Once upon a time, Volvo marketed their cars as sporty, in addition to reliable and, of course, safe. Today, the Swedish firm can’t stop suffering through a long spate of recalls that make consumers nervous about safety issues, not to mention the fact that reliability rankings consistently leave a lot to be desired. Perhaps with the forthcoming Polestar spinoff on the way and Volvo’s current industry standings in tatters, the time has come to truly appreciate classics like the 122S that was sold in the rest of the world under the Amazon nameplate. But few Amazons, no matter what they’re named, could ever hope to keep up with this hardcore build featuring a Chevrolet Corvette V8 swap that was recently highlighted by the YouTube channel Hoonigan AutoFocus.
Clean Exterior With A Corvette Underneath
Hoonigan AutoFocus host Larry Chen takes a deep dive on the car with owner Shant Yazijian, who originally intended to keep the vaunted inline-four that powered the car from the factory. He bought this Amazon mostly for the paint job, though it needed a significant amount of work and had a mysterious past that he discovered while beginning to dig into the engine rebuild.
V8 Swap Everything
Apparently, rather than a standard B18 or B20 displacing 1.8 or 2.0 liters, Yazijian’s Volvo arrived to his ownership bored over and sleeved with a Buick stroker crank. The rear main seal was from a Ford tractor, which wasn’t quite logical—but the power of the unit left him wanting more. And there’s no better way to get quick power than to drop in an LS V8—Yazijian had to move the firewall back five inches, and widen out the engine bay at the wheel wells to allow for the tight squeeze. He estimates it has about a quarter-inch of clearance from the suspension components.
Despite being a coupe (Amazons were also available as four-door sedans and wagons), Yazijian believes the interior has enough space to fit anyone up to six-foot-7 comfortably. Meanwhile the car was pumping out 446 horsepower to the rear wheels on the dyno—and that was before giving the engine another work-over, so he’s guessing it now produces 460 or higher. The car also rides low over aftermarket wheels, and a $250 Craigslist purchase of some 2010 Camaro seats gives the driver a bit of comfort when the horsepower slams everybody back into the seats. The back seat, largely inaccessible due to the roll cage, was sourced from the same Chevy. Watch the vid to see Chen get in the passenger seat first for a quick demo before jumping behind the wheel and taking this fun Volvo through its paces.
Sources: youtube.com and freep.com.
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About The Author
Michael Van Runkle (1375 Articles Published)
Michael Van Runkle grew up surrounded by Los Angeles car culture, going to small enthusiast meets and enormous industry shows. He learned to drive stick shift in a 1948 Chevy pickup with no first gear and currently struggles through LA traffic in a 2001 Audi TT 6-speed. These days he mostly rides his bicycle in town and heads out to Malibu or the Angeles Crest Highway for fun mornings in the canyons. He’s written in various media since graduating from UC Berkeley in 2010.
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