1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 22

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I was looking for a smooth way to rotate and hold the body as I need to move it quite often. This is the expandable load bar I use in the truck. The rubber ends offer traction and it works like one of those domestic ratchet car jacks.

 

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This is very premature but I just had to do a test fit. With the rocker sheet metal temporary held in place I can now see how the rear quarter panel and the front fender. Both connects to the rocker panel via an overlay. It is important that I achieve a smooth transition between the panel for the correct look.

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Looks like the quarter panel fits well. Repairing rust is not exactly glorious work so these “test fit parties” are good for motivation.

 

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The rear inner wheel wells are in excellent condition except the bottom. The fender obviously attaches to this so it has to be solid.

 

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So…

1. Template.

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2. Make metal part look like what was there before.

 

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3. Test fit.

 

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4. Weld in place.

Looks good. Since this will never be seen I don’t need to grind the welds completely. Besides, the weld is stronger if not ground down.

 

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This is the front lower part of the wheel well. Based on the weld “lump” it appears that the factory just filled this corner with weld.

 

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There…solid corner and a lip to attach the quarter panel to.

 

 

Adam Featherston’s most excellent 1961 Volvo P1800

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Collecting, restoring and enjoying vintage Volvo cars is a world wide hobby.  Another virtual visitor drove by Vintage Swedish Cars with his newly restored 1961 Volvo P1800.  As I am knee deep in to a full restoration of the same car, I am always looking for inspiration and motivation.

Adam Featherston resides in Marple Bridge, a town near Manchester in the UK.  Adam imported this car from San Diego and it turns out that the So Cal weather had been very gentle on the sheet metal.

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The car was described as “scruffy and a little sad” and in need of cosmetic and mechanical rebuild. That’s what  you would you expect after 56 years or so.

 

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Adam commissioned Keith and Simon at the P1800 Specialist to bring the Volvo back to it’s former glory.

 

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After blasting: Check out how solid this car is.

 

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Photo: P1800 Specialists

Adam had some thoughts about the color. These cars looks absolutely stunning in a gun metal grey metallic and if you step up for red leather you will have a Swedish car that rivals a similar era Aston Martin.

However, after seeing the Saint’s car in the original off white color the decision was made to keep the car all stock. After all, if Roger Moore was happy with it, we should be too!

 

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The paint came out excellent and the body is perfectly straight.

 

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“Installing the chrome”

This is probably the most satisfying period of any car restoration: Installing new chrome on a freshly painted car.  Doesn’t get any better than this.

 

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Engine compartment.

Like the car was built yesterday.

 

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Ivory car with red interior is about as about a sexy as it gets. Yeah, I’m running out of adjectives here…Note how the early P1800 doors are very different compared to the later ones.

 

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Since I have run out of adjectives I will just say: Nice, huh!?

 

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Thank you Adam for sharing your car with us…and the world. This twin of your truly’s project car is excellent inspiration and motivation. The car is on it’s way to great fame as well. It was used for an arts project: The Spy Who Loved Himself

If you want to see more of this car make sure to visit Adam’s blog Saintly Wheels. Adam did warn his reader that the blog will now shift focus: Less restoration and more driving. We sure hope so.

Photos:  Adam Featherston

 

 

 

1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 21

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Rotisserie Apparatus: $1300.00
Used Spitzenagel Pneumatic spot weld drill: $149.00
Standing up straight while drilling out rocker spot welds: Priceless!

Repairing a rusty car is really simple:

You remove all the rusty parts and replace them with not rusty parts! Done! Right?? Right???!!

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Oh my, what have I done now?? A huge hole. Remember the movie Wrist Cutters?? If not, watch it and you will understand.

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Since this is a unibody car, I need to make sure it stays straight and square while I remove any supporting panels. I added these support beams just to make sure the body does not move while I remove this part.

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Nice and shiny, eh? The jack supports were a bit weak as so I decided to replace the whole beam. It is often easier and even faster to replace the whole component rather then try to patch areas. Besides, it looks like a factory job.

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Milestone?? I guess so. This is a card board template of the first piece of metal that is actually added/welded to the car. It is just the lower A-pillar support that attaches to the lower rocker panel.

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Cleco. A metal worker’s best friend. You drill a small hole and then use these Cleco fasteners to hold the panel in place during fitting and welding.

1, 2 and 3!

The rocker assembly on a Volvo P1800 consists of no less than three components.

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1. Bottensvällare: The first piece is the inside panel. The Swedes calls it bottensvällare and that directly translates to “bottom sweller” as it rises from the floor.

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2. Subrocker

Connects the lower part of the A and B pillar.

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3. Rocker panel. Hey, we finally arrived at the outer layer. The ironic part is that the rear quarter panel and front fender covers most of it but I am sure all this add a lot of strength to the P1800 body.

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Just held in place with the aforementioned Clecos but hey, that looks like a genuine Swedish rocker! I need to tack it in place and then test fit the rear quarter panel and front fender before I dare button it up. Nobody said this was speedy work.

Mo later…

1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 20

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Now I have done it!! There is no way back now.

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In order to get to the rocker assembly the fender have to be removed. This right side fender will be replaced with a new fender. The driver’s side fender appears to be in much better condition, I am not sure if I need to replace it.

