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1966 Volvo 121 (Amazon)
(Information of this 121 was supplied by the owner of this car, Peruvian member Joaquin Novara)

 

  Click here for July 2003 Project Updates

For car enthusiasts, one of the fun parts of booking holiday packages in other countries is seeing cars that you can't see at home. Joaquin on the other hand, is the lucky owner of one of those types of cars. Of course, one of the downsides of owning a car that may be one of only a handful in the country is parts supply. Thanks to the power of the internet, Joaquin has been able to keep his Amazon as a daily driver through parts importation and some very crafty modifications. If you've desired owning a unique classic car and driving it regularly instead of storing it in the garage, perhaps Joaquin's story will inspire you to take the plunge!


  More photos below, please click on image for full size photo

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Description
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Joaquin's 121 was one of the 200 Amazons specially imported by the Peruvian Government as police cars in Lima, Perú (South America).

Now it is Joaquin's daily commuter between home and work and is also being used to visit neighbouring states during weekend trips. 

This car is a product of two cars, he also bought a crashed 121 for parts. The rebuild of this car took about six months and Joaquin had many problems sourcing parts for his Volvo, that's how we made contact - through the Brickboard - while he was asking questions about parts. There some very helpful enthusiasts on the Brickboard and this was  a big help for him. 

Joaquin had to improvise in a number of areas because many parts were unavailable in his part of the world, some parts were purchased on Ebay and ipd, however his perseverance resulted it a very nice useable classic Volvo car, well done!

Tyres are 6.00-15, 4-layer conventional tyres (made locally by Lima Caucho Co., this type of tire is made specially for the common Volkswagen Beetle taxis here - the original Volvo tyre was a 6-layer tyre, but both type of tyres are the same size, the only difference is longevity: going by the experience of many local Taxi drivers a set of 4-layer tyres lasts only one and half year and supports only up 28psi air pressure max. - a bit less then the Volvo Amazon spec).

Petrol for his Amazon in Lima, Peru has always been a problem. Now they have available again 95 octane RON leaded gasoline at a few gas stations. He is switching to this fuel, which is closer to the original spec of  97 RON for 121s than the previous mix of 84 octane RON leaded plus 90 octane RON unleaded he was using.

Brake Master Cylinder: Joaquin will be making another major change to the car, the brake master cylinder is of the standard single circuit type and will have to be replaced with a double circuit one due the new Peruvian vehicle regulations, which require dual brake circuits on all registered cars, and it is mandatory by law since February 2003.


UPDATES July 2003 - After months of work, I have finished my second round of changes on my "Rojo" 121 Amazon:

