Wednesday, September 14, 2016

123 Good Bye

Yes, there is a Volvo under there . .
Over 30 years ago, I bought a 1967 Volvo 123GT. I had just rebuilt another 1967 Volvo including extensive bodywork and a complete engine rebuild, so I thought this much rarer sport model would make an interesting project. There were thousands similar Volvos based on their tough and reliable B18 engine. They were exported all over the world under various names, Volvo 122, Volvo Amazon, and Volvo Canadian. These cars were even manufactured right here in Halifax Nova Scotia for years. Unlike the thousands of “Regular” Volvo 122 style cars, there were only 1500 of the sport model 123Gts manufactured. The 123 I acquired was bought by the original owner while he was stationed in Sweden and then imported to Canada. I drove it home, and parked it in my garage awaiting restoration.
Red and Rusty

I will blame the initial procrastination on my children. With work and two young children, the Volvo got pushed onto a “back burner” for a while. With the arrival of the second child, a new house was designed and built, and I made sure that a nice garage was included in the back yard to house my 123 as it awaited restoration to its former glory.

As the years went by, it got used to store gardening supplies, softball stuff, and even lumber. Thirty years later you could barely see it under all the “Stuff”. Many friends who visited on a regular basis never even knew there was an old Volvo sitting forlornly in the garage.

A good one at the Museum of Transportation.
One good friend who is also a “Volvo Guy” would give me a poke every few years to try to get the project underway, but somehow, something else always got in the way.

“I’ll start working on it next year . . .”

“I’ll begin work on the Volvo once I get settled in the new house . . .”

“I’ll wait until the Children are in school . . .”

“Life is pretty hectic . . . the Volvo will wait a while . . .”

“That old 123 will make a great retirement project . . .”

Need some carburetors?
Well, all of those things came and went, and I seemed busier than ever once I retired, and finally after a couple of years enjoying not working, I came to the realization that I was never going to actually “get to work” on the old Volvo. I put feelers out among the “Volvo People” out there on the Internet, and found out that there was quite a bit of interest in my car. I had a couple of local people come look at it, and had one fellow all the way from Belgium who expressed interest. Finally one fellow from the US, who I had been corresponding with through e-mail finally mentioned “How Much?”.  By this time I had serious doubts if the car could even be brought back. It had been in the garage for over 30 years, but it arrived there in its original red with a heavy dose of Nova Scotia salt-air rust, so I exchanged many pictures of the car's many good points as well as the holes and corrosion. I had driven it home when I bought it, but now the engine would not turn, and the rear brakes were impossible to move. He still wanted it, and we agreed on a price, I arranged to get long lost paperwork and title, and the car was sold. I got a cheque in the mail and he promised he would be up to get the car.
Packed up and ready to go.

He would be up to get it in the spring . . .

He was coming in the summer . . . .

Perhaps the late summer . . .

Fall is the best time to visit Nova Scotia anyway . . .

At this time, the car was no longer officially “mine”, but it was still occupying a spot in my garage, and I just wanted it gone. Twice I was told he was on his way and I got everything ready to transport only to be told he wasn’t able to make it.

Reluctantly onto the truck.
I think he finally realized I was getting annoyed and I was told someone else was going to pick up the car. I reattached the rusty fenders, put the bumper back on, tried to free up the rear wheels, and packed all of the parts I could manage into the interior and the trunk. Two guys arrived with a tip truck and the fact that they kept calling me “Young Fellow” gives some indication of their ages, but together we managed to pull the old Volvo reluctantly out of the garage and onto their truck.

You would think that after living with it for over 30 years I would have been sad to see it go, but in reality I had long ago realized I was never going to drive it again, and I am glad to free up the space in the garage.
Away it goes . .

Now I am thinking that something else might look good there . . . . perhaps a little convertible something?

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