Honest Wagon: 1968 Volvo 122s Estate

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – I’m drawn to long roof cars. Throw in some features like a manual transmission and descriptors like “lovingly well-used,” “honest car,” and “great driver” and you have my full attention. This 1968 Volvo 122s Estate Wagon was sent in by a Barn Finds reader who found it here on eBay in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After 22 bids it appears the reserve has been met at the current bid price of $8,300.

Volvo introduced the 122s to the United States in 1959, 3 years after its European release. This station wagon variant was the least common of the 667,791 122s built worldwide from 1956 to 1970. The station wagon was built from 1962 to 1969 – only 73,220 rolled off the assembly line in that time.

It’s easy to see the 122s’s evolution to the 140 and 240 series. The white paint on this Volvo appears to have held up well over the past 52 years. The seller describes it as having an “excellent patina,” but, aside from some wear around the grille, it just looks like a straightforward aged paint job to me. The seller touts the dents, scratches, and scrapes as giving you peace of mind in parking lots.

To me, the interior screams “lovingly well-used.” Exclusive of a few seam rips in the front, the seats are in decent shape. The dash pad is cracked and there’s signs of wear on the dash. The rear cargo area looks like its seen little cargo duty. The headliner looks nice, but I need someone to help me figure out what’s going on with the floor covering.

The original B18 engine was replaced with a B20 engine by the second owner, who was the proprietor of the Volvo shop where the original owner had this 122s serviced from new until their passing in 2009. This Volvo seems to have been in capable hands since new. A 4-speed manual transmission sends power to the rear wheels. A glass pack muffler has been installed, which the seller says, “actually make the car 33.3% more fun to drive – fact.” More seriously, the seller describes the car as: “a great driver; a fun, good handling car with tight steering.”

The seller of this 1968 Volvo 122s Estate Wagon concludes their description with this: “Please be sensitive to the fact that she is a 50+ year old, lovingly well-used car that hopes to be driven and never fully restored.” Those would be my sentiments exactly.

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  1. Steve R

    I think this wagon has been featured on this site before.

    It looks like a decent car for the money, especially when compared to some if the other vehicles featured on this site. The main attractions are its probable turn key condition and its utility. With a few minor changes and updates this should be great for swapmeets and garage sales as well as day trips to the track.

    Hopefully it will find a good home with someone that takes advantage of its usefulness.

    Steve R

    Like 5
  2. Howard A Member

    Another great car that got no respect. Volvo was practically unheard of. Oh, sure, that funny sedan that looked like an old Ford that Professor Jones drove and this is what replaced it? When this car came out, foreign cars were still a mystery. Any foreign car had big shoes to fill. Yeah, we had the VW and REnault Dauphine, but neither really considered a REAL car. It’s like Volvo was one notch off. The 444/544 was a 40’s Ford in the 50’s, the 122 was a 50’s style in the 60’s, it wasn’t until the 140 series, that Volvo really took off. Again, my 1st car was 1958, 444, and this had most the same bulletproof mechanicals. I’d love to have this, but as usual, I should have got one 30 years ago. Let’s just hope it doesn’t need back brakes, hey Jesse?

    Like 3
    • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

      Howard, you must have grown up in a different world than I did.. There were plenty of foreign cars in the US in 1962.. the list would be too long to put here. ..Volvo had invented and introduced the three point seat belt……… and after the 544 Sport regularly beat the MGA’a in F Production, SCCA was forced to launch Sedan racing Classes.
      Rear brakes are no issue on Volvos, for anyone who knows what they are doing and have the right tools. They have the same rear as many of the US cars in the 50’s and 60’s, a Dana 27 or 44.

      Like 5
      • Howard A Member

        Apparently, that I did. In case you grew up in Milwaukee in the 60’s, home of Harley and AMC, Briggs and Stratton, Allis tractors, A.O. Smith ( car frames) and THAT list goes on,,,, there still was very much, an anti-foreign car attitude. Fact is, I don’t even remember a Volvo dealer in Milwaukee in the 60’s. The only one was in Thiensville, about 15 miles away. If there ever was a “good ol’ USA” city in the 60’s, it was Milwaukee, and foreign vehicles of any kind were a tough sell.

        Like 3
  3. Beyfon

    Overall a quite ok Amazon Wagon. 1968 was the last year for the wagon, they only built 8,500 of them for that model year. As per the chassis number this is quite in the middle of the MY -68 numbers so one can assume it was built late 1967.

    It still has most of the -68 only parts (which however were used up until 1970 for the seedan), examples include seats, steering wheel, underdash padding, heater knobs, ash tray etc. Unfortunate that the rare brake servo is disconnected. Wheels seem to be 1800S, while looking cool they make parking heavy work.

    I don’t really know about the US naming but technically the wagons were no 122S, wagons were 221 (also defined by the initial 22 in the chassis number)

    Like 1
  4. Chris in Pineville

    the dash pad would drive me nuts, but after that is replaced and the rust above the battery stabilized, it would need nothing else for me……

    Like 3
    • Doug

      I believe the dash pads are available from CustomVolvoRestorations.com . I have sourced a number of parts for my 1958 PV444 from them, and will probably be buying some more as my build progresses.

      Like 1
  5. 370zpp


    Like 1
  6. Billy

    This car brings back memories! A ’68 122 wagon was my first car at 16, circa 1981. I actually learned to drive stick in it a few years earlier, as soon as my feet could reach the peddles. Once I had a license and could actually take it off the farm legally, I ran it hard, beat the hell out of it, took it off road, partied in it and put it away wet. Mine had quite a bit of rust in the fenders and on the underside. My mother made me get rid of it after about a year at 268k miles when the cross members under the front seats had rusted away. The seats were beginning to fall through the floor which was really held together by not much more than the ratty, jute backed rubber matting like in the picture here.

    My 122 had wet start issues with points, condenser and distribute cap needing replacement more than once and the twin SUs required constant tweaking. This car taught me some valuable lessons on how to keep a car running and stopping, but maybe not as many as the ’73 Wagoneer that followed it. Knowledge that has served me well from just keeping the old ones on the road, to keeping the newer ones (still have Volvos, now an XC90) maintained to spec.

    Like 1
  7. chrlsful

    yup, that’s how it all begins, necessity and low finances. My problem w/cars/trucks (not so much the mbikes) is I had money in the 80s/90s when they went computers’n FI. I didn;t grow w/them and am still learning to catch up. Now back to poverty (ol age) I have/need a lill help form the guys who stuck w/it thru that period (neighbor). Or I just stick w/my ’77.

  8. DRV

    Those are after market deep dish wheels.

  9. Bernie H.

    I sure would be interested if it were a 1968 123GT, white with parchment interior, Army buddy had one in Germany, great driver, great car!!!

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