With all the downfalls you can have of owning a car you absolutely adore, it is safe to accept that in this screwed up world and society we all live in, if you are into cars like myself and others the car community will always be there if needed. Whether that be owners clubs or even a general car club you are involved in, if you run into issues they’ll be there to help. With that in mind, I want to introduce you to the Volvo Community and all the things they have done for me over these last couple months.
As some of you have noticed, I wasn’t posting a lot on here or on all of the related social media I have for this blog and while I have wanted to, I haven’t been able to due to a bad bout of family issues causing us to move. While I don’t want to get into it too much, it had been happening for a good while now causing all of us involved going our separate ways.
Both me and my mum have recently moved to Arbroath and are now in the process of settling into our new place and ultimately starting afresh. Due to what happened, there was a few things that needed working out and with all of what happened, the C70 was needing. Now while I’m allowed my car back as it is my own car, due to it previously not running, I had to sort something out to get it moved.
This led me to getting in contact with a good friend of mine called Rich who has been an absolute star! Where others would fail and not help, with decent advice given, both me & Rich decided to post out onto the Volvo groups we’re both in asking for some major help in both getting it moved as well as trying to get parts together so the C70 can run again and as a result of both of our actions (Most of which was from Rich), the outpouring of love, support & overall help from tons of members in the groups over these last couple months has been astounding to say the least.
Not only did a guy called Gordon get in contact with me to pick the car up, store it for a little while at an undisclosed location, get it running again and then deliver it to the new address. I also had many people offering up both garage, driveway and unit storage for the plucky little C70. In times like these, both from a personal level as well as a society level it honestly astonished me to have so much support brought my way considering the situation we were in. With society taking a massive downward spiral these days, it’s amazing to see that there is still a bunch of amazing people out there still.
Alongside the support I had, all of my closest mates were also giving me support to get through everything and for that I have the utmost respect for every single one of them. I am not normally the one to ask for help or support so to be given it in the circumstances was honestly incredible.
With everything that has happened, the C70 will finally be shown the love it so desires, Since owning that car I have never let it leave my side so to have it at the new address under its new Car Port home is amazing. My plan at this current moment is to get all the parts it needs and get them fitted for a Volvo Event next year down at RAF Elvington for a Guinness World Record Event. By giving myself a time limit of just over a year, this’ll give me enough time to get it fixed to it’s best abilities ready to show off as well as thank certain people properly in person.
If there was anything I could take out of the situation I found myself in, if any of you reading this are having family issues or anything, simply get out of there ASAP and get the right support needed for you and anyone involved, believe me when I say It’ll get better!, don’t be afraid to speak up and get the help you need from the likes of emergency services and the likes. For me, both the Volvo Community and numerous mates came out in force over these last few months and have helped me out tremendously with everything that went on and for that I can’t say thank you enough and appreciate everything they have done however large or small!
In the world of motorsports, it is very easy to get caught up in different styles of racing. Whether that be NASCAR, Rallying or even the LeMans 24hr that happens every year. Out of all the different kinds of motorsports out there, one stands out above the rest and for very good reasons and that is vintage racing.
Not just are the cars fantastic and the racing even more intense due to having way more wheel-to-wheel action, the drivers are on a completely different level to others. There’s nothing like seeing a classic & expensive ’60s Aston Martin DB4 GT go toe-to-toe with a multi-million pound Ferrari 250 SWB or even a Jaguar E-Type Lightweight. Watch any footage from the Goodwood Revival over the years and you’ll see exactly what I’m on about.
One thing that isn’t really brought to attention in all of the racing & atmosphere is the crews behind the drivers & all the beautiful cars and this is where Michael’s Vintage Racing come into play. Ran by a father & son crew out in the New York region, Michael’s Vintage Racing is a race-shop that has been running for well over 20 years and there whole ethos is very simple. To keep vintage race cars out of barns and garages and to have them racing on the tracks where they ultimately belong.
Every car they go out and buy, they both celebrate & study the history of the vehicle as well as it’s prowess in the sport. Whether that be with their ’66 Lotus 41 Formula B or with their ’66 Lotus Cortina MK1, each car gets the same treatment when it comes to celebrating & studying the history & prowess of the disciplines these cars were in.
As already mentioned, Michael’s Vintage Racing is a Father & Son ran company, this is good for two reasons. First of all there’s more of a connection involved with customers being it’s a family ran business and secondly, Both father & son are very well schooled when it comes to Vintage Racing.
Mike Clifford Sr. has been involved with cars since he was a teenager and he draws on decades of experience with both road and race cars from all different motorsports disciplines, including working with the N.A.R.T.’s Luigi Chinetti way back in the early ’70s. By the ’90s, he took everything he knew and applied it into the vintage racing scene & has stayed there ever since, due to this, he has unparalleled knowledge & history of vintage race cars as well as a deep rooted appreciation for them as well.
Due to this love for the vintage racing scene, when Mike Clifford Jr. came along it was only right that he followed in his father’s footsteps and that he did. His first build was a Triumph Spitfire 1500 that he fixed up with help from his old man. When it comes to racing, Mike Jr. has achieved numerous wins in Lotus Cortina’s as well as having a proven track record in a Ginetta G4. On top of all of that, he has a lot of mechanical knowledge to keep all the cars race ready. With all of this, he is more than capable of taking the company into the modern era.
Mike Jr. has a lot on his plate when it comes to looking after the fleet of cars. Unlike most people who may have at most 5 cars to go through depending on space, Mike has 16 race cars to and what a list he has as well. From a 1956 Lotus 11 S1 to a a 1974 Datsun 240Z and everything in between, the garage is both amazing and eclectic to say the least. All of the cars race too and are always race-ready as well, they’re not used for showing off and I like that.
On top of the cars they own and the history both Mike Sr. & Mike Jr. have, they also provide services as well and these include: Vintage race car restorations on pretty much everything and everything, whether it be a saloon, coupé or a formula car they’ll restore it. They also race-prep cars as well and these include: all facets of the engine, brakes, suspension and drivetrain service and repairs, chassis inspections and repairs, suspension inspections, crack testing and repair work, shock and spring testing, alignment and suspension geometry to dial the car in for racing, fluid and filter changes, a brake system service and service as well as a complete tyre test.
