rear calipers; fuel pump hanging and leaking; engine running rich; leaking radiator; a repaint that shows evidence of some body filler and with a ”wavy” front nacelle under the bumper. He also noted that it had sport springs and sat lower than he liked. RC was kind enough to share these photos of Snoevit from the time that he owned it:






If you went down the Daily Turismo rabbit hole this will come as no surprise to you, but it was during RC’s ownership that Snoevit became embroiled in one of the largest scandals to sweep the massive Volvo restomod community; you might call it Snoevit vs Iamtheonlyrealone (http://forums.turbobricks.com/showth...Robert+Jackson). You see, RC’s dream of resto-modding Snoevit landed him in the cross hairs of a certain RJ from Madill OK. Mr. RJ was soon to become infamous in all of the various fora that vintage Volvo fans frequent. RC became aware of RJ on the old Yahoo 1800 email list and got the both barrels of the sales palaver full in the face; bolt on Mustang II front suspension kits! Big disk brakes! Coil overs! Quick ratio rack and pinion steering! A check was quickly written and posted to Madill OK in 2011 and RC began planning for his 1800ES dream build. Alas, and to the surprise of no one reading this, it was not to be; like many others, RC fell victim to a scam and was strung along….for four painful years.

The fruitless efforts to get his money back from RJ finally wore RC down and he decided to pull the plug on his dream, listing Snoevit for sale on Daily Turismo on 16 April 2015. RC’s ownership of Snoevit had lasted five years during which he averaged four miles of driving each year. Poor Snoevit!

RC sold the car to another Michigan 1800 owner who kept it only a few weeks before it passed on to yet another Michigan 1800 owner by the name of Mark. Mark had plans of fixing and flipping the car and dismantled it before suffering some health issues that halted the project and precluded him putting the car back together. Mark decided to sell the car off in pieces and Turbobrick’s own Chris W. (15A) and Tom Fritz (Stealthfi, RIP: http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=345325 went to look at it. Chris W. bought the shell and most of the parts that were still available. The transmission had already headed back to the PNW and some of the interior was gone. Tom Fritz bought the motor and rebuilt it for a customer’s 140 but the customer flaked without paying the second half of the bill.

Like RC, Chris had plans to do a concours-quality resto-mod with an Ecotec drivetrain but was busy restoring cars for customers and grew to have doubts he’d ever get to it. Chris and I were communicating about some parts that I was buying for the 1800E restoration and we began discussing our respective ES situations. We each had a 1973 model. I had a very rough but only 3X,000 mile New England example socked away in my barn awaiting restoration…..but a restoration that seemed all the less likely the more I got into the rust repair on the 1800E and came to appreciate what a tremendous PITA it is. Chris had this low miles rust-free shell minus the drivetrain and various parts and he had doubts he’d ever have time to devote to the resto-mod.

Perhaps it was the hours of hunting down and cutting out compromised sheet metal, or the hours of shooting electricity into metal patches, or the hours of grinding, or perhaps it was the repeated trips to the ER to have little pieces of metal extracted from my aging eyeballs. Whatever it was I had an epiphany; why not adopt this gutted out but apparently rock solid orphan that Chris was sheltering and transplant all of the parts from the rotted to bits car that was serving as a spider incubator and rodent hotel in the basement of my barn!? Between the two of them I’d have a complete M41 car and could avoid descending into the realms of madness that would be required to resurrect the car I had.

Here is the car that I decided NOT to restore:

[IMG]Brother and Project[/IMG]

[IMG]Look Ma! No Rockers![/IMG]

[IMG]More Rear Quarter Rot[/IMG]

[IMG]Passenger Rear Quarter[/IMG]

[IMG]Spare Tire/Fuel Pump Area[/IMG]

[IMG]Rust - Battery Box?[/IMG]

[IMG]Passenger Fender to Cowl #2[/IMG]

[IMG]Above Battery Tray[/IMG]

[IMG]Passenger Fender - Front Filler[/IMG]

