Junkyard Find: 1972 Volvo 145 Station Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1972 volvo 145 station wagon

If you listen to those who claim to love the Volvo 140, every example of the breed is extremely valuable and must be saved… and yet there’s a greater disparity between the Talking The Talk Quotient (TTTQ) and the Walking The Walk Quotient (WTWQ) seen among self-proclaimed Volvo fanatics than found among aficionados of any other marque. Yes, the TTTQ:WTWQ value approaches something like 100:1 when it comes to the poor old Volvo 140, a car whose basic design lived on well into the 1990s (in the form of the 140-descendent 240), and so almost none of these cars get rescued when they get down-at-the-heels (and the same goes for 240s). Here’s a San Francisco Bay Area 145 that shows signs of being well-cared-for during its first 15 years and then forgotten in a side yard for the following quarter-century.

In this series so far, we’ve seen quite a few 140s, including this ’68 142, this ’69 145, this ’71 144, and this ’71 142. (plus there’s this bonus 164, which was based on the 140).

This car was full of registration receipts, smog-check certificates, and other stuff dating from the middle 1970s to the late 1980s. I didn’t find anything newer than that, so odds are that the car broke and then sat outdoors for decades.

It appears that the car’s owner did a lot of camping and outdoor-type activities. Most of the maps date from the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Now that’s what your organized Volvo owner does!

You need to know what the weather is like when you’re heading to Mt. Lassen, and so you need this Radio Shack weather-band radio that transmits through the car’s AM radio.

Four-wheel disc brakes were extremely rare on US-market vehicles when the first 140s appeared for the 1967 model year, and even front disc brakes weren’t universal as late as the early 1970s.

Planning makes your camping trip go better!

I thought I’d removed all the identifying stuff in the photos, but couple of readers were able to figure out the car’s former address (from a photograph of registration paperwork that I’d missed) and find it on Google Street View. I’ve removed that photograph (don’t want enraged Volvo fanatics tracking down the former owner), but have now added a photo of the car before it got towed away— MM.

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  • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Mar 06, 2015

    You ain't kidding about Volvo owners being tightwads, whenever I look at used examples (used RWD examples at that) they tend to have interior issues, buggy ABS systems, broken gauges, broken exterior trim, missing hubcaps... But heres the thing, the vast majority of this stuff is easy to fix and fairly cheap. Got a broken odometer? Spend and hour and $20, replace the gear, done! Almost no Volvo owner seems to know about this though. You don't get to a million miles without a little wrench work and investing.

  • Japanese Buick Japanese Buick on Mar 07, 2015

    With the article and comments combined, this is the best junkyard find yet

  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.
  • Marvin Im a current owner of a 2012 Golf R 2 Door with 5 grand on the odometer . Fun car to drive ! It's my summer cruiser. 2006 GLI with 33,000 . The R can be money pit if service by the dealership. For both cars I deal with Foreign car specialist , non union shop but they know their stuff !!! From what I gather the newer R's 22,23' too many electronic controls on the screen, plus the 12 is the last of the of the trouble free ones and fun to drive no on screen electronics Maze !
  • VoGhost It's very odd to me to see so many commenters reflexively attack an American company like this. Maybe they will be able to find a job with BYD or Vinfast.