Volvo 123GT Spotters Guide

How to properly spot and identify a Volvo 123GT.

Picture yourself living in Sweden in 1966 and you just bought a 122S. You sit down with your favorite motor magazine and there is Volvo’s press release: They have just released a new model:  A Volvo 122 body with the Volvo 1800S sports car drivetrain!

Your 1966 122S is putting out a whopping 75 hp. This new GT car is offering 115 hp ! That’s over a 50% increase in power. I guess you would trade in the 122S in a hurry. This in a country with wide open roads and no speed limit. Well, at the time.

Some folks say that there were only about 1,500 GT cars built, some thinks there were more, some less.This conversation will continue until the world ends or the internet stops.

Some GT folks feel that the 1967 GT is the only GT to own as it was so different from the standard 122. In 1968 the 122S had a very similar engine as the 123GT of the same year. (I would venture to say that it is only 1967 GT owners that thinks this way) Also, Volvo made even less 123GT cars for the 1968-70 model years.

There is quite often a conversation among classic Volvo enthusiasts as to what equipment the Volvo Amazon 123GT came with, and what is “correct”. Your editor has attempted to list and visualize the unique equipment starting with the 1967 GT. If you know of anything that needs to be added, missing or is incorrect, please let me know.

A Swedish built / assembled 1967 Volvo Amazon 123GT for the Swedish market would have the following equipment:

GTmotorrum

115hp C-cam engine with M41 OD trans, and a 4:56 rear axle ratio. The Swedish built for Swedish market GT did not come with limited slip differential unless it was a special order or dealer installed.

The Canadian assembled GT did however come with LSD. More on this car later.

Needlepartnumber123GT

“KD” code on carburetor needles

The triangular washers on the carburetors should read AUD 230

123GTrelays

Extra bank on passenger side for relays for the fog light, spot light and horn Also, fuse box for and alternator regulator.

1967 Volvo 123GT fuse panel

The fuse box contained:
1 16 amp fuse for the horn
2ea 8amp fuse for fog and spot
1ea 5 amp fuse for trunk and hood lights
123GT specific wiring harness.

123GThorn

123GTloudhorn

Loud Horns. Both mounted on the passenger side.

123GTaltenator

Motorola alternator.

Vaxelstromsetikett

Alternator warning sticker under the hood in English and Swedish.

1967123GTregulator

Transistorized Alternator Regulator

123GTTyp skylt
133351M (Left hand drive) 133352M (Right Hand Drive) in the Type code and beginning of the vin number is GT only. The “M” stands for 1967 year model. Note: This string of numbers plus the serial number will also be stamped in the metal above the heater box in the engine compartment. (picture coming)
If this is different, someone has transferred the GT plate only to a regular 122.

The second “3” stands for the engine and the “5” stand for the overdrive. Also, the s-code 5314 confirms GT status. I have seen GT cars with and without the s-code but the 13335 will always be present on a GT car.

123GTtailpipejpg
Chrome tail pipe extension

123GTwheelcovers
Polished aluminum wheel covers and Pirelli Cinturato P3 radial tires in 165SR/15 on 4 inch rims. Never on 4 1/2 inch rims that some folks think. However, the wagon and the P1800  of the same year came with 4 1/2 inch rims.

123GTsuspension

Springs and shocks from the P-1800 sport model

123GT high speed wipers
“High speed windshield wipers”

Note: This has nothing to do with the wiper motor speed, it has to do with the shape of the arm and stronger springs to work better during high speed.

123GT fender mirror
Fender mounted mirrors with Volvo logo. The forward parts of the base was “pointy”.

The Amazon wagon was the other car that came with factory installed mirrors. The photo above shows the GT style on the left and the one to the right I think is Volvo Duett. (P-210)

Not all European market GT cars came with the above Volvo mirrors. For some reason, some German market GT cars were delivered with Hella Talbot mirrors. I have never seen any “proof” of this until I was contact by Dean Caselli. His dad took delivery of a new 1967 Volvo 123GT in Germany. It was delivered with the Hella mirrors.

Photo: Wilson Caselli. 

Dean’s dad, Mr. Wilson Caselli proudly posing in front of his GT car. Finding this car today with these mirrors would be the holy grail!

Another interesting note about the fender mirrors. They were mounted rather forward on the 1967 cars and for some reason they were moved to pretty much the center of the fender in 1968. I am going to guess visibility was the reason and probably the reason they all ended up on the door ever since.

Photo Credit: Volvo

Volvo 1967 brochure

 

Photo credit, Volvo

1968 brochure. Note the location of the mirrors, in the center of the wheel opening.

(Can you just hear Inga in the passenger seat, telling Sven to step on it!! )

HellaInfo

Hella 7 inch fog and spot lights. Bumper mounted on special bracket. Some folks tells me they were chrome steel, some tell me they were raw stainless. The ones I have seen were steel.

The spot light was on the drivers side and the fog light on the passenger side. Also, white “shower cap” covers with Volvo logo in blue.
Some other markets got two of the same lights to comply with local laws.

123GT bumper brackets
“L” shaped support bracket for the Hella light brackets under the bumper for stability and a longer bolts to accommodate the brackets. The forward bumper bracket was also drilled to attach the “L” bracket.