They also deal in Transport and Trackside services so if you find yourself needing help with either getting to events or needing help getting the car setup, these guys are on hand to help you every step of the way over a full race weekend. They can either pick the car up or you can have it delivered to them; either way, it’ll reach the track safe & sound. If you go for their arrive-and-drive service, they’ll take care of everything to make sure that all you have to do is drive the car and have fun and at the end of the day, having fun is what it’s all about in vintage car racing.
Driver training is also a service they do as well so if you’ve never driven a vintage race car before or if you haven’t had a lot of seat time in a race car before, these guys are once again on hand to help you out. With every single classic race car feeling different, it can be very easy to be thrown by the way one car drives to another and with the driver training service being available, these guys make sure that they can get the most out of the drivers performance.
With history in motocross as well as over 20 years in vintage racing, Mike Sr. has achieved many race wins and track records in various types of cars. While Mike Jr. is still a student of racing, he also has a proven track record for driving fast in multiple kinds of classic race cars and currently holds a track record in a Ginetta G4. He has won many races and awards while being behind the wheel of a Lotus Cortina.
Like many others, I love watching classic cars go wheel-to-wheel racing regardless of value or history and while I respect people buying these cars as either an investment or to keep it around for people to see, It’s even better to see them where they belong – on the track and with Michael’s Vintage Racing and all the services they do, they are keeping the vintage racing scene alive and kicking and it is great to see. Go check them out and see for yourself how amazing they really are!
2020 hasn’t exactly been a fantastic year so far. With everything from the Australian Bushfires back in January to the COVID-19 pandemic that is still currently happening, whether we like it or not, this year has affected pretty much all of us in one way or another. Even for someone like me, all the stuff that has happened so far this year has affected me in one way or another, whether that be involving ProjectC70 or even current personal issues, it’s safe to say that 2020 hasn’t been the best year yet but while it may it be a very dark tunnel, these last few weeks and especially these last few days for me at least, there seems to be a fairly bright light at the end of the very dark tunnel.
Anyone that has been around for a decent amount of time following these blogs will have probably read the article I done last year about ‘MotorHeads International‘ and why you should join it. In that article I mentioned about how there is pretty much no hate in the group considering the size of it as well as mentioning how it was originally started and how it has grown into a group of over 22K members as of when this article was written. I also included in that article how I originally joined the group and how I myself have found the group as a fellow member.
For those that haven’t read it yet, I suggest you give it a read because since writing it things have started to happen recently and even I myself can’t quite believe what’s happened. Since writing that article, I have remained a fairly active member and for obvious reasons, it’s a really good group to be a part of. I will admit, I haven’t posted that much in there due to being in so many different groups but that is al about to change now.
The other day, I was aimlessly scrolling through Facebook going past post after post when all of a sudden I noticed a little something from the Motorheads International page and it instantly made me stop what I was doing and I couldn’t say why but there was just something saying to give it a read and I’m glad I did because It read thusly: “We currently have spaces for Admins going, preferably from Australia region so we can have a 24/7 look over of the group, for anyone who’s interested get in contact” Now, some of you may think, “Wait, aren’t you from the UK?” and to those who ask I say yes, I am indeed from the UK and when I first read that I’ll admit I was hoping it wasn’t location based but hey ho, I don’t make the rules.
Alas to that, I decided to leave a comment saying that whoever gets the position will be an Admin to a fantastic group and I wish them all the best. Thinking nothing of it, I decided to scroll on by to go laugh at the internet and everything it has to offer when all of a sudden I noticed that my Facebook started to light up like a badly maintained VW’s dashboard. Upon clicking onto my notifications, I was fully expecting to be tagged in something screwed up by my mates or even a notification that someone had posted something into groups I’m in but no. I had a notification letting me know that a reply had been made to the comment I made on the MHI post. Surprised, I clicked on it and read it out and even though it was originally offered to people in Australia, They were willing to take little old me on as part of the team.
After asking for a little bit of information, I got a message from a fellow member running me through the gist of what to do as well as ow to compose myself if anything was to arise into a full on argument. After answering everything and putting across my enthusiasm for joining the team, I was given the green light to join and I am now officially a Moderator. I have been told that I’ll become an Admin in time once I learn the ropes and show my commitments to the group but even now I’m really happy with the outcome.
As a moderator, it’s my job to go through pending posts as well as comments and delete any that might make the group look bad or cause issues for fellow members. This could be anything from hate to name calling or even a post full of not-so-great comments & shenanigans. Alongside doing that, I also have the perk of recruiting people with lovely cars into the group as well as going through Youtube Videos to check for both content as well as any bad language.
Just today, I’ve already sent a invite to a guy with a beautiful Volvo 780 Bertoné. On top of that I was able to watch a Youtube video of a guy who is building an EV Nissan 350Z build using Tesla batteries and motors and while the language wasn’t that acceptable of the group, It was different to see a 350Z build using Electric motors and batteries instead of the VQ that is usually found in those cars.
So far, being a moderator/admin is a really good thing to be, especially for a group like MHI. Now I’m a part of the team behind it, expect a lot more posts and maybe even articles from the group and people in the group. As a member who has been in that group for a couple years now, I’m glad to be able to shape the future of MHI and help build it into a group known the world over. Thanks goes to everyone who let me become a part of the team, I really appreciate it.
As a lot of you on here know already, I am always happy to see a MK1 Volvo C70 Coupé get some much needed recognition from the motoring press and from fans alike, especially considering that even the early ones are hitting 20+ years old. To see recognition being given once again to a car that most have forgotten about, as an owner It has to be celebrated and applauded and in my opinion, one of the best ways to do that is by having a really well made & detailed scaled-down model of the car in question. This is where DNA Collectibles come in.
For those that may not of heard of DNA Collectibles, they are a company based out in Switzerland that build highly detailed Resin models of cars. Think of them as a competitor to AutoArt if you so wish. DNA Collectibles have only been around since 2017 but ever since launch they have made a good handful of very good models, those of which include the Peel Engineered P50 as well as the Bond Bug. Since launching the company, DNA Collectibles have won numerous UK Diecast awards in the 1/18th scale category for a good handful of their models, with the latest being awarded to their Volvo P1800 ‘Jensen’.
