Customer Spotlight - Dennis Oland
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - Customer Dennis Oland
I Saved A Good One
by Dennis Oland
Back in the early 60's both my dad and his brother owned Volvo 544s. My Uncle's was light green, my dad's was red. I never saw these cars (I was born in 1968) but I heard a lot about them for many years.
And with this, I became a lover of Volvos. My favorite was always the 122 Amazon and more specifically the 123gt.
As the years passed along I bought and sold many cars and trucks, a Volvo 240 sedan was among them and a prized 1953 Chevy 3/4 ton pickup. In 2010 I made the decision that it was time for me to locate and restore a great car and that car had to be a 1967 Volvo 123GT. The only requirements were that it had to be restorable and it had to be Green (Volvo 94) with tan interior. Not exactly an easy car to find. With this I began my search, checking almost daily on eBay, Kijiji, Craigslist and Bring A Trailer. I saw lots of 122's but no 123GT. Finally, in the winter of 2012 I spotted an ad on Kijiji that there was a car in Kitchener Ontario. "1967 Volvo 123Gt, 43,000miles, runs, needs work...green." I was able to have a good chat with the owner and he was very honest about the condition of the car. Interestingly, only 30min away there was a 1968 122 for sale as well. So, I caught a flight to Toronto and then rented a car to go see it. I loved it and bought it on the spot for $2500. It was a mess but definitely a workable project. Seeing that I needed some extra parts and panels I then made the drive to look at the 122. I bought that for $500 and then made arrangements to get the cars shipped home.
I stripped both cars and saved the hood, trunk, quarter panels, back seat, bumpers and most of the glass from the 122 to put on the 123GT. Anything else worth saving from the 122 is now in bins for who knows what.
When I started the project I set out to try and produce the best 123GT possible. I went through the entire listing of cars on the 123GT registry and did all the usually Google searches looking for pictures and on the best restorations. Now that the car is done I am satisfied that I reaches my goal. If this isn't the nicest 123GT it has to be damn close. I went all out on parts, getting everything I needed to make the car the best it could be. All new nuts and bolts whenever we could. A lot of the car is brand new.
Surprisingly parts for these cars are easy to find and IPD was a great help. Right away you will notice the rims, thanks for stocking these IPD they look great with the 205/60 Michelins on them. The thing that took the longest to get was fabric for the front seats. I had the seats from the 122 in the car so that I could drive it for a while. But now the original Recaro seats are back in and the new fabric is great. Only thing I could use is a new front windshield. Mine is a bit foggy in spots. No one will ship one too me for fear it will break.
Aside from the rims, the only other mods are lowered and stiffened suspension and a digital radio from Retrosound so I can play my iPod. The fog lights are Hella Classics and the car has more chrome than original. I figure any guy that got this car back in 67' would have added some chrome around the engine and a few other places so I went ahead and added it. Looks great.
This car runs very nice and it is tough. The stock B18b with 115hp can run hard and the car handles great through the turns. I raced a Volkswagen GTI on a 10mile stretch of twisty roads and while he pulled away on the straights I caught up on the turns. He led the whole way but he couldn't shake me. Not bad for a 46year old car. On the highway with the overdrive I can run at 70mph at about 2500rpm which is pretty good. This car is a real head turner and I am enjoying it a lot.
Thanks IPD for helping me make this car what it is today. There aren't many old Volvos where I live but the old Volvo assembly Plant was in Dartmouth Nova Scotia which is about 4hr drive from here. All the older guys remember it and talk about people going straight to the plant to pick up their cars back in the day.
I now have Targa Newfoundland on the brain......wouldn't that be fun.
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