Thursday, May 04, 2017

a cautionary true story about driving from one side of the continent to another... the things that went wrong are various and astounding.... here's Peter and his 1966 Volvo story

in a group of 27 Volvos, he went through the Amazon jungle enroute to the Brazil Olympics.

"After a warm welcome at the Dutch Embassy in Paramaribo 27 classic Volvo’s and 4 Toyota Landcruisers started this 7000 kilometre rally on the 12th of July.

The 2nd 300 km of endless washboard road across the savanna type terrain to the border of Brazil wreaked havoc on our cars. The constant vibration cracked one of the brake lines of our red Volvo Amazon.

We decided to continue the last 30 km to reach Brazil with only our handbrake.

Sadly this was not our last mechanical breakdown for that day; after only 5 km we lost ignition. After 3 hours of waiting in the blistering sun, eaten alive by a whole array of bugs, the mechanic team finally caught up with us, and concluded that they had to tow us.

Towing a car with no brakes on an unpaved road cost us 5 towlines.

On our way to Manaus our car took a hard hit when we were unable to evade one of the many big holes in the road. This resulted in the entire engine block moving forward in its rubber mounts and boring a foot wide hole in the radiator.

(in a group of over 2 dozen cars, of the same manufacturer, which was an organized and planned event with about a year of prep... why not get everyone to drive the same car model year so spare parts are interchangeable and EVERYONE can use the same supply of the spares? Too obvious? Just me?) (I'll be damned if I will ever drive around the jungle with dozens of people, no two having interchangeable parts, but everyone drives a VW for example, hell no. Everyone drives a mid 60s bug, or everyone drives some other thing that is known around the world for being made by the millions, with spare parts cheap and easy to find in every country) 

Enroute to Chapada dos Guimares we suffered another mechanical breakdown. This time it was our fourth gear that broke. We had no other option than to finish the day in third gear."

Why use a Volvo Amazon? It's got a proven track record:

Not only did an Amazon win the Shell 4000 twice, in 1964 and 1965, it also lays claim to three class wins, a second overall finish, a third overall finish and two fourth overall finishes.

On top of that, the Volvo 122’s other race or championship wins include Swedish Saloon Car Championship (1960, 1961),
Swedish Ice Championship (1961),
German Touring Car Championship (1961),
European Rally Championship (1963),
European Ladies Championship (1963),
RAC European Touring Car Championship (1965),
Acropolis Rally (1965), Syd Rally Sweden (1965)
and the New Caledonia Safari Rally (1967).  has a full list of all the Amazon’s other many podiums and class wins.


  1. Brazil is not for beginners.

    1. correct, so first they did some mild runs... across the Gobi and Sahara, the same route as the famous trans siberian express, through the city of Ulan Ude. Then across the American continent from the most southern tip Ushuaia all the way to its most northern tip at Dead Horse Alaska. That's all in the first paragraph of the story at the source link.

      After all that, then they went to the Amazon jungle and had their car break down this badly