VOLVO 122S GERRY LISTER

GERRY LISTER - Volvo 122S Racing

13 January 2015       By MarkOastler

Shannon Club News

Volvo 122S Gerry Lister

Gerry Lister Volvo 122S Warwick Farm 1966 - Photo by AutoPics

"Volvo stalwart Gerry Lister racing his 122S two-door at Sydney’s Warwick Farm in 1966. This RHD car had been specially prepared for competition use by the factory in Sweden, featuring a powerful 140 bhp engine, close-ratio gearbox, uprated suspension and big 18-gallon (82-litre) fuel tank. It could do 120 mph (190km/h) and had excellent fuel economy. Scuderia Veloce boss David McKay and Bill Orr drove it to outright victory in the 1966 Lowood 4 Hour race in Queensland, winning by more than a lap from strong GT 500 Cortina and BMC competition. Sadly it was destroyed in a big crash during practice for the 1968 Surfers Paradise 12 Hour race."
 

Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday

The name Gerry Lister is synonymous with Volvo in Australian motor sport. Lister became an instant fan of the Swedish brand after his first drive of a 122 in the early 1960s. He has been galvanised to the marque ever since and still runs a thriving spare parts business specialising in classic Volvos.
 
In 1961 Gerry and his brother Tony co-founded the first Volvo dealership in NSW, establishing British & Continental Cars P/L (later Monaco Motors) on William Street, Sydney.  As Volvo was little known in Australia at the time, the Lister brothers decided that motor sport would be a great way to show the public what they could do.
 
Gerry holds the unique distinction of being the first driver to race a Volvo in Australia. That occurred at Oran Park in 1964 and his appearances at other Sydney tracks like Warwick Farm and Amaroo Park became more frequent.
 
He was often joined by David Seldon, who worked for British & Continental Cars as a junior salesman and bought himself a 122S to compete against the boss. Another prominent 122S racer was Max Winkless, who worked for the Australian importer Peter Antill at the time and shared his fellow racers’ passion for the Swedish marque.

Volvo 122S Amaroo Park Gerry Lister

Volvo122-GerryLister-AmarooPark - photo by AutoPics

"Volvos everywhere! Several 122S sedans were let loose at Sydney’s new Amaroo Park circuit when it hosted its first open meeting in April 1967.  Gerry Lister (left) and import manager Max Winkless (right) fight for the lead as David Seldon has a huge spin behind them. The coverage by Racing Car News magazine was most enthusiastic. Titled ‘Volvos Star at Amaroo Premiere’ the race report proudly stated: “Boy, those Volvos! In two races they electrified the crowd, leant on each other, upset the stewards and…must do it all again. It was dangerous without being foolish and incidentally a fine advertisement for Volvos.” Probably not the sort of advertising the conservative and safety-conscious Swedes back in Gothenburg had in mind, though."

“They were just sensational and they handled beautifully,” Lister told Shannons Club. “Everyone said they looked like they were going to tip over on the track because of the body roll, but that was just because they had fairly soft springing but so much cornering grip. They literally cornered like they were on rails."
 
“The Swedes said that in Europe they had icy roads so they provided enough body lean to really dig the shoulder of the tyre in. They said if you start putting sway bars on the back and so forth to reduce the body roll you’ll kill the handling. So on the circuit we never tried to stop it. We also set the rear a good 20 percent softer than the front (softer shocks, lower tyre pressures etc) and that eliminated any understeer and gave you complete control.
 
“The 122 was an amazing car, beautifully designed and with a huge heart. On paper it didn’t go and shouldn’t have been able to do the things that it did with only 1.8 litres, but it was so well balanced. Everything just clicked. I thought those Swedes were very smart and after all these years I still do.”
 

The annual 500-mile (800km) race for stock standard production cars at Mount Panorama, Bathurst  provided the best opportunity for British & Continental Cars to demonstrate the attributes of the 122S to the Australian public.

 
Although it didn’t win its class, the 122S earned great respect from spectators for its reliability and great praise from drivers for its leech-like cornering grip, excellent braking and ability to be driven as hard as it could go for hours on end without complaint.
 
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Volvo 122S: Swedish star that could have been a ‘V8 Supercar’

13 January 2015       By MarkOastler

Shannon Club News

Volvo122S-Kevin Bartlett

Volvo122S-Kevin Bartlett - photo by Autopics

"The Volvo 122S was driven by some big names in its day, including Kevin Bartlett and John Harvey who would both later become Bathurst winners. Here their ‘works’ 122S entered by NSW Volvo dealer, British & Continental Cars, flies down the Mountain during the 1966 Gallaher 500. It was a frustrating day for the talented pair due to a mysterious power deficit, the cause of which was only discovered during a post-race engine teardown."

The Volvo S60 competing in V8 Supercar racing today is a unique hybrid built purely for this form of competition, as the Gothenburg-based company has never made a V8-powered S60 sedan for road use. However, had a 120-series prototype become a production reality in the 1960s, Volvo could well have had a genuine V8 Bathurst contender straight off the showroom floor.

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Copyright 2013. Volvo Downunder Spares