How lucky are we to find a second potential historic rally car in the making on the same day. This one is a 2-stroke SAAB that is said to be virtually rust-free. It has been stored for the past 8 years but the car is said to run although it needs a tune-up (so why not tune it up?). The interior needs to be redone but who cares because the buyer will hopefully install a roll cage and racing seats. Read More
If you are a frequent reader of Mint, you know we can’t pass up the possibility of a nice, early Volvo P1800S. We have had some really good examples including the recent offering from friend Mark S. (’64 P1800). Our thinking is the P1800S is probably the almost perfect entry-level sports/GT car. You can find a P1800S in almost any state of condition and no matter what that is, they probably run well enough to enjoy. And no, we are not referring to basket cases with no floors or rockers. Just decent, relatively solid specimens. The design has finally come in to its own and it beginning to be appreciated by astute collectors in the hobby. Will they ever be super valuable? Read More
A bunch of SAAB engine designers and enthusiasts formed a limited research-and-development team to build a small sports car, with a total budget of only 75,000 kroner. It became known as the Sonett, a name derived from the Swedish phrase Så nätt den är – How neat is it. The Sonett 1 – only six were made. The Sonett II had better success building 258 units. They felt they were limiting the market by using the 2-stroke engine so plans were rushed into play to adapt Ford’s V-4 engine for the next version.
We like to mix things up here at Mint featuring submissions that represent a wide range of cool cars. The blue car we featured a few days ago looked great in original condition. This one looks like all of the heavy lifting is done. So we made an exception with this Volvo P1800S – too nice to wait or pass on. It is no secret the enthusiast community has recognized the Volvo P1800 is a really neat sports car. It took quite some time to achieve that status. But back in the day, auto journalists liked the car. The press instantly recognized that this was a sporting car, rather than one built for out-and-out performance, and gave the P1800 good reviews. “In doing that for which it is intended, fast steady cruising, the P1800 is superb and it gave us the impression it would run forever at near maximum speed,” Road & Track said. Car and Driver liked the car, too:
After decades of having a blind-eye towards anything from Sweden, the collector car enthusiast has finally seen the light. Yes, they now know what legions of Volvo-isti (invented here) have known for years: the P1800S is a satisfyingly beautiful and well-built sports car. We are beginning to see quite a few P1800S examples that have great potential from what we can tell by the limited information given in some of the ads we are sent. But we know you wouldn’t buy one of these without someone looking at it in the flesh, right? Read More
It is no secret we like a good Volvo 122S. There are plenty of them out there to choose from in all states of restoration or disarray. Unfortunately, many 122S sedans or wagons have been treated to poor quality repair or restoration efforts. A fate many previously thought disposable cars have suffered. Therefore, wouldn’t it be best to find one before it got in the hands of someone who might mistreat it? Today’s second installment of Be Brave is Grandpa’s 122S, 2-door, 4-speed sedan purchased new while on vacation in Sweden and brought back to California. We like good stories. Read More
An old friend from our Volvo days sent us this neat video about the building of a 1800ES. It is a documentary-style film in Swedish dubbed in English. Since the Volvo P1800S, 1800E & ES have caught on fire, we thought you might want to see the old world handwork that was required to bring that beautiful design to life. The video is 14 minutes long but we assume it took quite a bit longer to build one from start to finish.
This Volvo 1800E is very hot. But not inside where it is very cold should you elect to turn on the A/C. Not just any A/C but a super modern, built for Florida A/C. Volvo P1800s are on fire lately. After decades in the shadows, enthusiasts have recognized the charm of these Swedish GT cars. Perhaps you’ve seen Volvo’s most recent summer sales campaign featuring Irv Gordon and his ’66 P1800. Irv is scheduled to cement his Guinness Book of Records position by ticking over 3 million miles sometime in September in Alaska. Don’t ask him why they picked Alaska other than it is the only state he hasn’t visited in the Volvo. Read More
You need not fear the reference to 2-Stroke. In this application, it is perfectly acceptable so do not go running for cholesterol lowering meds and baby aspirin. The SAAB 2-Stroke is a funky little engine that actually requires you to get involved in mixing its fuel. Yes, think of it as your John Deer weed wacker or chain saw. If you are into rallying or are a motor sports generalist, you’ll know of the incredible prowess the SAAB 96 had at rallying. Read More
The “Drive It Like You Hate It” campaign referred to the 122S but it is totally apropos for a 544. Loyal 544 owners are often teased that their trusty classic looks like a shrunken old Ford. Nothing could be more far from the truth. These Volvos were actually sport sedans dressed in a housecoat instead of an evening gown. The 544 feels anything but stodgy. It is stoutly constructed and at 2100 lb., pretty light on its feet. It feels quite nimble and the 95 horsepower B18D is enough to move it along nicely. It was considered peppy for its day. So peppy, it was actually faster to 60 than many sports cars. These were very successful rally racers with numerous first place finishes. Read More
Most of us know what a SAAB 96 is. It is a quirky little Swedish import with a huge and loyal following. We all know too that they were very capable cars in rally sports. What we didn’t know, until we did a little snooping, is the intrigue surrounding the switch from the 3-cylinder 2-stroke engine to the the V-4 introduced in 1967. We’ll skip the names of the players and just tell the story. A few ambitious Swedish engineers began testing a V-4 replacement in 1962. Read More
It seems every Volvo P1800 seller trumpets the appearance of the car on The Saint starring Roger Moore. From what I remember of the story, the producers wanted a Jaguar XKE but they were in so much demand, Jaguar declined. Volvo smartly jumped at the chance. When you think about it, The Saint’s Volvo is probably one of the most famous TV cars. Comment on which one you think is the most popular. Kit, General Lee, Route 66 ‘Vette, Honey West’s white Cobra? Read More
Admittedly we are station wagon aficionados. We applaud their versatility and in most cases, the long roof design. Couple that appreciation with one of our favorite utilitarian cars – the Volvo 122S – and you have a car we believe would be a welcome addition to anyone’s household. We are not at all suggesting that this particular example or any other become someone’s garage or trailer queen, but rather an adventure mobile. This is a car you make as reliable as possible using methods learned 40 years after it was originally built. Read More
People who aren’t familiar with Volvo history joke about the styling –or lack of – of the 444/544 Volvo. It looks too much like a 3/4 size ’40 Ford they say. Well, they don’t know the Swedes. The Swedes are inspired by things around them. If you look at today’s Volvos, they are quite elegant, spare and dare I say, natural looking. Just like the Swedish countryside. I guess back in the ’50s they were influenced by American styling. But that was what they did back then. The 1st Volvo, the Jakob, looked like any other car from the period. Later, Volvo was inspired by the spacey American Kaiser when they created a prototype V-8 car called the Phillip (how did I remember that name) in the 50s. That doesn’t make them bad at making cars. Read More
We posted a rather nostalgic look back at a Volvo 240DL wagon just yesterday and then this beautiful precursor popped up. We are just enamored with the Volvo 122S. It is one of the most significant sedans/wagons of the 1960s in our opinion. And probably in the opinion of the advertising agencies that created the most memorable automobile advertising this side of Volkswagen and Doyle Dane Bernbach. Read More