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Kelab Volvo Klasik Malaysia at Malaysia Autoshow 2018

POSTED BY Motorme Admin ON 18 May 2018

Article and photos supplied by Kelab Volvo Klasik Malaysia

It was Kelab Volvo Klasik Malaysia’s maiden outing at Malaysia Autoshow held at Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) from Apr 26 to 29. Upon invitation of the organisers, the club was honoured to display some of its finest and rarest cars belonging to members.

Appearing in full force with 10 units in total was the Volvo 122 model. The 122 was the first Volvo model to be officially imported into Malaysia by Federal Auto, thus starting a long love affair between Malaysians and Volvos.

With its timeless pontoon-like design – modelled after American cars of its era – the 122 is the last Volvo with a “vintage” flavour. With a robust yet simple chassis and powertrain, not to mention readily available parts, one can maintain a 122 on a reasonable budget, making it a darling among classic car enthusiasts. Unlike some other classics that demand extensive care and minimal occasions under the sun, the 122 can be driven daily and is still capable of travelling long distances with basic maintenance.

While most of the 122s displayed were restored sedans with originality in mind, there were also two 122 wagons (estate). Many would agree that Volvo makes the best wagons and the two units on display proved this point. The Volvo wagon legacy lives on today, with the latest incarnation being the V90, a handsome looking car that is currently being built at a time where many other manufacturers have given wagons the axe in favour of SUVs.

With its seamless and contoured classic design, the 122 is an ideal candidate for customisation. There were three “restomod” units on display – two “hotrod” units with custom airbrush flame livery adorning the flawless paintwork, and another 122 dubbed the “lowrider” due to its retrofitted air suspension system to allow for adjustable ride height. A Volvo connoisseur would be quick to point out that one of the hotrods, and the “lowrider” are actually two door variants, a rarity in Malaysia.

Even more rare was a pristine 123GT on display. This car was restored to factory specifications (even the colour on this car was painted to match the original colour code it sported when new) and upon completion, was driven from the garage where it was restored directly to the show hall at MAEPS.

The 123GT was built in limited numbers by Volvo to mark the end of the successful run of the 120 series. It is generally believed that only around 1,500 units were produced by Volvo and local experts put a number of fewer than 10 running units in Malaysia. As its GT moniker suggests, this is a sporty version of the 122, and it came from the factory armed with a high compression engine and “hotter” camshaft for extra horsepower, an overdrive gearbox, tachometer, foglamps and a GT three-spoke steering wheel.

The Volvo P1800 (or 1800S, or 1800E, depending on the year and place of manufacture), is one of the sexiest sports-touring coupes ever made by Volvo and there were not one but three units on display. All three cars were in showroom condition. The Dunhill Red P1800 was a crowd favourite and a regular winner at various motor shows. The silver 1800E was imported from the United States and is a left-hand drive unit. It is fitted with larger front bucket seats and a 2.0L B20 engine with D Jetronic electronic fuel injection that churns out a useful 130hp. (Other versions came with the 1.8L B18 engine with twin carburetors). All cars came standard with an overdrive gearbox. With its low-slung silhouette, a long hood and elaborate tailfins, the beauties easily stole the attention of those who walked past and were easily the most photographed cars in the entire display.

A celebrity in its own right, the P1800 certainly drew a strong global following. Some would remember the 70s hit TV series The Saint starring the late Sir Roger Moore as Simon Templar, where the P1800 was his chariot of choice.  Another P1800, bought new in 1967 by Irv Gordon of Long Island, New York, travelled over 3 million miles (4.82 million km) on the same powertrain, earning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for highest mileage on a non-commercial car driven by the same driver.

Not to be left out at the show were the “boxy” Volvos – a Volvo 144 sedan, a 145 wagon and a 240 sedan on display. The Volvo 144 was produced between 1967 and 1974 and it became Volvo’s first millionth unit seller. It looked nothing like the 122, although it shared the same wheelbase and was similar mechanically. It was instead shaped like a brick, ideal for maximum safety features, which was quickly becoming an obsession at Volvo.

Some of the firsts for Volvo at the time include factory air conditioning, power steering, fuel injection and a host of safety features that include a safety cage, energy absorbing bumpers and crumple zones, and dual braking hydraulic circuits. The 144 later evolved into the 240 series and was essentially the same car from the A pillar aft.

The 240, produced over a span of 20 years from 1974 to 1993 came with Volvo’s new overhead camshaft engine.  With its timeless design, many are not aware that the last batch of 240 series left the assembly line 25 years ago. They are still seen in regular use all over the world and its globally recognisable shape, be it wagon or sedan, continues to be an icon for Volvo even until today. Interestingly, the 240 was supposed to be replaced by the Volvo 740 in 1982. Instead, the 740 was discontinued in 1992, before the 240. In some countries, the 240 gained cult status among Volvo enthusiasts.

The majority of the cars on display are owned by individuals who enjoy driving them as much as displaying them. Most are driven regularly, even on long distance runs. Some of the cars had just completed a 1,800km round trip to Ko Lanta, Thailand on April 5 to 9.  Most cars were restored and continue to be maintained by Unicar Autoworks, which is owned by Joe Miranda and assisted by Jegan Krishnan. Being a classic car lover and owning a number of 122s himself, Miranda has passionately restored many classic Volvos over the years and continue to keep them running.

The Malaysia Autoshow was a nice event for the club and the members are looking forward to more classic car shows for them to display their pride and joy.

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