By on June 29, 2012

I see more Volvo Amazons in junkyards (and on the street) than I do 140s, probably because the Amazon was built for 15 years versus the 140’s eight. Both cars got the pushrod version of Volvo’s sturdy— in fact, tractor-grade sturdy— B engine and were unusually safe for their times. Both were typically bought by owners who planned on keeping the cars for many decades. Still, there comes a day when a 43-year-old station wagon just isn’t worth maintaining. Here’s a ’69 wagon I found at a junkyard near my house.
The Volvo 240 evolved out of the 140 and was pretty much the same car from about the windshield rearward. You can really see the resemblance between the 245 and 145 wagons from this view.
This proud engine identification lettering looks serious.
I always think of my free ’68 Volvo 144 when I see the “thermometer” speedo on one of these things.

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30 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1969 Volvo 145 Wagon...”

  • avatar

    Wow, a manual choke knob. I’m guessing 90% of the drivers on the road today wouldn’t know what to do with that thing.

    • 0 avatar

      Just could not help but comment that I wonder how many drivers would know what to do with the choke once they realized it was there? A great amount of small engine equipment still uses a choke so anyone that mows a lawn, uses a leaf blower, etc. still uses the choke lever. Yes, on some it is integrated into the throttle so is not operated totally separately but on many things it still is. The exception being when it uses a primer bulb only and no choke. What percentage of drivers also operate small equipment?

    • 0 avatar

      The 69 Volvo 145 still had a pair of Skinners Union carburetors, SU for short. The SU HS series had an enrichment device that very eloquently lowered the seat from the upper needle jet. That is what you all are calling a choke.


      That car got me through college and compared to the lighter imports of the day, it drove like a Buick. The cast iron B20 engine had a felt seal at the flywheel, which was prone to leak. An upgrade to a post 1973 seal housing was a god-send.

      A Laycock de Normanville overdrive from a junkyard was a sought after upgrade to the standard four speed gearbox during the late 1970’s.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s probably even more than that, closer to 97%. My lawnmower is choke-free and starts with a started pump. The only engine with a choke that I operated in the last year was a Rotax 912, which uses motorcycle-style Bing carburetors.

    • 0 avatar

      It must be a cultural thing: where I live, at least 90% of the drivers on the road have operated a manually-choked vehicle.

  • avatar

    Due to the straight body (except for the grill), something mechanical took it out that would cost more to fix than the poor thing was worth is my guess.

  • avatar

    Yep, I remember those speedometers. Hard to rear, horribly inaccurate, and with an action that you would have thought there was sand in the mechanism. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried ‘seat of pants’ class rallying in one of those cars. Just try to come into a checkpoint less than a minute off, in either direction.

  • avatar

    Ciddyguy beat me to the punch. The body on the Volvo is straight and the car looks like it was well taken care of from the outside. Would have probably been restored if it was in the Northeast where rust eats through cars in 5-7 years. Could be a business in shipping car bodies for old cars from the west to the east. Bet somebody already does it though. Nice looking old Volvo, though. Too bad it wasn’t restored. Nice survivor!!! Like the 87 Novs the other day.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve considered starting a company many times, with the way California just throws away perfectly serviceable classics. It always comes down to risk vs reward though when I think about it for awhile. There just isn’t a good supply of people with time on their hands for a project these days it seems.

    • 0 avatar

      As I’ve opined so many times, for God’s sake take every last piece–leave the barest minimum to be made into (a) Chinese junk!

  • avatar

    In junior high and high school I mowed Ethel’s lawn down the street. She had almost the exact same car in her garage with expired tags. She’d given up driving…as I recall it only had 70k miles on it. I started it up for her every once in a while and drove it around the block once or twice. Aside from some minor rust in one corner, the car looked new.

    She offered it to me for $1,500, and I would’ve bit but for one thing, it was an automatic.

  • avatar

    Bought a repossessed 1974 model from our bank in the middle of 1975. Sold it a year later. Due to the incompetence of the local Volvo dealer, it standed us four times in that year. Twice, it was because the dealer’s mechanic didn’t know enough to lubricate the distributor points and the block that rode on the distributor cam broke. Once, it was because the alternator bearings failed. Another time, the expensive Bosch fuel pump died. In between, it ran poorly because the dealer’s mechanic couldn’t diagnose plugged and dirty fuel injectors. Even after a smarter mechanic fixed the injector problems, it still was gutless. That was our last Volvo.