Over the last few months and well over the last year they have been making a good few well-known Volvo & Saab models for us Swedish car nuts to go mad over with some of these including the Saab 9-3 Turbo X, the Volvo 780, the Volvo V70 P2R and recently both the Saab 9-4X and the Saab 9000 Aero. Within that lot, DNA decided to create a P80 MK1 Volvo C70 Convertible and it sold really well in the Volvo Community and ever since then, they have been inundated with requests for a C70 Coupé for the rest of us C70 owners and after months of requests, they have finally gave in and are in the process of making a 1/18th scale model of the C70 Coupé and I couldn’t be happier!
Why am I happy you may ask? Well, It’s simple really. Not a lot of model car companies create scaled down models of Volvo’s, let alone C70’s so to get the chance to own a 1/18th scale model of the vehicle you have in real life is honestly an incredible yet weird feeling. Now DNA Collectibles are not the first to ever recreate the C70 as a scaled down model, in fact numerous model companies have made models of them for Dealership networks and collectors the world over. So far, the French company Minichamps have been the only real company to get the detailing right. The only issue for 1/18th scale fans, the Minichamps model was only available as a 1/43 scale model as it was intended for multiple Dealership networks around the world for both salesmen and customers.
Now DNA have stepped up to the plate, from my knowledge, this new model they have planned will be the largest C70 Scale model available for us Model Car collectors. Out of all the scales available for model cars, I am a big fan of 1/18th scale models simply due to the size of them. unlike a 1/43 scale model that has very small & delicate parts, 1/18th scale models of course don’t have that issue. On top of that, if you are one of those model collectors that like modifying their cars, a 1/18th scale model is the perfect size for that!
With news that DNA are creating a C70 Coupé, I’ll definitely be getting one for a good few reasons. First of all, the model in question will be painted the same colour as ProjectC70 – Saffron Orange Pearl. Secondly, as mentioned earlier, It’ll be a great feeling to have a scaled down model of the car you own IRL. Thirdly, I’ve never had a DNA Collectibles model before so this’ll be my first entrance into the world of DNA products and their renown build quality. It’ll also be nice to see any potential for modifications to said model to recreate a 1/18th scale model of the actual ProjectC70 – wheels and everything!
Recently I myself have been wanting to create a glass cabinet to hold all of the models I currently have and while I have many models, one of which I’m not going to release too much info about, to have a C70 in my favourite scale of models would be a brilliant thing to get a hold of regardless of how much it’ll cost. DNA products aren’t entirely cheap but considering the amount of detail that goes into each and every model, It’s no surprise that a good majority of DNA customers go back to buy more models off of them each time a new one is released.
Owning a model like that also brings in a new side into being a car guy. While I have done numerous jobs and changes to ProjectC70, not once have I ever contemplated on modifying or even changing up a model due to the amount of work that is involved with such a thing but with this new one in the works, it looks as if that’ll soon be changing. In the 1/18th scale market, there is a lot of parts and bits and pieces that can be bought for them for modifying so it shouldn’t be too difficult to change around. Best bit as well, If I feel that I can’t do the job myself due to the risk of breaking something, there’s a lot of people that modify scale models for a living so I shouldn’t be stuck If I wanted to create a smaller replica of ProjectC70.
Dates and prices haven’t been released just yet but I assume it to be released sometime later this year and by going off of other items DNA sell, I expect it to be over £100 but considering the detailing that goes into them, I personally feel as if It’s worth the wait for one. I for one can’t wait to buy one to add to my collection and if you, like me, have a penchant for both model cars as well as a love for the MK1 C70, I’d be on the lookout for when it officially drops so you as well can buy one!
With it being Mental Health Awareness Week this week, it can be very easy for us fellow petrol-heads and car people to feel lost in this world. With a lot of us distancing ourselves from the outside world due to being fixated on these inanimate objects, it can be very easy for us to feel down from time to time. For a lot of us, our cars are pretty much one of our only things in life that we have left as sad as it sounds. This is where Driven Escape comes in.
As a fellow petrolhead with Epilepsy as well as mental health problems due to my illness, on a lot of occasions, my C70 project car is pretty much my only saving grace. I use my C70 to fight my epilepsy and while a majority of the time it’s not an issue, on some occasions it can be a pain in the backside. While that may be typical project car ownership issues, when mental health is involved and you’re only way of fighting it is in a right state it can certainly get to you. Driven Escape helps out with this in a truly wonderful way.
Driven Escape is a fairly small but brilliant Non-Profit Mental Awareness social media platform that helps out with mental health in the car community. Ran by a lad called Connor, he decided to set it up after going through quite a bad patch of issues himself, and just like a lot of us, he always had his cars to lift him up and help him fight it more than most people actually realised. Spurred on by this, he decided to create Driven Escape to give fellow car people going through similar issues a place to come together as a community to help people get through whatever issues they may be facing.
Even though the community and following are fairly small compared to other groups out there, Driven Escape combats this by being a very close-knit community that looks after one another. Unlike other groups that are just for classics only or just modified cars, Driven Escape has a large array of vehicles in the group ranging from MGB GT’s to Austin Metros even up to a very rare but equally lovely Isuzu Piazza. Regardless of what car you own, you’re welcomed in with welcome arms.
Alongside the social media platforms over on Facebook & Instagram, there is also a website that deals with merchandise like stickers and clothing items. Unlike other places that deal with merchandise to branch out their business, Driven Escape does something a little bit special. All the money spent that goes towards the clothing items and stickers goes to various mental health charities in the UK, a simply incredible gesture to do for the numerous amounts of people going through a bad time with mental health issues.
I’ve been lucky to speak to Connor himself and he is so welcoming to people regardless if they’re new to Driven Escape or not. Even during this pandemic that we are currently facing, Connor has been acting on it by holding live check-ins and virtual car meets over on Instagram so he can both meet new faces as well as regular faces as well as get to know the cars and any updates made to them.
Everyone who currently follows and has joined the Driven Escape Community Zone Facebook group are also brilliant people who help out regardless of what is wrong with either the car or the person behind the wheel and it really is a lovely thing to see, especially in circumstances like we have in this day and age.
The best bit about Driven Escape though is the people who follow it. In a day and age where mental health is ignored in our society simply because it isn’t entirely apparent, to see a group in the car community come together and help out fellow petrolheads is something to admire.
