COAL: #20 1972 Volvo 1800E – There’s a Corvette Engine In Its Unexpected Future

At this point in time, I had my 07 XC90, 75 164, 15 Outback, and 62 P1800. I had also been dabbling in various parts cars when I found them. This week’s car, I had my eye on it for a very long time. You see, I had driven by this car for at least 10 years. It was hiding down a dirt road in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I had stopped several times to have a look at it. I knew it was probably too far gone to restore as the frame had a good amount of rust on it.

The only problem was I could not locate the seller. The car was sitting on an abandoned piece of property with no other homes really nearby. I had left several notes on the car, and in mailboxes nearby, but nothing ever came of it. For a few years I got busy with other things, and never gave it much of a thought. It wasn’t until I was in the area in 2016 that I began to wonder about the car again. I began to do a little research on the property, and couldn’t find much other than the people who had lived there, but had since passed away. I had no idea who owned it since then, all the records would show was the people who had died. So I did the next best thing, start knocking on doors that were farther down the road. This took many trips to the car, and much door knocking, but two neighbors had said that they thought they had the people’s names. I went back home and Googled the name they had given me, but could not come up with anything. No address, no phone number, nothing. I even called the state who had issued numerous dumping citations to who they thought was the owner with no avail. Finally one day I got onto social media, and typed in the name. Sure enough someone popped up! I sent them a message asking if they owned this Volvo, and if they would be willing to sell it.

About 6 months went by with no answer, until one day out of the blue I got a message from the seller. She had said yes, that was their car, and over the years they had gotten dozens of people interested, but they weren’t selling. I explained how big of a Volvo nut I was, and she said she would talk to her husband. Not too long after that, I got the OK for $700. The following weekend I was there ready to load up the car. It did not come with a title, but I was ok with this as I was not sure it would make it as a restoration candidate. It took a little persuasion to get it from its sleepy hollow, but we got it loaded up on the trailer, and I was extremely excited to get it after all these years.

Again, I showed up at my grandparents’ door with a smile on my face trying to hide a 16ft trailer behind me, and unloaded it in “my spot”. Once I got a closer look at the car, I was kinda on the fence about it. I felt like the rust could have been repaired, but at what cost? I certainly was not interested as I had 2 older cars to tinker with. I thought I could not sell it without a title, so I decided to go ahead and part it out.

While I was parting it out, I was thinking the entire time, “should I let someone attempt to salvage it?”. But as more parts sold and more money went into my pocket I pushed that thought farther down inside. I ended up selling the rare luggage rack to Germany, the seats to someone in Italy, and various other parts around the world. I still have a good size box full of parts from this car, that I should go through and see what I got.

When the time came to load it up and send it off, I stared at it wondering if I had done the right thing. At this point the damage was done and I had to load it up and send it off. While I was driving it off I was stopped by someone. They asked me if it was an 1800, and I said yes. He asked me my plans, and I explained I had parted it out, and showed the rust. He asked me if I would sell it to him instead of tossing it. I told him that I had no title, and no real way of signing anything over to him. He told me that it was no problem because he was going to drop a Corvette motor in it, and get the entire car re-registered. I looked at him blankly for a second, and said “well, ok” and gave it to him for $50. To this day I have no idea what came of that car. For all I know it has turned into a million dollar car, but I was very glad it was saved from the crusher. My worries were settled, even though it could still be sitting neglected somewhere, at least someone has a plan for it. After this car, I always make sure they are too far gone before buying them for parts. I don’t want to be that person that takes a classic away for a few bucks.