123GTfoglightswitch
Two holes on the bottom left dash for pull out switches to activate the fog lights or spot each. (sorry, I am missing one of the switches and one knob on this picture.)

123GTSwedish text
Swedish text on lights switch, wipers, fan and heat controls. Also, speedometer in kilometer per hour.

123GTODlight
Overdrive indicator light, red.

123GTfenderemblem
123GT badge on both front fenders and on rear deck lid.

trunklight
Under hood and trunk lights with mercury switches.

123GTtach

Dash mounted tachometer made by Smith. 1967 had a shiny smooth tach housing and back cover. The front bezel in chrome plastic. VOLVO text on fascia in white. 7000 rpm tach with 6000 red line. Designed for 4 cyl only. Rectangular foot and a steel tube in the dash to prevent collapsing when tightened.

In 1968-up the housing was textured and flat and the front bezel was brushed finish. Part of the new safety rules to avoid reflections from the dash.
123GT reclining seats
Reclining front seats with hardware made by Recaro.

123GTdashtray
Tray on dash pad

123GT steering wheel
GT Sport steering wheel. Oh Yeah BABY !
(driving gloves not included)

123GT Manual
123GT Supplemental Manual

According to a Volvo press release in 1966 the 1967 GT cars came in three colors:

46  Red
79 Pearl White
94 Dark Green

Also, Volvo released a few cars with some test colors:

Steel Blue Metallic (Stålblå) color code 53-102
Blue Green Metallic (Blågrön) color code 53-91

53 stands for test color. There are approximately ten cars left of the steel blue color and probably less of the blue green.

What?? This is the end?
I actually got all 1967 Volvo 123GT equipment listed?

I hope so. If you can think of any little thing (or big) let me know as I want this list to as complete as possible.

Swedish built GT cars for other markets had a variation of this equipment. For example, the fender mirrors may not have been installed as they were more exposed during shipping etc…Some markets got one mirror and some even got the Talbot style mirror.

Several markets got two fog lights with  just one switch on the left side dash board operating both lights. The two holes are still there. This also changed the fuse box arrangement one the passenger side and one of the two 8 amp fuses were then listed as a spare.

Canadian built 123GT

123GT darkblue

Type code: 133951M for 1967 models. I think this is the only year GT cars were assembled in Canada.
s-code: 5324 (not always present)

123GT cars were assembled in Halifax, Canada. The Canadian assembled GT cars did not come with the Hella lights, loud horns or the fender mirrors but they came with limited slip differential and a 4 way flasher. They also had some different colors.

Canadian built cars also got some mid year changes like collapsible steering but that probably affected the whole P-120 series. Collapsible steering did not show up until 1968 in Sweden.

Also, some cars were assembled in Belgium.

123GT4wayflasher

4 way flasher, mounted on the left kick panel above the hood release. 1967

scode
Canadian GT type plate.

5324 is GT, 5145 seems to present on all Canadian GT cars. We think it stands for the limited slip and 4 way flasher.

 

Did the Swedish Volvo factory actually build GT cars specifically for US export?

We do know that several US customers ordered a 123GT thru the EDP (European Delivery Program) What I have seen so far is they received a 123GT with miles per hour speedometer and English text on the dash knobs. Was that still an actual US export version built by the factory or did they just grab a car in stock with the most fitting equipment? This may explain why some EDP cars arrived with two fog lights as that were the specs for some European markets.

My thinking is: If the factory actually built a GT for US export it should have several US only features and deletions:

123GT blinker

One being the obvious: English text on switches and heater.
mph speedometer
High beam flasher on the blinker stalk disabled. I guess DOT wanted Americans to HONK instead !

123GTflasherrelay

The rectangle relay on the driver side would be missing and the wires taped to the harness below. This is the high beam flasher relay for most markets but not for US.
The 4th digit in the chassis number should have been a “4”. This stands for export to USA.

sealedbeam
It would had sealed beam inserts for the head lights, or shipped without inserts.

exportbracket2
Volvo Amazon 122S shipping loops
Shipping hooks on the front and rear bumper brackets.

exportlicensebracket

License plate holder to fit US plates, front and rear.

The top bracket is for US export cars, the bottom is for domestic Swedish market as they only used two bolts located in the middle of the plate.

1967 Volvo white wall
Possible white wall tires (heaven forbid!!)

The tire in this picture was factory installed on a US spec 1967 Volvo 122S wagon that was picked up by the owner in Sweden on the EDP program.

Having said all this, I personally don’t think the factory specifically made a GT for US market.

I would love to hear from any owner of a dealer sold or European Delivery GT owner.

There is another way a dealer at the time ended up with a 123GT. They did a EDP import themselves. If I were a Volvo dealer at the time I would love to have this Swedish racer on the showroom floor.

We did this when I worked for a Volvo dealer in the eighties. We could never get enough 245 DL wagons. Volvo kept shipping us lovely V6 powered green metallic 760GLE and they moved as fast as a turtle with broken legs.

I would go over to Sweden and see my parents and pick up a silver metallic DL wagon and I put less than 1000 miles on it. The car was usually sold before I came home.

That’s all I have to say about that!