By on August 2, 2009

The bastards! I could deal with destroying the Cherokees, the Lincolns, even a Dynasty with a trombone case red interior. But a brick? These sick twisted bastards are going to take that one holy grail of tightwad functionality and turn it into a steaming pile of drek. Apparently the old Nordic God of automotive longevity is now on Washington’s ‘whacked’ list which means that defensive measures need to be taken. Stat!

I need to get an army. But, hell, I’m too cheap for that. Instead I’m going to shine a bright Volvo spotlight to the sky, à la Batman style, and summon the Volvo faithful. You know them. Those zombies who wonder aimlessly around the junkyards muttering about wiring harnesses and ABS modules. Fifty to sixty year old guys who still use watches and speak longingly about an ancient historical artifact once known as ‘The Constitution’. Rugged individualists who believe that the era of good music ended with The Allman Brothers. Real American heroes!!! Who are now left in the dust of an era where deficits don’t matter and the future is sub-leased to the present.

On second thought, maybe there’s something better out there. Hmmm. Anyone know where I can find a RWD European wagon with all the trimmings that is designed to  withstand 17 Scandinavaian winters? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? PT Cruiser? Oh brother, never thought I’d see the day. Welcome to the brave new world.

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37 Comments on “Hammer Time: Old Volvos Never Die. Except When They Do....”


  • avatar
    twotone

    Anyone know where I can find a RWD European wagon with all the trimmings that is designed to withstand 17 Scandinavian winters? — BMW & Mercedes Benz.

    Twotone

  • avatar
    BDB

    I would have preferred they limited the program to light trucks, but judging from what I’ve seen at the dealerships close by and from internet reports/videos, its mostly SUVs (especially the compact/mid-size ones) and pickups being killed.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    I prefer this Volvo ad.

    http://boxybutgood.us/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/crazy-people-volvo.jpg

    Frugality is evil. Frugality is the enemy of economic growth. Old Volvos won’t die, so they must be killed. It’s for the children.

  • avatar
    paul_y

    @BDB: I do recall reading somewhere (probably here) that a lot of Blazers and Explorers are going to get taken out of commission, which is only a good thing– they never made sense, but were easy to justify when they were in fasion and gas was $1.50. Now, not so much.

  • avatar
    BDB

    @paul_Y–

    Yeah, that’s a good thing. The Blazers, Explorers, Rodeos, and the like being removed won’t cause very many people to shed a tear. I think there will be fewer Suburbans and Expeditions removed, though, as they actually have enough utility to justify their thirstiness.

    I think it really blows that the 1990s GM B-bodies are eligible though. It’s sad to see those Buick Roadmasters with the corvette engine put out to pasture.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Very few rear wheel drive Volvo meet the low fuel economy numbers required to be C4C eligible. 960s and some turbo 940s are the only potential victims. The 960 shouldn’t really count thanks to its delicate engine.

    The killing field behind our local Toyota dealer is chock full of pickup trucks and SUVs, plus two very tired old LS400s, a worn out Lincoln, and two thrashed Chrysler minivans. According to the salesdude, at least one of the LS400s was swapped for a new Camry Hybrid with all the trimmings.

    BTW, judging from the bone yard at the local pick-n-pull, Volvo were in fact dying every day without government assistance.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    940 Turbo’s can be wonderful vehicles and are insanely cheap to own. They are on the radar for this program.

    So are the 740 turbos and 760’s. I’ve had turbos and non-turbo versions of the 740’s and 940’s, and the boost from the turbos makes an enormous difference in their daily driving. The non-turbos are almost diesel like in their lack of oomph.

    Just an FYI, The psi boost on Volvo turbos are far smaller than they are for their Japanese equivalents. Swedish turbos are primarily orientated towards the fuel economy and mid-end boost side of the equation (for passing power). The Japanese equivalents usually have twice to three times the psi’s and are focused primarily on power across the band.

    The 240’s didn’t make the list… thank God. I still enjoy seeing 20+ year old models enjoying their perennial moments in the sun. Even if their air conditioning sucks.

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    @Strippo:

    Frugality is evil. Frugality is the enemy of economic growth.

