1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 13

We don’t trust rust!

From Wikipedia: Rust is an iron oxide, usually red oxide formed by the reaction of iron and oxygen in the presence of water or air moisture. Rust consists of hydrated iron (as in an old Volvo), oxides Fe2O3·nH2O and iron oxide-hydroxide (FeO(OH), Fe(OH).

The next exciting stop in the restoration journey is to remove this stuff!

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 ready to go

Since this is a unibody car it is not easy to remove and stop rust inside the “frame channels”. By dipping the whole car is rust removing acid I can get all the hidden rust dissolved and then a protective rust preventative coating can be applied.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 mystery penny

After disassembling the doors I turned them upside down to empty out all the junk. I noticed a round copper object in the pile. I thought it was a penny. I was curious what year penny it would be.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 mystery volvo logo

Turns out it was a small brass or copper Volvo logo. I have never seen this before. It has very nice detailing on it. Can it be a top of a shifter? A lapel pin maybe? I button on a Volvo coveralls??  If you know, contact me!


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 empty door

Here is the door completely disassembled and they are going to enjoy a bath in the rust removing soup as well.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 visor chrome

Anything that needs to be rechromed have to be completely disassembled. These are the visor arms.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 to be chromed

The “To be chromed” box is growing. This will not be cheap!

Got some family stuff to deal with so it will be a couple of weeks until I can bring the body to the dipping company. Stay tuned.

10th Annual All Swedish Meet

Ingvar Carson in Seattle is now responsible for arranging this all Swedish meatb…ahem, Swedish Car event. This is the 10 year anniversary for this meet and It is held in mid February rain or shine.

All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 intro

As you can see, it was more rain that shine…actually, no shine was to be had at all but that did not stop these hardy Volvo and Saab owners from attending.


All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 custom 444

This custom 444 was hard to miss. The XXX drive in is a landmark in Issaquah and they host a car event just about every week.


All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 1800S race car

Volvo 1800S race car


All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 444 rece car

Volvo 444 race car


All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 intro 2


All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 Saab 99

Saab 99 long nose


All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 Saab 900 5 door

Not a common car these days. A 5 door Saab 99.


All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 Saab 900 Aero

Saab 900 Aero. This is in your Editor’s humble opinion the best looking Saab of all times. Those three spoke rims looks great when moving.


All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 Saab 900 convertible

OK, this is the second best looking Saab ever. The 900 Turbo convertible. Looks great top up or down.


All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 red 122S

Here is an old friend. A 1967 122S that your Editor owned about twenty years ago. I installed those fogs on 123GT brackets. Good to see it taken car of.


All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 V70R front

Let’s throw in a late-model car for good measure. This V70R was an eyeful in this color.


All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 V70R emblem

All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 V70R

I dig. No, I did not buy it.


All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 red 544

A nice 544 owned by Volvo aficionado Gary Ramstad.


All Swedish Volvo Saab Meet 2016 bubblebath

Your Humble Editor’s 1967 Volvo wagon have not seen rain since I bought it ten years ago.

As soon as I got home it got a bubble bath but more important, it got all the wheel wells sprayed  out. Gravel and dirt is how rust breeds!


Volvo 122S Amazon Wagon Estate Kombi drying

There! The wagon is back in the shop flapping it wings in order to dry out properly.
Order is restored.

It was a good day. Thanks Ingvar Carson!


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen Project, part 8

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen crossmember

The nice thing with Volvos from this era is that the front cross member unbolts easy. Basically six bolt and the whole thing comes down. My motorcycle lift is once again put in to service.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen crossmember detail

Imagine how many thingies (technical term)  that have to come apart to be replaced or refurbished and then assembled just in the front end. This will be a long road.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen crossmember new

A complete restoration is a huge undertaking for anyone. Being in contact with other restorers is very helpful and a great way to get ideas and motivation. This is the front end from Richard Nyberg’s 1961 P1800 with chassis number 115. Richard is blogging in Swedish here and his blog is serving as motivation for your truly.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen drain

Draining by leakage! The front seal was leaking anyway so I just let it drain out this way. This axle does not have a drain plug and I really did not want to pop the cover before cleaning the outside.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen wiring

I am trying to remove the wiring in one piece. It appears to be in good shape except I have to replace the cloth cover material.



