Volvo Wheels & BMW Style 65 Chrome Shadow Paint

I am quite excited about getting the Volvo wheels back from painter, next up are the BMW wheels. The Volvo wheels were test-wheels before we paint the BMW M6 Style 65 wheels in their original Chrome Shadow paint.

It’s been a long process, here are the results. The photos have not been edited, only resized, and shot with ‘neutral’ settings on a Canon 6D.

Colors in ambient UV light.

The Chrome Shadow paint is such a glitch in the way the paint plays with the light, even in video it is confusing.

Did an experiment on the 3 Photos above, I sampled Volvo logo white on 3 different pictures, in the same spot, to see how much brighter/darker the WHITE Volvo sign is on each picture, but the Volvo sign brightness is almost identical, all changes that I move one dimmed LED bar around and the contrast/Chrome shadow plays with light. .

Behind the scenes photo with Phone camera.

Volvo 740 Full Restoration

Zero-rust Volvo 740 w/ 370,000 km on odometer

I took our family Volvo 740 that we have had in California for 18 years and shipped it to Latvia. I have decided to do an restoration on the Volvo.

The Volvo has 370,000 km on the odometer, no frame damage and zero rust. The car has been a California car it’s whole life. The interior and paint has been worn from the sun and general wear and tear.

What motivated shipping the Volvo was that we had bunch of stuff in USA that needed to get to Latvia, but shipping the stuff separately would cost almost as much as shipping the car. So we just threw stuff in the Volvo and shipped it instead.

Here are some pics and the story:

The sunburned hood, clear coat completely gone. At the port, ready to be shipped to Europe.
The Volvo at the port of Los Angeles, ready for shipment to Latvia (Europe) by sea:
All the cars that are heading for Europe at the Port.
Saying good bye (for now), next time in Europe.
In Europe, heading to Latvia from Lithuania
Now in Europe. The Volvo in Lithuania. Filling up before final trip to Latvia.
I drove to pick it up with the M5 E39.
The BMW has also been shipped to Europe for Autobahn runs. It’s my favorite car.
It is not the only Volvo in Latvia that is from California. To the left the 940 is my countryside dirt-road and winter beater. The middle is my friend’s Dodge RamCharger, a pure summer car with no roof.

The idea is to restore the car, paint and fix up interior. I want to make a pristine retro classic out of it. The undercarriage is in excellent condition.

I was searching for a shop in Latvia that does old Volvos, but since old Volvos are so few, and there is no big money in the parts, finding parts and someone who is an expert on Volvos is tough. I was ready to drive across the country just to find someone competent that help me restore the car.

It just so happened that while I was biking to my grandma’s on the countryside (I spent my summers as a kid there), girl in a Volvo is pulling out in front of me from a side road and it turns out that I know her, I pull over and say hello. She’s heading to a Volvo master mechanic Janis Haritonovs, to check up, also turns out the shop is closest shop with car lift to my grandma. Total jackpot. I can leave the car on the country side in a familiar place and my other friends already know the mechanic and say he is an honest straight forward guy. He also already knew of my Volvo being shipped to Latvia, before I met him, through friends.

On the country side in grandma’s town, about to deliver it to the shop.
Style 65’s on the 740

The mechanic is a Volvo mastermind, he has a Volvo 240 with big ass turbo, 300hp and BMW wheels, and then 5 other brick Volvos and plenty of parts. ….Janis the mechanic, has wheel/hub converters from Volvo to E39 BMW wheels. I ended up trying the Style 65 BMW M5 E39 wheels on the Volvo. The BMW rear tires are 275/35/r18 and sit out of the wheel arches on the Volvo. They will rub, even the Style65 245’s will rub. I do like the look but I prefer something more classic Volvo for the wheels, at least on this car.

Sun damaged paint.
First picture of parts coming off…
It’s hard to tell in the picture, but the interior is very worn out and brittle.
Sun bleached interior and 30 years of wear.
As you notice, ceiling must be replaced, plastic pieces missing, everything new pretty much.
Last time both cars will be seen next to each other with Cali license plates. Next time together both cars will have LV plates.

