|Interview with Andy Thomlinson Anhangá Volvo Amazon|
Monte Carlo Historique 2017
Interview - Jim Paterson. Photos Malcolm Boddie, Andy Thomlinson,
met up with Andy Thomlinson at a secret location, somewhere in
Scotland, to talk about his venture on the forthcoming Rallye Monte
Carlo Historique, organised by Automobile Club de Monaco, starting on
Wednesday 25th January.
Having established that Andy was going
to enter the Monte Historique', I started by asking him ' Why a
Volvo Amazon?' He told me that ACM provide a specific list of eligible
cars, so that made a good starting point. Unfortunately quite a few on
the list were just way out of the budget, so red line through those
models. Now Andy is fairly tall, and his co-driver Jim Wilson is pretty
tall too, so the smaller car models on the list also presented a real
problem. More red lines drawn through them too. I'm thinking this list
must be getting pretty short now!
“Of all the cars that
were left the Amazon was the one that was by far and away the best
suited in my opinion, both from a price point of view, and what we
could do with the car” reported Andy. So choice made. All
he had to do now was find one! A good one would be helpful. Where did
I asked Andy if this magnificent machine we were stood
next to was the first example he found? Of course it wasn't. Andy
told me that he hunted the entire length and breadth of the UK in his
search, and at one point was looking at a car that had been imported
from South Africa, because he thought it would be a rust proof
shell. “This proved to be an utter waste of time” he
Despite flights and travel across the UK in his quest
for a suitable car, he eventually found this model on eBay, in of all
places Dalkeith. Just round the corner so to speak. How infuriating is
that. Like not seeing what's in front of your nose! Not only was it the
best shell he had looked at it was by far the cheapest as well. This
story only gets better.
I asked Andy if the car had had an easy
life, to be the best he had seen? Andy didn't think so, rather it had
just survived in a better condition over the 50 years of its life than
others had. Its not unique to the Volvo Amazon, its almost just luck if
you find one. Andy did say this one had better rust proofing underneath
than your average example of the marque. Surprisingly Andy discovered
that it had been a daily driver for all its life, so never laid up on
bricks at anytime.
Now to prepare the car for the Monte.
“The car was taken back to the bare shell” reported Andy,
continuing “its one thing to look at a car when buying it and it
appears to look sound, but you've no idea how many hidden things are
under bits of trim, upholstery and the rest of
The rebuild work was entrusted to
Jim (The Wizard) Wilson, who has prepared more than a few well known
classic and competition cars in his time, and will be the co-driver of
the finished article. This seemed to me a bit of a genius decision,
having one of the best classic car builders in Scotland sit and guide
you to Monte Carlo, over the correct route and keeping to strict time.
No pressure on Jim then? Who better to know just what the car is
capable of than the man who rebuilt it.
The shell was thoroughly
checked over, and found to be original and in great order, no welding
having been done, or required. Even the paint job you see today is the
original. This was a great starting point. As Andy went on to explain,
rebuilding the car does not mean putting the old kit back on. Oh no,
this is not how Andy goes about anything. If a job is worth doing, it
has got to be done properly, with the best quality parts you can
find. “Pretty much everything we took out has been
discarded” he reported “It has a totally different
interior, different seats, roll cage. Much of the interior has been
moved, altered, modified, changed or replaced”. It
certainly looks to have everything required to challenge the Monte full
what about under the bonnet. Andy took the factory original block which
produced a heady 82bhp and breathed heavily on it to boost the standard
torque, as Andy put it 'considerably'. This will pull them up the
alpine ascents, while providing sufficient power to keep up the average
speeds demanded on the regularity sections of the event.
the car is just as important and I was surprised that Andy had gone for
the standard brake setup. Everything was replaced of course, new discs,
calipers, drums, linings, brake pipes, which now run inside the car
along with all the electrics.
Fuel on the Monte has to be
managed closely, as quality and availability in France is extremely
variable. Andy increased the tank capacity of some 45 litres by
replacing the tank with a 100 litre specially built unit, fitted inside
the boot of the car. With an operating level of 80 to 90 litres this
gives the Amazon a range of 500 to 700 miles, ideal for the long
regularity and road sections, and what they are experiencing on the
recent test runs.
The added bonus is the weight distribution
front to rear is now neutral, the 100 litre of fuel in the boot
matching the front end weight of the engine, so perfectly
Jim in his role as co-pilote (Ed a bit of the French slipping in?) will
be a nifty piece of kit, the Gaugepilot Rally
he found time to learn how to drive this when underneath the Amazon,
baffles me. Andy tells me it will make Jim's job so much easier. Having
checked it out I'm sure it will. Guagepilot support, training and
assistance have been second to none, and Jim is ready to go.
the name Anhangá? Simple replied Andy. Volvo Amazon,
Brazil, Amazonian spirit that often protects
animals, especially the females and young ones, and tends to appear as
a white deer with red eyes, called Anhangá. The specially struck
medallion, made for the trip takes pride of place on the dashboard in
front of Jim. Good luck spirit to watch over them? Well every
little bit helps, as they say, so bring it on.
forward to seeing the car and crew on their way from the Paisley Abbey
start, 6.00pm Wednesday 25 January, See a video clip of the testing run.
|Updated 18 January 2017|