With the car community and the people in it being quite a bittersweet place to be in this society, it can be very easy for people to show hate for no valuable reason other than either jealousy or their own hidden issues. With Driven Escape and everything that they do, it brings back the car community and spirit of old where regardless of what you own or what stuff you do to said cars, people give respect regardless. Even if it isn’t something you’re into, respect is always given.
With a vast array of owners and cars who are part of the Driven Escape family, there’s bound to be people, cars, or even styles out there that you can get involved with. Whether it be American muscle cars or small French hot-hatches, there’s a community within a community to get involved with, add in the respect you get, and the lack of hassle you get what isn’t there to love?
Connor has really done an amazing job by creating Driven Escape and building it into what it is today. It’s not every day that you get someone from the car community going out of their way to create such a hub for fellow car people. Add the generous amounts of money given to mental health charities with the sale of both stickers and clothing items, Driven Escape really is in an element of its own. Just remember, It’s Okay Not to Be Okay.
It is well known in the car community that we as petrol-heads like to go above and beyond for fellow car people. Whether they are in the classic car groups like RPM365, general car groups like Motorheads International, or manufacturer specific car groups like VolvoTuning.net, we as car people both see and do this on the regular. Since owning my C70, I have seen this happening first hand in many groups that I’ve joined but one group and especially one member in particular instantly comes to mind and his name was John ‘Nosh’ Ronie and he helped run a group called VolvoTuning.net or ‘VT’ for short.
The word Legend gets thrown around a lot in the car community these days, too much in fact. Nosh, as he was known by his friends and peers due to owning a chippy in Sheffield, was a bonafide Legend. Ever since buying my C70 in 2015 I was looking for help and a community to be a part of, and through a friend of mine, I joined VolvoTuning.net and was instantly introduced to John. Within seconds of joining, he made me feel welcomed into the group and instantly fell for the car, I’d never felt more welcomed into anything before in my life. Throughout the 3 years of knowing John we got on brilliantly, jokes were made and help was given by both sides. Even though we both had different Volvo’s, we both respected each other regardless of model or power or anything. Granted, my C70 was more of a Volvo than his FoMoCo V50 estate but that didn’t matter.
I’m also not the only one who loved and respected the big man neither. Everyone that knew him and met him all have fantastic memories of the guy. From holding a mini-meet at a Volvo Owners Club only meet VT weren’t allowed at to others watching and laughing at him walk out of a Scottish Harry Ramsdens restaurant at the Forth Railway Bridge a few years ago with a face like thunder, everyone that ever had the chance to meet him loved his charm and his ability to simply light up a room. On one occasion, he took a fellow member on a long old jaunt around Yorkshire trying to find an ice-cream shop of all things.
Aside from the silliness, Even though Nosh was built massive and looked scary and unapproachable at first, he actually had a heart of gold. He was an avid supporter of numerous charities and always done something each year for charity, whether that was a VT meet or even a Shoebox Appeal at Christmas, he did it all and he loved it. He was also there for his numerous friends and family as well. From inviting friends over and feeding them and giving them drinks in return for a bag of sweets to giving mates around the area lifts to certain places if so needed. No one even asked for it all, John simply done it out of the kindness of his own heart. If anyone had car issues at meets or even needed parts delivered or even fitted, he’d be down and helping them out without even asking.
As well as being an avid Volvo & overall car guy, John was also a family man as well. He had a wife called Sam, two sons & a step-daughter called Skye who he absolutely adored. He also had 7 grandkids between his two sons and Skye that he’d do anything for as well. To the ones that knew him best, he was one of the greats. Whether that was family or even close friends, no-one ever came close to the love John gave out and received back.
Unfortunately, in early 2018 Nosh was diagnosed with terminal rectal cancer and when the news came out, everyone stopped in their tracks and cried. It was if the world had stopped spinning on its axis, that’s how bad it hit us all. For those lucky enough to have money spare decided to set up a JustGiving page to help out the hospice care look after him as he got worse. The overall outpours of love came flooding in and after everything had seemed to settle, the fund was up to well over £15K raised by fellow VT members and the Volvo community in general. After the news came out of his diagnosis, many people who made merchandise for the group decided to dedicate numerous stickers and mug designs to both show support and help the fund.
John ‘Nosh’ Ronie passed away on the 23rd April of 2018 after only 6 weeks of fighting his cancer, up to the day he passed he fought it with grace, a good laugh, and a brilliant heart. Even though he was fighting something absolutely devastating for both him & everyone involved, he still put other people first. This was a typical John Ronie thing to do and that was why he was so respected in the Volvo communities.
When he left us and the funeral was arranged and sorted out, Sheffield, where he was from, quickly became full to the brim of multiple Volvo’s lining the streets and the car park of the crematorium where everyone started to say their goodbyes for the last ever time. For such a small community, everyone rallied together to say their final goodbyes and it was a real tearjerker to see.
After the funeral, It was John’s wish to have his near 500bhp V50 wagon stripped for parts and sold to other members to help finish or upgrade their builds. While it was sad to see his car to go like that, John knew that it’d go towards other cars and also to the family to cover any costs they may run into. This was a completely selfless thing to do, anyone else could’ve easily sold their car on whole and just let things be but not Nosh, he really was a legend in his own right.
Even two years after his unfortunate passing, Nosh is forever remembered by numerous Volvo community members and friends of his. Recently, for example, Teddy bears have been made up by a Volvo Community member’s wife using some of Nosh’s old clothes with capsules of his ashes put inside so that he is remembered. I myself never got to meet John in real life due to either distance issues or car problems but even with that, he was one of the best people I have ever had the pleasure of talking to and laughing with.
No one did things like John ‘Nosh’ Ronie, to everyone that knew him personally can even back me up and agree. When he left us, he left behind a massive legacy that will never be filled by another individual. He is thought of every single day by everyone in the community and for obvious reasons. The Volvo community lost a gem of a bloke two years ago today and it shows.
When it comes to Japanese cars, it is very easy to remember the numerous amounts of Japanese metal that came over here throughout the ’90s. Think of the ’90s and you instantly think Skylines, Supra’s, Celica ST205 GT4’s, Mazda RX-7’s, and even the underrated yet amazing Mitsubishi GTO/3000GT. Out of the numerous Jap cars that graced our UK shores, there is one that stands out from the rest for very good reasons and that is the 8th generation Mitsubishi Galant/Legnum.