    Pravda. This is the biggest, gaudiest emblem yet of a society that prizes disposability and thrives on waste: it’s no longer good enough to be wealthy and shortsighted enough that we can afford to make, buy, and fuel big vehicles with big engines; now we’re apparently wealthy enough to destroy and discard functional machines before they’ve given all reasonably possible service. Given the staggering amount of pollution produced and resources consumed in the manufacture of even the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle, it is literally incredible that any kind of an environmental benefit is seriously claimed.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, think of it this way: anyone who would cash in an old Volvo either a) is no fan of old Volvos, or b) owns one that is a complete heap.

    Either way, this is nothing but good news for fans of old Volvos. Just think of the flood of cheap parts they can get to fix the epic list of nickle-and-dime crap that goes wrong with these odl boxes.

    And as the owner of a ’92 740 wagon, trust me, I know ALL the crap that goes wrong…manual sunroofs that won’t close ($250)…bad steering racks ($1,000)…bad power window motors ($500)…trim that falls off ($100)…rear window wipers that quit ($200)…electric overdrive switches that go bad ($400)…gas struts for the tailgate ($50)…new airbags (don’t ask)…and on and on and on and on…

    And that’s not even counting the stuff that would be obviated if the car were turned in for C4C – bad gaskets, exhaust repairs, and my personal favorite, the exhaust manifold with a hole in it (don’t even ask how much that one costs).

    I’d keep the old heap around for a couple of years until my daughter can drive it, but frankly, knowing what 16-year-olds can do to a car, I’d rather find her a nice old Corolla or Civic.

    Old Volvos do indeed run forever…as long as you have an endless supply of nickles and dimes.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Steven Lang :
    August 2nd, 2009 at 12:10 pm
    940 Turbo’s can be wonderful vehicles and are insanely cheap to own. They are on the radar for this program.

    I beg to differ. I don’t own a turbo, but my naturally aspirated 740 has been a nickle-and-dime champ ever since I bought it ten years ago. Keep in mind that this car had only 70,000 miles at the time, and was in exceptional shape. It was totally cherry. I even picked the base model, with manual seats and sunroof, and a minimum of accessories, because I’d heard that the power toys were back-breakers when they go wrong.

    I stopped counting all the stupid stuff that’s gone wrong with this car years ago.

    The problem here is what I’d like to call the “old Volvo paradox” – a good one doesn’t come cheap, and the cheap ones all need VERY expensive repairs. I paid a pretty penny for my ’92 because it was immaculate – $11,000, which was reasonable at the time.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    We owned two 240 wagons and one 940t sedan. They were not as reliable as legend would have it but when they did need repair, it was usually something unimportant and/or cheap to fix. Our operating costs were very low.

    Aside from that, the wagons had superb cargo room, they felt unbelievably solid, were very comfortable, handled well, did nicely on snow, had great heaters (live in MN), got good fuel economy (well, the -t, not so much but OK) and the things had amazing turning circles.

    If I can ever find another 940 at the right price, I’m buying it.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I maintain a ’93 240 for our daughter to drive, and it is the perfect car for her situation. But, the fuel economy is only fair (typically 23 mpg) and the maintenance work on it keeps me fairly busy.

    If I had to pay shop rates for repairs I would have ditched the thing long ago. At some point it is going to need a $400 or so air mass meter and $1500 or more for a rebuilt transmission. The air mass meter will get done for sure, but when the tranny gives up it is going to be a tough call. Fortunately the tranny has been well maintained with frequent fluid changes, but those things don’t last forever. At some point the actual running costs on a lightly used Honda Fit or similar newer vehicle would probably be less than the cost of keeping the Volvo going.

  • avatar
    volvo

    1. There is only one red block (IE 4 cylinder) Volvo turbo or non-turbo that has EPA 18mpg or less that is the 745T.

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/calculatorCompareSideBySide.jsp?
    column=1&id=9183

    I checked on my 1993 945T and it was rated 19mpg combined (mine gets 20mpg).

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/calculatorCompareSideBySide.jsp?column=1&id=10209

    2. “Bricks” are 240/740/940 series. The Volvo euthanized in the infamous YouTube video was a FWD s series not a brick.

