Sometimes we get in over our heads. We think we are hungrier than we are, try to run farther than we can, drink more than our livers will allow, etc… in the weird world of car projects this means having grandiose ideas for a car that is sketchier than a two week old ham sandwich from a vending machine.
A little while ago a friend and I got it in our head that we could put a V10 from a Ford truck into a 1980’s Volvo station wagon… nothing a little welding/cutting/fabricating can’t fix, amiright?! One thing lead to an other, and we ended up getting a 1987 Volvo wagon for $200. This was the first time in my life that I had bought a car for scrap weight and paid too much… rough was an understatement. This thing is a rolling tetanus provider. You can see inside the car while standing outside…not looking though a window. We call cars like this “swiss cheese” for good reason.
So, we went with it because it was cheap…and we are stupid. Then we got a motor. My parents’ garage is secretly harbouring a 1999 Ford F250 Triton V10, wire harness, computer and fuel pump. At only 287,000 kms, it is just broken in! It takes up more space than the Porsche Boxster being stored next to it. We already have a 4-speed manual transmission that SUPPOSEDLY bolts up to the back of the engine, located in somebody’s basement, hopefully.
At this point some time is being devoted to finding the final things needed like rear end/suspension/life insurance/brakes/etc. It was during this find that another Volvo wagon presented itself to us. This one being a 1981 manual transmission with 503,472 kms – we fell in love instantly. For the low, low price of $600, We again flirted with tetanus and the structural integrity of a wet paper bag.
We went on a Sunday to pick the car up an hour and 20 minutes from home. It was probably for the best that it was snowing and the car had a half foot of fluffy stuff on it. This way, we had no way of telling how crappy the car is. We dusted it off as best we could to look at the miraculous half-a-million-kilometer tank we just bought – and were not immediately disappointed. It seemed pretty complete. The most important things seem to work: radios are useless, heat is for sissies, and the roof rack is not structural, so off it goes too.
What did impress us is that after sitting for four months in the elements, the car started on the first try with the mechanical choke (carbureted) getting pulled out. It charmed us with its spunky attitude. After not moving for all that time, it seemed perfectly at home doing doughnuts in the snow of the furniture shop parking lot where it was abandoned. We popped the hood to get a look at the engine and noticed this is one of the rare models that was built in Nova Scotia. There is a lot of history behind this car! This is where the trouble comes in.
Car people will only chop up a hopeless donor to use in a project car, something that cannot be restored. Good, because rust fearing cars get restored. This one might be a candidate for restoration. We are just not sure if our stomachs can take restoring one Volvo wagon and turning another into some weird Franken-car.
The jury is out. Deliberations are taking longer than anticipated on this one. No matter the outcome, rest assured you will be entertained and my wife will be upset.