So what was the Galant and what made it so special? Well, the Galant was the flagship saloon and wagon throughout the ’70s, ’80s & especially the ’90s. Throughout the years it was instantly evolving from a good, well-rounded Japanese car into one of the best in my opinion. This especially came into effect during the majority of the ’90s where the Galant became somewhat of an underrated beast. Before we get onto the truly phenomenal 8th gen VR-4 though, first of all, I will go through the standard model first so you can get an idea of how good it actually was even in standard guise.
When the 8th generation came round in 1996, just like the previous models before it, it was vastly improved in pretty much every aspect. Instead of the curvy and rounded looks of the 7th gen, the 8th gen car was a whole lot sharper-looking, especially at the front end where it got the nickname of ‘Shark Nose’ due to its mean-looking bumper, grille and headlamp setup. Compared to a similarly aged Accord or Camry, the Galant was leaps and bounds ahead when it came to overall exterior looks.
Interior wise, they were built really well with good solid materials used all around and tons of practicality available. If you decided to specify leather seats, you got full piped seats all round that was unbelievably comfy. If you bought the Wagon like most did then you also benefitted from a massive cargo area equal to the size of a Volvo wagon. Above all of this, it gave the owner the feeling of actual class that a lot of other cars couldn’t even come close to.
Engines available ranged from a 1.8 GDi ‘4G93’ to the 3.0 V6 ‘6G72’, in the UK we got the 2.0 4 cylinder ‘4G94’, the 2.5 V6 N/A ‘6A13’ producing 163bhp, the 2.4 GDI ‘4G64’ and the 2.5 V6 ‘6A13TT’ solely for the VR-4 weapon. All the engines available suited the cars well, with power raising from 134bhp in the 2.0’s to a whopping 280bhp for the VR-4, there was an engine for everyone. Out of the bunch, both of the 2.5 V6’s were the ones to go for. They both made great power with decent reliability and pretty good MPG for a V6. Out of the three V6’s available, one stood out from the rest and that was the ‘6A13TT’ unit used in what has to be one of my favorite ever affordable dream cars – the Galant/Legnum VR-4!!
With the spotlight solely focused on the Lancer Evo’s of the ’90s, it was very easy to forget about the Galant/Legnum VR-4 and Mitsubishi knew this so, in the late nineties, they made sure the Galant was not to be forgotten – the VR-4 was back with a vengeance!! Now, this wasn’t the only VR-4 to be created, in fact, the VR-4 badge was first seen on the 6th gen Galant of the late eighties as well as the early 90’s 7th gen as well. When the 8th gen VR-4 came out in 1996, It was basically a grown-up Evo 5/6. with VR-4 standing for Viscous Realtime Four Wheel Drive, This gave the 8th gen Galant the grip of the Evo, as well as some of its features onto a bigger platform car. The engine was also seriously upgraded as well. Mitsubishi took the already brilliant 2.5 V6 ‘6A13’ from the normal car, added a couple of cheeky turbochargers as well as a massive intercooler thus creating what can only be described as a bit of a beast in automotive form.
Power was upped from a respectful 163bhp to a whopping 280bhp. this was due to a bore/stroke of 81.0 x 80.8 mm, this also gave a compression ratio of 8.5:1, not bad for a 2.5 V6 engine. Derestricted, the 8th gen VR-4 could hit 150mph which was crazy for a big saloon/wagon. 0-60 mph was dealt with within 5.7 seconds for the INVECS-II 5-speed semi-auto and a crazy 5.3 seconds for the 5-speed conventional manual, that’s still fast even by today’s standards, not bad for a car that is over 20 years old!!
With the Evo, GTO/3000GT, and now the Galant VR-4, during the ’90s Mitsubishi simply couldn’t be touched. Whether it was on the rally scene, the Sports Coupé scene, or even the super saloon scene, Mitsubishi went from being a dependable but underrated company to a manufacturer of some of the best cars for sale during the ’90s. In fact, the 8th generation Galant was so good it was awarded the ‘Japanese Car Of The Year 1996-97’ award for the second time.
Production stopped for the UK market in 2003 due to expensive build costs and overall lack of interest in the model which was a real shame considering how well built the car was and how well the VR-4 was received. Since it’s disappearance in 2003, the Galant has never been sold here in the UK and it’s highly unlikely that Mitsubishi will bring the name back, nevermind make a performance model again.
Reliability on these old Galant’s are second to none, these cars were made when Mitsubishi made their cars properly, so much so in fact that it is very easy to see one of these cars hit well over 200k miles and still drive and feel as tight as a drum. Bodywork issues aren’t too bad, now, of course, every Japanese car of this age will suffer from rust and the Galant is no exception. They tend to rust over the rear wheel arches near the door shuts so watch for that. Suspension issues can also become noticeable, especially on the VR-4’s that have a multilink setup on them.
Check the body kit on the VR-4’s for scrapes and cracks, due to the lowered suspension it is very easy to get the front bumper especially caught on high curbs. Apart from that, the 8th generation Galant is a very reliable yet capable underrated saloon & wagon, especially in VR-4 trim. If you want to get one then now is the time to buy as they’re getting really cheap for what they are. If you want a JDM Import Wagon then get searching for a Legnum VR-4, these are pretty much the same as the UK Galant but with a slightly different rear-end styling, a few more bits and pieces from the Evo’s of the generation as well as a Momo Steering wheel and Recaro front seats.
With a lot of Japanese cars from the ’90s being loved by every petrolhead going, the 8th generation Galant/Legnum stands underrated by the JDM fanboys of the world. With this being the case, prices are possibly the lowest they’ve ever been. They’re very rare as well so getting a good one won’t be easy but once found, you’ll be forever smitten with it. If you can get the even rarer VR-4 then you seriously are winning at life, In wagon form, these cars are really all you’ll ever need in life. So the next time you see one of these on the road, show a little bit more respect to one of Japans forgotten about legends.
Well well well, how time flies! Can you believe I have owned you for 5 years now? Yeah I know, I can’t quite believe it neither but here we are. After tirelessly searching for a C70 like you for well over a year, I honestly thought I’d never get one but then after searching high and low on a nationwide search, I spotted you, a little diamond in the rough. From that point on I knew I had to take a punt on you and bring you home.
