won the European Rally Championship in 1963 with a
special 122S. In 1963 a 122S driven by Tom Trana
finished a very close second to Jaguar in the European
Touring Car Championship.
Safari Rally 1965
Swede Tom Trana had become the first driver to gain honours with
the Amazon in motor sport at the end of the 1950s. The Amazon
originally benefited from the developments made to the PV
overhead valve, four-cylinder engine which was already very
successful in motor sport. The five main bearing 1,778 cc engine
(B18 designation) was added in 1962, and it improved performance
as well as reliability.
Six Hours 1963.
just after the start of the 1800 class at Nürnburgring
Amazons at Spa '64
Later versions of this engine
were "tweaked' to produce even more power. Success in motor
sport created demand for similar performance on the road.
Attracting private racing and rally drivers was the task of
local importers and wasn't controlled from Gothenburg.
Team Volvo 64 Acropolis Rally
2.2 Litre 180hp
Solex type 45
2 Litre 170hp
In Germany, the Frankfurt
dealership offered a special model called 122SR in 1963.
Suspension and engine were modified.
Competition dashboard 122S
In May 1964, Car and Driver magazine
road-tested a 122S competition in full race trim. It
looks like that this particular car was built by Volvo
in Frankfurt. The engine, a 1860cc unit with a
compression ratio of 11.0 to one, two Weber side draft
42 DCOE/8 had an output of 120bhp @ 6000rpm. Torque 127
lb-ft @ 3600rpm. The suspension was improved by lowering
and stiffening and shocks were replaced by Konis, two
degrees negative camber on the front. Wheels were 5.5
" steel Dodge with Dunlop SP 165x15 tyres. A
special 25-gallon fuel tank with a wide filler neck was
also installed. The instrument panel was replaced by a
special panel with great VDO dials.
Tuning of Amazons in Sweden was
very popular and every mail-order specialist offered versions of
conversion kits for road and track. Specialist performance
tuners sprung up with names like Speedman in Gothenburg, TG in
Malmö, Bertils Motors in Västeras, Hedlund, Timos Motor in
In 1964 Ruddspeed, a
performance conversion company based in Sussex, UK offered
a number of conversion for the Amazon. Ken Rudd's cars all
came with lowered suspension, Konis, radial tyres, Rudd's
own camshaft, gas-flowed heads, stiffer valve-springs,
special exhaust manifold, etc. In
its stage three form a Ruddspeed 122's could top 127mph.
Even an estate given the 'treatment' could reach 100mph.
These Amazons are now very much sought after.
In 1964, competition from the Lotus
Cortinas and later in 1965 the Alfa Romeos GTAs made the Amazons
un-competitive on the circuits.
Grahame Ward and the early Volvo 122S competition in Australia
Grahame Ward has been a motor racing fan from an early age and first officiated at a race meeting at Bathurst’s Mount Panorama circuit in 1957 as a Flag Marshal at Forest Elbow. Grahame continued to officiate at Bathurst and elsewhere until eventually becoming a competitor when he raced a FIAT 1100 at Hume Weir, Tarrawingi, Bathurst and the Gnoo-Blas circuit at Orange.
In Australia Volvo 122S commenced rallying in Victoria in 1963 with a B16 122s driven by the Hartigan brother in a car owned by distributors Regent Motors.
Grahame Ward purchased his 122S B18 in March 1964 and first competition appearance was later the next month (April) when he finished fourth outright and third in class in the inaugural Lowood 4 Hour race. He was partnered by Bruce McPhee. In actual fact they finished third outright but as there was no difference in prize money thee did not protest the result.
In June 1964 Bruce and Graham teamed up again for the Ampol 6500 mile trial and finished 20th with a loss of 143 points. Three other Volvo 122S entered driven by the Hartigans, who finished equal 12th, with a points loss of 95, and Harold Goodwin who finished 14th loosing 97 points. Jack Forrest retired his 122S with suspension failure after early on being with a clean sheet on points lost.
Graham continued to rally his 122S and in 1965 won the NSW trials championship, and then entered the car in the Armstrong 500 race at Bathurst. They finished 10th overall and sixth in class against special Ford Cortina GT 500 and Studebaker Lark V8. He continued to rally the Volvo until he sold the car in 1966.
From November 1967 Graham was employed by Swedish Motors (the then Volvo national distributors) as National Sales secretary, and rally team co-ordinator with drivers such as John Keran. He navigated for John Keran in his personal 122S in the initial Southern Cross Rally. Keran won the Southern Cross later and spent all his own money on his Volvos. Navigated by Max Stahl, Keran won the first New Caledonian Safari in 1967. This was the first win by an Australian in an International Rally.
In the late sixties Grahame’s officiating capacities were extended to include Stewarding at major events such as the Southern Cross Rally.
Over the years Grahame has competed in just about every discipline of motor sport and has also experienced several ventures to Europe. ‘Gemini Racing’, a Queensland success, owes its existence to Grahame who, along with Barry Nixon-Smith, co-founded the ‘Queensland Gemini Racing’ series of events and Championships which continue to this day and which is arguably the longest running single-make series in Australia. In recent times Grahame has participated in Targa Tasmania, Classic Rally and the East Coast Targa, and has been honoured to co-drive and navigate for Sir Jack Brabham and John Goss.