    3. At the pick and pull in my area availability of parts roughly follows what I believe to be the desirability of the models. 740 parts are abundant and not removed (least popular). 240 parts are much less available. 940 parts are quite rare. I have only seen 1 940 in my local pick and pull on the last 5 years.

    For whatever reason I am not enamored of the 700T series and if I had one might consider a cash for clunkers trade in. Probably would not go through with it since the red block engine is not something to be destroyed

    If you can get your hands on a normally aspirated 940 or 945 with less than 200K miles you have quite a find and it probably would be good for another 100-150K miles.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    The beauty of RWD Volvos is that they are sooo incredibly simple to work on. DIY and smile all the way to the bank. I just finished rehabing an absolutely lovely ’93 960 wagon that was going to be my daily driver until the stupid rebates on leftover ’08 Saabs sucked me in. Paid $2K for it, put maybe $1500 in new and used parts into it to make it perfect. Selling it to a good friend for the $3500 I have in it. I REALLY planned to keep it, but he really, really wants it.

    I previously had a ’94 945 that I sold to my roommate when I bought the 965. I paid $1700 for that one, all it has needed in three years is a re-soldered instrument panel circuit board, tires, brakes, and a set of $20 front suspension bushings. 160K on it. Call it less than $500 in maintenance all told. That car will run FOREVER. Best car ever made, as long as you are not in a hurry. You can measure the 0-60 time with a sundial.

    @John Horner

    Here’s a tip for you – when the tranny on that 240 finally blows up, get a used transmission from a non-turbo 740 or 940 to replace it. AW7xL They have lockup torque converters and bolt right in. You will gain several mpgs and a nice reduction in highway noise. Because of the lockup, the fluid runs much cooler and they generally last forever. Because there is no demand for them, they tend to be DIRT cheap used. $200 or so from a junkyard. No way would I spend the money to rebuild a Volvo tranny – too many good used ones out there.

  • avatar
    lahru

    C4C Kills at our dealership, Ford northern New York.

    ’97 Explorer
    ’00 Frontier
    ’96 F-150
    ’97 Blazer
    ’00 Dakota
    ’00 Grand Caravan
    ’00 Cherokee
    ’98 Grand Cherokee
    ’05 B1500 Conversion Van 12″ TV and raised roof!
    ’97 Expedition

    The only one that did I feel guilty about is the Dakota. 44K, minor rust yet acv’s at $2500.00.

    They took the $4500.00

    14 more next week if the Senate says yes.

  • avatar
    mikeolan

    We owned a 240 brick wagon and it was a total piece of garbage that deserved to be euthanized- sadly, no CARS program existed back then.

  • avatar
    BDB

    lahru, what models are the next 14 that are lined-up? What kind of cars are people trading in for?

  • avatar
    dneume

    KixStart:
    We owned two 240 wagons and one 940t sedan. They were not as reliable as legend would have it but when they did need repair, it was usually something unimportant and/or cheap to fix. Our operating costs were very low.

    My experience is along the same line.

    I maintain a naturally aspirated ’93 240 wagon. It was my daily driver for four years, my son drove it for two years and now the newest driver in my family(my daughter) is driving it. As my son told me – you can’t ‘drift’ in the 240.

    I also maintain a naturally aspirated ’95 940 wagon. This is my wife’s daily driver.

    Neither car gets great gas mileage; however, both are solid, dependable, and are great haulers.

    I live in Georgia, and the air-conditioners on both cars still work great.

    My experience is that these cars the best ever made. Any old cars cannot be abused or ignored. Perform regular maintenance, be prepared for the odd expensive (~$500) repair, and these cars will age well.

  • avatar
    volvo

    We owned a 240 brick wagon and it was a total piece of garbage that deserved to be euthanized

    Unless it was a turbo or had an auto tranny I think that must have been a rare 245. The 245 is not that complex and good used parts are readily available.

    If you are not a DYIer cost might be a problem.

    In my part of the country a running 245 of almost any age with standard transmission will go for $2k if rough and $3.5K if clean.

    Body rust is the killer for 240s. Mechanically (when regularly maintained) they are pretty robust out to about 400-500K miles.