I still remember the day I clapped eyes on you, unlike the pictures taken of you by your previous owner, you looked absolutely gorgeous in the flesh. Your slick Saffron Orange Pearl paint instantly caught my eye, add in your factory 17″ BBS Propus alloy wheels and you looked like nothing else in the Cul-De-Sac where you once lived. It was 6:30pm at night when I saw you but my excitement started way before that. Even though I had been saving for a car similar to you for well over 8 months into an academic year, It never quite hit me how special buying you would be. See, before you came along, my life wasn’t going that well. College staff at the time was being difficult to work with and It felt as if they tried everything in their power to stop me from getting what was my dream first car.
See, unlike some people I knew, I never had the money to get a new car on finance so, with that, it meant I had no choice but to buy a used car. The thing is though, as, with old cars, it wasn’t easy for me to pick a definite answer. There were so many nice cars and also scrappers with numerous owners out there for sale, I could’ve gone for anything I was looking at. If it wasn’t for my parents buying a MK1 S80 of a similar age, I would’ve never even found either you or C70’s in general. See, Volvo’s were never my go-to car choice. Like a lot of people, I simply preferred other marques over the Swedish giant that built you with love, care, and attention all those years ago.
Originally, My intention was to acquaint myself with a car like you after having a couple of smaller cars beforehand but when I noticed the prices that cars like you were going for, It was very difficult to get you out of my mind. With prices equal to a similarly aged Vauxhall Corsa or Renault Clio, you came in completely out of the blue with way more to offer than those two cars for pretty much the same price, this was what got me hooked. My decision was only finalized after doing an insurance quote and getting a very reasonable but unexpected price back. For the same price as a Corsa for insurance, I could get you and save about £200 on insurance and considering what you came with as standard, it was very easy to finally make my decision on what I wanted.
As soon as I got the green light from my parents, I got to work saving up every single penny to find what would be you, a very lovely but underrated little Swedish meatball. As soon as I joined back up to the college in August of that year I instantly started saving my college money together to buy you. All I had on my mind was you, nothing more & nothing less. For me to save as much money as I could, I asked my parents if they could help me save a bit of money on certain things so I could get you. Knowing how much a car like you meant to me, they obliged pretty much straight away by helping me pay my phone and also sort out packed lunches instead of paying out for food.
With this arrangement sorted out, I was well on my way to buying you. As mentioned above, It wasn’t easy going due to the staff at the college trying as hard as they might to pretty much throw me out months before getting enough money together. With them putting that amount of pressure on me with my Epilepsy, it was very lucky that I was able to keep relatively cool and focus on other things instead. With the way the staff was going, on certain occasions, it felt as if I’d never be able to live out my dream of buying a car like you.
This is when the beginning of March rolled around. My life was about to change drastically and for the good. After keeping my head down the best I could and getting on with my college work, I was able to save up a pretty decent £1700 out of a £2500 limit, this gave me enough money to find a car like you and also tax & insurance deposit as well. At the beginning of the week dating from the 2nd-9th March of 2019, it was pretty much a blur, to be honest. I was never expecting to be buying you so quickly and this was because I was originally planning to buy you in the summer of 2015 instead of the spring but with the way the college was going, I knew it wasn’t going to be long before I was either thrown out or pushed to the point of leaving out my own free will, It was now or never.
I come across the advert for you over on Gumtree on the 5th of March late at night and instantly went to show you off to my parents. After getting an answer from your previous owner, we settled on checking you out at 6:30pm the next night after both college and your previous owners work. I couldn’t keep my excitement at bay however hard I tried which was strange, especially after being able to keep it a secret to a lot of people over the 8 months of saving up. I was literally counting down the hours as they went by and the excitement got even more intense the closer it got to the end of the college day.
After college finished, I instantly headed to the bank as quick as I could to release all the funds I’d had saved up to buy you and bring you home. It was time to face the music and head to the address where you were situated. Of all the C70’s similar I’d looked at all over the classifieds on a nationwide search, I found you living 25 miles away from home and only a 10-minute drive from the college where I was studying at the time, It was as if it was meant to be.
I turned up at your old residence at 6:00pm that night and I was patiently waiting for you to turn up so I could get up close to your Swedish magnificence and you certainly didn’t disappoint when you slowly rolled in at 6:30pm that night. I still remember the first time I ever saw you. I was elated with both joy and also shock due to the impact you had on me in those first 5 minutes. I’d seen many pictures of C70’s for sale on the internet but I’d never got close to a Coupé like you before. You blew me away with your beauty pretty much straight away, all I remember saying when I walked over to you was ‘That’s My Car’ and that was before I’d even handed over any money. You blew me away so much that I didn’t even knock the price down, you were honestly perfect in my eyes.
After buying you and bringing you home, I decided to get some pictures of you the next day as I was so proud of the achievement I’d done. Without even realizing it, my phone soon started to pop off with notifications as the celebrations started to come in one by one. Within a weekend away, I’d gone from someone quiet to everyone talking about me and you. By the time I came home that weekend, you were on everyone’s mind whether good or bad.
As the months and years have gone by, me and you have had to put up with people throwing both shade and good comments our way and through it all, we’ve proved that it is possible to own a car as lovely as you without paying over the odds. While some of the comments haven’t been nice, a lot of people have made some really nice comments about you and that makes me happy.
Since becoming a project car nearly 4 years ago, you have transformed into something even more special to both me and to everyone who has had the opportunity to see you up close & personal and for that, I’m glad to put the work in to make you my dream C70. while the last few years haven’t been easy, I still have that spark to work on you regardless of circumstances.
As well as being a top car to own and live with, you have also helped me on my darkest days and have proved to many people that an epileptic can indeed own, drive and fix a car of their own and not be treated any different than anyone else. it’s not the first time you have saved me neither. When I went through my breakup a few years ago that caused me to have two fits in one night and lose pretty much everything, you were sitting there with open arms to fix your little issues.
From that point on, alongside my writing, you became lovingly known as ProjectC70 and you have opened me up to your epicness in a way I never thought was possible. Every time I go out to work on something wrong with you, I am at my calmest and happiest and you make that possible by being relatively easy to work on and fix.
I have been able to have the confidence to fix major issues wrong with you and get them fixed with relative ease without stressing out on missing bolts or screwing something up. The Volvo community loves you and the work that I have been able to put into you over these last 4 years.