    • 0 avatar

      My brother-in-law bought one of these, I want to say a ’74, I think new–and still had it years later when my future wife and I met. It caused them no end of trouble, and I’m not sure I ever saw it actually run (but by then they had a couple of other cars).

    • 0 avatar

      EXTREMELY few people understood, and more importantly knew how to troubleshoot repair early fuel injection systems. Most people would wait until the warranty was out and replace it with a good ole reliable Weber or Holley carb setup.

  • avatar

    This looks like a manual transmission car….why is there PRNDL in the gauge cluster?

  • avatar

    The car looks like it ran into fairly recent times. There looks to be a Kenlowe aftermarket electric fan on the radiator. Definitely not stardard equip in 1969.

  • avatar

    A friend of mine, a professor at the U of Wisconsin, has one of tehse thigns that her parents bought when she was around 11, in 1968. The car lived in Berkeley in its early years, but Providence, and then Madison winters took their toll. She and her husband don’t drive it anymore in the winter.

  • avatar

    Beautiful car, looks like the body’s in good shape.

  • avatar

    Theres so much room in that bay, just too many wires running everywhere.

    Honestly I’ve never cared for fuel injection, I say yank this thing out and throw a weber on it.

  • avatar

    About this time, a family in our suburban New Jersey neighborhood got one of these. It was so “foreign” and was definitely the oddball among the Colony Parks and Biscaynes. I remember two things: the little pipe-cleaners holding up the rear seat shoulder belts, and how awkward it was to close the tailgate from the third seat.

  • avatar

    Tell me about it.. we had a 74 164E. The fuel injection caused no end of problems. 4 speed maunal. It ran well on the hwy with the electric o/d. Round town the six ran rough & lumpy and gear change wasn’t smooth – the clutch being woman heavy. Funny what Volvo did to make 144 a 164. Stretch the snout & block to add 2.

    Mostly I recall the 164 front signals & parking lights mounted in chromed bezels on front bumper. Hard to tell 144-164 from rear 3/4’s.

    And yeah I don’t think the dealer knew how to service this model.

  • avatar
    Mark in Maine

    I had one of these once – mine was dark green. Paid a grand for it back in the middle eighties, and drove it for a year or two. Not the fastest thing Volvo ever turned out – foot flat on the floor would deliver 55-60 mph (see Syke’s comment, above) but it would drone on hour after hour on the interstate, as long as there weren’t too many long grades. It was rugged, plain as a cheese sandwich, and didn’t require much cash for repairs, because there wasn’t much on it to break. Sold it for $1500.00 to a friend who needed a wagon for work. He ran it for a month or two, blew the head gasket, and gave the car back to me. Dad and I fixed it, and my Dad continued to drive it up until rust caught up with it just a few years ago. He finally sold it to a Volvo guy, and for all I know, the thing is still running somewhere . . .

  • avatar

    Thanks again for the shot of the vin plate!

  • avatar

    Ha! That is my exact same car, same color and everything. Absolutely love it. I don’t know what Mark in Maine was talking about though, it may take a bit to get up to full speed but I’ve gotten mine up to 80-90mph.

    I gotta ask though, where is this junkyard that you found it? I’m having a hell of a time finding parts for mine.

  • avatar

    That’s sad ~ this car is obviously in VGC and mechanical repairs are cheap and dead simple for any real Mechanic (Daler ‘Mechanics” are mostly parts changer kiddies) .

    This series didn’t have the BOSCH D-Jetronic fuel injection , it had the world’s _only_ true variable venturi carbys : S.U. , maybe HS-4’s .

    I had a 1970 144S sedan , bought it at the police auction for $130 after the lady owner went to jail for DUI , tuned it sharply and ran it hard with zero problems apart from the worn out engine’s constant oil burning .

    They were farily slow , especially up hill but once rolling , or blasting down canyons or twisty mountain roads , it cornered like is was on rails ~ I surprised many ‘ Sports Cars ‘ going down hill .

    Sadly , few Mechanics seem to grasp how to properly tune or repair these simple , durable rigs as they were in fact , bulletproof .


  • avatar

    Anyone know where this junkyard is located? I have a 1970 145 and would like that roof rack, as well as the rear tailgate.

    Anyway, I looked for ages for a mechanic in SoCal that would be willing to work on my engine (head was cracked). Finally, found someone to weld on the head, and replace the Stromberg carbs. Runs like a champ now.

    The 1970 would have been the last year to have those door handles and the front grille without the trademark Volvo slash.

    Seems like a shame that something like this would be just sitting around waiting for time to take its toll.

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