Chris and I worked out a deal for the shell and a large collection of parts to include trim that he had had re-chromed and parts that he’d had blasted and powder coated. At some point I mentioned to Chris that the motor in my (now) parts car was seized and he offered to retrieve the original engine from Tom Fritz with me paying the balance that Tom was due from the flaky 140 customer; sweet deal. I have to admit that much as I wanted to believe this was the correct engine for the car, I had my doubts; they were unwarranted:

[IMG]1800ES 6020 Build Sheet[/IMG]


In 2018 I made my way to Toledo OH to pick up Snoevit, the parts collection, and the long-lost motor and haul it all back to the Live Free or Die state. At the time I bought Snoevit from Chris she still had 69819 actual miles on the clock. When I got home I tucked her away until I had the 1800E fully sorted out and time to focus on another full blown restoration.

So that’s the history of the car’s first 48 years and 10 months of existence, to the extent I have been able to piece it together. The timeline looks more or less like this:

[IMG]1973 Volvo 1800ES Timeline #1.001[/IMG]

In the next post I'll lay out my plans for the restoration and after that I'll start piecing together to story of the work that's been done to date and then will follow it through to completion.
My feedback: http://forums.turbobricks.com/showth...hlight=didenpx

1970 1800E (Project Roedluvan:http://forums.turbobricks.com/showth...highlight=1970)
1977 242DL "Senf" (Summer Cruiser)
2x1973 1800 ES (Project Snoevit; http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=363278
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Old 12-28-2021, 07:55 PM   #2
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Great first post and I wish you excellent progress!
Here's my feedback thread:

I ship small packages/purchases on Fridays, and larger ticket items via FedEx in the middle of the week.
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Old 01-07-2022, 07:39 PM   #3
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It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who followed the 1800E restoration that I’m a stodgy old fart and will want to stay as close to a correct restoration as possible, with some minor liberties. So this definitely won’t be a traditional Turbobricks build; not gonna splice the body onto a Miata chassis (but am in awe of people who can do that sort of thing); not gonna convert it to an Ecotec drivetrain as RC and Chris had planned to do (but who can argue with their vision given the huge upside in the market? bringatrailer.com/listing/1963-volvo-p1800-7/2); and not gonna fit a turbo in there (don’t have the fabrication or visualization skills to even attempt it!).

So the plan is pretty straightforward; convert it to an M41 drivetrain and turn it into the car that it might have been in 1974 or 1975 if a performance-oriented owner had bought it and limited him/herself to basic IPD bolt on goodies and maybe some engine mods (since it’s already been overbored and may have other surprises waiting to be discovered). In Hagerty terms I’m aiming for something like a #1- or a #2+ car….but I intend to drive it. Both Snoevit and the red ES that I used as a parts car fit the bill for cars owned by people who were chasing after IPD performance and handling goodies. Snoevit was sporting front and rear IPD sways, IPD street coils, and Koni struts. The parts car was sporting an IPD front sway (now adorning the 1800E), Konis, and one sticker each for the Cannonball Run and the U.S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen!



[IMG]Canonball Run??[/IMG]

I’m going to apply a lot of lessons-learned from the 1800E build. I’m really happy with how that car came out but it was slow and painful and a lot of stuff was harder than it should have been because I didn’t really think through the sequencing of work. The list of the “should haves” is pretty long but I definitely should have; slowly cleaned and detailed parts as I had free time; spent some additional $ on powder coating, especially for chassis components; assembled the entire axle assembly so it could be lifted onto the car complete; ditto the front cross member; had the interior blasted and painted; taken the car back from the body shop after the interior and engine bay were painted and done drivetrain assembly myself before sending it back for final body work and paint; paid more attention to under chassis detailing in general; and should have done the mechanical reassembly myself instead of out-sourcing it to a shop. Those and probably a lot more that is escaping me at the moment.