Trying to work out the interior fabric right now.. Checked with SMS Fabrics, but they sent me something that is not matching at all with the interior. This is proving to be a difficult task to locate the interior fabric.





Total Disassembly

Janis Haritonovs disassembling the 740 for full repaint.
Before photos of the dinged/scratched body.
Gotta pull the engine. Bought many transparent boxes and many zip lock bags to package all the parts, otherwise have no clue where they all go when time to put everything together.

Another Volvo 940 pictured here, was purchased, to have another winter car and transport the 740 parts around. Now I got 3x Volvos… and I must admit significant time currently is going to keep the two Volvos rolling due to recent issues with both and getting the 3rd one restored.

Engine still in the car.
Engine removed from the car.
Not sure which car to work on, both need work.
The engine on the floor.. the engine is great, so I am on edge how deep I want to go into and if I should do a full engine overhaul..
Bought 4 of these lights, one turns out to have a defect. Grrrr…
Brand new tail lights ordered from United States to Latvia. Made in Estonia… which is like 100 miles from where the Volvo is.. so the tail lights traveled across the world just go to straight back, next to where they came from.
The interior getting plucked, because all seats and all panels will be re-done. The original interior panels are destroyed from sitting in the California sun for last 30 years, and very brittle. That said they will be replaced either with original color panels or others panels painted the original color and all dynamatted to remove the rattles and all new clips.
Parts from the Volvo in the garage I built to store the Volvo and it’s parts while it is being rebuilt.
The engine and Volvo next to each other.
This door is so damaged, it will be replaced with another door.. easier than trying to salvage this one from the dent it has on it.
One last view of the side panels and original paint condition in decent light.
It will be tough with the window chrome trim.
It is very hard to remove and it is also already damaged.
Car getting towed to painter. Painter is about 120km away and round trip is another full day process.





The Painting Process

The body needs a lot of love after being daily beater for almost 30 years.
Last view of hood with destroyed paint.
This is paint remover. 4 different paint removers were tried but no paint removers worked.
The hood was washed off from paint remover and sanding by hand continued until bare metal.
Smell of progress. The roof is coming along.
The painter Ainars Valdmanis, is a patient one!
Details being worked out. There was tiny tiny rust right below battery area, caused probably by battery acid. This was all sand-blasted and cleaned thoroughly before spraying multiple layers for extra protection.
All the paint is coming off with sanding machine because the paint remover was unable to remove the original paint. It had no effect on the paint. The car also proved itself to be painted by hand, not by robots, due to 12 spots where over spray was counted.
Top view of bare metal roof.
The sealer is on the car.
The painter said engine area took a lot of effort and time because all the crevices had to be sanded and cleaned and prepped for paint.
Guide coat is on, time to find all the dents.
Door hinge mechanism is also getting painted.
Removing some of the heavier dents.
Picking up the original factory matching color.

We got the expensive clear coat for the car, extra hard and did a test-spray on another car’s hood and it was perfect with no orange peel what so ever.
Still need some finishing touches on the stickers before printing. Not ready for print just yet…

There are plenty of tasks and problems to solve that are running parallel to the car’s painting process. There are plenty of parts to source. For example, the sun roof rubber strip that goes around the sunroof plate, is cracked and dry from California sun, no longer in production… been searching all day for the part.

– The whole engine needs to be disassembled and cleaned and see what parts need to be replaced.
– New radiator with AC outlets needs to be sourced.
– New wheels that fit the car, that will also need to be re-finished for a brand new look.
– Chrome parts such as headlight moldings need to be re-chromed.
– Random trim on the car all needs to be polished and the faded plastic painted semi-gloss (satin) black.
– Interior needs to be re-sown, still need to find the fabric.
– New interior carpet needs to be made or replacement sourced.
– Many plastic parts to paint and re-finish.
– New tires and windshield wipers.
– Instrument/dash panel has a crack in middle, that needs to be solved.
– Dyna mat all the panels so they don’t rattle.
– Muffler needs to be re-done.
– Headliner was damaged from rain, need new one.
– Clean water drain pipes from sun roof.
– Radio antenna brought back to stock and clean
– Clean all parts.
– All new rubber hoses.
– New brake lines and brakes…
– Much much more ….

