1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 18



I managed to get the very last rebuilt early caliper from VP-Auto Parts, a left unit. However, knowing what I know now I would have just rebuilt my calipers. What precious information is it? Read on.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brake caliper apart


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brake caliper apart hammer good

The pistons were stuck in the bores but after a couple of days soaking in the vinegar I gave the piston a good smack. This may seem counter intuitive but it helped loosening the piston in the bore.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brake caliper apart large plier

Using industrial size wise grips I was able to turn and eventually lift up the pistons.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brake caliper apart gasket

This is the cool part. It is ONLY the seal that wears in the bores. On later model calipers the bore is fitted perfectly to the piston and it can not have any flaws or rust. In this case, all I have to do is clean up the groove for the seals and we are off to the races.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brake caliper inside

I think I will take to money I save on rebuilding these my self and buy a blast cabinet and clean these babies to perfection. There is NO limit on how many tools a man can have.


15’s Man! , Yeah, 15’s!


So this wagon was rolling on 17 inch steelies for a season. It was fun and I got a lot of positive feedback.

1967 Volvo Combi

However, with big wheels like these I am writing checks I can’t cash. If the car had a 200 hp engine and a pro touring suspension to match…well then, it would be OK.

I had to work on the brakes so the wheels were off anyway and I decided to go back to the 15 inch wheels.


Volvo 122S Amazon Wagon Combi Estate 15s

Somehow it looks more balanced. These are still wider than the stock wheels and the car is still lowered about three inches.


Volvo 122S Amazon Wagon Combi Estate 15s 2

Works for me!

Vintage Swedish Cars…in Sweden!


Yes, we found some Vintage Swedish Cars in Sweden, how about that !!

I went to the Wheels and Wings show in Falkenberg, Sweden and it was mostly about American iron. For those who don’t care for the metric stuff, check out the American Iron in Sweden at ClassicRoad.com here.

However, a big car meet like this brings out all brands of vintage cars. Here are some of the fine Volvos I spied at the event.

1958 Volvo Amazon front

This 1958 Volvo Amazon 121 is looking very nice with era correct auxiliary lights and Albert fender mirrors.

1958 Volvo Amazon

The rear of this Amazon is just as nice sporting the early style trunk handles.


Volvo PV front

This Volvo PV 544 is looking great in this color. Super straight with all the right accessories, it is a looker.

Volvo PV rear

1967 Volvo Amazon dk blue

The owner of this dark blue Volvo Amazon was eager to pose next to his 1967 car.

Volvo Amazon blue front

“Wrong” wheels but I will let it slide as this Amazon is like new.

Volvo Amazon blue

volvo 122S Amazon

This black 1964? Volvo Amazon was a stunner. White walls and Marshall lights are excellent options.

Volvo 740 EPA traktor

Volvo 740 “EPA traktor” A way for 16 year old Swedes to drive a car. Convert it to a tractor and limit the top speed. Sure beats a moped when it is -20C !


Saab 92

This Saab 92 was about the coolest Swedish car in the meet. Still sporting the stock two stroke engine.


Volvo Tractor

Since this web site is Vintage Swedish Cars, I think we can accept a vintage Swedish Volvo tractor. It was currently registered and still in use.

Volvo Tractor logo

Cool logo.

1953 Monark with ILO engine

OK, since we are pushing our luck on the Swedish Car subject, how about a Vintage Swedish Motorcycle?? This 1953 Monark with a 250 cc two stroke was actually used to pull a plow after the war. A farmer installed a rear gear that was about the size of the tire and pulled his plow.


2016 Volvo V60 diesel

Let’s round off this report with a not so vintage Swedish car. This was my rental for the week I spent in Sweden. A 2016 V60 diesel. Yes, diesel! With a 6 speed trans it was completely impossible to get worse mileage than 45 mpg!!

I drove all week on a tank of fuel. What an incredible car. It also have a ton of power in the low end. You shift at 3K and it just GOES! Why can we not get this car in America?? Besides, the damn thing drives itself!

Good Times in Sweden, Good Times indeed!

X-Ray Auto in Ballard, Washington


I was in need of a part…Wait, I needed a part for a Volvo?? I was told these things lasts for EVAR! Well, they don’t.