As for who will be doing what: I am doing/going to do the stripping of the shell, detailing of parts and mechanical reassembly. Viv and Tracie at Lost Legends (http://www.lostlegendsauto.com/about) will be doing all of the body work; they did the finish body work and a lot of the reassembly (minus drivetrain) on the 1800E and are perfectionists and great folks to work with. Dave Burnham (https://www.hemmings.com/stories/art...1-volvo-142-gt) will be consulting and doing the mechanical work that requires real skill and not the simple wrench work that defines the upper limit of my abilities. Dave does high end Volvo restorations (a 145E he restored to factory fresh sits in the Volvo heritage collection!), is a 140 fanatic and a D-Jet whisperer. All of the media blasting is being done by Classic Car Blasting (https://www.classiccarblasting.com/contact-us.html) in Hampstead NH; they did the blasting work on the 1800E and all of the various parts that I’ve been detailing in preparation for this restoration have gone to them. Powder coating is being done by Pro Finishing in Hampstead NH (http://www.profinishinginc.com) which is really convenient since they’re just across the parking lot from Classic Car Blasting! None of these are paid endorsements, just giving shout-outs to great people to work with in the New England area in case anyone else is looking for resources.

This was an AC car; almost certainly not going to be when I’m done with it. I live in the Northeast and based on the summer driving I did with the 1800E I’m pretty comfortable that it’s not going to be needed. Besides, it would just rob power from an already modestly powered engine. It might have been a different story if all of the AC components came with the car, but they fell victim to entropy. What I’m struggling with now is whether to identify and weld up every opening that was made during the AC install, or whether to leave the holes and fill them with plugs or whatever since that would mean less work and it would also provide me the option of adding AC down the road without cutting metal. On a related note, take a look at the pro-job the dealership did way back when in locating the condensate drain; looks like they gave their best man a large ball peen hammer and a cold chisel and told him to get to it. Jeesh!




As mentioned in the first post, I’ve got the correct engine for the car and it’s been rebuilt twice in the last 245 miles. I’ve got Bob McN’s recollection that the head was done and the engine was bored out .030. And I know that Tom Fritz rebuilt it again but have no information on what he might have done. No clue what the compression is, or whether any performance-oriented work was done. So I’ll probably pull the head and ask Dave to help me figure out what’s going on there.

[Photos of engine]

I’ll also be removing the undercoating for an ultra clean look. I made that decision and started pecking away at the nasty stuff before I saw the insanely clean 245 on BaT (https://bringatrailer.com/listing/19...gon-5/Decision to remove undercoating and detail undercarriage). I didn’t realize there was such a thing as cryo-blasting until I saw that auction listing; I’ll probably keep plugging away with my trusty Craftsman gasket scrapers and the help of the New England winter (if it ever starts). I’m about 20% done on my part of the scraping right now (I’m going to leave the final clean up to Lost Legends when it goes in for blasting and body work.




This should be the last of the narrative-heavy posts. In the next installment installment I’ll cover the stripping of the donor car, the M41 and rear axle rebuild (both courtesy of Dave Burnham), and assessing Snoevit’s shell. After that it will be on to the project.

Last edited by didenpx; 01-08-2022 at 03:51 PM..
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Old 01-11-2022, 01:18 PM   #4
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The earlier photos of the 30,XXX mile red car pretty clearly indicate it wasn’t a good candidate for restoration so in Nov 19 I decided to strip it down to the shell and bag/tag all the parts for the Snoevit project. I took lots of photos for future reference ….time will tell if there were enough.

[IMG]Bagging and Tagging Progress, 16 Nov 19[IMG]


I carefully removed and set aside the foam backers for the headliner, to include the ones that the mice had chewed up. I don’t think replacements are available so at some point I’ll be figuring out if “Good Stuff” spray foam insulation can be used in some sort of a mold to replicate any pieces that are too far gone to re-use.

Once I had the shell stripped of everything (to include front cross member and rear axle) I sold it and the frozen B20 block that belonged to the car to
Don M. from the Albany area. Thought I had listed it here for sale but since I can’t find a FS listing it must have been through Craigslist. Don is a lot more skilled as a fabricator than I am, for sure, and he had resurrected an 1800 that was in much worse condition than the ES shell….so hopefully it will live again one day. Once I finish the Snoevit project I’ll be reaching out to him to see if he wants any of the spare parts (I’ve got at least two of everything at this point…in some cases three…and not really sure any more where it all came from).

