5k: 1968 Volvo 122S Wagon; Ansel Adams!

We recently published the outline of our special feature on How to Buy a Used Car – but today we found a car that is being sold by someone who could write the book on How to Sell a Used Car.  This 1968 Volvo 122S is for sale on autotraderclassics.com for $3,500 and is located behind the lens of a superb photographer in Seattle, WA.

AutoTraderClassics seller rolandmorgan is the first ever recipient of the DT Ansel Adams badge.  The Volvo 122S is shot in a bare parking lot (boat ramp?) across the water from a downtown Seattle.  Photos were taken with a Canon EOS -1D Mark II – an older top of the line Canon SLR camera that retailed for $9k when new and bare body sells for about $1500 used today.  The above photo was taken in twilight conditions with a 1/6th second exposure, 2.8 F-Stop, ISO 100, and 160mm focal length (from a 70-200mm zoom lens).  It was post processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.1 on a Macintosh and the resulting image is stunning.  From the perfect exposure of the patina’d grille to the black undercarriage, highlights of roof, subtle bokeh from the distant lights…it just goes on.  Never has a horrible car looked soooo good in a photograph.

This 1968 Volvo 122S Wagon is powered by….wow…it just looks so good, we can picture it attracting all kinds of stamped-up hipster girls – the rock-a-billy kind who want to look like Betty Boop mixed with Gwen Stefani.  You would literally have to beat them away with a loose piece of chrome trim.  Just be careful not to snag any nose rings when you start swatting. 

We typically don’t like to see post processing in our photographs of cars – but we don’t mind the subtle halo effect dimming the out of subject content – it just adds to the allure, the image, the drama, the feeling that these photos stir up.  We can only assume this seller is a professional photographer and the last pics he took were of a topless British princess or pant-less British prince. 

Even the ‘man behind the curtain‘ shot, illuminated by a sodium street lamp, showing how they got the dramatic photos…looks…well…dramatic.  We normally don’t expect this kind of art in an AutoTrader ad — the AutoTrader being a somewhat dead and dying method of buying or selling a car.  We remember like it was yesterday when AutoTrader was the only game in town – when going to the local 7-11 and searching the ads for cars was an rite of passage.  As of last summer AutoTrader has discontinued publishing its magazines (except it continues to print the Spanish language version) and lives (for now…) online – charging the sellers more than free Craigslist and offering less exposure than eBay…soon to join the rest of print media in the archives section of your local library.

Only when you get past the masterful photography do you notice the rust, damage and the fact that every body panel needs to be taken down to bare metal, straightened and primed, painted etc. The ad text does little to describe the mechanical condition of the 122S – so we can only assume it will need full mechanical restoration along with the cosmetic.  But we do know it’s a manual transmission and rear wheel drive wagon – and at $3500 it qualifies as a Daily Turismo in our book.  Just be sure to always park it in the same spot as these photos and don’t look at it too closely in bright light…or else you may be tempted to sink thousands into a restoration that won’t add a dime to the resale value.

See another well polished turd for sale?  email us here:  tips@dailyturismo.com