COAL: #11/12 1972/1973 Volvo 1800ES – The Sacrifice Cars

2015 seemed to be a big year for me as far as 1800’s go. At this time I still had my white 72 ES that you saw last week. This time though I knew I needed to get creative with sourcing parts for it. Being in college I had limited funds for buying things for my 72, and new parts were and still are pretty expensive.

I put a feeler out on some of the 1800 forums for an ES parts car. I said I would be willing to travel for them, but I did not want to spend over $500 for a car. A few weeks went by and I got a few hits here and there for a few, but they were either too far gone or wanted way too much for what the car was. People saw 1800’s starting to creep up in value and they thought that their junk was worth a lot. I really did not want to take a good ES that could be brought back to life though, and part it out and send it to its forever home.

Finally I got a hit from a guy that I had known about in the Volvo community. He is out of Madill, OK, and was known for putting some high performance motors in 1800’s. He got known really quickly though after he was arrested for stealing the deposits people put down on the parts from him. Anyway, he contacted me and told me that he had a 72 sitting in his yard, and I could come get it for $500. At first I was worried about it given his reputation, but he had a title in his name, and wasn’t asking for any money up front. So, I loaded up and went to grab it. When I got there, it was exactly as he described it. Rusty and stripped down. I was able to get the motor out of it, a spare front axle, and the interior. He also threw in a bunch of extra parts as he was getting out of the Volvo business (wonder why).

Once I got the car home, I took all the parts that I needed off it. Most of the trim and exterior pieces were easy to take off as the metal holding them in was so badly rusted I could pry them off. Once I had gotten everything that I needed I went and sold off the rest on Ebay, and quickly made my money back. It was a win win for me because I made a few bucks on the car, and got to keep some parts for my own.

I ended up crushing this car, as it was so badly rusted on the frame, there was no bringing it back. At first I was a little upset with myself for doing this to such a unique car, but then I realized what I had sold to people all around the world, are now benefiting in some way from the car, and will for years to come.

It seemed like right after I crushed the gold 72 ES I found another one. This time it was right down the street from me! When I saw the ad for this sea foam green ES I was so excited. I didn’t have to travel far, and it came up for sale at the right time.

I ran across town one day after classes to check out the car. When I got there I realized the seller was a customer at the bank that I worked at. He told me he was selling it for an elderly friend of his that has owned it for a long time. I started looking closer at the car and realized that this is no parts car. Yes, it has rust on one of the rockers, but that was about it. The car could actually be saved quite easily with some work. I knew right off I could not use this one as a parts car. Not all was lost though, I could sell it and make a little money to go toward my 72 that I was working on. Then, I could treat it to one or two new parts.

I haggled with him for a little bit, and got the car for $600. Since I knew the seller I paid him, and told him that I would be back the following weekend to pick it up. When I got it picked up, and showed up at my grandparents’ house, they were less than excited to see it. I had been keeping the 72 parts car there and had just gotten it off their property. They were still nice enough to let me keep this one there while I figured out what to do with it.

Once I inspected it further my assumption was confirmed that I couldn’t find any rust other than the rocker. I decided that I was going to throw this one on Ebay and see what comes of it. I was in no hurry to sell, and I really liked the possibilities with this car. At first the bidding got off slow, and picked up toward the end. It always seems to go that way, either at the beginning of the auction or the end. At close of the auction the winner got the car for $3500. I could not believe it! I knew I would make my money back, but had not dreamed of getting that much for it!

The seller also wanted me to deliver the car to him 2 hours north of me, and was willing to pay up for some parts that I had not sold yet from the last parts car. Seemed fair to me! I loaded it up one day after class, and dropped it off at his house where there were other vintage Volvos. A few years later I almost bought one of his cars that he was selling. I turned it down as he was a smoker, and wasn’t fond of the smell that was left behind.

Both cars were unique in their own way. One was able to live on another day and avoid the ruthless crusher. The other, not so lucky. I was glad that I got to own both of them, and now share their story. Looking back now, maybe I should have held onto them.