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Volvo 122 S. Driving with an old friend. "Gas!"

Volvo 122 S. Driving with an old friend. "Gas!"
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Gas! Theo Hoekstra encourages me to pick up the pace when I approach the umpteenth beautiful bend under the smoke of Heerenveen. The 123 GT wheels on the 122 Volvo 1966 S grip the asphalt even more firmly. Another nice bend is rounded. It's fun on board.

Regular readers of Auto Motor Klassiek may recognize the car; he gloryed in the report that appears in the first issue of 2022. And it is no coincidence that the Volvo is once again in the spotlight. “Promise is promised,” Theo said recently during a telephone conversation. “The Volvo has fresh fluids and is ready for the new year. And we would go another block.” Of course I say ja.

The morning has gold in its mouth, and offers a beautiful prospect. The ride with the Starlet made the break of day pleasant. And a wonderful ride with the Volvo 122 S awaits. First there is coffee, beautiful stories about everything that makes a classic experience so beautiful are exchanged. And all this with the prospect of a ride through the beautiful hinterland of Heerenveen and wider surroundings. With a car, which, measured by the era in which it was built, is one of the best ever. Yes, I've said it before, online and in print, and I'll say it again. An Amazon is a phenomenon that deserves a place in the hall of fame of the automotive industry. And get from me too. boy boy.

I feel again why I think this. And I also know why Theo is so attached to the Volvo Amazon. We talk endlessly, there is good conversation. About the quality of the car. About the travel properties. About the many places in Europe where the Volvo came. “A tour? A rally? This car doesn't care about anything. You can drive it from Italy to the Netherlands in no time, without overnight stay. The ease with which you do that with an Amazon is impressive," says Theo. To then say to each other several times: “Isn't this fun?” Absolutely. Not only Theo feels 21 again, that also applies to me. I shift down, and let the B18D engine with its 2SU HS6 carburettors roar again, the characteristic robust howl and the gurgle let the timbre get under the skin even more. What a phenomenon.

The sliding roof is open, the high frame line makes it cozy on board. And the indestructible B18D engine in the front shows its existence with that wonderfully raw Volvo hum when the gas goes on again. The technique is one for eternity. And both inside and on the stretch of highway we take, it becomes clear how incredibly easily that B18D engine in the front prompts the Volvo to act. And at the same time how flexible it is. Because driving forty or fifty in three on small paths and roads is easy, and he also accelerates easily from that interplay.

Also delicious: the overdrive mounted by Theo himself. The assembly was quite a complicated job, which is at odds with the ease of use. Loosely depress the clutch in four and pull down a stem on the steering column. Shock-free, the B18D engine sings a significant note lower, without slowing down. The speed remains good, and the tranquility in this Swedish grand old is guaranteed.

The undercarriage does not shrink, Theo's work on this pays off extra, apart from the fact that the case was already well organized from the factory under the skin. Brakes? to govern? It all happens without hydraulic or mechanical assistance, the steering and power brakes are up to you. And that's fine. The worm and roller steering means that you literally let the steering wheel roll through your hands with a slight change of course. Theo wants to improve the tracking a little more, and considers mounting the original 122 S wheels again. “I think he steers even better then,” he says. Meanwhile, the braking is automatic pilot work and the deceleration is very creditable even without assistance. Nothing to be desired, except that you want one yourself. To tour. Or to drive rallies. Because the Amazon is also particularly suitable for this. Just like he used to be in competition.

Everything feels rock-solid in this car, I wrote it before. And it seems like more people know that. Along the way we catch glances that are somewhere between admiration and self-evidence. And that is exactly what suits this car. Because it's almost amazing that Volvo built such cars, with such charisma and so much quality. And that's why it goes without saying that you regularly come across one. This is classic driving at its best. You are busy, you work and the efforts are rewarded with an endearing and blissful feeling. "Gas!". Theo says it again. The Volvo engine eagerly picks up my right foot's command. And again two grown guys are boys. So, that's how I can start every day.

Thanks to Theo Hoekstra

Photography: Bart Spijker

Volvo 122 S. Driving with an old friend. "Gas!"
Volvo 122 S. Driving with an old friend. "Gas!"
Volvo 122 S. Driving with an old friend. "Gas!"
Volvo 122 S. Driving with an old friend. "Gas!"
Volvo 122 S. Driving with an old friend. "Gas!"
Volvo 122 S. Driving with an old friend. "Gas!"
Volvo 122 S. Driving with an old friend. "Gas!"


Give a reaction
  1. Still driving a 123 GT every day. In our possession since 2003 and apart from regular maintenance and replacement of normal wear parts, more than 300.000 km from hot to her without any problems, where Italy, for example, is also no problem in addition to the modern car. Timeless car that, in my opinion, due to its long-lasting quality, is a smaller burden on the environment than, for example, the short-lived capital destruction of current cars

  2. I have great memories of the Amazon and have enjoyed driving it for 20 years. Various holiday trips to the Spanish Sahara in Africa, Greece, northern Norway and of course also to Sweden. I have lived in Jakarta for over 25 years now and unfortunately there are no Amazons here, otherwise I would have bought one for sure. When I lived in Singapore in the mid 80's I saw a lot of them in Malaysia. I come to the Netherlands twice a year and I always come across a few….. jealous.

  3. The Amazon is just about the only car with a 50s design that will still be very useful and maintainable in 2022 without a real parts problem.
    For a long time, 4-door Amazons stood in the shadow of the 2-door, and relatively few of them have survived because many preferred a so-called coupe. Personally, I think the proportions of a 4-door are better and more beautifully lined than the 2-door. (also more practical if you want to transport a box in the back seat)
    I myself have a Volvo PV, almost the same technology, but older jacket.
    I also always find production numbers and survivors interesting; contemporaries of which 10x or more copies have been built, have often completely disappeared.

  4. I think it's a 121 it's a four door version.
    I've been driving a 1982 since 121, the first one died I thought in 2007 and I'm now driving a 121 again, a gray one just like in the picture.
    The four-door looks more luxurious to me than the two-door.
    Mine is equipped with a B20E engine with K camshaft, two SU carburettors, a Simons exhaust including a Simons manifold and 16 inch rims with 205/55 16 inch tires.
    I also built in an air conditioner, brake booster and clutch booster.
    I removed the heater to gain space under the hood for the brake booster and the LPG evaporator.
    The car runs constantly on petrol, LPG is a backup and I have to drive 45km to fill the tank.
    I live in the Philippines and I have to tell you I have more attention with that car than King Willem Alexander and Maxima in the golden coach.
    It is probably the only amazon in the Philippines

    Johan Geers

  5. Nice! Attached because of the license plate a photo of my first Amazon that I drove from 1971 – 1981. Since 1981 I have been driving my third copy.

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