Volvo 120 Amazon Information
A selection of reports taken from back-issues of the Club's magazine, 'Volvo Driver'.
To keep up to date with these reports join the Club and receive the magazine. Joining will also allow access to the back-catalogue of magazines on this web site.
Next year 1999 is the 40th Anniversary of 120's being introduced into the UK. I hope to mark this with some publicity and hopefully some support from Volvo, if anyone has memories and experiences of 120's introduction I would be pleased to hear from them. Elsewhere in this issue there is an Ilkley rally report which was not so well attended as usual a disappointment but did not detract from the meeting. Nigel Burridge one of the regular members at the Ilkley Rally has suggested that in 1999 the September 120 meeting be held at Scunthorpe at an Emergency Services weekend show in the town centre. The Sunday having a classic car show which Nigel organises there is enough space for us at the show and it would make a change, unless I have a strong No vote this is what I intend to do. The date has to be confirmed but will probably be the second Sunday in September. 1999 spring 120 rally will again be held at Fort Nelson, in conjunction with a visit by the Belgian Volvo Club on Sunday 23rd May, a date for your diary. This has all the makings of a large event, further news is elsewhere in this issue. Last year as there was virtually no response to the idea of holding a Midlands 120 meeting in July or August (98) so what about 1999? I will organise one if I have enough support so if you like the idea let me know ASAP and any suggestions to a venue would be welcome so that planning can begin and the necessary time and publicity be given. I am encouraged by the amount of interest still shown in 120 series cars, it does not seem to tail off over the years. Regularly I receive enquiries from prospective purchasers who have seen the light and want to own a real car. Gordon Read of Technical News-letter fame has acquired a very early Amazon 1958 and has been updating me on some of the differences of this early car, the joys of 6 volts etc, etc. With Gordon's mechanical and electrical skills it presents no problems to him, I have learnt some of the differences after doing some research for him. He is going to convert it to 12 volts and an article is promised. Also it will help in the forty year celebration although the car is 40 this year. On a technical note, lower wish-bones bushes if you decide to replace them you are advised to use the volvo tool and spacers to press the new bushes in, it is almost impossible otherwise, the original Volvo work-shop manual does not mention this.(don't fo
A report on the Spring 120 Meeting will be found elsewhere, a very successful day amongst the big guns in Fort Nelson. I hope that the Autumn 120 Meeting at Ilkley on 13th September will be up to its usual high standard, if you have not been before why not give it a try. If the Amazon is not on the road come in something else preferably a Volvo. If you are interested give me a call or write to me. The National Rally at Stratford was well attended and although I was kept very busy during the day I did see some very nice Amazons around and was able to make a very early recce and get some bargain spares. It is at meetings like this that you learn interesting things like Peter Ragg cleans Amazons at 6am, in the morning in bare feet, perhaps it is the secret of a clean car? It was a shame my lottery numbers didn't come up on the Saturday because I would have purchased at least two cars, Ray Mason's estate, formally owned by Bob Reid and Peter Raggs' nice red 122S (the clean one). Elsewhere in this issue there is an article on two club members, Linda Mathewson and Nicola Kean--Hammerson entered for the Paris to Capetown Rally. I am sure that we all wish them every success and good fortune in their adventure. A short register report this time, but more for Winter Driver, don't forget Ilkley, 13th September.