Firs coat of paint, looks somewhat matte black….
After adding clear coat the shine really shows up in the engine bay.
Satisfying to see the deep wet paint coming to life.
Doors getting prepared & painted.
Engine bay before and after.
Sub-frame removed for painting.
Sub-frame washed before paint.
Subframe also getting the much needed refresh.
Following order: Hood hinge, engine bay hinge, door hinge, trunk hinges,
last shot are all together.
Fenders getting prepared and getting anti-rust treatment.

There is a ton of work in the details. The devil is in the details. I have major resistance with the interior, so many parts broken and need to be replaced and the beige interior plastics being are weaker than the dark interior plastics, the dark interior plastics from another car, which are in much better shape will be repainted in beige.

I also found an instrument panel repair guy, who will fix the cracks in the instrument panel.

The beige interiors are real rare compared to blue or black here in Europe. The seat fabric on this Volvo is real hard to find. I have been searching for interior fabric since 2018 summer, it is now February. It is extremely hard to find the fabric. I called SMS Fabrics in United States and they sent numerous samples but nothing matches correctly to the original fabric. I think I got stuck with a special interior that no one really has since I have not been able to find another Volvo with same exact interior fabrics. VP-Autoparts.se in Sweden managed to locate the closest match, but it is the fabric used below the seat cushions, not on top, it’s from the ‘cheap’ part of the seat, not usually visible, and not a perfect match. I am starting to give up and looking at doing marine grade pleather for the seats.

I am having trouble with the carpets as well, the rear trunk area carpets are worn and I am unable to find a good match for the carpet. Also the rear wheel arc covers are molded carpet type that fits around it nicely, where I can’t just go buy carpet and put it flat there, since it is in form of a shape.

Overall the interior is wearing me out by being worn out… the interior is huge and there are so many plastic pieces and carpet pieces… still searching for all the parts. I still need to find the roof liner since we threw the one I had away since it was rotten, issue is that I have a 745 universal/kombi with sun roof, which is also very rare.

Then the engine.. that’s the next challenge, hopefully re-building and re-finishing the engine will be easier than the interior. I am right now afraid the interior restoration might cost as much as painting the whole car.

Painted sub-frame added to painted chassis. New look.
Typical gotta have it shot, when engine is out of the car.
Still in the process, but the shine is coming through.
The bumpers original shape was brutal, the car was beat up heavily and someone totalled their Corolla by rear ending the Volvo. The Volvo being the tank that it is, only had a scratched bumper.
Finding this antenna was an ordeal, finally cut it off with chassis from another donor car, so the antenna would not be damaged, then gave antenna with metal from other car to painter, to disassemble and restore to new condition. Pretty much over half a day of work on this piece alone.
The roof rack does not look original to Volvo, but it is frequently seen on US versions of the car and appears that it was a standard or optional premium feature on US Spec Volvo 740’s.
Like everything else, the roof rack will be re-painted as well.
Testing new headlights.
Mirror painted with plastic paint.
Wheel arches and whole undercarriage has rust protection applied, which is why the dark area in wheel arch looks so crisp. Just painted.
Battery area was protected with a rubber coating
Valve covers were painted with heat resistant paint.
The VOLVO sign was sanded and polished.
If anyone wants a stray cat, this is probably the most friendly cat ever.
Paint is done, car looks finished but just a shell, engine and interior to go.
The front end is way up in the air because of missing engine and interior.
The painter.
The roof’s reflection.
Volvo and 740GL signs were placed back after manufacturer measurements for placement.
Ride back from painter.
Roof reflecting the square LED light panels.
Time to clean up the car before putting the engine in.






