Junkyard Find: 1990 Volvo 240 DL Wagon With 393,888 Miles

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1990 volvo 240 dl wagon with 393 888 miles

Because Volvo made the 200 Series cars well into the 1990s, they were pretty reliable, and 240 owners tend to stick with their cars for decades. I still see plenty of Swedish bricks in the self-service car graveyards I frequent.

In fact, I walk by a dozen or two discarded 240s for each one I shoot, but I appreciate good manual-transmission wagons and high-mile veteran vehicles and this ’90 checks both boxes.

I see junked Civics and Camrys with this sort of odometer reading all the time, and I’ll bet most of the end-of-the-line Amazons and 140s I see have accrued interstellar mileage figures that don’t show on their five-digit odometers. Most of the forcibly-retired 240s I see have around 200,000 total miles, so this one was exceptionally well-cared-for.

The seat upholstery looks good for a 29-year-old car in a harsh climate.

Most American Volvo buyers opted for the automatic transmission by the early 1990s, but the original buyer of this car wanted a four-on-the-floor rig. Maybe that decision came about because three-pedal cars are more fun, but the 240-wagon-buying demographic tended to be more about the fuel-efficiency and practicality benefits of the manual transmission.

Which isn’t to say that these cars didn’t have their frivolous side. Check out that air-conditioning! Stern, frugal Swedes might disapprove, but it doesn’t get very hot in Scandinavia.

The stickers on the rear glass come right out of Volvo Wagon Central Casting, of course.

To be fair, I do see some 245s with NRA or Gadsden Flag stickers here, but not many.

Volvo nitpickers may take issue with my reference to this car as a 245, since Volvo North America dropped the third-digit-in-name-indicates-number-of-doors naming system after 1982, but at least I called it the correct name in the headline. The DL was the cheapest trim level in 1990.

Power came from this 2.3-liter SOHC straight-four, rated at 114 horsepower. Curb weight on the wagon came to just a few cans of Surströmming over 3,000 pounds (the 240s always looked heavier than they really were, thanks to the brick shape), so acceleration with the base engine wasn’t so bad.

Safe from even runaway pianos!

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  • Pwrwrench Pwrwrench on Nov 19, 2019

    Most are familiar with the terms, socialism, capitalism, communism. There is also Volvo-ism. If you are really into it you can be a Volvo-ista. Soon there will be a wiki page.

  • Mor2bz Mor2bz on Nov 20, 2019

    I remember going to some wretched dance bar as a 30-something male. I actually had decent clothing on. I approached a female of extreme beauty with whom I was somewhat familiar and attempted to make small talk. At this time her younger brother appeared, met me, and then went off, he said, "in search of some vulva". I stated that my brother once had a Saab, at which the woman smiled broadly. Check but no checkmate.

  • 28-Cars-Later I'm actually surprised at this and not sure what to make of it. In recent memory Senator Biden has completely ignored an ecological disaster in Ohio, and then ignored a tragic fire in Hawaii until his handlers were goaded in sending him and his visit turned into it's own disaster, but we skipped nap time for this sh!t show? Seriously? We really are through the looking glass now, "votes" no longer matter (Hillary almost won being the worst presidential candidate since 1984 before he claimed the crown) and outside of Corvette nostalgia Joe doesn't care let alone know what day it happens to be. Could they really be afraid of Trump, who AFAIK has planned no appearance or run his mouth on this issue? Just doesn't make sense, granted this is Clown World so maybe its my fault for trying to find sense in a senseless act.
  • Tassos If you only changed your series to the CORRECT "Possibly Collectible, NOT Daily Driver, NOT Used car of the day", it would sound much more accurate AND TRUTHFUL.Now who would collect THIS heap of trash for whatever misguided reason, nostalgia for a much worse automotive era or whatever, is another question.
  • ToolGuy Price dropped $500 overnight. (Wait 10 more days and you might get it for free?)
  • Slavuta Must be all planned. Increase price of cars, urbanize, 15 minutes cities. Be poor, eat bugs
  • Sid SB Not seen a Core without the performance pack yet. Prefer the more understated look of the Core vs the Circuit, but both are great fun to drive.