Road Trip Outtake: Panama to Alaska – Swedish Style!


A couple walked into my electronics shop today and I could tell from their accents that they were not American.  After talking to them for a while, I found out they were from Holland and that they were with a group of sixty classic Volvos driving from the south of Panama to the north of Alaska.  They had stopped for the night in St. George, Utah before continuing their 5,051 mile long (8129 kilometers) trip.


The couple were part of a tour called the Pan Americana, which is probably the most fascinating auto tour I’ve ever heard of. They even bring their own mechanic and huge truck full of parts to support them on their journey. And what are Piet and Agnes Bulthuid driving?


A 1968 Volvo Duett 210–what else?


Despite the updated seats, it’s a fascinating piece of rolling history.


Piet told me that his Volvo had an 1800cc straight four that made all of 68 horsepower.


Note the stickers from all the other transcontinental tours they’ve been on!


Later when I got off work, I sauntered over to the hotel where they were staying. It was truly a Vol-vol-voom moment.


Look at these specimens. No trailer queens here. Another gentleman I spoke with, Paul, told me that most of these cars are daily drivers in Holland. Paul’s car was this beautiful 1961 Volvo PV544, also with the B18 engine.


Sorry I couldn’t get more views. Other Volvos kept grabbing my attention. Like this Amazon:


Organizing all the logistical support for an event like this doesn’t just happen; you have to take into account the various running changes to the models and common points of failure when stocking parts, and that’s the fun part of planning.


For Volvo-lovers, this parking lot is quite a sight.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of all the classic goodness on display.  Nor was it easy to decide which car was my favorite.


There was just too much beauty and heritage on display to make it an easy choice.  Note the Ford Transit parts truck in the background.


It was inspiring to see such devotion to one’s favored brand; how often do you run across a tour like this?


Needless to say, I was very impressed and wish the Pan Americana participants good weather and safety on their journeys.