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

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.

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.