    Steven Lang who wrote

    “the Volvo faithful. You know them. Those zombies who wonder aimlessly around the junkyards muttering about wiring harnesses and ABS modules. Fifty to sixty year old guys who still use watches and speak longingly about an ancient historical artifact once known as ‘The Constitution’. Rugged individualists who believe that the era of good music ended with The Allman Brothers. Real American Heroes!!! “

    Has me pegged.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    My 1984 Volvo 245 Diesel. In the last 3 years/30k, I’ve spent $187 TOTAL on all repairs and maintenance.

    It gets 33mpg around town. Half my fuel is free waste oil from the Chinese fryer, giving me an effective 66mpg.

    Cheap to drive, rarely needs fixed, fixes cheap (if you know a thing or 2)

    Bash all the 700 and 900 Volvos you want, but take your mitts off my 245 Diesel.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    “Fifty to sixty year old guys who still use watches and speak longingly about an ancient historical artifact once known as ‘The Constitution’.”

    The constitution is one of the most brilliant documents ever written, from the separation of powers to federalism to the bill of rights. It should be followed. But it never has been.

    What’s happening now TARP, etc. and the massive delegation of spending power to the president, or, to be fair, what happened under Bush with the Patriot Act, is completely tame compared to how the constitution has been abused and violated throughout the history of this country. Hell, the only reason we have “flyover country” is the very arguably unconstitutional buying of the Louisiana Purchase.

    Back to cars – Hopefully the Chinese will return Volvo to making indestructible RWD live-rear-axle station wagons.

    Ford can keep the P2/D3 platform. It’s not bad – hell, the only reason Ford has a decent full size platform is that it bought Volvo and got the P2 platform with the purchase, but it’s not good enough to be a Volvo.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    “The bastards! I could deal with destroying the Cherokees, the Lincolns, even a Dynasty with a trombone case red interior.”

    I can’t deal with purposefully ruining any good piece of machinery (even a Volvo!)especially to support what is really a socialist cram-down. It’s just wrong!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    eggsalad :
    August 2nd, 2009 at 4:03 pm
    Bash all the 700 and 900 Volvos you want, but take your mitts off my 245 Diesel.

    I’ll keep my mitts off if you can outrun my eighth grader on her bike. Deal? :)

  • avatar
    Lokki

    BTW, judging from the bone yard at the local pick-n-pull, Volvo were in fact dying every day without government assistance.

    They’re not dead yet… they’re just resting!

    Seriously – those old Volvos are not reliable but they are durable and infinitely repairable. I went down this road with a VW in the 80’s and I watched a friend drive her 240 wagon toward infinity. I finally moved away – so she may still have it for all I know. I wouldn’t bet against it. Still there was always something wrong with it. She’d known her mechanic personally for years. Hell, she helped pay to raise his children from birth through college.

    But as long as there’s something left to bolt a replacement part to, she wasn’t going to give that car up.

  • avatar
    jorrell

    I see a lot of comments about how 240s and other Bricks are outrageously expensive to keep running and not worth it. Well, I can’t disagree with that assessment if you have to rely on Volvo and Independent service centers for service!

    For example, a 1 pound can of refrigerant at an independent shop costs $100 plus a half hour labor. Now if you are willing to spend $5 for a can of refrigerant and a $20 adapter at the local parts store, you are now saving money, especially if one can read instructions and do the job themselves!

    The above is the dividing point between great car (serviced by owner) and people that buy a 240 and rely on dealerships! Oh, but wait, what about all the Ford Escorts from the same era as the 240, how many of them are still on the road??? I guess that would be a quality comparison… Chevette anyone?

    With a few exceptions, the early and late RWD Volvos are not eligible for the C4C giveaway that rewards those owners that made bad car choices. Nothing like rewarding those that have shown they can not make responsible choices in cars!

    Finally, our 92 245 pulls 30MPG on the freeway and has a fully functional emissions system at 280+K miles.

    Oh, by the way, I’m not a 50 or 60 year old guy roaming the bone yards like a ghost for parts, I’m also not a fan of the governmental deficits that have been created over the past decade and the acceleration the current deficit that is multiplying daily.