Finally, Vic Barnes has asked me to mention the Classic Car and Country Show at Loseley Park, Guildford on 12 August. All Variomatic Volvos welcome. As yet I have not received a rush of requests for a summer 120 meeting for the Midlands, provisional date 19th July, if there is enough interest I will arrange one but Please let me know, ASAP as I will have to arrange venue etc, etc. Talking of club meetings did you see the VOC rally on Peak Practice shown on 16th March all that effort just for no more than 90 seconds, still it was publicity and my thanks to all members who took part. I hope that this will be featured elsewhere in this issue. My project for a Volvo 120 Series Handbook is still on, I have begun to select articles hints and tips on servicing, repairs parts etc but will welcome any contributions. On the subject of publicity 120's still continue to get a wide coverage in the classic motoring press and there is certainly an increase in people wishing to own one, enquiries to myself and John Skipper about cars for sale certainly this. The cars have also been doing very well in various classic rallying Whilst on the subject of buying cars please note that if you are looking for one or a spare part John Skipper's list although published is kept up to date so an enquiry to John may provide what you want, if it's not on the list it can go on the wanted list. Many people I'm sure wait for the list to be published in either Driver or the Newsletter but are often disappointed because the item has been sold prior to publication. Shortly after you read this we will be making the journey to the National rally. I hope to see a large turnout from you 120 owners, please make every effort to attend, I always find spares and other bargains apart from meeting people, old friends and the opportunity to meet members who I only know through the phone or by correspondence. Sadly we have lost another member, Mike Lawrence of Cumbers Garage in Brixham died on 30th March a great loss to the club and to Volvo people. I've known him for over twenty years one of life's gentlemen. Lastly the club is looking for a larger attendance at this year's event at Losely near Guildford, Surrey as featured in Winter 1996 Driver, the date is 1st and 2nd August, any volunteers especially older model owners let me know as soon as possible.
I was pleased with the response I received from the article that Jack Cluer and I did for the last Driver on 'Living with the 120 Series'. It provoked several Members to contact me on several subjects from the phasing out of leaded fuel to what oil to put in the gearbox. Mention was made in the article about the need for the special tool to get the rear brake drums off. In the For Sale Section I had advertised three pullers that 1 had for sale, if I had 25 I could have sold them all. To those who were disappointed I have your names on a list in case I stumble across some more. I hope to publish an account of the Peking to Paris Rally later in the year from one of the teams who completed it in an Amazon. The dates of the 120 Meetings for 1998 are Spring, 17th May at Fort Nelson, Fareham, Hants and 13th September at Ilkley, the tennis and squash club. The Midlands summer subject to enough interest is provisionally l 9th July. I received a fax just before Christmas from the production team of Peak Practice. They wished to film a Volvo club meeting with at least six Amazons plus other models for a shoot as the Amazon owning doctor is looking for a replacement to the one written off in a previous episode. Media people seem to do everything at the last moment, I had under three weeks to arrange for Members willing to venture out in the first week of January in Derbyshire. I know 120s are used to snow but when was the last club meeting you went to when it was snowing? As yet I have no idea when the episode featuring these cars will be. Many of you will know Geoff Lovegrove and many will have visited him at the Volvo ranch in the New Forest, please note Geoff and Joan have moved to Ringwood, the vast stocks of parts is intact, scattered at various locations in Hants and Dorset, so if you need something give John Skipper or myself a call. We have a list of what's in store. On a sad note, Bert Hopkins who ran the garage in Lover (just down the road from Geoff), died suddenly just before Christmas. Bert was a great Volvo man and the leading light behind those wonderful Lover rallies in the past. He will be sadly missed. Another sad loss, again suddenly just before Christmas of Erie Cook from Burseldon. Erie owned an early 221 estate which he owned for many years and was also a very long standing Club Member. Back to subject of events, I am looking for volunteers to display their vehicles on Club stands at various shows. The first is a Bank Holiday event at Popham Airfield on Monday, May 4th run by the Spitfire Flying Club and is a fly-in aerojumble, autojumble and Classic Car Show in one (Popham is near Winchester). The other is the August Bank Holiday event at Breamore House just South o Salisbury. If you are interested please let me know ASAP.
