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164RS project


Thanks for the positive comments guys!

A small update, just to show progress is being made.

A couple of years ago, a batch of OE replacement 164 foglights was made, and I bought a set


These lamps are prone to rust, so I am taking precautions to make them last.
I sprayed the backs with red oxide primer


Is it possible to still get a set or do you know somebody that still has one but is never going to use them?
Hi, and Happy New Year.

I have been working on the car, but there are few photos because despite many hours of work, the small progress made doesn't look much!

I have been working on the right doors. So far I have installed 240 central locking actuators and made linkages to make them work with the 164 locks. (There are also some anti-theft features, so I won't show photos on a public forum, just in case).

To fit the side glass, I had to remake the window regulator for the driver's door. The original had rusted away and many months ago, we made a replacement - but that one has been lost since then, probably during the move to my new workshop, so I decided to make another.

The biggest job was to adjust the fitment of the window frames to get tolerably good panel gaps all around them, and to ensure the door seals had firm contact all round. This involved lots of trial and error, and physical mods to both doors and frames. It took at least a full day per door (!) but I am happy with the result now. The left doors won't take quite so long because I have now established what works and what doesn't.

I have also been refining the mounting of my sports front seats. (These seats will be retrimmed to match the interior fairly soon). Seat mountings that flex during spirited driving are a pet hate of mine, so I wanted to make them really secure but without adding masses of weight or cluttering the interior with extra braces and cross-members.

I had worked out the basics a couple of years ago (including strengthening plates welded to the floor) but the seat position was not right. With some reworking, I now have the driver's seat securely fitted in the right place to give me a good driving position with enough head and leg room. Modified original 164 mountings (onto the cross-member) locate the seats, and take some of the weight, and additional threaded mountings front and rear take most of the weight and prevent any movement. The rear mount is central and tucked well under the seat to avoid cluttering the interior visually or obstructing rear passengers' feet. On final fitting, the mountings will be trimmed so they blend in.



I have also started cleaning the roof lining, and it's coming up well. I should have taken some 'before' photos, but the sunvisors will give you some idea of what it was like!

I have scrubbed it using an fantastic cleaner called Vector. (A friend of mine sell this stuff, so PM me for contact details if you want to buy some!). Although the photo doesn't show it well, after a first pass the lining looks really good. I will scrub it once or twice more, and after that I'm confident it will be 99% 'as new' - there are just two tiny areas of damage that I can repair.

OK, I think that's all for now.



I have been working steadily on the 164, mainly on the doors. There isn't a lot to show in terms of progress because the time has been spent installing central locking (from a 240, many thanks Lucien!), improving security, and trying for 'zero-rattles' build quality.... which takes a lot of time optimising every component.

Mirrors are fitted. Drilling holes for these wasn't a fun experience!


I had to modify the left one to allow more adjustment travel


The driver's door is now built, except for the quaterlight latch.

I sprayed the back of the door cards with clear lacquer to give some extra protection from water, in addition to a new polythene membrane.

For added bling I am using a door step trim from an earlier 140/164, and door latch surrounds from the 262C.

The wrinkles in the door card vinyl along the central bright trim are from manufacture I think. They show up much worse in the photograph, in the flesh it looks pretty good.


That's all for now, more soon


Before the work update, I should let you know that I have slightly changed my project goal for the 164. It helps me work to a theme, to guide me towards a cohesive finished product, and originally I said:

"The concept is to build something like Volvo might have done at the time, if they had decided to do a homologation or fast-road version of the 164."

I have now moved away from the 'homologation' theme, and instead I'm thinking:

"Motor-show Concept Car, to demonstrate the potential for a sporting, luxury 164; a 1970s Swedish competitor for AMG and Alpina road cars"

The change doesn't alter the mechanical specification, but it allows me to take the interior trim a little further up-market, improving on some of the cheapo parts fitted by Volvo. They wouldn't have bothered with this for homologation, of course, but an up-market concept car would have needed a higher standard of interior trim.

All along, I had ideas to enhance what Volvo offered originally in my car - e.g. fitting the early 140/164 polished aluminium door step trims instead of the black plastic. Now I can take this a little further, but it will be kept simple and functional - in line with the Swedish design ethos.

I won't be throwing on electrical gizmos for the sake of it. I'll only add accessories if I value them (e.g. central locking), no gadgets I don't like (so no electric seats or electric windows). I'll try for the up market feel by using better quality materials.

An inspiration for this was the Hermes 240. I don't like some details on that car (e.g. wood interior trim has no place in a Swedish car, in my opinion) but I do really like the idea of upping the quality and craftsmanship within the original design principles.


So, onto the update:

The doors are reassembled (apart from one window winder I can't yet find - sure it will turn up). I'm pleased with how they look

To protect my door trims, I sealed the holes in the door casing, directing water inside the cavity where it will flow out of the drain holes, then made new waterproof membranes.



