EXCLUSIVE: One Family 1968 Volvo 122S Wagon

Jesse MortensenBy Jesse Mortensen

Seller Description: This Volvo 122S been in the family since new. Bought by my mother at the then dealership in Santa Cruz, CA. It spent many years there (in a carport) and later moved to Humboldt County CA when she moved here to be near family. Since then it has been inside a garage. I’ve driven it a bit in the past, but have no time for upkeep/maintenance/restoration, so I’d love love to see it go to a “good home”.

It’s a California survivor with almost no rust. It does have a salvage title though. Had a minor engine compartment fire from fuel line leak, not evident, but Mom turned it into insurance… This car has been sitting idle, it ran fine, but clutch slave is kaput, brakes are stuck, musty interior (but quite good condition), all original. I have the registration back to 1968. Cost then to register this then new car: $48. So, why sell? I’m not mechanical adept, don’t have a go to mechanic, I’m a truck kinda guy, and there’s too many other tasks…

Thanks for listing this with us Eric. We hope it goes to a good home too! That photos aren’t very good and the price seems optimistic, but it sounds like this might be a diamond in the rough. Please use the form below to contact Eric or make an offer. If you have a collector car that you are thinking about selling, please consider listing it here on Barn Finds!

Location: McKinleyville, California
Title Status: Salvage
Mileage: 81,015
VIN: 223441063252
Asking Price: $6,000

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Sorry, this one has SOLD!

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  1. Dave Wright

    That is a great car…….sounds like a fair price…….even has room for Howard to sleep in the back. Good luck with the sale.

    • Eric Almquist

      Thanks Dave, the old cup half full…(see Steve’s take). And thanks to Barn Finds, lots of earnest inquiries. I’ll contact all of you. I do think it’s priced right, this isn’t a flipper deal, it was my mothers car.

  2. Steve R

    This car would need a thorough inspection. Much of Santa Cruz is blanketed with salty ocean fog throughout the year, if this car was subject to that it will have rust in every imaginable nook. The salvage title will hold it back, so will the fact it’s not running.

    If you check completed listings on eBay a nicer original paint wagon, with up to date service and records dating back to the original owner recently sold with a high bid of $7,950, one that is more comparable to this one had a high bid of $2,050. That would suggest this car is significantly overpriced, $3,000-3,500 would probably be more realistic, even that might be a stretch.

    Steve R

    • Eric Almquist

      Steve, all good points. Jane (my mom) lived in Corralitos, appreciably inland from that salt air. Not a rust bucket at all, couple pinpoint spots on hood… .Yeah, it’s a project, but issues are minor for the mechanically inclined that visit this site. Me, not so much. Already lots of interest, let’s see how it goes. The somewhat bigger challenge is our location, Humboldt County, N.W. California, very off the I-5 corridor, but hey, beautiful time to visit Redwood Country.

  3. Scott

    I’ll add to what Steve R mentioned about Santa Cruz air. There was a very popular Volvo dealer there. Sold quit a number of the 122 family. Seen a number with brake parts frozen from the moist salty air.

    I do like the idea of this being complete and original. Have seen a few restored and owned one 220 that was restored. The build quality of the original was much better than restored ones.

    Also ’68 is the year to own. Dual brake cylinders and head rests. If this was the dark blue with green I would be sorely tempted.

  4. angliagt

    McKinleyville used to be called “Oklahoma by the Sea”,
    but not anymore.
    This is only about 15 miles away from me,but I don’t
    need another project right now.
    If someone here buys it,you could come to our car show
    at the Woodley Island Marina (Eureka,CA) on June 10th.It’s an
    import car show,as everything else around here is geared towards
    American cars.


    • Eric Almquist

      McKinleyville certainly has changed, Opie’s Chevrolet is gone, and the BMW crowd has moved in. That’s gentrification!

      • Eric Almquist

        Here’s a couple more pics…

  5. Bob S

    If it is original paint , why not 6k?

    • Eric Almquist

      Yes, it is original paint.

  6. Anthony

    Salvage Title?
    RUN !!!!

    • Eric Almquist

      Salvage title as explained in original post. But wait, there’s more…it’s on a non-op registration for several years. Motor & drive train were fine when parked. It’s a 4-spd, no overdrive.

      • Scott

        No 220’s came with overdrive. Many have had it added later.

        Loved how much stuff I could fit in mine.

    • Dave Wright

      Please run Anthony………leaves more cars for the rest of us. Most salvage titles are more political than practical……. so, it had a dented fender some time in its life or it was stolen and the insurance company paid a claim….We see as many cars that are really damaged and still have clean titles. It is a phony system. We have cars today totaled for paint damage. A good paint job is 3-5000.00 not too difficult to have a car totaled with very little or even no damage. Undamaged stolen cars often get salvage titles when recovered.

  7. DRV

    As an original , and it doesn’t have any rust, it’s worth every penny. I would be interested to see how the interior cleans up.
    I found the 544 in related cars on this sight and bought it 6 years ago!
    All still original (less the motor number match) with zero rust. I drive it regularly.

  8. JohnM

    I’ve had a bunch of Amazons over the years, and still have a ’68 wagon. Great cars, easy to work on, great parts availability and community support, tough, reliable, surprisingly fun to drive, still usable as daily drivers, etc.

    Anyway, the easiest way to judge these cars from a distance with only a few pictures is to look at the firewall and where the inner fenders bolt up to the rest of the body. If those areas are crust/rusty looking, the underside of the car will almost certainly be equally or more crusty/rusty. If those areas look clean, it bodes well for the rest of the car. On this car they look as good as you could hope for on one that hasn’t been restored. Buy with confidence, IMO. You could argue the price might be a little optimistic as some have, but OTOH these are really starting to appreciate. Buy it now, fix it up, and in five years you’ll look back and realize what a smoking deal you got. Five years ago top of the market Amazons went for $10-15k, right now the top of the market is $30-35k. I’m on the wrong coast and already have too many cars or I’d be tempted. Funnily enough my sister lived in McKinleville for years (late 80s white 245 that probably hasn’t been washed in two decades, if you’ve seen that one around town), but just moved way up into the mountains of Trinity County. Good luck with the sale, and hope it goes to a good home.

    • Eric Almquist

      Thanks John, you nailed it. My first two prospective buyers (one from Austria) have dropped out, so it’s still available. I’m busy with life and work, but I’m going back to the many other inquiries. And I apologize to anybody I haven’t followed up with.


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