Another year has flown by, here we are in December and beginning to plan for 1998, the two regular 120 meetings will be at the same locations and dates as '97, ie Southern meeting at Fort Nelson in the middle Sunday of May and Ilkley the middle Sunday of September, I will organise a Summer Midlands meeting in either July or August if I receive enough support so if you are a Midlands Amazon owner it's lip to you. The continuing pressure of the motorist who owns the older vehicle continues to be applied. 1 have noticed recently that vehicle check points are set up regularly to check emissions and the general road worthiness of vehicles, rumours still circulate about the phasing out of leaded petrol as per some European countries so it will not be long before we have to fit modified cylinder heads or invest in a broquet fuel catalyser. The Peking to Paris Rally has started, several Amazons are entered as yet I have only heard that the car driven by Jennifer Gilles and Francesca Sternberg has had a broken shock absorber which was subject of a local and ingenious repair. I would like to see the car as it has had road clearance raised by eight inches. A word of advice, some Members have been approached by a man with a biblical name who lives in the southern part of Africa, in one case a Member purchased spares on behalf of this individual and sent them off, unfortunately there has been no repayment to date. The Ilkley Rally report is elsewhere in this report, Sunday, 14th September was a busy day for the Club with a 200 and a 120 Rally and the 300 meeting on the previous day.
A rally report on the Spring 120 meeting can be seen elsewhere. While on the subject ol 120 meetings, I did not hold the proposed Summer Midlands Meeting as previous attempts had been poorly attended and despite sounding out 120 owning Members there was not a large enough response to make a meeting worthwhile. I would appreciate your views on this subject. Is mid July a difficult time? School holidays, etc. The Autumn Meeting is still on 14th September 1997 at Ilkley Tennis and Squash Club, 10.00-17.00 hours. Give me a call for further details and pray for the weather to be good. I want more than 32 Amazons there to beat the previous llkley total. I was pleased to see a good turnout of 120 owners at the National Rally in June, lots of old friends and some new faces. An excellent weekend except for the weather but that is one thing that Bob Isaac has not yet got any control over. David Humphries who now has moved from Canada to Spain was there with his car needless to say he won the furthest distance travelled award. The last time we met was at a 120 Meeting at the Bass Museum in 1991 but on that occasion he wasn't with the car. David often travelled over 1,000 miles to rallies when he was in Canada so Spain to England is just another journey to him and his car. Parts for your 120. With the recent price rises don't forget to keep Dennis LeWorthy informed of any cheaper sources as per the article on page 9 of Summer Driver. I am pleased that many of the new recruits to the Club are either new 120 owners or are seeking one. Also there are still good cars coming onto the market.
By the time you read this report hopefully the Summer will have appeared and more 120's will be sampling the weather. Something I heard about too late to take any action on was an attempt by the Volvo Club in Holland to attempt on the world record (Guinness Book of Records) of a one make and model gathering with 120, 130 and 220's, The attempt was on the 12th April, I expect it to be broken, some years ago they managed 157 at one meeting. I would have loved to have attended but was defeated by the very short notice. I will update in the next register report. The question crossed my mind, could we in the UK have an attempt at the same record? Some depressing news, Volvo spares prices are about to rise, in some cases by an appreciable amount, so for those of you hoarding Amazon spares your investment is about to increase. I have received more helpful tips for my proposed booklet on Amazon restoration and maintenance please keep them coming. Photographs of any restoration work or involved repairs or maintenance work would also be helpful. The first of 1997's 120 meetings will have been held shortly before you read this, I am proposing to hold a duly meeting in the Midlands but have the problem of over the last few vears the attendance has been low, if however there is a demand indicated JULY the 20th (Sunday) will be the date at a venue to be fixed. Let me know if you are interested ASAP, so if enough are willing I can arrange and publicise the event. The Autumn meeting is again at likely, Sunday 14th September. I hone to see many of you at the National Rally, I will be in the Club marquee.