1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 1962 title

The car was originally licensed as a 1962 model year. This was pretty typical back in the day when it came to imported cars as they did not change the body style as American cars.

Very few people could tell the difference and the dealer wanted to offer a “new” car.  They could never do that with a 1961 Chevrolet for example.

Also, based on research, this car probably did not make it to the American shore until 1962. The car was built in late 1961 and the factory documentation shows Date of dispatch Aug 8th, 1961. It is my understanding that after dispatch they were all shipped to Sweden for quality control.

Volvo letter Sweden

I wrote Volvo’s Heritage department and they were kind enough to write a letter confirming that a car with chassis number 423 was indeed a 1961 model year.

I thought I had to go to State Patrol and have the car inspected. Instead, I broght the letter to the Department of License and behold, the nice lady in the window corrected it right there.

1961 Title

Now I can get a 1961 license plate as well. It should be green background with white text. A 1961 sticker would be a bonus.


1961 Volvo plate

Cool, huh?

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.

Volvo Wagon Meet in Sweden

Ragge Fransson was a relentless Volvo wagon and 123GT enthusiasts.

Story time…He was also a true gentleman: I had just connected with him about Volvos so he barely knew me. I was bidding from US on a rare Volvo part on a Swedish auction site. Turns out he was bidding as well. When he saw that I was the bidder he backed off and let me have the part. I did not know until later.

Unfortunately he left us last year…way too early. RIP Ragge!

Ragge sent us these pictures a few years ago from a wagon meet in Sweden.


Vintage Volvo meet in Sweden 122 wagon red

The red wagon is a 1968, Automatic.

Vintage Volvo meet in Sweden 122 wagon red side

Vintage Volvo meet in Sweden 122 wagon red interior

Vintage Volvo meet in Sweden 122 wagon white

Vintage Volvo meet in Sweden 122 wagon blue

Roof rack is the norm.

Vintage Volvo meet in Sweden 122 wagons more


Vintage Volvo meet in Sweden Ragge

Ragge Franssons 1968 122 Wagon Sport.

Vintage Volvo meet in Sweden Ragge rear

They look great with the 5.5 inch wide rims. Tires are 195-60-15

Vintage Volvo meet in Sweden 122 wagons

Photo: Ragge Fransson

Bonus picture:

Volvo PV544

Magnus Johansson from Karlshamn, Sweden sent us this picture of his car and trailer.  The car is a 1965 Volvo PV 544 Sport. The car is un-restored and is even sporting the original paint. The trailer is an Opio also from 1965.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen Project, part 3


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen dissasembly interior

All this have to come out. I am taking pictures and documenting as I go. It is always easy to tear stuff out, putting it back in the right order is another thing.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen dissasembly interior apart

It is amazing how the interior from such a small can spread out.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen dissasembly interior rear 2

All gone. I have to hack away all the sound deadener so the media blaster can get to all the surfaces. Having said that, I am researching a chemical dip as an option.



The antifreeze was very clean. That is a good sign as the car has been sitting and clean antifreeze have good corrosion protection.

1967 Volvo 1800S

If one 1800 is good then two must be better. This rather solid 1967 1800S followed me home. It will be a parts car for now but it may be a project for someone in the future.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen jack tool

Here is one of the benefits with parts cars. I was missing the crank for the jack, One look in the trunk and here is what we need. Also the washer for the spare tire was found.

