I'm looking into getting a vintage rally car & was wondering if anyone here had any experience with rallying the PV444/544 Volvo's, or know of any that are around. Any other info/pics on them would be appreciated too.
Yes - do it. I started with a 122S and the 544 is lighter and relatively nimble. As tough as nails. A former Carrera car is for sale for some absurd sum but you'll have gobs of fun with a lesser one. One of the fave all-time rally cars, and currently underused. I had a B18 built in Sweden - get in touch for deets.
Yep, there he is. I spotted the subject line and figured that ACP wouldn't be able to resist jumping in. Truth to tell, Andrew could be an excellent source for an older Volvo rally car. Talk to him. He's been there. The first rally I ever competed in was in a 1966 122 in 1972.
I really want to get a vintage rally car of some sort; getting bored with all the EVO's and WRX's out there!;-) My friends think i'm strange for lusting after 20+ year old vintage rally cars instead of the newer generation techno-boats. I just want to get something that's good, simple fun without the complexities of newer technology.
Ah, well. If you're looking at getting into Flying Bricks, you'd better talk to Doug Mepham (142 Targa car - get in touch through Targa Newfoundland) and Bill Malik/Christian Edstrom (Valencia Volvo R Sport). There are loooots of resources for these. But they're a bit modern, don't you think?
They are the smartest way to qualify for Vintage and take reliable wins, I should think (Porsches notwithstanding).
- PV544 is Ok but not safe and that solid steering shaft will spear your in case of an accident. Remember La Carrera Panamericana two years ago? Both crew members died in the 544, very sad. 544 doesn't have good brakes unless you mount 122 brakes (not that easy) and steering has very little lock (ok for asfalt but bad for dirt).
- 122 is better, more FIA homologated stuff (disc brake rear end, real good header, etc)
- 142 is the best; Safe, lots of room inside and most FIA legal goodies (1:1 5-speed 'box, etc)
- If you're serious come to LA(not Luisiana...CA) and I'll give you a ride in my 185HP 140 race/rally car. It's FAST! Pics at: www.trs-usa.com
I am of course biased, but our MGB has been tough, reliable, and fun. Parts are cheap and easily available. And quick enough to scare me now and again. More power/suspension would always be nice, but I suspect that's true with any vintage car. And we don't finish last (at least not because of the car):7 .
Just had to add my $0.02...
Always encouraging vintage rally and Historic Class cars....
Mmm. Well, I really like Mr. Smith's B. But having bashed around and rebuilt both my 1966 MGB and my 1963 Volvo 122S I can tell you that the Volvo is a lot stronger, and overengineered in all the right places (except rear brakes on tarmac - get shoes made - or adapt a slightly different system that the road racers use - contact me). If nothing else, you'll appreciate the coil-sprung rear end and piston shock absorbers all around on the Volvo. MGB lever-arms and leaf springs are a charming and fragile hold-over from the seperate-wing TD/TF (which I've also rebuilt...). Tube shock conversions are available but I assume are illegal. Working new oil through the lever arms on a bench vice gets old fast.
Not to say the MGB doesn't pull like a tractor. But the Volvo pulls like a tractor (to say nothing of the tunability of the B18 or - I think this fits in under the wire - the B20), is built like a tank, has a roof so thick that a roll cage almost never gets tested, has tons of room inside, has cheap and plentiful spares supply, has oodles of tuning stuff available (see IPD), has less tendency to rust than most cars of the era, and dammit, you'll fall in love with it.
Of course, the MGB was still in production after I was born...
Thanks everyone for helping to convince me to take the vintage route! :7
Topi: Actually, that 142 you have for sale on your website is VERY tepting and the main reason I added the 140-series to my list of potentials... I may have to come on over & check that thing out! (I live in Orange County). And true: the 142's are a bit 'modern' but i think it would suffice...
My friend is restoring an MGB coupe and I actually did think about trying to convince him to make it into a rally car.
Should you or your friend decide to build an MGB rally car, email or call me. Andrew is correct, there are some weaknesses in the car's design, but many of these can be corrected either completely or partially, and still staying within the rules; there are some basic design limitations I think you're stuck with in a 'B though, such as the cart-sprung rear end and the lack of ground clearance.
When we built our car 4-5 years ago, I had a good base of experience with road- and track- going MGBs, and I've learned that that experience was just the starting point for developing a 'B for the rigors of rallying (I assume the same to be true for a Volvulus as well). Starting our fourth season, I now think I've developed the MGB to the point where it is strong and reliable and gives a good account of itself on the stages. And I have other improvements in mind to hopefully help me scare a few more of the Golfs (and occassional AWD/Turbo cars).
Encouraging vintage rally cars and Historic Class,
My choice of early Volvo's for Vintage Rallying would be the 544. Having restored several 122's, and 140's, a 544, as well has having built (and rolled) a '69 142S, I'd actually feel the safest in the 544. It wouldn't be too hard to instal a collapsable steering column in it either, and though the shell is physically smaller, it is far stronger that the 140 series tub. Just make sure someone has done the rust work properly... The 544 rocker panels are 3 layers of THICK sheet metal, whereas the 140 rockers are only two pieces. And thats just one example of many where the shell is thicker/stronger. Add a professionally built modern style cage and you have arguably made one of the safest cars on the planet.