    One last “polite” PC comment, let me know in 10 years how your Prius is doing… by then, our 240 wagon will have half a million miles on it unless it has an unfortunate accident, that IS how confident I am in the 240!

  • avatar
    fincar1

    It really sounds as though the decent Volvo that is turned in for 0bama’s engine-grenading treatment will be rare; it seems that their owners have a fairly high degree of loyalty to them. I thought that there might be a ready supply of old rear-drive Volvos waiting for Ford 302 V8 engine swaps, but probably not.

    I really, really detest this scrappage program, probably beyond the logic involved. I worked at a naval shipyard which for several years was in the business of scrapping nuclear submarines with such strict environmental controls that it cost more than the original cost of building the boats. Yet the much greater effort and precision involved in building these pieces of machinery didn’t make me sad at their loss. Perhaps the difference is that I had to consider the much greater cost of keeping the things in the active fleet.

    This is supposed to help The Economy according to a lot of things I’ve read in the last few days, getting people to spend money, getting that money moving. Maybe I’d feel better about that if each new sled bought under this program had a sign on the back, “I took a government handout to buy this vehicle.”

  • avatar
    Svens Maintainer

    We’ve found the 240 series to be very economical to own. We drove 240’s exclusively from ’95 through ’08 when I bought, um, something else that gets about double the mpg, at a cost of about $3000.

    I’m moderately skilled in DIY maintenance. I do my own oil changes, trans fluid changes, and most of the brake work. I’ve done about half the exhaust work on these cars. I’ve also taken care of a wide variety of miscellaneous repairs: corner lens replacement, seat restoration, glove box door latch rebuilds, door molding and door handle replacement, window motors, hood hinges, I think you get the idea. If you’re handy and have reasonable junk yards available, these jobs are doable at little cost.

    If you need a shop to do the work for you, the cost can add up. Another car will likely have similar total maintenance costs – but you’ll be spending that money on a car with a higher book value so the cost might seem more reasonable. The car’s book value is of no meaning to me. I’m only interested in whether I like the car and is it economical and safe to drive.

  • avatar

    The last car my parents bought was a used ’95 Volvo 940 (non-turbo) wagon in ’99. My parents had both checked out 3 years later, but my nephew still drives the thing. It was a really nice car, perhaps the nicest one they ever had. Decent handling, precise steering, not much power, but you could push the engine hard and it wouldn’t complain. Very little NVH. Consumer Reports gave the non-turbo 940 good marks for reliability (unlike the 960 or the 740, if memory serves). I love the styling. It’s the cleanest of the bricks. It should be a crime to kill them.

  • avatar

    The Allman Brothers as the last good band? Gad… silly baby boomers. But then, nothing says “aging boomer” like the words “lead guitar”, does it? (Full disclosure: I’m in my mid 40s.)

    Tossing out tax $$$ for C4C… feh. I’d rather see them go after those stupid tax write-offs for huge pickups and SUVs first. I don’t hear nearly as much pissing and moaning about that as I do about C4C. But then, “My socialism GOOD… your socialism BAD!!!” seems to be the American way, ‘specially for the wealthy.

    Why didn’t they offer a modest rebate for cars that do better than, say, 35 MPG instead of C4C?

    Then again, why should I subsidize a new car purchase for someone else? If I find anything distasteful about C4C, that’d be it. Right up there with public financing for professional sports stadiums (grrrrr….). But I digress.

    So far as the intentional grenading of motors for C4C, sure, it’s a hideous squandering of resources, but no more so than the way we manage the rest of our material world and energy here in North America. What we toss out, landfill and melt down for scrap would be a veritable gold mine of perfectly usable spare parts in much of the world. But, then, lots of waste makes our wonderful economy go ’round, or so it would seem.

    On RWD Volvos: After extensive driving, wrenching and cussing at 4 different 240s over the years (and about 25 cars of varying makes overall), I feel qualified to offer a few opinions.

    1) The red block engines are the most durable I ever expect to see in this life. There’s damn near 300K on my main ride; it starts every day, passes emissions tests by a long margin, doesn’t burn oil and gets 30-35 MPG on the highway. What the hell more could you ask? Sure, it’s a bit of a slug, but I’ve rarely found that to be a real problem, it’ll still do 80 all day if I want it to.