The Engine Re-build

Bought an engine rebuild kit…. the rod bearings were not the right ones pictured here.
Janis Haritonovs has removed the B230F and disassembled it to be machined.
All 4 cylinder wear and tear after 370,000+ KM.
Engine in parts, going to RA Moto in Ogre for machining.
Head was also examined and machined. Wear on valves, valve guides and valve seat.
Valve seats at first glance. Not sure where photo of 4th cylinder went, so here are 3 cylinders.
The valves seats got a 3 angle valve job to improve airflow and proper turbulence within cylinder.
Pictured above is engine block & piston ring.
Piston ring wear exceeded 1mm at the piston ring gap. Average wear on the cylinders are 0.03mm, varying between 0.02mm and 0.05mm. At least new piston rings are needed, or new pistons the same size, with new rings.
Block top will be surfaced because of corrosion pitting.

The valve tappet clearances-cold spec found online are .30-.40mm for both inlet and outlet.

The numbers I got from discussions, are that people adjust to 40mm cold, between 0.35 and 0.45 cold, and some go for golden middle of road of 0.38.
RA Moto advised against golden middle road and said in order to maximize the motor’s resource the tappet clearances should be maximized, so the valve tappets will not need to be shimmed in near future.
Some original valve tappet clearances were below zero- negative!
4x additional 33mm diameter tappets were purchased with following thickness: 2x 4.35mm, 1x 4.25mm, 1x 4.20mm

Crank shaft wear measured and noted down.
Overall good shape, balanced and no machining needed.
I ordered a lot from Skandix.de, and had pretty bad experience.
This is the AW 70/71 transmission complete re-manufacture kit from Skandix.
A lot of the internal seals and gaskets did not fit the transmission. In picture the red seal (kind of hiding behind big NO sign) is the transmission shaft seal, that seal fit, but the rubber was so soft you could easily bend it with hands, the transmission leaked, was replaced with aftermarket seal w/ harder rubber and the leaking stopped. So much for Skandix OEM quality.
Initially ordered new valves in Latvia, from local source, but then decided to order from Skandix because supposedly OEM quality, BUT got the same valves from Skandix, for 8 times the price and a week wasted waiting for parts!! The valves will do, because this is a non-turbo engine and relatively little stress on them, but completely unacceptable from Skandix.de.

Among things that came from Skandix that did not work. The interior fan blower and motor. The part as arrived did not fit the car, we had to modify the new motor with original fan blade, when paying OEM prices this should not happen.

Also, window washer nozzles were total junk from Skandix, put the originals back on and everything worked great. Skandix must be buying some cheap China copies and selling for OEM prices. Skandix is definitely not OEM quality, considering the 25EUR shipping fee at Skandix, i suggest to check with your local Volvo dealer, since often the prices are the same as at Skandix, but you will save on shipping fee and get OEM quality.

Engine back from RA Moto and at Janis Haritonovs shop, ready for assembly.

Good thing I got lucky with getting to know Janis Haritonovs, an avid Volvo enthusiast and mechanic, with over 10 years experience with redblock engines. He knows all the ins and outs on these engines.

Testing out how the head fits now with surfaced block.
Wear on original piston.
Pistons before and after cleaning.
Block surfaced, honed, scuffed, painted.
Janis Haritonovs did nice work re-painting the engine and preparing it all for assembly.
Sexy. Good for another 370,000km.
Liqui Moly LM 48 was used to grease the rod bearings, etc. parts for initial startup, in order to ensure proper lubrication. The LM 48 Montagepaste is thicker than oil and will not run off until oil and pressure appears on first startup.
The pistons are in.
Yes, the #4 digit is upside down, but direction of pistons was noted before disassembly and everything is in its right place, just as should be.
Adding the brake lines back in and preparing engine bay for engine install.

Because of Janis Haritonovs knowledge and experience, the process was dramatically sped up. There were little to no problems with assembling the motor, because Janis knew the speed bumps and pitfalls and navigated everything beautifully. I had walked away to wash parts, and while I was washing parts, Janis already dropped the motor in, just sent me a pic on WhatsApp ans surprised me. Just yesterday the engine was still in pieces.

The moment when the engine is about to be dropped in.

For me the experience was that the engine was the of the least hassle, compared to interior and sourcing parts. Janis Haritonovs recommended me RA Moto in Ogre, a great machine shop with decades of experience. Building the engine was the most pleasant part, because of the smooth sailing aided by all the experience Janis Haritonovs and RA Moto brought to the table.

Janis Haritonovs disassembled the transmission for inspection of internals and to fix leaks.
The internals all appear in great shape and no need for total rebuild from scratch.
The external seals and gaskets will be replaced to remove the sweating.
Coming together. First start around corner.

The oil pump, power steering pump and alternator were inspected and re-build. Water pump is new. Auxiliary fan was repaired.

The money shot.
Right before first start-up.
First start went very well and the car ran for couple minutes with no issues.
After first start and idling the engine for hours, it was time to see if we can hit 88mph.
Aux fan has damaged wiring and needs fixing before re-install.
Exhaust and other parts arriving at the garage.
Some nice sun rays coming into the garage.





INTERIOR REPLACEMENT


Above is the graphic that I posted and showed everyone, while looking for fabric.

I actually started on the interior before everything else, specifically started looking for seat fabric, since I knew that might be challenging. It turned to be a big challenge. I started with SMS AutoFabrics, since they got almost everything and they sent me numerous samples, but nothing matched, plus SMS Autofabrics is like 100usd / yard, very expensive, still worth it if exact historical match on fabric.

I then contacted VP-autoparts.com, Volvo part suppliers based in Sweden.
I had gotten information VP-autoparts have some of the original factory parts supply available. I showed them the project and convinced them to go to their off-site warehouse and search for original fabrics, but they only found the fabric that is on the underside of rear seats (original is intact), not the top fabric that is all worn.

In between VP-autoparts and SMS Autofabrics, I also searched through pretty much the whole internet (or so it seemed) and found no matching fabric to original since it is so very peculiar how it shines and reflects light, as you can see in the graphic above.

Ceiling destroyed and plastic trim missing.
Interior & carpets destroyed from years of wear and kids and what not in the back seat.
The California Sun got the best of this interior. Everything is bleached.
Interior pulled to reveal the mess, all the stuff that has fallen in-between cracks of the interior in last 30 years.
Original instrument panel is cracked. A replacement instrument panel in good shape, that’s all black, was located and will be repaired and re-painted to match the original colors.
The little things take all the time.
Realizing this plastic piece is broken and going on a couple day search for it.
Two or three full Volvo loads of panels and interior parts were transported to storage.
When all in right places, no one really realizes how much plastic panels and parts these Volvos got. It is one of the more complicated cars for restoration, obviously I did not consider this fact when I started the project.
Some of the original parts. Sun bleached and brittle from California sun.
Two full garages of just parts.
When opening the garage and seeing this, motivation drops.
Seems like never ending process. I laid out the existing interior kind of like it would be in the car, so I could oversee everything and visualize what is needed and what I already found.

Everything must be replaced on the interior.

After inspection of original parts and panels, it was concluded that all plastic interior parts must be replaced with better, less brittle parts, that have not been exposed to the California sun. Some of the original parts literally fall apart while in your fingers.

The idea was first to go find another 745 Volvo 5-door in beige at a junk yard and then move the interior over. It turned out that there are no 745 Volvo 5-door available at any junk yard. At height of frustration I started searching for a donor 745 5-door in Sweden’s Bloket.se and Germany’s Mobile.de, and just fly and pick it up and be back couple days later. Seemed like an easy route compared to the insane amount of hours and nerves I wasted searching for carpets and fabric. There was not a single beige 745 5-door for sale in both countries! Even if price was no obstacle, there is nothing to choose from.

Considering the options, each individual part was to be sourced in best shape possible and in whatever color it comes in, then restored re-painted in original beige color.

Some of the detail of parts, all waiting to be painted and/or replaced.
The corners of the rear seats are all broken, and on all 745 Volvos. None available at junk yard. The front and rear seats have exceptionally many plastic pieces. Around 20 plastic pieces for the rear seats IIRC, all must be individually sourced and restored/painted.
Ceiling pillar trim, rear seat underside trim #1 & #2, and two of four rear seat corner pieces.
In photo above, to the left is the passenger side wheel arch carpet.
To the right is the trunk area rear passenger panel.

Finding the correct fabrics and carpets proved to be the most time intensive, challenging task with least results in the whole rebuild process.

SMS Fabrics and VP-autoparts.se factory warehouses out of the picture, entire internet searched for matching fabrics and carpets, almost all local fabric and carpet stores searched in Latvia, consultations with industry experts, many visits to various recommended upholstery shops and 100’s of fabric samples from Lithuania reviewed.. and no good match.

The floor carpet turned out to be major problem. Just like with seat fabric, the floor carpet is unique beige color to the car, and all bleached by the sun.
There are various tones of beige from Volvo as well.. making all the more complicated.

These carpeted pieces are curvy and with crevices, where reproducing the shape is very difficult compared to flat surface. The seat upholster guy declined to upholster the rear side panels due to complexity of curves and calling it a Swiss watch precision job.

Above is a graphic of a tiny tiny portion of stores and samples considered when searching for matching carpet. The carpet at stores was either too thick, too fluffy, too rough, wrong tone, or too expensive. The best match is in #3 in graphic below, but it was 60 day wait and $1200 for 60 square meters, and even then, that is not perfect match and not automotive grade.

Automotive carpet, when produced originally at factory level, in order to get all the curves of the chassis, the carpet is heated and then laid in a form-press, where two big pieces press the carpet into the shape needed while it is hot. Technically this can be replicated, but I don’t wanna build carpet press and ovens and get into retro Volvo brick carpet manufacturing in year 2019, not my business.

The details take time. Some hard to find pieces. On the right you can see the VP-autoparts sample of matching fabric from factory warehouse. Only problem it is for underside of the seats, where my fabric is intact, original, not bleached. I needed the top, which they did not have.
Original instrument panel, bleached and beat to stone age by the California sun for 30 years.
After carefully transporting original panel to restoration, it had developed 5 more cracks and that is when I realized this thing must be replaced with a new one.
The repair of the replacement panel. There are pretty much no damaged non-cracked panels left on any Volvos to salvage, so I got the best panel I could find and restored it.
Good enough!
New instrument panel vs old one.
Dupli-color tex-style spray.

I picked up extra piece of beige Volvo 740 carpet (can be seen in background above) to test dyeing methods and bleaching methods, in order to get the color right.

Bought bleach and dye. Idea was to first bleach real light and then dye right color. Put small piece of carpet in bleach proper mixture for 30 minutes and zero results on bleaching on original carpet. Then i tried full bleach concentrate and it still did absolutely minimal effect on the original carpet sample. At this point i realized that bleaching will not work, by so traditional dyeing will also not work.

I found this cloth spray paint Dupli-color TexStyle in various colors. Turned out the gold color Tex Style was very very close match to original beige carpet color.

#1 Original carpet, before cleaning with high pressure washer.
#2 Original carpet, after high pressure washer.
#3 Original carpet, after applying TexStyle spray paint.

The original carpets are made synthetic fiber and even though they were absolutely filthy with 30 years of dirt, after a high pressure wash and thorough cleaning while being removed from the car, they came back to original condition, minus the sun-bleached part. What i find interesting was that real bleach had little effect on the carpet, but the sun managed to bleach it.

Compare how dirty the rear seat carpet was.
#1: Original carpet after cleaning.
#2: Original carpet after TexStyle paint.

Because of the synthetic fiber, nothing sticks to the original carpets. After research I concluded there is no practical way of dyeing synthetic fiber.
That said, the TexStyle paint will not be permanent either, and will likely wear out with time to reveal the sun bleached spots again.

I decided to assemble car with original carpets as they are, fairly good for now, and then continue long passive search until a great donor car, 745 universal in beige, shows up to take all the carpets from. Taking the interior apart once more replacing all the carpets feels like a drop in a bucket compared how much time and money was wasted trying to replicate original carpets and re-dyeing the old ones.

Painted parts all wrapped in protective wrap,
arriving at garage… feels like delivery from factory.
The center console shift panel was painted beige initially, and the shift window clear plastic was polished. Later it was decided against beige and panel was painted black.
The original dirt from 30 years of daily driving, plus dust from paint shop…
After 3 days of cleaning with paint brush and 3x full vacuum bags.
Time to add some plastic back.
Summer is nice, but the summer was spent in garage.
Instrument panel added, door panels added. Still a huge wiring mess to take care of.
Wires taken care of, front end pretty much done.
Rear carpets looking like new, contrast to the mess from 30 years.
I put this picture here because I spent way too many hours on these little shits, trying to source them the same day locally, only to ending up ordering them from dealer and waiting.
The sunroof re-assembly.
Original sunroof had broken pieces, one flange broken can be seen by index finger of hand.
Ended up picking up another extra donor sunroof to get parts from.
Original sunroof in pieces.
The sunroof mechanism is quite complicated, disassemble at your own risk.
The original ceiling, rotten and broken in every way possible.

After weeks of searching, Janis Haritonovs gave me a lead, there are two redblock Volvos in the Ligatne highlands, in a ravine, owned by a 80year old grandpa and that Janis recalls there being an intact ceiling panel in one of the cars, WITH a sunroof! We almost thought of welding shut the sunroof and re-painting the roof, seemed easier than sourcing a ceiling panel w/ sunroof.

The ceiling was in black, but I had little choice because very few Volvos 745 hatchback/universal with sunroofs in Europe. Also, donor cars that got sunroofs have the ceiling disintegrated just like the original ceiling.

Good thing I got another Volvo univesal to transport the donor ceiling. We strapped the donor ceiling to the car’s ceiling with rope. Worked out quite well.
Before re-upholstering white.
New sunroof arrived from upholstery shop. Gloves were discarded every 5 minutes to avoid getting dirt on new white material. We almost escaped.
New ceiling installed and plastic added to interior.
The plastic trays on side of front seats were damaged on US versions and the US version differs slightly with EU version. With EU version trays both seat belts had to be replaced with EU versions as well, which was another whole day before sourcing both seat belts in good condition.
Another shot of olds VS new instrument panel.
Almost all panels added. Ready for seats to go in.
New seats vs old seat.

Seat upholstery was another bitch. I went through 100’s of samples of material to choose from, just to drive back 3 more times to upholster and pick another material, because the desired material(s) came back as “no longer available”, “out of stock”, “60 day deliver time”, etc. I obviously wanted to locate material closest to original fabric, and since I failed finding identical fabric I went with closest match with pleather. The material was a compromise since exact color combo could not be sourced in reasonable time, and by now I had put in such insane amount of time searching for fabrics that I decided to compromise. Technically, I can paint the pleather any color I want, just like I did for interior, but for now, close enough. The chosen pleather material is stretchy, where usually pleather is more rigid, the stretch creates more waves in the pleather than regular rigid leather.

Door panel trim and head bolsters were also wrapped in pleather.

I sourced additional full set of seats, because they were had the leather stitching, design and bolsters, compared to more plain original.

Seats are in. Still details to go.
It has come together. Nothing is broken, nothing is worn, even got the new car smell.
In good OCD fashion, I replicated all the original stickers that were removed during painting. The designs were made in vector format and are near indistinguishable side by side with originals.
Undercarriage looking clean, minus the rear axle, which is begging for a wash.
This is my favorite junk yard car that I took parts from. It wasn’t even in a junk yard, it was in a ravine in a forest in Ligatne, same place where I got the ceiling (from another car). Sitting there for so long big trees have grown around it and we used axe to cut some branches so we can get access. I needed the rear seat’s plastic corner cover, shown in picture below on left.. this was the only car that it was intact on of all the cars and junk yards I searched.
Just some of the Volvos where parts came from to restore the 740 came from.

Drove over 4000km, just to look for parts.
Many more KM driven paint, upholstery, etc. included, easy over 7000KM.

Testing sunroof, to see if any water leaks inside, except we using window washer fluid.
Final touches before technical inspection in Latvia and getting car registered. Again both cars are in the shop, needing work at same time.

The car has been idling for days, idled out an entire fuel tank to get the engine broken in properly and everything seated.

Smoke from burning in the shop, but not on this Volvo, this one got like 99hp lol.
The historical vehicle certification inspection photo shoot.

