Two months have passed since the “Georgia Peach” was purchased for “The Old Motor” and the restoration shop. Not much actual work has been accomplished yet due to other commitments. What has been done however is straightening out and tuning the twin-SU side draft carburetors on the 1800cc (110 c.i.) pushrod actuated o.h.v. engine, diagnosing and eliminating a vapor lock condition, road testing and locating the parts needed for the mechanical rebuilding and the installation of a new exhaust system.
Before going into all of that thought, I should take a minute to let all of the readers and old car friends know why I like these cars. Like many of us, we tend to want to have a car that made an impression on us when we were young and in my case it goes back to about 1965 when I was ten years old with a 1963 Volvo.
My cousin Dwight went into the Army in the early 1960s, was stationed in Europe, and while there learned about all of the various British and European automobiles and watched the 1964 Ford GT 40’s run in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He liked the Volvo 122s models because they were very much like a scaled down version of an early-1950s American car and were rugged, reliable, faster and safer than most of the smaller passenger cars that were available there. Watch the classic 1963 Volvo television commercial above which was part of the automakers advertising campaign at the time to see just how tough and quick these cars are.
He brought a 1963 122s two-door sedan home with him in 1965, showed and explained to me all of it’s features, and gave me rides and Volvo sales literature. Shortly afterward a neighbor’s daughter and son-in-law began visiting on occasion with a brand new 1968 station wagon (the last year of importation) with navy blue paint and a dark red interior. The fit and finish on these cars were much higher that on domestically built cars and this one was always clean and polished like a jewel. Yours truly would spend hours checking it out it in the driveway and wait for them when they were due to arrive or leave to see and hear it in action.
- It went up on jack stands a week ago to install a new exhaust system and for other work.
Fast forward to 1976 when Dwight’s brother Jonathan gave me the tired out and dead 1963 hand-me-down sedan with 275,000 miles on the clock. With minimal work, it was running and road ready and used it to move from Connecticut where I was born and raised to the beautiful State of Vermont. Along with it was two-hundred dollars in my pocket I had saved, my clothes and a small Craftsman tool box filled with tools my relatives gave me as a high school graduation present. My restoration shop opened soon afterward in a rented rundown addition with no heat to a circa 1875 carriage house behind a three-story Victorian home.
The Volvo served very well, and another one-hundred thousand miles were racked up on it until it was totally worn out from front-to-rear and so rusty (courtesy of Vermont road salt) I was worried my dog would fall out through the rotten rear floor; the next one was a 1966 station wagon and more followed. By the late-1980s it was getting very hard to find a good one without a lot of rust, and in 1988 after buying a building in the country for the shop another vehicle was needed. A four-wheel-drive pickup truck was next as it was a much more sensible choice of a vehicle for the restoration shop and Vermont winters in the foothills of the Green Mountains.
- All new coolant hoses and other parts will be installed when the radiator is removed for cleaning and repairs. All of the new parts in this series are being sourced from VP Autoparts Inc. a Swedish Volvo parts supplier that carries the highest quality parts and has US warehouse in North Carolina.
When we return next time to this series, the history of this Volvo will be shared with you. Below are photos of the Judson Supercharger, a new Abarth exhaust system, and more information.
This is the Judson supercharger (above) that was reported about in the last installment. It was purchased all apart and other than a few nuts and bolts it is complete with all the hard to find pieces. This view shows the finned cast iron blower body, the end caps, the manifold, and the Holley 1904 single barrel carburetor Judson chose for this application; it was originally used on a 223 c.i. Ford truck engine – twice the size of the Volvo engine.
Note the glass float bowl cover, the throttle linkage and the rare Stelling and Hellings Co. air cleaner to the left. The unit is in excellent condition and only needs to have the blower housing honed, new bearings and seals for the rotor, new micarta vanes and a more detailing. The vanes are made of a composite of a thermosetting plastic reinforced with linen; it is also used for “fiber” timing gears. Learn more about the Judson supercharger in the last installment.
- The divided alloy intake and blower manifold, the intake is on the bottom and the pressure side on the top where the mixture enters the cylinder head through the manifold runners.
- The cast iron supercharger housing; the intake mixture enters diamond-shaped slots at the bottom, and exits 180 degress later at the top after being compressed at up to 7 psi.
The aluminum blower rotor and high-strength alloy shaft above is supported by ball bearings. The four quarter-inch thick by 2 inch wide micarta vanes sit in the slots and are forced against the housing bore by centrifugal force. A marvel mystery oiler set at one drop every four seconds and the fuel mist lubricate the slots, the sides and tips of the vanes, and the housing bore to help prevent wear.
- The crankshaft pulley on the left and the supercharger pulley on the right overdrive the rotor to a speed of close to seven-thousand rpm at the engine redline speed of 5500 revs.
- What goes in must come out – a new old stock version of one the famous free-flowing Abarth exhaust systems made in Italy was found in Europe. It, like the supercharger bolt on without any alterations to the car.
Your Editor is looking for a red on black 1967 Volvo P1800s with straight side trim strips as seen below. It is a sports touring car version of the 122s, and both share the same drivetrain and other pieces. It and the 122s sedan with modifications won many races in the SCCA National Series in the period and continue to take class wins today in vintage racing. Irv Gordon made the car famous after covering three-million miles in his 1966 P1800s recently.
I am looking for a never rusted or accident damaged example, that does need not need to be running. The cars completeness, condition of the body, trim, interior and history are more important than the mechanics. Contact me here if you can help.