We spotted this 1963 Volvo at a car show pretty quickly because we do not see many 122s on the road, let alone a station wagon.
In fact we thought we would see an ABBA reunion tour long before we saw a mint Volvo wagon from the Kennedy years.
For the record, we preferred to find the wagon.
Kevin Godfrey is the young owner of the Volvo and he is only the second registered owner of the car. A schoolteacher originally owned the car until she parked it in the early 80s whereupon it sat for a long time in a field after its retirement. Most car guys know how much mice love these kinds of four-wheeled condos.
The problem with poor storage of a vehicle is the fact that it remains inert and motionless while rust puts in a 24/7- 365 days a year shift on the car. Rust shows absolutely no mercy on a vehicle and eventually it will win the war and claim another casualty.
This situation was the reality faced by Kevin when he decided to tackle one of the most daunting tasks faced in automotive restoration: a complete repair on a very rusty car. Kevin said the bottom half of his Volvo was “complete rust” and he wanted to re-build the car back to “something that would last forever”.
This was an ambitious game plan that many car guys before Kevin have undertaken and subsequently been completely derailed and emotionally broken by the enormity of their project. Volvo 122s are not plentiful and that made his chosen path even rockier when it came to replacement parts.
Kevin had chosen the 122 because he is a Volvo fan who wanted a vintage and basic design for his very hands-on project car. He described the structure of the Volvo in very careful and precise details that spurred us to ask him whether he was an engineer. He was indeed an engineer and that profession probably made him confident enough to jump into the deep end of this project.
The upside to the Volvo was its running gear because this car had been driven by a very conservative teacher who had treated it very well over its 80,000-mile lifetime. Kevin is an engineer so he was able to make the very finicky twin SU carbs sing like they were in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The project took awhile after Kevin purchased it in 2008, largely because of the aforementioned serious rust issues, and primarily because Kevin wanted to make his car look like it just pulled out of a Volvo dealership in 1963.
The entire interior has been re-done to his exacting standards and there is not a piece of trim or body detail that has not undergone a transformation back to its original glory.
The car had never been hit or driven hard, but it was still a monumental task to bring the Volvo wagon back to life.
Kevin was definitely the right man for the job and now he gets to reap the reward of a lot of hard work and determination: time behind the wheel of a famous name from Sweden that isn’t ABBA.
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