    2) The manual transmissions aren’t too far behind the engines. Even wounded, they just go on and on… one of mine has had a rather noisy input shaft bearing for four years now; a replacement trans is sitting in my basement lying in wait, but since the noisy one still shifts fine and hasn’t leaked for over 30K now, I haven’t seen the need to replace it.

    3) The bodies are typically tight and quite durable. They’ll rust like any other car over time, but if you keep the body drains clear and hose out the inner fenders every so often, you’ll do fine. No rust on any of mine, but then I live in the NW.

    4) Ah, but the electrical systems. Most all of the grief I’ve experienced with Volvos has been due to corroded terminals and aging connectors, not to mention the biodegradable wiring harnesses in the engine compartment (heat is what does them in). If you’re handy with wiring and electronics, you can work around this problem for not a lot of $$$, but if you’re paying someone by the hour, it can get ridiculous fast. IMHO, electrical problems that no one will spend time or $$$ on accounts for the vast majority of 240s being sold and/or junked.

    5) Turbo = trouble! Getting a turbo to pass emissions can be a chore. Replacement turbos are expensive, and there’s more stuff to go wrong in general. Overall engine longevity, while still decent, is not as good as the non-turbo versions. That all said, they are a ton of fun!

    6) If you like to work on cars or you have access to free or inexpensive mechanical help, RWD Volvos are great cars. If you don’t, you’d probably be happier with a Toyondissanazda.

    Useful Swedish cuss words to direct at your Volvo include “baconpugga”, which I’ve used extensively over the years (google it!). But, that said, you can still fix 95% of what will go wrong on your 240 on your own… there aren’t many cars left out there that you can say that about. And, with a few exceptions, don’t believe all the BS about expensive parts… my Toyotas regularly cost me more for replacement parts when I had to wrench on them. Shop carefully and you can do fine.

  • avatar

    Anyone know of a cheap used turbo motor for a 900?

    Alternatively, do you think it’s possible to repair a single rod bearing? Drop the oil pan, take the cap off that rod, mic that journal and get the closest bearing to a proper fit.

    It seems to me that before the 1960s, people may have been more likely to repair, rather than rebuild, engines.

  • avatar

    So, for every x number of serviceable cars made inoperable, how many people are there in America who could have used that car to get to a new job, or for a small/micro business?

    That the two most played videos are a Volvo and and Jeep Cherokee is beyond ironic. Volvos are legendary for durability and the Cherokee may be the most durable American car ever built. Check out eBaymotors. 200K miles is pretty common with Cherokees.

    Someone could have used that Cherokee to start a lawnmowing business.

    Also, this will drive up the prices of used cars, further screwing poor and working class folks.

  • avatar
    Forty2

    Even if Mrs Klankenborg, my 1991 240, was eligible for CFC, there is no way in hell I’d consign her to the hellish fate of having her fine engine purposely seized then crushing the entire car for a shitty rebate. It’s rated at 22mpg I think, so no deal. There wouldn’t be a deal anyway because who the hell wants car payments and high insurance? I get 30mpg on the highway anyway.

    All y’all who think Volvos are expensive to repair and unreliable, well, you’ve probably never owned a pre-Ford model, especially a 240. Sure little fiddly things break, but I’ve put 12,000 miles on this car since I bought it last year and she’s probably good for another 150,000. Parts are not expensive, there’s even reproduction parts, and there’s awesome online communities behind these cars that will answer pretty much any question in a day or so, e.g. brickboard.com, turbobricks.com, etc.

    Hint: if you want a brick, find a stickshift. If you can’t drive a stick and you aren’t disabled, you suck.

  • avatar
    volvo

    Since this has turned into a Volvo 240 love-fest let me tell you about my 1985 245.

    Purchased for $500 in 1991 with 120K on the odometer as a 1st car for my then 16 y/o son. Surfer dude car so OK here in coastal California.

    Now has 289K on the odometer and other than routine maintenance (oil, fluids, tires, timing belt, battery) only major repairs were overdrive rebuild at 190K for $700 and engine wiring harness at 280K for $300. Minor stuff (DIY) included idle motor, relays, bulbs at various time adding up to no more than $300.