Even sturdy Volvos need service and repairs sometimes and X-Ray Auto in Ballard, Washington would be a good place to go. Matt is the owner and operator of X-Ray Auto and he works on 1975 and older Volvos…period! Not only does he service the cars, he also have a sizable collection of parts, new and used.

X-ray Auto car

Visiting the shop is equivalent to time travel. I worked at a gas station in Sweden in the seventies and there would be pretty much nothing but Saabs and Volvos around you.


Xray auto

This is what greets you when you arrive. You know it will be a good day.


Xray auto B&W

I could not help myself…A little black and white action. Sweden 1970? Ballard 1970?? Or Ballard Wa 2016?

Volvo Duett


Matt’s corporate company car. Volvo P210 Duett, the only way to go.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 tank filler lid

Here is the reason for today’s visit. As you can see, the original tank lid was reverting back to carbon. This is the fun part when restoring a vintage car. The thrill of the chase, the high you get when you find the right part coupled with the social aspect make it all worth while.


1969 Volvo 1800S

This car was for sale. A very solid 1969 1800S. Minor rust in the lower front fenders but that was all I could see. The customer just spent $6000.00 on tune ups, brake parts and more.

1969 Volvo 1800S interior

A really decent interior that can use some detailing but it is all there. I am NOT affiliated with X-Ray Auto but Matt helped me with some parts so I thought I should help getting the word out. . He is asking $15,000.00 and can be reached at 206-789-5455. Tell him Rolf sent you.

Next year Matt and X-Ray Auto plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sweden moving to right hand drive. He plans to have a party and to re-create the event having Volvos switching sides just like they did that night in 1967. Maybe we will crash in to each other??!! Stay tuned for more info on the events page.


1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 17


If this is part 17 of this Vintage Volvo Tale..I wonder how many parts it will take before this car is back on the road?? 300??…500??  957?? Damn if I know…Oh well, we will keep keeping on!

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rust free

Dippety-Doodaa !!!

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 inner fender well

Wow…It is like is was 1960 again and the car was just made at Pressed Steel!

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 clean metal


The rear of the car is very clean and solid.

I did say rust free earlier and that is technically true but we certainly have some perforation caused by rust. I also found some lousy repairs on both the doors and the quarter panels. I plan to replace all of them, no need to be cutting any corners at this point. I have to order panels now, more on this later.


In the mean time, I keep fiddling with the small stuff:

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 early idler arm

Only the early cars had this idler arm. It actually used needle bearings as opposed to the later models that use a bushing. To me this will help steering effort to a small degree.  As you can see on the old shaft, the most wear and stress happens on the top. The kit includes the shaft so all good.This was the last rebuild kit available so me happy!


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 new parts

This is what $1200.00 worth of new Volvo parts looks like. This is the third of many “installments”. I think I need a separate shelf for all this to keep order and more important…my sanity!


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 exhaust manifold studs

Hot Action shot! The heat is on.

The exhaust manifold studs were in rough condition so they had to be replaced. After 50 years of marriage to the manifold flange they were not about to divorce easily.

However, after introducing the flange to an Oxyacetylene Torch at about 1980 C and thus making the molecules really excited (and red) the studs reluctantly departed.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rear brake drum cleanup

Before and…you guessed it, skipper…after shot of the break drums after a couple of days soaking in the rust removal solution. They will be powder coated with high temp coating.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 new caliper

I was able to secure one left side early caliper from VP-Autoparts and that was it. I checked with a local rebuilder and I was quoted over $300.00 per ea caliper!

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 caliper pistons

My friend Gary Ramstad, president of the local Volvo club was generous and gave me these caliper rebuild parts. All that is missing is the large piston and I can get those from VP for 20 bucks.  As long as I can get the pistons out I should be able to rebuild them. The calipers are soaking right now, more later.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 springs

It is a pleasure to see that many new parts are actually made in Sweden. The new springs are made by Lesjöfors in Sweden.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 trans cross member

This is the transmission cross member. See that bend on the left side? I was certain that the previous owner took this fine car for a spin in some rough terrain. I checked under my 1964 parts car and it has the same recess, however it is factory pressed. What is going on here??

