"The Volvo 123GT is not the cheapest high-performance car in Australia; and it's not the fastest. It may be one of the most economical, it's almost certainly the most durable and it's likely the best all-rounder....." ( Sports Car World magazine Road Test February 1968)
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History: The 1967 (type M) Volvo 120 series model line up saw the first all new two door 123GT model released by Volvo. Press Release here. This was the first 120 series model with the B18B 115hp engine from the P1800 series. Although 1968 saw the engine used in all 122S models, the 1967 123GT to some, was the unique stand out model. The 123GT model was continued in 1968 (type P) and a 123GT with a B20B engine was available in 1969 (type S) albeit with very limited numbers and to certain European countries only. But only the B18B version of the 123GT was homologated for racing with FIA (recognition No. 5152). Although the B20B 122S was homologated (recognition No. 5313) the B20B 123GT was not.
Production: It is very hard to know how many of each year model was ever produced, let alone the total number. Most GTs were assembled in Sweden but a very small number were assembled in Halifax, Canada and Ghent, Belgium. Volvo did not keep a record of numbers produced in either Sweden or those two countries. But delivery information is available for the Swedish built cars from Volvo in Sweden.
Although the popular opinion has been that roughly the same number of GTs were produced in 1967 and 1968, it is obvious from the register so far that the 1967 production was by far the largest. With well over 500 cars on the register, over 400 of them are 1967 'M' models. A grand total of about 1,500 cars has been talked about. A letter to Volvo sent by Bob Taylor, a Volvo enthusiast from Australia, in 1986 got back this response from them. I have a feeling that the number might even be less than that, making the 123GT model perhaps the second rarest production model after the P1900. I have been putting together a worldwide 123GT chassis number register (click on REGISTER banner below) to get an idea of how many GTs are out there. If you would like to add another one please email me the details and photos of the car. If yours does appear and you would like to add or correct an entry or send me some photos of your car, then please email me.
Count as per register:
GTs in Australia: Less than fifty 1967 and 1968 Volvo 123GT cars were imported and sold in Australia. Of those some 35 survive today. At about A$4,000.00, they were an expensive car at the time, compared to the local product. I have never seen a 1969 or 1970 GT here in Australia. Period Review
GTs in Europe: Some 123GTs were built/assembled in Belgium. These have S numbers 5118 and 5297 on the ID plate. A Swiss Advert of the time refers to two spot lights and only one mirror (see picture at bottom of advert) While a German Advert shows the GT with Talbot fender mirrors and driving lights.
GTs in USA: According to the Volvo Publication "Service Hints" printed in 1968 by Volvo, Inc. New Jersey, the 123GT was not imported to the USA but that some cars were imported by private individuals. Also, there are quite a few Canadian GTs that, over the years, have crossed the border to the USA.
GTs in Canada: Model designation 133951M with S-code S5324 (more soon) Track &Traffic write-up June1967
GTs in Belgium & Netherlands: Did you know the 123GT was only available in the Netherlands in 1967? In 1968 (B18B)and 1969 (B20B) there was in the Netherlands and Belgium a so called 133GT. This was a simple car with only a GT-steering Wheel and a GT-badge on boot lid (see photo of 133GT from 1969). In the front the 122S-badges. They also called this car a 122S GT. The type number is 133941 (assembled in Belgium). No further features/extra’s like the 123GT. There are only a few 133GT’s left in the Netherlands and Belgium. (thanks to Cor Mulder for this information)
Model and Type numbers:
More on Colours by Fredrik Lofter
Special 123GT features and extras
Volvo 1800-120 Parts