Plus the 140 isn't as reliable a car. Suspension pieces (among other things) are slightly flimsyer that the earlier stuff, though admittedly, still stronger than most other makes of cars... In my opinion the 140 just requires alot more beefing. And as the 544 is a simpler vehicle mechanically, there is much less to go wrong with it. My dad road raced a 544 in the late '60s and reworked the 4 wheel drums to where it could brake as well as all, and better then most 122's. True, drums aren't as reliable as discs, but that can be engineered out of them. Why then is the 140 series my favorite? I'm just obtuse like that... And the fuel injection manifold doens't fit under the 544 hood. Which by the way, the way the SCCA currently has the historic rules written, the 142 is one of very few cars that can legally have fuel injection...
'71 Volvo 142E (daily driver/RallyCross)
'71 Volvo 145S G2/historic car, when I find time and money, or failing that, someone elses money
Editor, Blue Mountain Region, SCCA [email protected] www.bmr-scca.org
Car is mostly stock, with an engine by Trus Motorsports in Sweden, fuel/brake lines in the car, electric fuel pump, brake servo, overdrive (and so high rear end), bolt-in cage that we remove for distance TSD (where we run three-up), stripped floors, Sparco seats, and - get this - leather bucket from a P1800 in the centre rear for the (sleeping) third man. Had a good reversing foglamp which was smacked on a rock face on the 1999 Winter Challenge (these TSDs are faaast). FIA logbooked and legal for historic rally in UK. Next event (we hope) LeJog 2002.
Amazingly I lost third while on a tour/recce of the Stelvio, then locked it in third when next trying to engage it. Had to take out the gearbox beside Lago di Garda and physically break the third gear syncro that had distorted. All told about six hours through the warm summer night with a nice swim afterward and a nap on that rear bucket seat. But I join an elite league that's broken an M41.
Maybe someone can help with this: I want four springs that both stiffen the car but don't change the ride height, or perhaps instead raise it a little from stock. If the rears are a little stiffer/longer again that's OK as the tools/spares in the trunk (to say nothing of the fat b*stard in the back) tend to compress the rear. The popular IPD-type performance springs are too short. Any good source without custom-making, or any advice as to length/rates?
Also time for new dampers I think. Anyone NOT using bilsteins, especially if running full height?
- Mr Oscarsson at Vesteras Volvo ( www.google.com will find the address) runs 122 and get you anything or Janne Sellholm in Koping ( www.sellholm.com )
- '75 164 front springs, cut down to fit, will work great, too
Ah - thank you Doug! Finally a chance to be in FRONT of the class...
The Passo di Stelvio is a tertiary road in northern Italy that featured on the Liege-Rome-Liege and Rallye des Alpes (aka Alpine Rally) in the Glory Days. It has (depending on who you talk to) about 52 hairpins and was completed in about 13mins (to the top - the backside is boring) on a good day. Although the rate of ascent to 2758m is impressive, for sheer mind-bending drops off into the abyss the nearby Gavia pass is probably spookier. But the Stelvio is the classic.
You can't really see it in these pictures, but only the top and the bottom are fully paved. The rest of the surface is mottled with COBBLESTONES which is just the old surface showing through. Mist and rain - frequent here - make it slippery. I wouldn't say it's a driver's delight - the corners are too slow to do anything but take an intelligent line - but nailing hairpin after hairpin does make you feel like Ian Appleyard in NUB120 (that's the next lesson...)
Sorry to disappoint. I have a fairly extensive MG library, and find no reference to NUB...And looking through the BMC Works Competition history, I find no NU- registrations. Therefore I must assume NUB was a Jaguar (was Rover even making automobiles in the immediate post-war?). My only real exposure to IA (other than reading that he once rallied a TF) is this film I saw a while back. Maybe I can find that again...
See you in Wellsboro? I'll have stuff to show you there.
Your powers of deduction are obviously not clouded by the XPAG/XPEG/B smoke in your garage. NUB 120 is indeed a Jag - an XK120 roadster that, along with the ARX Healeys and the Monte Minis, is one of the most famous Brit rally cars ever. Pat Appleyard, Ian's then-wife and co-driver, was Sir William Lyons daughter. Appleyard was a Jag dealer... Lyons penned the XK120 as a limited-production showcase for the new XK engine which was really intended for a saloon. Early bodies were in aluminum due to post-war shortage of steel (121 alloy cars are thought to exist - Apply's was probably one of the six works cars raced at LeMans 1950, all retiring with clutch failure I think). Although he did rally T-series (BTW Pat Carlsson-Moss' first rally car was a TF) and a Jag MkVII(to second in the '53 Monte - what an ocean tanker on the Col de Leques!) he and they were best known for the Coupe de Alpes in 51 and 52. (He had used an SS100 before that - and I think may have taken the 1950 event in that, despite some web opinion to the contrary) That was a real era of horses for courses - the Jags and later the Healeys (and, although no-one admits it, the 300SLs) won this rally on their power, while both (all) those cars were never much good on the Monte where agility was all and power almost a liability.
So - next question. Want to ask everyone why all MG serial numbers start at 0251?