Wednesday, October 30, 2013

10k: Pistachazon: 1966 Volvo Amazon (122S); Minty Clean

From Oct. 24, 2013: The Volvo Amazon (called the 120 series outside of Sweden) was the more practical, more upright but still sexy older sibling of the P1800 sporty car, to which it donated its engine, transmission, and suspension options. Today the values of the 1800 series coupes and 1800ES shooting brakes have started to tick up, leaving the Amazon behind slightly. But now we're starting to see some action on the nicely preserved examples of the pre-brick Volvo sedans & wagons, for good reason - they are solidly built, fun to drive, look great and should live forever. I can't remember seeing an Amazon as nice as the one below for sale recently, so it should be worth a closer look. Find this 1966 Volvo 122S / Amazon 2-door in Portland, Oregon bidding on ebay near $8,000 with no reserve. (Auction ended with winning bid of, gasp, $36,100...but the buyer backed out)

Update, Oct. 30, 2013: The winning ebay bidder of the Ama-thon frenzy apparently backed out of the deal, and the seller has relisted this sweet little 2-door. Here's to hoping that prices stay a bit more realistic this time! Find the new auction here on ebay, ending on Nov. 4th. (Auction ended with winning bid of $18,100..still a lot of money for an Amazon).

The Amazon was named after the South American female warrior tribe, and the shape penned by designer Jan Wilsgaard is definitely more feminine and curvy than the masculine boxes that came after. Light Green (Volvo code 91) paint is an uncommon and interesting period correct pastel color that was apparently only offered for a few years, so it makes this car stand out among the crowd of more somber hued siblings. Apparently this car has had one respray which should be fine providing it was done well, and lessens the pressure should it see any minor least it's not perfect, original paint that you just screwed up. The seller states that this car has been cared for its whole life and has zero rust - a bold claim for an older Volvo and one that we'd want to verify, but the pictures certainly back that up.

This 122S is powered by Volvo's B20 2.0 liter pushrod inline 4-cylinder, an extremely hearty yet smooth little mill that represents the best of old-school cast iron engineering. Being a '66 model year this particular car would have had a B18 (1.8 liter) from the factory, so somewhere along the line this one was upgraded with a '69 or later engine. That's fine for a Daily Turismo're not going to lose any "originality points" on the open road and probably not in any local casual car shows either. I would get rid of the Weber carb conversion however; they seem to create more problems than they are worth on these engines. A twin SU setup or conversion to later D-Jet fuel injection should be pretty easy for the shadetree mechanic.

The calabash/pea/mint green vinyl interior compliments the pistachio-green paint well, and looks pretty much perfect in the pictures. Being styled after '50s American cars inside & out, the giant thin-rimmed steering wheel with chrome horn ring is no suprise, and neither are the flat "bucket" seats that look more like individual benches. Regardless, the interior of this Amazon is a nice place to be and the 4-spd manual plus overdrive trans will make it fun & involving on twistier roads, while getting good fuel economy on the highway. Another fun touch is the "cigar cutter" non-retracting seatbelts common to '60s Volvos; they look more suited to aircraft than automotive use and were ahead of their time.

This will be a fun auction to watch; being no reserve, the car will sell to the highest bidder and should set the standard for the top end of the Amazon market. 4-door and wagon versions are still fairly common as well, but we'll go out on a limb and assume all else being equal, a 2-door will be worth more. This seller is a regular on ebay and takes great photos and writes awesome listings, so regardless it's a good way to spend a few minutes daydreaming about a sweet vintage find.

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  1. ~ been watching this gorgeous Amazon. sure to end up outside my price window, but damn, so beautiful!!

  2. Nicest one I've ever seen. I owned a 64 2 door. They are really nice when well maintained.

  3. This is more like it. Scooped BaT by a few hours, too. And what a fine scoop it is.

    Time to wax nostalgic:
    A buddy of mine had one of these back when we were in high school... in the 90's... and it had been handed down through all of his siblings since the early 70's. It was rough (fred-flintstone floors), but reliable. It was the preferred ski car because it had studded snows in the back and somewhere along the line it received a limited slip rear end. Better than my FWD Honda in the snow any day. And surprisingly roomy. 5 high school lacrosse players with a trunk full of illicitly acquired Boone's Farm and a weekend's worth of winter clothes and we were comfortable for the 6 hours it took to get to Carabasset Valley. Maximum velocity on the thing was right around 60mph down a hill, but I don't remember caring.

    When I visit my folks back in New England, I visit the car from time to time... it's still around, albeit in pieces in my friend's younger brother's garage, waiting for a restoration. It was last on the road in 2009. Not a bad run!

    Suffice it to say that these things are reliable. This one should last you another 40+ years if you maintain it like the previous owners.

    Nice find!

    1. Awesome story, thanks for sharing! I could almost see the frost on the windows, smell the exhaust through the holey floorboards and feel the warm buzz of a few brews shared between buddies before the trip to the slopes...

  4. Allright, now this is just getting downright ridiculous. Over two days remaining on the auction and bidding is now up over $31,000!

    I'll give that a second to sink in.

    This isn't a 100% original survivor or even a perfectly restored show car. Granted, it's very very nice, but it has a non-original engine & transmission and has been repainted. And 313k miles (seller added Q&A to auction). And it's a Volvo Amazon!

    If it were a random unknown ebay seller we might suspect shill bidding, but this guy is a regular and seems to be very fair and sells a lot of cars to satisfied buyers.

    Looks like a case of auction fever...two or three people "in the room" who just have to have it.

    A perfect example of well-written ad copy and beautiful pictures adding $20k to the value of a car. Well done Cascadia Classics, but bad news for anyone hoping to get a decent deal on a nice old Volvo.

    1. Wow. $31k. Once the crack-pipe smoke dissipates on that auction someone will have a very nice $10k Amazon.

  5. Ha, now at 36K. If this turns out to be a legit sale at that price or above (which I doubt), I have a feeling that equally nice examples will suddenly start pouring out of the woodwork...

  6. Someone's going to wake up with a bidding frenzy hangover on this one.. auction closed at $36,100.00. Must have been a happily married older couple who shot their retirement wad after discovering that it is the exact car that they lost their virginity in on a snowy night, somewhere off Route 9 on their way back from an Amherst College / Smith Colleges mixer back in '69!! Or, was that David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon in a Valiant; or a Lincoln Continental in a scene from Animal House?!

  7. Well the buyer has only made 3 bids in the last 30 days, and those were on 3 different cars within the last 72 hours. Sad to say, I think the seller might have to relist this one and hope for the best.

    The 2nd place bidder has had 4 bid retractions in the last 6 months. Sounds to me like the bidding fever had a bit of 80 proof fuel.

  8. FWIW the relisted car went for $18k. Still astronomical for an old Amazon... but much closer to reality than the first auction.


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