1970 Volvo 122S Amazon Group 2 Rally

Courtesy of Bonhams

Introduced in 1956, the Volvo 120 Series lasted in production until 1970, by which time around half a million had been built. Its build quality, toughness and longevity helped to establish the Swedish company’s reputation worldwide. Marketed in Sweden as the Amazon, this model was the first car to feature modern seat belts as standard equipment — a safety revolution at the time.

This particular Amazon shakes off all those staid characteristics to go rallying. Built on November 5, 1969, chassis 345256 was immediately rolled into the Volvo competitions department and prepared as a Group 2 rally car. Prepared with full rally suspension, a competition-tuned B20 engine (rated at 160 bhp) and a very low curb weight of only 950 kg (2,094 pounds), the car was ready for action.

In the late 1990s, after years of performance and competition, the car was restored and painted from its original color of Cherry Red to white by famed Norwegian rally-car restorer Stein Johnsen. The Amazon then found its way to the Netherlands, where it has competed in only three historic events.

Recommissioned in 2016, the car is to full original Group 2 specification. Specification highlights include a full rally-tune, 160-bhp B20 engine (dynamometer sheet available); remote gearshift; limited-slip differential; full rally suspension with PU bushings and Rose joints (option for vertical mounting of rear shock absorbers); disc brakes all around; Bilstein front dampers; Spica rear dampers; FIA full roll cage; safety equipment; rally trip meter; and a set of spare rims and tires.

The fully documented history includes a certificate of Works history and correspondence with the Volvo company archive, and a letter from the Volvo Museum Gothenburg confirming matching chassis identification numbers. In addition, the car also comes with photographs of Sven Simonsson on the 1971 Östgötarally, where he finished 4th; period rally results and press articles; details of all past owners (including copies of all old registration documents); original homologation documents; and period technical passports.