The Swedish Puzzle


Since your’s truly does not have a thing to show for in the Volvo resto department I can at least show someone else’s work:

Gary Ramstad’s incredible 1967 1800S is now finished and on the road where it belongs.

Gary had the coming out party at the April 9, 2017 at the PSVSA Car Club Spring Show and Shine Swap meet for members at Juanita Beach Park in Kirkland.

Looks great from any angle.

Completely rebuilt engine and stock appearance under the hood except a little extra chrome. Chrome is known for making cars go faster. Gary did 95% of the resto including bench pressing overdrive transmissions up in to the tunnel.

All of the interior was redone as well. The interior was probably the largest reason for the “Swedish Puzzle” name. Gary bought the car partially disassembled and you know how that goes. Not only is it hard to know where everything goes, it increases the chance of missing parts. Regardless, Gary powered through and the evidence speaks for it self.

Gary owns a perfect 122S and a 544 so this 1800S rounds out his collection nicely.

Like the man sez: Now for the first time ever, I get to drive a Volvo 1800S Sports Car this 2017 Summer.

Nice job, Gary!…Now drive the wheels off it!




1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 22



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.




1. Template.


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.



1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen Project, part 7

Today was a productive day.  My friend Tam came over and helped out with the heavy stuff. The goal was to get all of the drivetrain out…and we did.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 engine out

I was  not able to turn the engine over at the crank so I could not wait to get it out to see what was going on.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 engine goop

Whether you have a latex fetish or work on gooey engines like this, it does make you appreciate this material.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 engine turning over

Bazinga!  Archimedes was right, leverage is awesome!  It did not take much to make the engine turn. This is the documented original engine so…me happy!
Also, here you can see the oil cooler that was only on the early cars.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 transmission

Next out was the transmission and as you can see, it does not have an overdrive. Some of the early cars did not come with this option. This transmission is kaputt gewesen and that is probably why the car was parked for so long. It spins freely in any gear so I venture to think it experienced a small internal explosion.

I will upgrade the car with an overdrive unit.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rear axle

Drive shaft and the rear axle came out next. I will just move it aside as the first goal is to strip the body so it can go to stripping and the metal shop.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 engine cross member

Speaking of goop. About a pound worth was nested inside the transmission cross member!


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rear axle color

After removing the spring pad and the rubber dampener below it I can get a good look at the original color of the suspension.  It’s a semi flat black.

Anyway, a good day.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen Project, part 1

Sometimes you have to go through life to figure out…a few things. That was a pretty profound thought, eh?

I have been playing with Volvo Amazons and 544’s for over 40 years and I have been pretty happy with that…until now.

While walking around at the Exotics at Redmond Town Center one Saturday morning I was throughly enjoying the lines of the 60’s Euro cars and especially the design of the Italian cars.

How can I own a car with those lines and still make it affordable and dependable?


The answer was right in front of me the whole time. A Volvo 1800!!

The hunt (if you can call it that) started by emailing some Volvo friends and asking if they knew of any good projects for sale.

About a day passed and I got an email from a friend. He knew of a 1962 Volvo P1800 that was for sale. 1961 was the first model year for this car and many 1800 enthusiast agrees that the 1961 through 1964  is the most beautiful models. The “Jensen bull bumpers, beautiful “hockey stick” moldings on the doors and some other attributes that makes is special.

If I am going to spend time and effort on one of these it might as well be an early car. I went to look at it and…

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen in garage

…two weeks later the car resting in my garage.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen 403

Turns out that this is actually a 1961 model year car. The chassis number is 423 and that actually makes it an early 1961.

P stands for Personvagn (passenger car)
1 = body type
8 = model (P1800 duh!)
3 = B18 engine
9 = Assembled outside Sweden as in England.
4 = Four speed transmission

69 = white
301 = red interior

The early cars were not equipped with overdrive. This also means that this car have a 4:11 rear axle ratio unlike the overdrive cars that had a 4:56 ratio.  Nerd info: When the car’s top speed were tested, it turned out that the 4 speed cars were faster compared to the overdrive equipped  cars. The taller rear axle ratio put the engine right at the optimum RPM for torque. Having said all that, I plan to add an original style overdrive to this car but I will keep the ratio stock. Best of both worlds, eh?


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen bumpers

The first order of business it to take an inventory and catalog what I have. These are the “Jensen” bumpers.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen grille

Early style “egg crate” grille made from heavy aluminum.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen tail lights

All red tail light lenses.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen dash

The car has a FrigiKing underdash A/C unit.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen engine

Looks like it has a later model sealed cooling system and a five blade fan. I think this may have been upgraded when the A/C was added.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen wheels

I am sure these are the original 4 1/2 wide rims.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen wheel marking

The rims appear to be in a gun-metal gray color.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen jack

Original jack and lug wrench.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen interior lights

License light assembly without back up light. it is my understanding that only the early cars had these milky interior lenses as they later were clear.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen manual

Original manual with notes from the original owner about spark plug gap etc. Cool stuff.

This will be a HUGE project and I hope to be able to pull it off.

Gary Ramstad’s incredible 1967 Volvo 1800S

Gary Ramstad is a local Seattle Volvonist.  For serious vintage Volvo nerds there are three kinds of Volvo cars:

  • Volvo PV 444-544
  • Volvo Amazon
  • Volvo 1800

For most of us we have to make a choice as to what model we like the most or how much garage space one have. Gary is doing what most folks dream of doing: He owns of of each.

In addition to the 1967 Volvo Amazon 122S and the red 1962 PV 544 he added this car to the stable.

1967 1800S Volvo

It was a started project with many missing part and lots of work left.

1967 Volvo 1800S side

First test drive. Must be a great feeling.

1967 Volvo 1800S

Obviously some work left in the interior but it will be as nice as the outside.

1967 Volvo 1800S engine

B-18 porn! Attention to detail will ensure lots of awards at future cars shows. Look forward to see this one soon.

Gary is currently updating his body with a new knee! Probably a Swedish made stainless knee. Heal up good, Gary.