I started preparing parts for the Snoevit project in earnest sometime late 2020. Mostly de-greasing, “organizing” the bagged and tagged stuff (I can never find anything when I need it, so how “organized” can it be?), and beginning to get parts media blasted and powder coated. Basically just pecking away at things to avoid the mad rush that I went through when the 1800E came back from the body shop and I realized that I had a ton of work to do to before it could be reassembled.

The project really began in earnest last July (2021) when I rolled Snoevit from the barn into the garage (really from the main level of the barn to the basement level) and started to carefully assess it.

When I bought the car from 15A I knew it had a replacement driver’s side door:


It’s a 1973 so the door should have the crash protection bar running horizontally.


Besides that it clearly was Safari Yellow originally….so somewhere along the line a Safari Yellow 1972 ES donated its door to this car. But why? I bought a cheap paint meter off Amazon and went all over the car. Clearly, something unfortunate happened to the entire left side of the car at some point:





Based on what I can see from the back side of the panels there is no significant crash damage so this is going to be something of a mystery until the car gets media blasted and I can see what’s really going on underneath the paint. At this point my theory is that the car sideswiped something/was sideswiped. Time will tell…..

Passenger side is clean though. There is a bit of filler behind the rear wheel but the rest of that side of the car showed no evidence of filler.


And you may recall that RC complained that the front nacelle (or whatever that part of the car under the grill opening is properly called) was “wavy.” Some incident along the way janked up the bumper struts, obviously. Again, maybe blasting will bring things into better focus.




But everything north of the bumpers appears to be straight and I don’t see any evidence of prior repairs, so hoping that whatever is revealed is minor.


The car is, from the standpoint of a New Englander, entirely rust-free. Sure, there’s some surface corrosion on the floor boards, and there’s one perforation of the passenger-side floor near the inner sills, but very, very little welding will be required (assuming no major headaches are revealed on the driver’s side).


OK, so the battery box will have to be replaced…but don’t they all? Part already on-hand thanks to VP.







I’ve removed the splash guards that cover the opening to the rockers and have stuffed an inspection camera into all of the openings along the inside of the inner sill and everything in there is clean clean, clean. There only issue to address there is the termination of the driver-side A-pillar where it meets the rockers; the very bottom of that piece is gone (but the rest of the rocker, inner, and mid-sill are clean).

One question for the group at this point: on the pedal box - do I need to make any modifications to this or can I just install the three pedals from the donor car? I am assuming that the shells for both came off the assembly line identical and that it’s just a matter of what pedals you mount….but that would be good to nail down before the car goes to the body shop.


Next up: M41 and rear axle overhaul, reinforcing front cross-member shock towers, and re-building the front axle.
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Old 01-15-2022, 01:46 AM   #5
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Wow, this car has a crazy history but it looks like you're just the steward it needed. I'm excited to see your progress.

Pretty cool about the DT tie-in but sad for Rene. It's humbling to think that the little site my friend and I started 10 years ago has helped connect so many people with cars & vice versa.
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Old 01-16-2022, 09:22 AM   #6
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Great to see you have #2 under way. I'd rethink the AC situation; remember the day we drove back from the NJ Volvo meet last summer and all of us got roasted in the 90+temp.

The old timers used to call the 1800's a " Swedish Sauna." Our car had dealer installed air when new, and I'm going to put it back in when I'm finished with racing.
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Old 01-16-2022, 10:28 AM   #7
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@Duder - thanks. DailyTurismo was great resource to understand more about the car!

@Vintagewrench - yes....now that you mention it I do remember how pleasant that drive was. But to be fair that was before Dave. B. pointed out that the heater control valve cable was out of adjustment and the heat was partially on full time. I'll continue to mull that one over. What I'd really want if I went that route was period-correct evaporator unit so maybe I'll start trolling around for one of those.

On an unrelated note - below zero temps are great for chipping off underbody coating. Significant progress yesterday.
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