I still can’t quite believe that it’s been 5 years since I originally clocked eyes on you and brought you home, the years and good times have come in quick for the both of us. We’ve met some amazing people and also some people not worth mentioning but through it all, both me and you have shown that with a lot of love and determination to make things worse, we can both go from strength to strength regardless of what people say so from me to you, Happy 5th anniversary ProjectC70!
When it comes to cult cars of the ’60s, it is very easy to mention pretty much any Ferrari, the Aston Martin DB5, the Jaguar E-Type or even the humble yet well-loved Mini. With so many great cars coming out in the ‘Swinging Sixties’, it is very easy to look over a certain car for another that is very similar, look at the Mustang vs Camaro battle or the Ferrari 250GT vs the Lamborghini 350/400GT rivalry for example. One of those cars I feel has been semi-forgotten about is the beautiful yet simple Volvo P1800.
Before we start on the subject at hand, however, I’ll start off with a bit of history first. So, it’s the late ’40s & early ’50s and Volvo have just released their PV444 onto the market to cement Volvo’s future just after the devastation of WW2. The PV was the first Volvo in 20 years to come equipped with a 4-cylinder engine to reduce emissions and to increase fuel economy.
Through this time, Volvo soon got a reputation for building well-built, strong & dependable cars and so with this in mind, Volvo decided that the best thing to do was to take it rallying to show off how dependable it actually was. to no-ones surprise, the PV stormed to numerous victories on its home turf of Sweden as well as numerous other rally stages around the world at the time. With numerous victories in the bag and the 4-cylinder engines showing their worth in both performance and reliability, Volvo decided to build an open-top sports car with similar build credentials of the C1 Corvette.
What I mean by that is simple. Just like the Corvette, Volvo’s new sports car was to have a body made of fiberglass to make it as light as possible and with one of the well-known ‘B’ series engines powering it, it was meant to be quick. I mean it was meant to be a sports car after all. Called the ‘Volvo Sports’ or the ‘P1900’, it was released in 1956 and was made to take on the American market due to their fondness of sports cars. Unfortunately, due to the lack of power the 4-cylinder gave out & the lack of knowledge the Americans had about Volvo at the time, it was pretty much a flop. So much so in fact, by the next year, only 68 had been made and that was it, Volvo pulled the plug. With that amount of criticism given, Volvo went back to the drawing board and vowed to never make the same mistake twice. This was where the P1800 was born.
Bursting onto the scene in 1961, the P1800 soon got the attention of many sports car lovers from all over the world. for a start, it looked way better than the P1900 it had succeeded and secondly, the engine was majorly reworked to produce a pretty decent 100bhp from its 1.8 ‘B18’ engine. While this didn’t make it as quick as an Aston Martin DB4 or a Ferrari 250GT, it had a 400cc & 30bhp size & power increase over the P1900 and the PV that came before it making it pretty brisk in comparison. Add in the beautiful looks done by Pelle Petterson under the tutelage of Pietro Frua of Ghia, it looked as elegant as a Ferrari or a Lamborghini but with a price tag, badge and build quality of a typical Volvo of the time, think of it as their ‘Exotic’ if you like.
With that in mind, the P1800 started to sell surprisingly well and was starting to be loved the world over as a very good entry-level GT car. The engine & drivetrain was bulletproof with hardly any issues to really fix, the interior was simply stunning for a Volvo of the time and it was wrapped in one of the prettiest bodies the ’60s had ever seen, what was there not to like?
Originally, the P1800 came with what was known as a ‘Jensen’ Body. See, unlike many cars of the time that was pretty much put together and crafted by hand, Volvo decided to get the UK-based sports car company, Jensen, to build the body while Volvo did the rest. This made production costs and overall build time quicker thus meaning more cars could be made and eventually sold to the public. Out of all the P1800’s going, these ‘Jensen’ bodied cars are the rarest and the most sought after variants of the P1800.
By 1963, due to a problem with quality control, Volvo ended the contract with Jensen after nearly 6000 cars were built and moved the production to their Lundby plant in Gothenburg, Sweden in favor of the new 1800S. Now while many think the ‘S’ stood for Sport, it actually stood for ‘Sverige’ or Sweden once translated into English. This meant the new cars were better built with stronger bodies. with the ‘S’ the P1800 really came into its own as a dependable yet sporty GT coupé, on top of the stronger body, the engines got an 8bhp upgrade over the original 100bhp cars. by 1966 the power was upgraded yet again to 115bhp giving it a top speed of 109mph.
By the time the ’70s rolled by, the P1800 got upgraded yet again into what we now know as the P1800E. the ‘E’ stood for ‘Einspritz’, the German word for fuel injection. The engine was also upgraded with the ‘B20E’ engine which as the name suggests was a ‘B’ series engine with a 2.0 displacement and of course, the then-new fangled Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection system fitted. on top of that, the camshaft was also revised to give out a full output of 130bhp while still remaining the same fuel economy as the earlier cars. this power increase gave a top speed of 118mph and a 0-60 of 9.5s which was quite good for back in the day.
The 1800E was also the first P1800 model to get brake discs all round as well for improved braking over the earlier cars that had discs on the front and drums on the rear. With Volvo being all about safety, this was a massive step forward in the car industry for the time. In 1972, to meet emission standards, the engine was changed out for the lower compression ‘B20F’ unit for certain markets including the USA. Along with the new ‘F’ head, the ECU, manifold pressure sensor and head gasket were also changed out for the cars with the new ‘B20F’ engines. Power for these was down to 125bhp which might sound like a bit of a disaster but in reality, it made the car easier to live with and more of a cruiser than an out & out sports car.
In 1972, alongside the new ‘B20F’ engine available, there was also a new variant of the P1800 to accommodate the new engine and this one was by far the one everyone remembers and for very good reasons. Called the ‘1800ES’, the new car was a shooting brake style design instead of the 2-door 4-seater coupé the P1800 was known for. featuring a longer body & wheelbase & longer rear quarter windows as well as the all-new rear end to accommodate the full rear tailgate area that was made entirely of glass. When the 1800ES was getting designed and signed off, Sergio Coggiola & Pietro Frua built two prototypes but both were considered too futuristic for some and the design eventually went to Jan Wilsgaard’s design proposal instead. as mentioned, the new-fangled ‘B20F got fitted into the P1800ES giving the car a detuned output of 125bhp and this was done by giving the car a thicker head gasket & a lower compression ratio. This made the car easier to drive and not as on-edge as the older cars thus drastically improving the driving experience in the process.