Grahame Ward continues his involvement in motor sport in a variety of ways including as Chairman of the Scrutineering Advisory Panel and as a Delegate to the Queensland State Council.
Amazons were raced and
rallied in Australia successfully by drivers like Max Winkless,
Gerry Lister, David Seldon, John Keran, Graham Ward, David McKay, Ron Porter, Bill Brown,
Barry Ferguson, Bill Nolan.
Tom Trana 1965
Acropolis Rally in 1965, two Volvo service crew members
were killed and Volvo changed its attitude to motorsport
and withdrew in 1966 from official factory competition but
continued to support privateers. Tom Trana continued to
get factory support as a privateer but in 1968 he switched
to Saab and that really marked the end of the works
The Canadian SHELL
4000 across Canada attracted several Amazons for a number of
years, they were driven by Dick Pepper, Arno Hansen, Klaus Ross
and John Bird.
Was a special rally
version ever produced for the street? Yes! Find yourself a 1967
123 GT. This two-door sport model packed a few goodies: 115
horsepower engine, 7,000 RPM tachometer, rally suspension and
shocks, revised gear ratios and special fog lights.
Even today, Amazons are very popular cars in Historic &
Classic Rallies and Touring car races all over the world.
Andrew White's ex-Works Rally Amazon
(Darwin - Australia)
The car was brought into Australia to
compete in the 1969 Southern Cross International Rally and
is in original condition apart from cage and driver's
seat. the car came equiped from the factory with 100 litre
tank, close ratio box, 5.1:1 LSD, 100 litre tank, tacho,
halda, sump guard, warm, torquey motor and some underbody
Engine no 2737 gearbox no 430476 chassis
no 288942 manufactured 1/12/67 and "build card"
- now on microfische with Volvo archives - has
"racing car" stamped across it. The car was
imported by Swedish Motor Importers in Mascot, Sydney and
remained with them until sold to Ossie Jackson on 28/8/69
(free 1000 mile service completed on 18/9/69). The car
then finished with a class win and 11th O/R in the '69
Southern Cross Rally a tough event with international
competitors in which John Keran drove the 142S to 6th O/R
and 2nd in class to Andrew Cowan's Austin 1800.
Some of the major
Amazon successes were:
1959 - second in Swedish Saloon Car Championship, Tom Trana (S)
1960 - first, 1600cc class in Swedish Saloon Car Championship, Tom
1961 - first, 1600cc class in Swedish Saloon Car Championship, Tom
1961 - first, Swedish Ice Championship, Tom Trana (S)
1961 - first, German Touring Car Champion, Josef Maassen (D)
1962 - second, Tulip Rally, Gunnar Andersson (S)
1962 - second, Shell 4000
1962 - second, Argentine Gran Premio Rally
1963 - third, Tulip Rally, Gunnar Andersson (S)
1963 - class wins, 6-hour and 12-hour races at Nürburgring,
Jochen Neerpasch (D)
1963 - equal on points, European Touring Car Championship, Tom
1963 - class win, 6-hours Brands Hatch, Tom Trana / Skogh (S)
1963 - class win, Grote Prijs Limburg, Zolder, Belgium, Tom Trana
1963 - class win, Zandvoort Trophy, Netherlands, Tom Trana (S)
1963 - first, European Rally Championship, Gunnar Andersson (S)
1963 - first, European Ladies Championship, Sylvia Österberg (S)
1963 - second, Acropolis Rally, Gunnar Andersson (S)
1963 - third, Acropolis Rally, Skogh / Berggren (S)
1964 - first, Shell 4000
Rally, Canada, Klaus Ross and John Bird
1964 - class win, Sandown 4 hours, Gerry Lister (AUS)
1964 - second, 1000 Lakes Rally, Finland, Tom Trana (S)
1965 - first, Shell 4000
Rally, Canada, Klaus Ross and John Bird
1965 - first, RAC European Touring Car Championship
1965 - first, World Championship for Manufacturers
1965 - first, Acropolis Rally, Carl-Magnus Skogh (S)
1965 - first, Syd Rally Sweden, Tom Trana (S)
1965 - second, Swedish Rally Championship, Tom Trana (S)
1966 - third, African Safari Rally, Joginder Singh / Bharat
1966 - second, 1000 Lakes Rally, Finland, Tom Trana
1966 - third, RAC Rally, Tom Trana / Solve Andreasson (S)
1966 - third, Monte Carlo Rally, Tom Trana / Solve Andreasson (S)
1967 - fourth, African Safari Rally, Joginder Singh (Kenya)
1967 - second, Finnish Rally Championship, Hannu Mikkola (FIN)
1967 - third, 1000 Lakes Rally, Finland, Hannu Mikkola (FIN)
1967 - first, New Caledonia Safari Rally, John Keran and Max Stahl
Compiled by Jim Hekker
Sources & Links:
White 2007 Targa Tasmania website with video
Historic Acropolis Rally
FiA Historic Racing
History of European Touring Car Championship
Rally News, History
Damon Green's UK 122S Rally page