My background on Volvo rally cars

My name is Stein Johnsen and I have been modifying Volvo’s for over 40 years! My company Historic Motorsport, Sweden has prepared competition Historic Volvos, nothing else, since 1992, the last car was sold in 2014. A PV 544 S went to Norway. 26 rally prepared Historic Volvos in total.

My first International rally was in 1966, the last International, so far, in 2015. I was a test/rally driver 75-78 for the FIAT assembly factory in Zambia. They desperately needed improvement on their African FIAT models and I was given a 132 GL to use. If you can get a Fiat 132 to complete an African rally you have done well. We won the group 1 Zambian Champion ship in 1977 with this car.

During my years in Zambia I was taken under the wings by the Singh brothers Guru and Satwant, both were very good at prepare a car for African rallies. Satwant went on to win the African Championship 8 times , Gurus son won it twice. I am (nearly) off the same generation as Joginder Singh, Tom Trana, Carl Magnus Skogh and the Volvo General him self Gunnar Andersson. I had contacts with the works mechanics and drivers about preparation and the cars weak points. My closest contact was the late Joginder Singh, the winner of the Safari Rally 1965 with a Volvo PV. He drove 122 and 142 in the Safari with two-second places as results, fantastic car preparation. According to Andrew Cohen of “Ralli Art” the best car preparer for the Safari Rally bar none. His input has been great in this preparation guide.

Some of the more successful cars that I have built.

  • PV 544S 1960 Hans Sellberg. Twice # 2 in the European champion ship. Car still rallying

  • 122 S 1965 Eddy van der Hoorn. 3 times winner of the Tulip rally .

  • 122 S 1965 Bert Dolk Winner of the Tulip rally .

  • 142 S 1968 Tony Fall 160 000 Km in rallying and still going strong

  • CRP 480 PV 544 S Still rallying after 20 years. Numerous class wins in Europa Winner of Tulip rally Sporting class 2011.

  • Anders Wulf PV 544 # 5 over all in the 2000 Paris to Peking rally.

In the 60 and 70 is the Volvo s from the PV to the 142 won nearly all the big events in what was nearly a standard car. Volvos philosophy was that only original Volvo items should be used Therefore, no Webers, no body kit homologated (142 some parts). Everything you needed for rallying was available through the Volvo outlets around the word, and part of the R spare parts catalogue. Joginder testing in Africa with the 122 and 142 was the reason for homologating the few items in the FIA papers.

A few rallies that was won by Volvo

  • Argentina 1958. PV 544 B 16

  • East African Safari rally. PV 544 B 18 Second places with 122 S and 142 S.

  • Swedish. PV 544.

  • 1000 Lakes. PV 544.

  • RAC. PV544.

  • Acropolis. 122S.

These early factory cars were prepared to the FIA regulations of the day, which gave you little or no freedom to prepare the cars outside these forms (Historic Appendix K today). For an endurance car you are free to do nearly anything to strengthen chassis and suspension.

I have written some preparation notes for the old Volvo s and I hope they will be useful for somebody.

Should anybody have any question about these old Volvo s , send me a mail, and I will try to answer to the best of my knowledge .

Or I can build you one for 1995 prices !!