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This is the edge left from quarter panel. After cleaning up the spot weld remnants I have a nice surface to attach the new panel.

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This is why it is usually not enough to replace just the outer rocker panel. If the rocker panel is weak chances are that the sub rocker below have issues as well. …and it does!

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And…if the sub rocker have issues there is a good chance the sub rocker support panel also have issues…and it DOES! This panel goes all the way back to the rear wheel well.

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Bottom line, once I am in this far, there is no excuse for not replacing all components. Fun fact: the original rocker assembly from Volvo came as one unit. The aftermarket parts come in three sections. This makes it easier to bang them around to fit the body.

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I HEART my plasma cutter. I obviously need to drill out all the sport welds that holds the rockers in place but it is easier if I remove most of the rocker first. By doing this it is easier the see how it is attached, what metal overlaps what etc…Instead of using a cut off wheel and filling the shop with metal dust I fired up the ‘ol plasma cutter. It is fast and much less messy compared to the cut off wheel.

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With the rocker and sub rocker gone we can now see the inner rocker support structure.

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This is part of the crud I found inside the rocker panel. I did not have a banana handy so…glove for scale.

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Since the front fender is being replaced, I cut the fender off about an inch from the edge so I can see what was going on below.

The Spitzernagel Special is an amazing tool for removing the spot welds.  Also, because of the clamp that holds it in place, there is no effort. It only removes the spot weld but stops short of digging in to the bottom layer.

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This is what the fender support looks like under the fender. It even has little indentation to ensure dirt and moisture will lay around and eating your Swedish sports car from the day you leave the show room! Brilliant!

I guess these cars were supposed to last ten years at the most so these “engineering blunders” were probably not an issue at the time. I bet they did not expect car guys restoring these cars 56 years later. Luckily, this part of the car is very solid.

Mo later…

Rotisserie Chicken…ahem…Volvo

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Short up-date but it took half the weekend to make the brackets that attaches to the car.

My grocery store keep telling me that their rotisserie chicken is the bestest. I can only assume it is because it is evenly done. Just like this Volvo will be evenly done all around because…rotisserie!

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To be able to repair and replace floor boards while standing up sounds like Ergonomic Bliss to me. All the sheet metal is in so it is time to start cutting!

 

1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 19

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With the body back from stripping some less than professional repairs came to light.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 door lousy bodywork

This door had a scrape on it and the honorable Drill, Bondo & Squirt Inc. drilled 200 holes and then filled with bondo. I have ordered new door skins.

 

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 quarter panel more beautiful bodywork

Looks like the same body shop did this fine work on the right quarter panel.

 

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 quarter panel bodywork

Also, check out this classy job on the bottom. Initially, I thought about just patching the bottom but the heat and general distortion from welding when installing a patch will always require some filler.Also, you end up with an unsightly looking seam inside the trunk. The plan is to replace the complete quarter panel for a factory looking job.

 

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 drilling spot welds

In order to remove the panels I have to use a spot weld drill bit. This is tedious work and NOT so fun. To make things easier, I ordered a professional pneumatic spot weld drill.

 

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 NOS fender

Can you imagine going to the local Volvo dealer and pick up an NOS front fender for a P1800??!! I just did. My local Volvo dealer had this 664372 on the shelf. The tag shows a stocking date on 1995!

 

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brazing

Before I remove any panels I am taking tons of pictures. Here you can see that the front fender was brazed in place. So basically the P1800 fenders are welded, bolted and brazed!

 

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rocker fender seam

Here is another seam that will be important to duplicate. The seam between the rocker panel and the fender. Small detail but filling it would not look correct.

 

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 quarter panel front

This is another thing worth noting: The factory used lead to cover the spot welds on the quarter panel at the B-pillar. Normally car manufacturers are not “hiding” the spot welds in a location like this. This is just part of the documentation, I plan to duplicate this.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 right side quarter panel removed

Here goes nothing! Well, actually, it is something…the first quarter panel is off.

 

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 right inner wheel well

The inner wheel well looks very nice except the very lower corner. I can just do a spot repair in that area.

 

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 quarter panel spot welds

It was hard to see the spot weld on the outside on this panel so I cut the panel out and left a half inch or so. Now I can clearly see where the welds are located and I can drill them out.

 

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Ye olde quarter panel

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Problem: When you drill out spot welds with the spot weld drill bit it will leave part of the weld in place so you have to dress and grind the surface so you have a smooth attaching point for the new panel.

 

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Solution: The world famous Pneumatic Spitzenagel Spot Weld Drill Apparatus. This tool will remove the spot weld completely and you can set the depth so it does not disturb the remaining flange. You gotta love good tools.

Speaking of helpful apparatus…I ordered a rotisserie rack so I can work on the car in comfortable positions and not break my back while working on this car. Can’t wait to get it set up! If chicken is good on rotisserie cars must be too!

All I have to do now is remove and replace the other rear fender, rear back panel, rear support panel, rear side support panel, rocker panel, sub panel, rocker sill plate, front fenders, floor boards, battery box, bla, bla, bla!!! Easy right??

1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 18

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Brakes

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

Splitsville

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.

 

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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.