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.
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.
Looks like the quarter panel fits well. Repairing rust is not exactly glorious work so these “test fit parties” are good for motivation.
The rear inner wheel wells are in excellent condition except the bottom. The fender obviously attaches to this so it has to be solid.
2. Make metal part look like what was there before.
3. Test fit.
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.
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.
There…solid corner and a lip to attach the quarter panel to.
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.
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.
Adam commissioned Keith and Simon at the to bring the Volvo back to it’s former glory.
After blasting: Check out how solid this car is.
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!
The paint came out excellent and the body is perfectly straight.
“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.
Like the car was built yesterday.
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.
Since I have run out of adjectives I will just say: Nice, huh!?
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
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???!!
Oh my, what have I done now?? A huge hole. Remember the movie Wrist Cutters?? If not, watch it and you will understand.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Connects the lower part of the A and B pillar.
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.
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.
With the body back from stripping some less than professional repairs came to light.
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.
Looks like the same body shop did this fine work on the right quarter panel.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Here goes nothing! Well, actually, it is something…the first quarter panel is off.
The inner wheel well looks very nice except the very lower corner. I can just do a spot repair in that area.
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.
Ye olde quarter panel
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.
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??
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.
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.
Using industrial size wise grips I was able to turn and eventually lift up the pistons.
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.
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.
So this wagon was rolling on 17 inch steelies for a season. It was fun and I got a lot of positive feedback.
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.
Somehow it looks more balanced. These are still wider than the stock wheels and the car is still lowered about three inches.
Works for me!