Turns out it is a recess to clear the speedometer cable. Jensen factory workers just took the stock Volvo cross-member, grabbed a sledge-hammer and beat it in submission. Chalk that up to another “early car quirk”

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 modified cross member

There is even a mark when they missed a little or got a bit generous with the sledge-hammer. Totally cool !



Volvo P1800 logga

1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 16

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 paint and rust stripping

A lonely Volvo P1800 in a sea of Camaros, Mustangs and trucks. The body was dropped off in a “mall” of hot rod shops.


Hot rod shop

A quick peek in the hot rod shop revealed what is hot: MUSCLE CARS!! Pro Touring muscle cars is BIG. Let’s just say that Art Morrison is doing JUST fine!

OK, enough of that!

Since this is a unibody car I have elected to have the car dipped in order to remove all paint and rust. This treatment will remove all rust inside channels as well that you can’t get inside.

I have heard the anecdotal stories how the acid stays in seams and cause problems later. I discussed this in great length with the owner and he had not experienced any problems. This company has over 40 years experience with this. The last step of cleaning and neutralizing of the acid is the key.


Good eye there, skipper! That is not a Volvo. For informational purposes only, get it?

It is a rather elaborate process:

  • First it is submerged in a hot tank at 200 degrees
  • Then the car is cleaned with high pressure spray.
  • Bath that treats the rust and neutralize the paint removal chemicals.
  • High pressure rinse and clean.
  • Rust prevention coating.
  • Air dry.

Regardless, I plan to open up all critical seams, like rocker panels, front fenders, door skins, rear panel and rear quarter panel so all those seams will be exposed and I can clean all mating surfaces.

Once opened up, I can even touch up with sandblasting if needed. More on this later.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 hinge kit

“Hinge Kit” These are all the hinges and fastener needed to hang the hood, doors and the trunk. The body man will need this to line up all the panels etc.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rear bumper parts car

This is why parts cars exists!  This 1964 coupe with chassis no 10764 is resting behind the shop and it is slowly returning to iron oxide but before that process is completed I am saving many parts for our project. I did not have the rear bumper bar, bumper bracket and the chrome piece in between the bumper sides. Now I do!


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rear bumper bracket

Of course I could not leave the chrome alone, I had to run some 0000 steel wool over the chrome. It still needs re-chroming but I feel better now! Don’t you?


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rear bumper bracket front 1

The bumper bracket looks like they will clean up good but it is what’s between them that worries me. Probably rust. They are conveniently rivited together!


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rear bumper bracket front

Yup, rust.They will spend a day or two in the vinegar bath.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rear bumper bracket 2

The rear bumper brackets are riveted as well. Note the rivet head is flush on the rear bracket as they are flush with the channel they go in to. I have to make sure I duplicate this when it goes together.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rear axle goop removal

Goop removing session number 543!!


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rear axle goop cutting

The goop on the rear axle is so thick that I can slice layers off…like a gyro !! Except it’s Swedish…Swyro! Glorious work!


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rear brake backing plate

It is pretty amazing how nice most of the chassis components are like this backing plate.It is still proudly displaying the factory semi gloss black. Not bad for a 56 year old car. It is still going to get blasted and powder coated.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 motor mount broken

Come on!! How can you brake a motor mount in a 90 hp Volvo. It was repaired by adding massive amount of brazing material. The parts car will once again step up and provide a replacement.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 idler arm

The early cars used a different idler arm and based on the profile on the arm, this is indeed the original part. I have chassis number 423 and the Volvo parts book tells me that the needle bearing still available are from chassic no 500 something and forward. Yet the specs on the bearings matches my early arm exactly so maybe I will be OK.

More later..


Volvo P1800 logga


Crusing Italy with an Amazon Wagon


I mentioned it before, when you play with vintage cars you will find enthusiasts from all over the world that share your interest. Nicola Carenzi from Italy checked in.

1968 Volvo Amazon wagon

He just bought this 1968 Volvo 121 wagon in the Netherlands and drove it home to Italy. It was a trouble free trip thanks to the 2 liter B20 engine and overdrive transmission.

1968 Volvo Amazon wagon rear

The car looks really solid. Nicola started by rebuilding the carburator and then he will move on to other things.

Thanks for sharing, keep us posted.

