Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Dipped in ipd: 1971 Volvo 142E

Volvos haven't always been boxy, but the car that started the trend was the 140 series. These were introduced in the mid/late '60s and laid the groundwork for the 240 which was discontinued after the 1993 model year. If considered as one model lineup, it lasted for almost 30 years, meaning there are many different versions to choose from. The 2nd iteration of the 142 (2 door) has some of the sportiest styling of the bunch - what if you took it further and made a streetable racer? Aftermarket parts manufacturer/distributor ipd (Import Parts Distributing) did just that in the early '70s, and this was their test car. Find this 1971 Volvo 142E on ebay with bidding near $10,000 (reserve met) in El Cajon, CA. Seller submission from Josh.

With the "shark nose" styling of the 140 and the revised fascia of the 1971-72 models, one could almost be forgiven for likening this car to a Swedish-American take on something like an Alpina-tuned BMW. And that's pretty much what ipd was going for when they built it. Company owner Richard Gordon bought the car in the early '70s, modified it for company use, and apparently kept it until 1999 when it was sold to a friend of the current seller.

If you're into older Volvos or 140s specifically, I don't really need to tell you much about this car. But for those who aren't: this was a development car for many of ipd's 140 hop-up parts. It's got a fully reworked suspension using ipd's own anti-roll bars, springs, dampers and so forth. The engine was "built" although I'm not really sure what that entailed, and documentation is sparse. The Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection system is still installed judging by the appropriate intake manifold and telltale honkuses on the injectors.

The exterior aesthetic gives off more of an '80s vibe with the white/black theme, "turbo" mirror (only one), chin spoiler, and machined alloy wheels. The interior looks to be firmly stuck in the '70s however which is not a bad thing. Road & Track featured this exact car in June 1974, which is a cool piece of trivia for impressing strangers at your neighborhood Halloween party, or for making them recoil in terror at your zeal for this old boxy curiosity.

A bit more info can be found on ipd's own page for this car, where the owner from 1999-on chimes in down in the comments saying that the car suffered a light wreck before being fully restored. The seller doesn't mention that in the ebay ad, so I'd want specifics of the damage and how it was repaired if I was thinking about dropping 100 Benjamins or more on this 142. Interestingly enough, ipd also built an SCCA racer 142...which is not this car...but more on that one can be found here.

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  1. Around 2001 I flew from Washington DC to Portland, OR to buy a 1972 Volvo 142E going on a black and white single photo in an Auto Trader and a phone conversation.

    I made it back to DC in 3 days, with only an AM radio. I woke up at one truck stop with snow piled up to below the windows. SInce it was a 4 speed and had a Posi trac rear I backed out and continued on my way. Fiddling with the radio in a storm in Wyoming I hydroplaned into the median. Once again I was able to back out even though the entire front of the car was in a snow bank, and onto the interstate and continue on my way.

    Except at about 30 mph the car shook like mad. I figured great, I'm in Wyoming, I just blew every dollar I had ($2000 covered the ticket, the car, and my trip back, hence no hotel rooms) and I just f-d the car up. I got off at the next exit (probably 30 miles of sub 30 mph driving) and started looking for an auto shop. Since I have worked on my share of filthy cars, and I was hoping not to get gouged, I pulled in at one of those self spray car washes to clean the snow off the car (in Wyoming these things run heated water).

    Finished, pulled out, started to drive back to a repair shop I saw, got to my 30 mph wobble. Got up to wobble.....pulled onto the Interstate and got up to 70, wobble. Then I figured it out.

    Hitting the median and snow had so packed snow into the wheels that they came off balance. Being a nice guy and willing to clean the car before driving it to the auto shop saved me embarrassment.

    Made it back to DC on the evening of the third day, with a 93 mph ticket in PA on the turnpike to show for it (which I never paid, suck it, PA).

    Great cars. Wish I had the money.

    1. Ah great story! I've fallen for the "snow in the wheels" imbalance before. Quite a leap of faith flying the entire way across the country and driving back in a sub $2000 ~30 year old European car with mechanical fuel injection. Glad it turned out well. What ever happened to that car?

    2. I kept it in DC for about a year. I was out on a training ride on my bike later and was going through a 4-way intersection when a lady looked right at me and turned left right in front of me. I had time to throw myself to the side, hit the passenger side window, broke it, went up in the air, landed on the rear window and trunk, broke it, and fell on the ground.

      Fucked up my hip pretty good and found myself out of work (I was painting houses and needed to go up and down the ladder). Figured this was an open and shut case until I told my side of the story to her Insurance's lawyer and admitted I saw the yellow, but didn't slow down (neither did she, she had a yellow as well).

      Didn't matter. I had just admitted I'd gone through a yellow rather than slowing. Didn't matter that she did too, Insurance said they weren't going to pay since we were both at fault. I didn't have money to hire my own lawyer, had to make rent, so the 142 got sold.

      Never ever talk to an Insurance company (unless it's yours) without an attorney. In fact don't talk to them at all, have your company talk to them or an attorney talk to them.

    3. So many cars, so little timeOctober 8, 2015 at 8:38 AM

      Great story. In 1977, I made basically the same trip Portland to D.C. in a '67 Porsche 912, except minus the snow and plus(?) an 8-track tape player. Beautiful car, beautiful scenery (at least until leaving the Rockies), and largely uneventful except for having to add a quart of oil every night. I didn't know much back then, certainly not that these were the first signs of the engine eventually grenading a few months later.

      We used some ipd parts on our Volvo V70 about 10 years ago. Great company, and I would expect that this test bed is quite well done and fun to drive. Sure would be nice to duplicate that cross-country drive all these years later. . .

  2. Such a cool Volvo. I would ditch the mirror and put a black Talbot on there.

    The shop that the pictures were taken looks like a great place.

  3. Sweet.

    Of course, if I owned it I'd be too tempted to swap in a turbo-something or a 16-valve something or maybe just get stupid and pick up a Yamaha 60-degree V8 out of a late perhaps it's better that it goes to someone who'll take care of it as it is.

    1. Technically the B8444S is a Volvo engine. It shares some dimensions and basic layout (bore spacing, deck height, etc) with the Yamaha/Ford but not much else.

      Sorry to be a pedant. I agree one of these V8s would be an excellent fate for this 142's engine bay.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.


      Actually, it's built by Yamaha, and shares almost every major dimension with the 3.4 SHO motor including deck height, bore spacing, rod length, all the bearing journal diameters including the balance shaft, etc.

      The block and heads are quite different, the Ford block was a closed-deck sand-casting and the Volvo block is an open-deck die casting, the Volvo heads have VVT and a variety of other differences, etc.

      The Ford bores are comically small - shared with the 2.5 Duratec V6 - while the Volvo bores are right out to the stinking water jackets.

      Unfortunately for any nefarious purposes I might have, the Volvo bellhousing bolt pattern is nothing like the Ford Duratec V6. I've got hardware (CAD drawings, can spit out whatever I want) to adapt the Duratec pattern to a T5 or T56, but know nothing about the very round B8444 pattern.

    4. You said it better than I did - thanks. The gist of what I was trying to convey is that the hard parts are specific to Volvo although dimensions are shared with the Yamaha/Ford SHO V8.

      For the bellhousing, you kinda need to make your own to run the Volvo V8 in RWD configuration. Our friend Alex (who bought our Daily Turismo project car white 242 as his daily driver) is also building a tube-chassis 242 silhouette car with a B8444S coupled with a C5 Z06 transaxle. This is what he did. It mates up with Corvette torque tube:


  4. Part of me wants to say it's beautiful, part of me wants to say 'are you f'in kidding, just run the LS3'.

    But all I'd want out of that for my own files is the bellhousing bolt pattern. DXF or x/y dimensions.

    1. He's a Swede and a diehard Volvo guy. It had to be a Volvo engine.

      I can ask if he could share his bellhousing pattern measurements. I'm sure he has a DXF of them somewhere. Send an email to the tips address and I'll forward it to him.


  5. Surprised at the bidding on this one. Personally I think it's been ruined with all the IPD parts. Kind of a Frankenstein car and looks like it's trying to copy a mid-80's 240. Those side mirrors are sooo 1980's. Having owned a few old Volvo's, including 2 144's, I prefer them stock. This has a 1972 shifter. For this price it should at least come with the rare optional round instrument panel (I had one on my 144). Good to see these getting some respect, but I saw a nice stock blue one on CL recently that looked nicer and was half the price.

    1. Then you can't say you owned a car that was in a magazine.


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