Junkyard Find: 1983 Volvo 242
Volvo built the 200 Series for nearly 20 years and the owners of those sensibly rectangular machines tended to keep them for decade after decade, so I have no problem finding plenty of discarded examples during my junkyard travels despite the last ones rolling off the assembly line in 1993. Most of those machines have been the four– cylinder/ four– or five– door cars, though, because more cylinders and/or fewer doors didn’t seem stolid enough for your typical American Volvo shopper. In fact, prior to today, I had documented as many junked 262C Bertones as 242 two– doors (and just a single 264 sedan). Now I’ve found this rusty 242 in a self-service yard between Denver and Cheyenne.
The fender tag shows that it was built at the plant in Ghent, Belgium and that it’s a California-spec car rather than the 49-state model. Just about all the other 240s I’ve found in junkyards were built in Göteborg.
This car may have been sold new in California, but it sure didn’t stay there long. I’m guessing that this 242 spent some time in a Rust Monster-friendly place like Michigan or Maine before coming to Colorado (they don’t use much road salt around here and the single-digit humidity helps slow down corrosion).
Volvo stopped making the two-door 240 after the 1984 model year, so this car is one of the last ones. While not exactly sporty, the two-door coupe was quite a bit cheaper than the four-door; in 1983 a 240 two-door sedan with manual transmission listed at $10,650 (around $32,265 in 2022 dollars), while the four-door version cost $11,085 ($33,585 now).
If you want to get picky about the official name of this car, Volvo called it a 240 DL when it was in the showrooms; these days, everybody uses the more useful 1975-1979 naming system to describe 200 Series cars. That’s what I’ve done here.
The engine is a 2.0-liter B23, rated at 107 horsepower.
The interior is pretty well beat up, the body is rusty, the odometer shows a scary number, and it has a type of transmission that few are willing or able to drive these days. The local Volvo 240 aficionados have all the projects they can handle, so this car was bound for The Crusher the moment it entered the junkyard ecosystem.
You could get a turbocharged version with 127 horsepower for $16,050 (about $48,625 today).
The 700 Series was supposed to replace the 200 Series, but that never happened. In fact, the 240 stayed in production a year after the 740 got axed.
For links to nearly 2,400 additional Junkyard Finds, check out the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.
[Images by the author]
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