    Registration is less than $50 year, insurance maybe $300.

    Gets 25 mpg combined on 87 octane. Will run 70-80mph all day. Burns no oil. All smog check values 1/10 of upper acceptable limits. Has never left me stranded.

    Operating costs maybe $0.15/mile.

    Pretty beaten up body so people with new rides give it wide berth in parking lots and urban streets.

    I plan to run this car until the frame rusts off.

    Yes it is disturbing to see a Volvo trashed (even a fwd model).

  • avatar
    LordVolvo

    the Volvo faithful
    Yep.

    You know them. Those zombies who wonder aimlessly around the junkyards muttering about wiring harnesses and ABS modules.
    Nope. I mutter to my computer while buying parts on eBay.

    Fifty to sixty year old guys
    I’m 41. Been a Volvo Faithful since the age of 14.

    who still use watches
    Nope. Dumped my watch for a cell phone.

    and speak longingly about an ancient historical artifact once known as ‘The Constitution’.
    Yep. Someone has to remember the Constitution since Bush / Cheney didn’t.

    Rugged individualists
    Damn-right.

    who believe that the era of good music ended with The Allman Brothers.
    No. The end of the 80s was the end of good music.

    Real American Heroes!!!
    See answer for Rugged individualists.

    Just because you see someone like me driving a 25 year-old car, don’t assume that I never contribute to the economy. It’s folks like me who keep indy mechanics and auto-parts stores in business. Why should I waste my money buying or leasing cars every couple of years when I could preserve resources and keep cars out of landfills and use that leftover money for fun stuff?

    About my car – 1984 Volvo 240 with 292,000 miles on the original engine, tranny, and starter. I never changed my own oil until five years ago; now I do minor repairs on my own because the car is so easy to work on. Burns no oil. Gets mid-20s MPG in the city; low 30s on the highway.

    Older Volvos may not be as trouble-free as a young Asian car, but I guarantee that the longevity of the RWD redblock engine will outlast most any other car, including Asian makes.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    rpol35 :

    I can’t deal with purposefully ruining any good piece of machinery (even a Volvo!)especially to support what is really a socialist cram-down. It’s just wrong!

    No no comrade, socialism would take all these “clunkers” and give them to people who need a ride and don’t have money. This here however, is capitalism at it’s best, ostensibly veiled as a “green” program, when in fact it’s main intention is to pump life into the economy.

    `89 245 owner here. 272K on the original engine and automatic transmission, thank you very much. As has been resonating in the comments, old Volvos are cheap to maintain. I’ve put maybe $1000 into it over the last 20,000 miles, and that includes registration and oil changes.

  • avatar
    handplane

    volvo, not quite right. The B234-equipped 740s, with auto trans, have a combined rating of 18.

    Two years ago I began assembling a family fleet of used cars so we all had a way to get to work. After much calculation and deliberation, last week I sent our 90 Volvo 740 GLE 16V in for lethal injection, and came home with an 09 Honda Fit. Negotiated a little under Edmunds TMV, then got $4500 of gubmint cheese.

    The old brick, with just under 200k showing on the odo-and we know about Volvo odometer gears-required frequent wrenching by me, and by my local indie for tougher stuff. Nearly all our driving is city stop-sign-to-stoplight. The 740 got 13 mpg in the depths of the Michigan winter, and 19 mpg during summer. I for one fully expect oil prices to climb much higher in the next few years.

    I guess I was dwford’s archetypal customer. This purchase made sense and we can easily afford it. Sure, I miss our Bluesmobile. That car had character, even if a bunch of things on it didn’t work. At least we still have our 94 Volvo 850.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    I’ll be glad when my 84 760T finally dies. Yes, it’s been a good car and very reliable as it only has 212k miles on it. It averages about 21MPG city with premium and goes through a qt of oil every 500 miles or so. It is a redblock and it is a turbo (source of the oil leak), and transmission shifts a bit hard and the temp has been holding at just above half with these 100+ temp days. But, the electronic issues are small and bothersome, but honestly not worth the waste of time anymore. I finally got all the taillights working! I’ll drive it until an oil pump, head gasket, or turbo gives out.


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