121JoaquinPeru1000.jpg (50927 bytes) I changed (due local vehicle regulations) the single main brake cylinder for a double circuit from a Mercedes-Benz pontoon. The new cylinders are very similar to the ones used by Volvo. Now "Rojo" has one circuit for the front disc brakes (with servo) and another for the rear drum brakes. At its side, I installed a new blue coil on a home-made metallic "L" support - the original coil was shorted and supplying very low current. The third cable in the negative post of the coil goes to a tachometer
121JoaquinPeru1009.jpg (64678 bytes) Due I can’t have a dual circuit brake warning valve, I put two single line brake line connectors (each one with a pressure switch). I connected the front circuit switch (left one) to the stop lights and to a pilot lamp on the panel. In the next weeks I will be connecting the other one (right one, without electrical cables) to a second pilot light (also on the panel)
121JoaquinPeru1001.jpg (72208 bytes) This is the engine bay at July 2003. At left my Stromberg carburettor (no smog gadgets, is a 175CDS,  I met the local smog control barely). A right, my Lockheed servo before the new brake cylinder and coil. 
121JoaquinPeru1005.jpg (63781 bytes) I suggest to any Amazon Enthusiast to put two fuel filters on his/her beloved car: one before the pump (universal type) and other (usually a bit smaller -  I use a Volkswagen beetle gas filter) after it. The first one intercept any garbage coming from the tank before it blocks or damages the pump internal valves, the second to prevent small particles to get into the carburettor, preventing sticking needles valves and consequently, undesirable fires in the engine bay.
121JoaquinPeru1006.jpg (61963 bytes) My carb is a Stromberg (believe it or not, after the rebuild with a kit from Burlen and many weeks of work, the carb works like a clock). By now, the air filter is a pancake one (I am looking for an original black pot air filter).
121JoaquinPeru1007.jpg (60871 bytes) The alternator initially fitted on the car goes to green pastures soon, I will change it with one taken from a destroyed Daewoo Tico (yes, this small "toy size" car have a good electrical system, but because they are too light and too fast, we have here one or two wrecked in traffic accidents every day). Now I have 35 amp at full charge and the engine load is decreased, making a more happy engine with a bit more edge power (this alternator has an internal regulator, the regulator you can see in the left side in the engine bay belonged to the old alternator and remains in place only for historical reasons). By the way, I use a tensional arm from a Nissan pickup Z40 and the original generator bracket on the installation. The Nissan also was the donor of my 8 blade plastic fan (we need more cooling on the engine due our "la ninha" hot summers) The original Volvo generator was decommissioned - we have many traffic bottlenecks here and generators are not so good for recharging batteries at idle or low speeds.
121JoaquinPeru1008.jpg (60199 bytes) Thank God!, in June a derelict 1962 Amazon was discovered on a old garage junk, and the steering box was salvaged and installed in place of the original (very worn) on my car . Now my free playing is reduced from 8 to 1.5 inches!. I am a very happy man. And as a second bonus, the auxiliary arm has now oil nipples! (and can be oiled - I am not too sure about the efficiency of any auto oiled mechanism after 35 years of use).
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The changes needed some hard work calibrating the new parts,  (the man on the photos is Mr. Enrique Quispe, a retired mechanic, he helps me with major jobs on the car - he has all tools in his workshop).
121JoaquinPeru1011.jpg (69326 bytes) The green and gold gadget on my battery connections are Taiwanese safety switch (ipd sold it in US, I bought mine here). I put one on the positive and other on the negative connection. A great help to isolate the battery during maintenance work without connecting and disconnecting cables. I also made a vinyl black cover for every connection (you can see it on the engine bay photo, one on place, other at left off the battery).
121JoaquinPeru999.jpg (51166 bytes) The steering wheel comes from another Amazon (is a old Momo wheel) and is covered in wood (Do you recognize the centre symbol?). On the dash board we now have a digital clock (no car analog clock available here at the moment - the clock is attached by a magnetic holder as a temporary replacement), an emergency light switch (not visible, is on the other side of the wheel, over the windscreen wiper switch), three round indicators - tachometer - temperature (the original was irreparable) and oil pressure, a radio shack electrical mini panel with the pilot brake light and the fog light switch. Also a new radio with knobs - today here almost all radios use electronic buttons.
121JoaquinPeru998.jpg (46769 bytes) Due my people drive like crazy, I put a flashing red light under the left bumper, an additional red light in the rear window, and a little round radio-shack black buzzer near to the right overrider bumper (this one is controlled by the reversing light). Of course, now the rear bumper displays the volvoadventures.com sticker!.
121JoaquinPeru1020.jpg (68809 bytes) The engine bay at November 2003. A new chromed K&N filter, made for Strombergs carbs replaced the previous one. Now the ZS175CD are breathing full and purring like a happy cat  (I use a C camshaft with one ZD175CD carb, my idle speed needs to be a bit high: 900-1000 rpm - The 175CD usually work fine with A camshafts).
121JoaquinPeru1019.jpg (73314 bytes) Another view of the engine, please note the added hoses to the inlet manifold, and an extinguisher bottle installed near to the radiator. The inlet manifold was painted with high temperature stove paint. I put a small filter over the oil filler cap, due the need of filtered air for a new PCV valve on the engine breather. Also, I changed the coil with a Bosch red one (plus resistor), doubling the voltage delivered to the spark plugs.
121JoaquinPeru1021.jpg (72510 bytes) Now the engine bay is a plumber's dream! I add another nipple on the inlet manifold, and plumbed one hose (on the middle of the manifold) to a PCV valve attached to the breather (I cut and adapted an old open-spit  engine breather). The other hose, goes to the brake servo. In middle of the latter hose I put a vacuum valve and a "Y" attachment to an empty old extinguisher bottle, using it as a vacuum reservoir (I copied the idea from the the Triumph web site ).
121JoaquinPeru1018.jpg (40565 bytes) Rojo, as it is at Nov 2003. Some aestatic temporary non-standard items are added, like plastic hubcaps and front overriders (originals not available here), but, the car works as a charm as my daily commuter.  Probably, next year I will put a LPG system aboard (here - Perú- a US Gal. 97 octane gasoline costs US$ 4.50 versus US$ 2.10 of equivalent mileage LPG).

Specification

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Model :
Built in :
Engine :
Carburettor :
Power :
Gearbox :
Brakes :
Wheels :
Tyres :
P121 (Amazon)
1966
4 cylinders, 1778cc, B18A
Stromberg CD175CDS
85bhp
4 speed manual
Discs front, drums rear
Steel 15x4.5
6.00-15

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Volvo 120 series

 Some other interesting Volvo 120 series photos

122TomHayes.jpg (46611 bytes) 121DB.jpg (25620 bytes) 122burn.jpg (25397 bytes) 123GTGeorge.jpg (42476 bytes)

 

 

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