1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 15


I am trying to catch anything that need to be done before it goes to body and paint.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 missing nut

Like this weld nut that decided to take a walk. This nut holds the upper panel on the door. Now would be a good time to fix it. Threads are 1/4 -20.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 weld nut

I enlarged the hole enough to hold a nut in place and then used my 180 AMP metal melting device. I doused the screw and threads with anti splatter spray to make sure I didn’t weld the bolt to the nut!


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 weld nut in place

Nut job! Threads in place and all is well.

All chassis component on this car are semi flat black including the front cross member. On later cars, Volvo changed it to a blue gray color.

I found a perfect match to the black at my local powder coating company.The have a one time set up charge so it makes sense to bring in all parts for coating in one swoop.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 ugly front end 2

It is amazing how many little parts are on one car! Like the front end, after disassembling I have another hundred…or so…parts to…ugh, to clean and keep track of.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 front spring compress

NOTE spring compressor!  PLEASE NOTE: The front A-arms are holding the front springs under EXTREME pressure. DO NOT unbolt the ball joint or A-arms without taking precautions. If this spring was to let loose it could seriously harm or kill an individual. If you are not comfortable with this task, take it to a professional.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 front end blow apart

Sometimes I wonder why I do this :-/


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 A-arm petrified

Petrified! The dirt and grease have become petrified over 50 years.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 A-arm clean

OK, this is a bit of overkill but I like clean…I plan to blast and powder coat everything anyway.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 cross member

Front cross member ready for the next step. I will have it dipped in the rust removing solution as well as I want any internal rust gone.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brake stud removal

Volvo’s service manual tells me that the minimum thickness of the rotors in 12.2 mm. These were less than 10 mm so these are going in the recycle bin. The early cars had different rotors and they are no longer available. Here I am pressing out the studs so I can separate the rotor from the hub.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brake hub

Rotor and hub.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brake rotor difference

Here you can see the difference between the early style (left) and the later style. The “hat” is 2 3/16 tall compared to the 1 3/4 height on the newer style. The old style lasted through chassis number 6999.

I have been told if I use the newer style caliper bracket, I can use the newer rotor. However, I also have to use the newer style backing shields and I would like to keep the original stuff. They looks very different and they are in excellent condition.

I have some ideas…more on this later.


Now I have to inventory all parts so they can be accounted for when I bring them to powder coating. Tip: Take lots of pictures!

1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 14

Hinges and Hardware Rust Removal

I have about a month before the body leaves for stripping and body work. The body man will need all the hinges as he will test fit of doors, hood and trunk so I am getting them cleaned up.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 hood hinges

These are the hood hinges. Looks like something you would use for a barn door. They cleaned up well on the rotating wire wheel.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 door hinges

These are the door hinges, they look like something you would use on a very big barn door!


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 door hinges close up

After a slow dance with the wire wheel these cleaned up well. Here you can see the brass washers used to reduce friction in the hinge.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 door hinges pin

The door hinges have some wear so I have to replace the pin. Looks like they are held in place by “deforming” punch blows.

Hardware Rust Removal

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rusty bolts vinegar

I plan to reuse as many of the original bolts as possible for originality. Whether it is BUFO or Rubery Owens they should go back where they came from. This means I have to make them look new again. I am trying various forms of cleaning and rust removal, everything from just plain vinegar to Evaporust.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 part cleaner

Dunking rusty bolts in rust removal solution is one part of this job but it does not remove paint. I borrowed this vibrator/tumbler cleaner from a friend and it will help me make the fasteners look new again. I am using two kinds of media. I taped in to the floor as it has a tendency to take a walk when in running..

To learn more about this I Googled “vibrator cleaner” and that gave me results NOT related to rusty old cars. Think before Googling! Just saying!

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rusty bolts

This is what I started with.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 bolts after vinegar

This is what the above hardware looks like after one night in vinegar. They look better than the bolts that was treated with Evaporust. So good ‘ol household vinegar wins.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 shiny bolt

Here they are after a night in the tumbler with walnut shells. Looks fantastic. This will be a great base when I have them plated.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 shiny bolts

Here is a whole bunch of shiny stuff. Satisfying.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 part cleaner pyramids

This is the more aggressive media that also removes paint.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 ugly front end

I have about a month before the car go car to paint stripping I have plenty of work to do. The front end will be blown apart and restored.