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New Life for A Vintage Volvo w/Automatic

I am happily semi retired and i found a Nice 122 S.I have owned a few when the kids were younger.The cars were always reliable 4 spds,and known for having a bullet proof tranny.So why am I hesitant now?Has anyone had any experience with early Volvos A.T.?We did have a '76 s.w. with an A.T. that had 437K.Any comments would be much appreciated folks.Hate to see this fine ol’girl go to the crusher.Thoughts?

I’ve not heard anything good about the early ATs. Why not just find one with a manual?

Have you driven it? How does the transmission perform? If there is any hint of slipping, it will need expensive attention soon. Also, it’s an old car. I hope this won’t be your daily driver.

Easier said than done Tex…The car is in fine shape,in and out,My heart is running roughshod o’er my head here.Thank you sir.

Hints of slipping.will do JT.

You might consider a 2nd job to keep the car running

Your choice of course. I’m basing this on comments by a person that is very experienced in all manner of cars of this era. Here’s what he said about the ZF transmission on the 144 and your 122:

"That’s correct, Volvo used that same BW [Borg Warner] box and it made the car a bit of a dog, (well, actually a genuine dog) ---- what with a 4 cylinder engine, and gearbox ratios more suited to a car with a much larger engine. Yes, you could downshift by stepping on the gas, but if that cable was least bit out of adjustment, no dice.

Like anything else, you clean it, adjust it regularly, it works better. The Volvo 122, the prior model, also used this gearbox, with similarly dismal results. Lots 'o people convert to 4-speeds. "

Were the Volvo 122’s you owned automatics or manual transmissions? Many early Volvo’s were sticks. If you owned one with an auto then you know what to expect of performance. If you owned a stick, then you’ll be disappointed with the auto. The car has some pep with a stick, but is much less zippy with an auto.

As far as reliablility; the cars are very old now so you can’t really expect reliability. Therefore the question is if the trans has a problem, can you replace it, rebuild it, or repair it easily? If parts are available, perhaps yes. If parts are rare and scarce perhaps not.

I’d pass on the auto version and keep you eyes on the lookout for a manual 122.

Thank you one and all.I fear the auto.trans on this cherry 122 would be too problematic.And slow as molasses.A conversion is a remote possibility tho.