1964 Volvo 1800S

Well, if two 1800 is better than three must be bestest?? This is a 1964 with a perfect right side front molding. Guess what? I have a ding in the right side molding on the 1961. This car also have a bored out B-18 with a D cam and overdrive. It also have a Volvo AM-FM Radio, could be useful.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen kick panel

Back to tearing out the rest of the interior. This must be the coolest kick panel…evar. Chrome vinyl! Looks like something Chrysler would have cooked up in the late 50’s.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen dissasembly interior all out

A/C unit is gone and so is the rest of the interior.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen air intake

It should be a felony to paint this air grille.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen air intake Binford

Binford 6000 Professional Paint Remover to the rescue!

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen in garage done for the day

All done for the day. Sometimes I just have to stop and sweep up so I can get a good start on the next shop day.

Volvo P1800 Jensen history

Volvo 1800 S

The Volvo P1800 was created in 1957 as Volvo wanted to offer something sporty for the export market. Volvo turned to Frua in Italy to design the car as they wanted…you guessed it…a car with Italian design.

Volvo P1800 Prototype

Turns out…A Swedish designer, Pelle Petterson was working for Frua at the time and he was asked by the Frua management to come up with a design. They submitted several ideas anonomysly to the current Volvo president Gunnar Engellau in December 1957. Once he saw the P1800 he said: I want that! He did not know at the time that a Swede actually penned the car and was rather mad once he found out. He wanted “Italian design”. After Mr. Engellau cooled off a bit he gave the go ahead and aren’t we lucky he did!

Volvo P1800 Prototype 2

Volvo did not have the capacity to build the car so they turned to Karmann in Germany  and they were indeed interested. However, VW got wind of this and said they would pull their production from Karmann if they made a Volvo. So…Volvo looked around in Europe for other companies and finally made a deal with Pressed Steel in the UK to build the bodies and then have Jensen in West Bromwich to assemble the car. Jensen was for example building the Austin Healey.  The contract was to build 10,000 cars.

Volvo P1800 interior

Some of the design element were scrapped in order to streamline the production. For example, the drawings had the tail pipes coming out of the rear valance and the rear license plate recessed. Also, the rear quarter windows were fixed as opposed to the original design where they could open.

Volvo P1800 styling

Volvo also wanted a new engine for this sports car so they developed the B-18. It was a quite an engine for it’s time:
It developed 100 hp SAE at 5 500 rpm while sucking Swedish air through a pair of 1 ¾ tums SU HS6 carburators.

Volvo P1800 interior

Borg&Beck supplied the clutch and they opted for Volvo’s bullet proof M40 four speed transmission. You could also order a Laycock-de-Normanville electric overdrive that would give you a total ratio of 0,76:1. With the overdrive the rear axle ratio was 4,56:1 and without the rear had 4,10:1 ratio.

Volvo P1800 design

Volvo was not happy with the quality of work from the Jensen factory and decided to bring the P1800 manufacturing back to Sweden. The good news in all of this was that Volvo’s new car factory on Hisingen, Göteborg in Sweden was finished in 1963 and that meant that the older Lundby factory could be used for the P1800 manufacturing. After 6,000 cars made by Jensen the Volvo 1800 was now made in Sweden. This is why the designation P1800 changed to 1800S and the “S” stood for Sweden, not Sport as I have believed for all my life.

Volvo 1800 E and Volvo 1800 ES

Volvo continue to improve the 1800S through out the years for safety, convenience and power until it’s demise in 1972 for the coupe and 1973 for the ES model (wagon). Volvo produced a total of 47,485 of which 8,078 were the ES model.

Photos: Volvo Herritage Press Kit

Welcome to Vintage Swedish Cars

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1967 Volvo Combi

Here we will babble randomly about those fine Swedish cars made from the original Volvo Jacob to cool 240’s and 700 series cars.  The emphasis will be on cars from the 60’s as we find the Volvo 120 series Amazons and the Volvo PV 444-544 cars the ultimate in Swedish Coolness.

Stand by for Swedish stuff.

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