Well another year has speeded by, thank you for your Christmas cards and good wishes, may I wish you all the very best for '97. 120's have been receiving a good deal of press coverage since my last report. Dave Rimmer and his 123GT featured in an article in Classic Cars which compared similar cars with the owners of each doing test drives in each other's cars, and reporting on each, no prizes for guessing which was best. The Discovery channel (Cable and Satellite TV) screened a Documentary about Volvos. The producers used Geoff Lovegrove on the Section devoted to Amazons, Jack Cluer and Barbara Morris also starred with their cars. I have a spare VHS tape if anyone is interested. Geoff tells me that a lot of footage was edited out but I thought for a thirty minute film it covered a lot, and Geoff did his bit for 120's. Recently I received a letter from two ladies, Jennifer Gillies and Francesca Sternberg who are entered in the Peking to Paris Rally in September of this year. They are the only ladies team and they have chosen a 1962 122S as their car, obviously a wise choice this being their first rally. They are looking for sponsorship and advice, I have out them in touch with various people, hopefully they will do well and I wish them success I admire their sense of adventure. I have had a good response to my project about a handbook about 120's, apart from servicing and repairs I intend to trawl articles from past Technical Newsletters and other publications plus Member's tips and hints. A section on alternative parts and those jobs not covered in workshop manuals is felt to be important, so if you have any ideas or suggestions please contact me, at the moment I am thinking along the lines of a loose leaf C5 size. A date for you diary: SPRING 120 Meeting, Sunday 11th May at Fort Nelson, National Museum of Artillery, Fareham. I hope the weather is better than last year, apart from the 120 Meeting the Museum is holding a Victorian Weekend and various pieces of artillery from the period will be fired through the day. If you are coming and please make the effort let me know and I will send a map, etc.
Elsewhere in this issue issue are the reports on the Summer and Autumn 120 meetings, My thanks to all who supported them. The book I mentioned in my last report by Bay View Books, Essential Volvo 120 Series and P1800, has sold well at the discounted price, as I write this I am about to order more so if you need one let me know. I also have a copy article by the Dutch V44 Club on how to adapt the air filters on Zenith carbs and the later Stromberg to take replacement filters instead of throwing the complete unit away, again if interested let me know. Interest remains high in 120's, lots of enquiries from potential owners asking advice and where to find a car. John Skipper has a large list with some good cars on it. On a different subject several people have made comments about people buying spares at the BKV and subsequently selling them on at higher prices albeit one of the people is in the trade, my views are that if you offer something for sale you sell it at the best price yon can get. If you don't like it, ie, the spares going into the trade be careful to whom you sell to. I am intending to write a servicing guide and a restoration plan for 120's mainly for Club Members and will gratefully accept any views or advice that you offer. This is the last report for 1996 which seems to have flown by, have a peaceful Christmas and good New Year. The first date for your diary is May 18th, 1997, Southern Meeting at Fort Nelson near Portsmouth
My apologies for the omission in my last report, the date of the Gaydon meeting in July, the date of the September Meeting at llkley Tennis Club, llkley, North Yorkshire is Sunday 1st September, please try to attend if you have not been before and help break the record of 27 Amazons attending. In view of the appalling weather on the 14th May at the Southern 120 Meeting I am provisionally intending to return for a second attempt on Sunday 2nd September again at Fort Nelson (just outside Portsmouth). If you are interested in either meeting please let me know. Recently I have been sent a review copy of a new book, ESSENTIAL VOLVO 120 SERIES AND P1800. Written by Anders Ditlev Clausager published by Bay View Books Ltd, The Red House, 25-26 Bridgeland Street, Bideford, Devon, EX39 2PZ, out late July, priced at £9.95 (ISBN 1870979 745). The book is excellent value for money, 80 pages many colour photographs and specifications. I am trying to obtain a club supply, hopefully at a reduced price. I hope many of you are using your 120's especially during the summer interest is stiff high, I still receive telephone calls and letters from people interested in purchasing their first one. The cars are a popular subject in the classic car press and get good reviews of course we already know that. PLEASE if you have any technical hints or tips or a good story about your 120 put pen to paper - the magazine and the newsletters depend on Members contributions and experiences.