This Family Volvo Is Now Hauling Across South African Desert
Photography by Oliver Hirtenfelder and Tyrone Bradley
Every now and then, we’ll get a reader submission that immediately drops our jaws to the floor. Great car? Check. Great photos? Yup. Story? As Leroy Tulip says, “The car chose me”.
More accurately, Tulip’s father chose the car for his growing family, purchasing it new in 1970. The two-door ‘Amazon’ 122S was a robust, reliable-but-quick family hauler that could go almost anywhere—its career as a long-distance rally car confirms this. Tulip says that this particular car, in lovely ivory white and assembled in Durban, South Africa, had an initially chilly reception.
“My dad bought it when my brother was born—he went to the hospital to collect my mom and my brother, surprising her with the new car,” he says. “She loved the car but was a little upset that he got the two door and not the four door!”
Because of his familiarity with the car, it’s become a fixture in his life. “This particular car has a specific tappet sound that I love; my parents would take me for a drive in it to help me fall asleep. I’ve always loved this car,” Tulip says.
Now, instead of hauling family around, it’s hauling ass with friends at Speedweek South Africa, at Hakskeenpan—a huge open expanse of nothingness where the current Land Speed Record-holding Bloodhound SSC team is preparing to top the 1,000 mph barrier. “I’m involved in the hot rod and ‘Kustom Kulture’ community in South Africa and also have a small collection,” he says.
“But my love is deep for this car. I love road tripping with her, but the best is driving her on Hakskeenpan.”