The 1800ES was also very practical as well, with a foldable rear bench, a large cargo area and of course the full glass tailgate, this was a sports car that could actually haul IKEA furniture if needs be. Due to the large cargo area, this was also brilliant for long road trips as it could take a lot of bags without too many major issues. While on the subject of road trips, the gearboxes used in the ES were also perfect for long trips. while the 4 speed with overdrive stayed with the car, new to the ES was a 3-speed Borg-Warner automatic. The ES was in production for two years before getting killed off altogether in 1974 due to upcoming stringent emissions standards of the time.
In its 13 years of production, 39,407 coupés & 8,077 ES’s were produced making it very popular for the time. Even after nearly 46 years after the last P1800 rolled out of the production line, the cars have become quite a collector’s item with many an owner and fan lusting after them and keeping them for years. With thanks to the 60’s TV series called ‘The Saint’, a white P1800 and P1800S adorned UK & US televisions cementing these cars in the hearts of millions worldwide.
Famous owners and also fans of the car were both the late greats, Sir Roger Moore & Irv Gordon to name a few. Sir Roger loved driving the P1800 so much on set he actually bought one for himself and for a time, this was his only car. Sources close to Roger say that he used to take his kids to school in the back of said white P1800 similar to the one on the show which must’ve been pretty cool, to say the least.
Irv Gordon, on the other hand, became well known in both the Volvo circles as well as the car community for owning a red 1800S that over time started to gather up well over 3,000,000 miles as of and after 2013. Irv’s car was credited with being awarded a ‘Guinness World Record’ plaque for celebrating such a milestone. in a twist of fate, however, Irv, unfortunately, passed away in late 2018 while away on a trip to China. With an indicated 3.2M miles on the clock when he passed, no other car has even come close to that humble little Volvo.
With a lot of classic cars getting love for many different reasons, I think its time to show a bit more love & recognition to the Volvo P1800. It may have been a Volvo to some but to others, it was every bit an icon to those who have continued to own them over the years. It may not have had the pace of a Ferrari or an Aston but what it lacked in some departments it made up for in others. If it’s good enough for Sir Roger Moore then it’s good enough for the rest of us.
As any petrolhead knows, the car community is absolutely huge. Look anywhere on social media or online on the likes of Youtube and you’ll get an idea of how large the community actually is. For me, I’m in many groups on social media and I’m friends with many different wonderful people in countries thousands of miles away who all share the same passion; cars! So why is it a surprise then when I say that nearly every single day, yet another fellow car guy suffers from some form of mental health issue?
It’s no surprise really when you understand that the once-great community we surround ourselves in has now turned into what seems to be a massive row and argument over who has the best or cleanest or even the most expensive car at the likes of meets or even groups. When you have people behaving like that, it is no wonder that one by one people start to leave the once brilliant community behind. Now even I admit that there is more to it than just meets, even if you are like me and you fix never-ending project cars if you don’t get no help even when literally shouting from the rooftops then that can very easily turn you off fixing the car in question and can really affect your head even if you feel fine otherwise. I know this situation all too well as it has happened to me before on numerous occasions and let me tell you, it is not a nice feeling to be in a situation like that at all. It turns out that I’m not the only one who’s been like this at one point in their lives neither.
In some cases, someone could already be feeling down through other things and all the hate and lack of support you can possibly get in the current car scene pretty much tips them over the edge. With mental health issues being so broad and being very well hidden (especially those who are men), It’s very easy to judge and come out with stuff without realizing what’s actually going on inside someone’s head. I’ve been unfortunate enough to see this enough in a good few mates I’ve made through the car scene and it isn’t easy to watch whatsoever, especially when you consider them to be good mates of yours.
All is not lost however, all the stuff I mentioned above is easily reversible, in fact, it’s one of the easiest things to fix. First of all, and I know this sounds daft but if someone you know needs some help and they live close by then simply suggest and ask if you can give them a hand, not just will this get you busy but it’ll also help out the people involved.
Don’t ever put anyone’s car down, whether that be to someone’s face or even behind their backs. The main issue with the car community is everyone’s opinions bouncing off each other and once they become conflicted causing an argument that’s when things get bad and it’s simply not needed. Regardless of if it’s to your taste or not, its not a nice feeling for someone to put hours and hours of blood, sweat & tears into building their dream build just for it to be shot down in flames because one person doesn’t like a certain part or a certain way someone has fixed or modified something.
If someone you know is feeling down and needs taking out of their slumber they’re in, there is a lot of things you can do that can & will instantly boost said person(s) mood pretty much tenfold. Whether their car is on the road or not, one of those activities you can do is take the person to a well-known petrol-heads place of interest, whether it’s ‘Caffeine & Machine’ in the UK or even to a ‘Cars & Coffee’ event, these types of places are brilliant for talking to people and sharing the love of cars.
Even a simple convoy with a few like-minded mates to a well-known tourist attraction has been known to boost people’s moods pretty much straight away. Nothing makes a car person feel better than going out on drives with good mates on good roads, the memories stick with everyone involved for years on end as well which is a pretty good feeling as well.
If like me you are involved in a lot of amazing car groups, get to speak to some reoccurring members of the groups to find out where there might be some events you could both could go to, regardless of size it gets a gaggle of people out from the current situations they might be in and for a day or so, they forget about everything that is currently wrong and embrace themselves in the moment and for that, they’d forever be thankful. Groups I would personally recommend are both ‘Motorheads International’ or ‘RPM365’ due to their wonderful helping, caring members creating an equally amazing atmosphere. There’s hardly any hate in any of these groups and the admins are always on top of things if things start to get iffy, these two groups alone feel like a massive family instead of a typical car group.
The last point I’ll make is a simple one but yet so poignant. If you really want to help anyone who is having mental health issues regardless of what it is, simply sit down and listen to the person affected and support them the best you can. whether it’s by joining them in a game on a games console or even being around them in other ways, listening and support go a long way to help someone fight their insecurities and current issues. It’s very easy to try and make out that it’s nothing important and that it’s just a phase but for a lot of people, it is a whole lot more serious than just that so instead of trying to be the big man by ignoring desperate pleas for help, simply listen to them and support them the best way you can.