This week we had a great visit from John Hartley, co-owner of a ‘Volvo Amazon’ come in for a Rolling Road tune. John who owns the car along with his friend Barry Smith had bought this 1969 model of a Volvo Rally car off eBay a couple of years ago and entirely re-built the car with Barry, in his workshop across 14 months.

The pair worked hard to re-build and restore every part of the car, which had been neglected for some time. The engine re-build and modifications took place at Mini Sport’s own engineering department as part of M.A.D. ‘It definitely goes a lot quicker than the original Amazon’ John told me.


The Amazon’s three-box styling was inspired by the design of American cars in the 1950’s and its construction adapted the aesthetic traits of iconic US automobiles like the Chrysler New Yorker and 300c Hardtop Coupe. In recent years cars like the ‘Volvo Amazon’ have made a come-back with speed demon, Guy Martin claiming that his modified ‘Volvo Vox Amazon’ will ‘“…outstrip anything on the road. It won’t lose anything in depreciation to become out-dated.’’

The ‘Volvo Amazon’ often regarded for reliability and durability as a safe and steady domestic car, often comes with a Rally history that re-instates the cars performance credentials. With Volvo often pioneering the way for safety; launching the first three-point seatbelt and ensuring protection through an extensive range of features; the Volvo Amazon was a strong contender in classic rally-circles throughout the 1960’s.

With only 200 miles on the clock; John brought the Amazon in for a tuning on the rolling-road. ‘It really just needs a good running in’ John told me as Michael ran a compression test.

The car with a gallant exterior and a unique metallic, Pacific blue paint-job really beamed with classic character. ‘Wait until you see the interior’ John continued; expecting caramel leather and walnut, I was shocked to see that Barry and John had in-fact kitted the car out with contemporary bucket seats and a pristine interior.


The gears were in an un-conventional arrangement with the gearbox donated by a Volvo P1800, the car driven by Roger Moore in the 1962 ‘The Saint’. John and Barry had salvaged a lot of parts and accessories from classic cars of a similar era.

Michael definitely gave this Amazon ‘the running-in’ that John requested and tuned the car for optimum economy and performance. Both Barry and John are members of Lancashire Automobile Club and Clitheroe & District Motor Club, recently taking part in the St.Georges Day Run ‘Drive-it-day’ on the 23rd April.

We hope to see John, Barry and the Amazon again. It’s great to discover the stories of some of these classic cars and the time spent on restoring and refreshing a neglected wreck from a golden era.


You can view videos from the Rolling Road Tuning of this Volvo Amazon over on the Mini Sport Facebook & Instagram