Wednesday, March 3, 2010

1966 Volvo 122S Automatic

I think the consensus of those who read this blog (and the geek who writes it) is that a manual transmission is far better than an automatic. But, I know quite a few car geeks who, for various reasons, prefer an automatic. I have to admit that there are times when I'm stuck in traffic and shifting every 2 seconds that I wish my car was an automatic.

This is a classic with an automatic...

The Volvo 122S is the "sporting" version of the car that started life as the Volvo Amazon. (Due to an agreement with a German company that made a moped called the Amazone, Volvo could only use the name Amazon in Nordic countries and the car became known as the 120 series throughout the rest of the world.) "Sporting" is a relative term here. The dual carbed 122S put out only 85HP. Still, that was sportier than the base model 121, which had a 65HP engine.

The 122S usually came with a 4 speed gearbox (which was sportier than the 3 speed found in the 121). In 1964 Volvo started offering a Borg-Warner 3 speed automatic as an option, which is what this car has.

This is one of those great "everyday driver" classics. These were the cars that gave Volvo their reputation for building tough, durable cars. In the 1960s, you were lucky if you got 75K miles out of a car. These Volvos were known to run for far more than twice that mileage without needing any major work.

While these cars were not complete rust buckets like many 1960s cars were, they did rust. This car looks to be rust free. I would assume that some bodywork was done to it, but, as it's for sale in New Mexico, it may be an original Southwest car that had very little rust to begin with. The seller of this car doesn't mention any bodywork history, but he does list some of the recent mechanical work that he's done.

These cars have a huge worldwide following. The owners don't lock them up and baby them. Check out some of the forums and you'll see people talking about how many miles they put on their cars each year and how much abuse they give them.

OK, back to the automatic transmission. With only 85HP on tap, it would be nice to have complete control over the shift points. On the other hand, with only 85HP on tap, would it make that much of a difference? With an automatic, this is the type of classic you could drive during rush hour, through the city and (leisurely) on the back roads without giving your right arm and left leg a workout. Best of all, if you want to share the driving experience of your classic car with any of your friends or family members, you can just hand them the keys and not worry about whether they can drive a standard or not. There's a lot to be said for all of that.

Located in Santa Fe, NM, click here to see the Craigslist ad.


Jon said...

Nice car. It seems that the owner has spent the money maintaining it. All that's left for the buyer to do is give a nice paint job and a set of Minilites.

pickles said...

My folks bought a 1967 (4 speed) 122s after their Borgward and Sunbeam (and MG TC...) and we kept it in the family till it hit about 120,000 35 years later. The red paint still polished up, the upholstery was a little split, but lord what a durable, snazzy impressive car. I've had 18 other cars besides that one and never had as many comments, offers and flirts. The 122 has a weird allure. It was a magnificant ride. Swift, comfortable, safe and a subtle hoot to drive at limit. Missing you UBL 502.