The first of my quality upgrades is on the B-pillar trims. The originals are thin, hard moulded plastic. In my case, there was some bad warping as well. Originally, there would have been one piece for each pillar, but they tend to break at the weakest point, next to the seatbelt slot. This doesn't matter, in fact it's an advantage because it makes them much easier to deal with.


I like the contrast of tan with black detailing inside the 164, so I am staying with that. I love the orangey tan, it's pretty intense and I think it would look sickly if everything was that colour. So, I bought some black alcantara (fake suede).


I prepared the pillars by using a layer of duct tape to replace the paper membrane Volvo fitted, then I glued on a small square of matching fabric where the pillar might be visible through the seatbelt slot.



First job on the pillar trims was to improve their poor condition and shape. I used a heat gun to soften the plastic, then straightened them with blocks of wood.



I am using the lower-half trims from a 240 because they fit the same but have a simpler shape than the 164 originals - easier to trim. (However, I found out that the top-half trims from a 240 don't fit.... I discovered after trimming a pair.... that the top seatbelt mount is an inch higher on a 240).

The lower-half trims needed a skim of filler to get to an acceptable shape.

Part of the damage to the upper half is caused by the design of the seatbelt mount deforming the trim. There is a thick strengthening washer which really needs to be next to the metal of the pillar, but inevitably gets refitted over the top of the trim because there's no access underneath it when it's fitted.

I bonded the washers to the back of my trims, to hold the washer in the right place during fitting. On the front face of the washer, I removed enough plastic from the trim so that the spacers tube can have the correct metal-to-metal contact.


To prepare the trims for the contact adhesive, I sanded and degreased them, and removed any jagged parts where they had snapped in two.


I applied the contact adhesive to the piece of fabric and to the front of the trim, then when dry pressed them together.


The lower trims required some careful trimming to make the material follow the compound curves


When the front looked good, I glued the edges around the lip.

They're hard to photograph inside the car because the material absorbs so much light, but they look and feel very much better than the originals.


To continue this theme, I will be trimming the A-pillars, rear quarter-window surrounds and parcel shelf in the same fabric.

All for now... more soon

Hi, some news on the project is long overdue!

Just a short update for today, but there will be more to come soon.

I have had a long-term dip in motivation for the 164 project, but thanks to Ste's Granddad (yes, really) my mojo is coming back.

His Grandfather sadly had to give up driving, and his lovely gold 164 came into Ste's ownership. Driving it rekindled my memories and enthusiasm for mine.

For health reasons, my income is likely to drop considerably, so I am re-planning some aspects of this project for cheaper alternatives, to allow for getting it finished with the potential to upgrade later. I'll still try to work to a high standard, just using more ingenuity and less cash...


I have taken the block and head to the engineering workshop. The block is being bored and sleeved so I can re-use the original pistons.

The head is having hardened valve seats fitted to allow for unleaded fuel.

I have dropped (for now) my plan to have larger exhaust valves and ceramic coated pistons. I will settle for less boost for the time being.

Cleaning up the head before I took it to the engineer

I have decided on Megasquirt engine management, I'm just working out the detailed spec required then it will be ordered.


I am revising my plans for the interior to avoid the cost of a re-trim of the seats which I originally intended. I will update soon when I have evaluated the ideas I'm working on.

Steve and Ryan very kindly unearthed and cleaned up the car after its hibernation - that was also a major boost to the motivation!

That's all for now


Hi all,

An update not about the 164 specifically, but related.

For health reasons, I am very likely to make a career change. My intention is to set up in business, maybe Spring 2017, doing restoration and modification on classic cars, specialising in the RWD-era Volvos.

The 164, and my other project, the 245 turbo, will in effect be the 'demonstrators' for the venture, to show standards and some of the range of modifications that can be achieved. (Mods aren't mandatory! I am very happy to work on totally standard classic cars as well).

The aim will be to carry out high-quality work much cheaper than a good bodyshop or modification workshop can provide, due to my low overheads.

If any UK members are interested in commissioning some work, from maybe a respray right up to me building a car to your spec, please feel free to PM.

This isn't a certainty yet. If I go ahead formally, I'll post in the Trade section of the Forum setting out what I can offer. Meanwhile, here are some examples of things I have done successfully on RWD Volvos


Turbo Engine swap
Performance upgrades

Automatic to manual conversion
Manual to manual+overdrive conversion
Volvo M47 to M90 conversion

Handling upgrades, all aspects
Left to right-hand-drive conversion
Brake upgrades
Wheel upgrades and refurbishment

Leather seat repair
Custom seats design and installation
Leather seat recolouring
Custom dashboards

Conversion from k-jet to LH2.4 turbo engine management
Custom audio installation
Custom instruments

I am currently doing the bodywork restoration on my friend Ryan's 245, photo updates here:

All for now, Regards