Introducing The Burg

Guest post by Tim. 

It all started with an (seemingly) innocuous advert on everyone’s favorite ODV hunting ground, Craigslist.  Listed was a 1974 Volvo 164E with a spun bearing and in need of some other minor repairs. As it happened, this same family had two other cars for sale…

“volvo 164’s from 72 and 73. Rusted out. both 4 speed od fuel injected. 250 each. You figure out how to winch them out. have good 14 inch tires…”


I think “…rusted out…” would be a charitable description, at best. Nevertheless, after venturing into the incredibly rural “Quiet Corner” of Northeastern Connecticut twice to scope out the cars and haggle with the price, we settled on $600 for all three. The only other minor sticking point we were concerned about was the “You figure how to winch them out”. It was only on arrival on the towing day did we finally discover that the two cars that had resided in the upper stone-fenced pasture for the past twenty-five years had successfully been towed down to a flat, hard surface for loading. My joy at not having to convince the flatbed driver to venture up into a muddy field was short lived when the mid-hoist, one of the hydraulic lines burst on the truck.


Since the bed was already in the down position, it would have to be moved back into the transit position anyway, the choice was made to finish winching the blue 164 onto the truck and hope for the best.

Once again fortune smiled upon us, and with only a few minor hydraulic fluid geysers, the first car was ready to roll out. The tow company dispatched a second truck, so after an interminable wait, the second and third cars were secured and ready to roll.

Little did I know that the driver of the second truck didn’t want to waste any time in getting from nowhere CT to Wrentham MA. This meant that my precious Volvo would be going on I84, the Mass Pike and I495. Talk about heart stopping…


The two parts cars were unloaded to their final resting place.


While The Burg landed near the garage, where the heart transplant would take place.


So what did we buy in our quixotic quest for the most unusual of ’70’s Volvos? In the strictest sense of the phrase, we did in fact buy three Old Dead Volvos. First up is the blue ’72 (Spitey), followed by the orange ’72 (Bitey) complete with sunroof. Last but not least is the burgundy ’73, (The Burg). All three are powered by the B30F engine (in US tune worth around 138hp), with a M410 four speed manual transmission (with overdrive). Spitey and Bitey, as the ad noted, were rusted beyond salvage, but potentially both with good engines, and enough spares to make the endeavor worthwhile. As The Burg had been running a year or so prior, one of the ostensibly good engines would be yanked and inserted into its engine bay.

Why even bother with this? The Burg is an incredibly clean machine for its age, with minimal rust and most of it’s interior present. Most of the parts needed to make one good running car are (probably) present, so with minimal outlay I can have a running, somewhat rare vintage Volvo. This of course remains to be seen…

All photographs courtesy of Carrie Capizzano.

    • Ben
    • May 29th, 2014

    Haha, I went to go look at those cars at one point as well. I bought 2, A 1971 with automatic, and the Orange car in your photos. Trying to work with that kid was a nightmare, months between emails, I had to resort to calling his parents about picking them up because he would not answer the phone (even after I had paid for the car in advance). The reason “Spitey” has it’s steering rack torn to crap is because he thought it’d be a good idea to use that as a towing point. Long story short, I wound up with a much more rusted, rear-ended, useless pile of garbage and mice in my yard (he convinced my tow driver that it was the best of the lot, as in, it could be moved a little). If you have any seat parts, I’d be very interested. I may have a few bits you need. He was using my car as the donor for Burg. He probably mentioned me, I didn’t pay for the heap of garbage he sent me to replace the orange car, though I offered to give it back to him!

    PS. Wanna build a 165?

    • Hey, Ben! It’s awesome to hear from you. Your story sounds similar to ours, except that we ended up with all three cars. Sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for you, but stay tuned for more on The Burg – it will live yet, and it will make it to Swedish Car Day at Larz in August!

  1. You’ve got guts, that’s for sure!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: