It should be painfully obvious to most readers by now that Daily Turismo has an appreciation for the stranger side of the automotive hobby. AMC Batmobiles, VW Beetle trikes, Corvette wagons, double-decker Minis, and all manner of car-to-pickup conversions have “graced” these pages under the moniker of the dubious and universally befuddling Riddler badge. Up until now there has not been anything that would fit into both Thorsday and Riddler categories – and that made us sad – until we found this Volvo Amazon pickup, that is. It started life as a wagon, looks extremely well built unlike many of our past Riddler features, and is available here on carsforsale.com in Marietta, PA for $14,600.
The Amazon is one of our favorite old Volvos – it marries extremely robust mechanicals with styling inspired by ’50s American cars, all in a reasonable and logical midsize package. Volvo sold the Amazon as a 4-door sedan, 2-door sedan, and 4-door wagon, and even flirted with the idea of a coachbuilt convertible. But they never made a pickup…so of course, some intrepid automotive customizer and Volvo älskare decided to introduce this thing into the world. And the world is a better place for it!
The seller is a used car dealer and has several interesting Volvos and Saabs listed currently, but does not provide a wealth of information for this unique Amazon, something we think will hurt their ability to sell it. We always appreciate an ad with too much information vs. not enough. Regardless, the seller does disclose that this Amazon is still powered by a 1.8 liter B18 pushrod four (as stock), but with a Weber downdraft 2-barrel carburetor conversion including intake manifold. Hopefully the air filter was just removed for this picture and is not on permanent vacation; air filters are on engines for a reason! Use them!
We know, we know, you just want to see the pickup conversion part. But let’s take a quick look at the interior first. The truncated cabin is fitted with what appear to be original-style but reupholstered black vinyl seats, which match the door cards and dashboard pad nicely, as the stylists in Göteborg intended. The steering wheel looks to have a nicely fitted leather or vinyl cover, and it has its original horn ring intact. We also spy original style Volvo logo’d waffle floor mats, and the fact that this wagon/truck has a manual trans – which is great. Overall the interior looks like it has recently received attention, and looks great.
Now on to the pickup conversion! The seller states the car started as a station wagon; the Amazon was only offered as a 4-door in wagon form, so it seems the rear doors have been welded shut to create the outer skin of the bed. A thicker B-pillar has been created behind the door windows, to fill the space left between them and the angled rear glass. The upper rear portion of the cab is in fact the original upper wagon hatch just moved forward on the car. The hinges are still intact and present on the roof and there is an obvious gap running around the panel so it seems that this is still a functional hatch. That’s a very cool detail; normally the custom rear cab walls of car-turned-pickup conversions leave something to be desired in the way of aesthetics and functionality. But this one looks like it was done right, and would give great flow-through ventilation even with that hatch just barely cracked open.
The bed itself seems largely unchanged from its former life as a wagon rear cargo compartment. The fold-down tailgate was original to this car and has been retained. On the standard Amazon wagon, the rear door is split into an upper hatch with the glass, and the lower solid tailgate, like a Land Cruiser or EG Civic hatchback. We like this arrangement in a wagon-like vehicle but it also lends itself easily to a pickup conversion as no custom tailgate fabrication was needed here. To clean up the lines, it appears the builder capped off the rear quarter panels nicely after cutting off the roof and welding the doors shut. The front area of the bed likely needed some custom metalwork to fill the gap originally left for the rear seats, and to create side and front inner walls. It all works together well and looks like it could have been a factory option, or at least a high-quality coachbuilt conversion.
Bottom line: normally custom El Caminoesque pickup conversions are terrible and make us want to berate the builder, but in this case, we wouldn’t mind owning this little guy ourselves. It would make a great light duty hauler for a small business, a wonderful “shop truck” or parts runner for a garage, or just a cool daily driver that would get plenty of attention. The Volvo mechanicals haven’t been messed with and this baby should keep on truckin’ for many years to come.
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