Ruddspeed Modified: 1965 Volvo 122S

When we think of popular tuning houses closely associated with major manufacturers, names like AMG, RUF, and Cosworth are quick to come to mind. However, familiarize yourself with the name Ruddspeed, which apparently looked after old Volvo 122s back in the day. This example here on eBay is claimed to be a Ruddspeed-modified example that hasn’t run in many years. Clues include a badge and Koni suspension, but there’s more that could be lying under the hood.

According to an archived article from Motorsport magazine, the Ruddspeed catalog for the stock powerplant was quite vast: A wide range of tuning and other accessories are offered by Rudd’s, including modified cylinder heads, camshafts, exhaust systems, remote-control gear-levers, oil coolers, servo brakes, sound damping, suspension modifications, wire wheels, replacement facias, reclining seats, etc., etc.” That’s not to say this one has all of those features, but it is tempting to think so.

The Volvo, in all fairness, is somewhat rough. The exterior is a hodge-podge of paint and primer with evidence of rust. The paint is gone. While the interior appears sound, the windshield is cracked. The seats are likely one of the high points of the car, as they appear quite nice. The corresponding red carpets are a great touch, and compliment the white exterior nicely. This 122 was a looker in its day, especially with a potentially built engine under the hood.

But that’s all speculation until you tear it open. It’s not running currently, though the seller claims it was driven to this spot in 2004 and had all of its fluids drained. Are the floors rusty? Who knows, but the seller says it was undercoated before its long-term slumber. While the Ruddspeed connection is far from clear, there is some level of provenance that deserves saving in this period-modified Volvo 122S.

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  1. Howard A

    Hmm, no interest. Maybe if the steering wheel was on the correct( for us) side.

  2. Saul

    Never realized how much the front of these Volvos with the grilles out looks like a mid-1950s Chrysler Windsor or 300. The thumbnail in my daily feed made me do a double take.

  3. BOP_GUY Member

    Love Volvo’s, as the second car I ever bought was a 78 242 GT. This one is pretty ragged and would need a lot of work. Worth saving? Maybe, to a hardcore early Volvo fanatic. But not me.

  4. Peter K

    enough space under the hood for a small block chevy….

    • Doug

      Peter – The small block Ford tend to fit a tad easier into the Volvos, since it is slightly narrower than the Chevy- also, with the distributor in the front the engine can be mounted a little further back. There is a book on how to install a V* into the Volvo 240 series by a company that manufactures parts to do the swap – I think they’re in Texas.
      I don’t know if the Rover/Buick aluminum V8 would have any oil pan clearance issues, but if one would fit, they are actually no heavier than the Volvo B-18, so the car should handle quite well, and be wicked quick to boot.

  5. Bodyman68

    As i see it the car was drained of all fluids and is sitting on dirt . Run as fast as u can ! All it is now is a parts car . Volvos rust badly and adding dirt makes it worse . Oh and the words quick and wicked and volvo dont match lol

    • Derek

      Do they not? Find someone with an 850 T5 – manual estate for choice – and ask them to show it off to you.

  6. Martin Horrocks

    Ruddspeed were the goto guys for Volvo in UK. Also Alfa and AC (Ken Rudd made his name with AC Ace in the 50s).

    But it’s not a big deal and hard to see the value in this car

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