The plan is to register and certify the Volvo as historical vehicle. To register as a historical vehicle in Latvia, the car must be 30 years old. I have the original Volvo purchase receipt from 1989, where it shows that it is 30 years and 1 week since purchase date at time of historical certification inspection.

Historical vehicle certification works like this in Latvia: The car is inspected by Riga Motor Museum and they conclude how much historical accuracy the car carries. Upgraded aftermarket steering or wheels usually disqualify the car. After inspection, there’s time for evaluation and eventually they get back to one and with a YEA or NAE.

My car was noted for re-paint, re-upholstery and not original tires modifications… who the hell has 30+ year old tires/rubber on their car??
All the modifications were “sufficient” to pass certification.

Historical certification in my hand.
1 hour later. “VS” historical license plates with number 740 custom made and ready to put on car.
Another hour later and plates are on the car.
Got the narrow plate in the front for US spec bumper.
Oil change done as well, after breaking in engine by idling a fuel tank.
Finally, the Volvo gets a wash.
Technical inspection at CSSD, Riga.
Passed with zero write-ups or annotations, in excellent condition.
Passed technical inspection in excellent condition, no defects or annotations.
Now back to Volvo dealer for more parts. This time rubber bushings behind rear fold-able seat mechanism, so they don’t make noise as metal to metal
Mandatory photo shoot with mandatory view, after getting car road legal.
The beige plays with camera, looks very different in sunlight compared to garage light or other light settings, always different looking.
Can’t wait to put dirty tires and oily engine block in here and drive around all winter.
Had to get a photo of the Volvo mastermind Janis Haritonovs, and myself.
Without Janis’ passion for Volvos, at least 2 extra years to vehicle registration.
Getting alignment done at Drift Darbnica.
Cesis: First road trip. Test drive! Overall everything is good!

Long story short… just kidding, this is a long story.

What you do not see here is all the frustration, driving pointlessly to look for stuff that does not exist, all the NO’s from suppliers, all the wasted money and time buying wrong things from Skandix and junk yards just to later throw away.. and dealing with things that don’t come out the way you wish, this was especially true for all fabrics and carpets.

There are small stuff left, a small rubber piece is missing under the hood and water leaks on distributor, need to find a replacement.. still waiting for proper rims for this car from painter, in shadow chrome silver. There is other small stuff. Ordered two small rubber pieces so the rear seats do not rattle and make noise.. stuff like that. Those small details all will be worked on during long winter nights.

Little May – Boardwalks @ Birchpub

Kriss Abens filmed some amazing footage at Berzkrogs, Latvia (translated: Birchpub) and no one noticed him filming. Later he gave me the footage and only after summer ended did I open it up and look at it. Upon opening the footage I immediately knew that I have make a music video with the footage. This is the result.

M5 & M6 @ 5000km Autobahn road trip

Took the M5 E39 and M6 G-Power for a spin on the Autobahn for a week. We had no plan, only to drive where the sun shines and where there is no traffic.

Autobahn 3000km in 1 minute:

Not fast forward.

Autobahn 5000km in 5 minutes:

Autobahn 5000km in 20 minutes:

M5 E39 Autobahn raw footage dashcam:

M6 G-Power Autobahn raw footage dashcam:

BMW M5 E39 Autobahn & Nurburgring

It was a Saturday morning in November and I had decided to call Nurburgring and ask them when they close for the season. They tell me they close tomorrow, last day of season. I’m 2200km away, it is 3:00PM. I do the math if I leave in 1 hour, drive 100kmh average speed (Poland will be very slow but Autobahn will make up for it) then in 22 hours I can be at Autobahn, and maybe get couple laps in… no time to think, time is of the essence. I jump in the car and take off to Nurburgring. Here’s the video of getting on Autobahn at 7AM on a Sunday morning after driving for over 1000km in thick Lithuanian and Polish fog all night (probably worst drive of my life).

You can read the whole write-up here:

DJ Ella – Welcome to the Club

Made a music video. No budget, crashed Porsche during shoot, sneak filming at the club, no permits, just a camera man and a woman.
This is typical LA.

LA is an Illusion, baby.

Me substituting for DJ Ella and Armin van Buren when they not available for gigs.