Junkyard Find: 1983 Volvo 242

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 fourcylinder/ fouror fivedoor 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 twodoors (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).

Moe’s Broadway Bagel in Boulder has been around since the early 1990s, and I see these stickers on many Front Range junkyard vehicles.

It’s well-traveled, with better than a quarter-million miles on the odometer. I find 240s with more miles, but 263,554 is a respectable final total for the old Swede.

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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  • ClayT ClayT on Jul 19, 2022

    I bought a '83 245 in '95. It had 196k miles on it. Drove it fifteen years and another (est*) 190k miles. Only got towed three times. Once when the fuel pump failed. Once when the timing belt broke. (non-interference motor, easy two hour fix). Once when the harness leprosy caused the starter to kick in while I was crusng along at 40mph. (Took two weeks to remove the old harness and build a new one from scratch. Good factory harnesses were unobtanium by then.) (* The odometer gears crumble to dust after time. They also crumble when one tries to remove it from a junkyard speedo) The OP car appears to have had a functioning odometer when it died. Most all the dead odo's have the trip odo set to zero since the owner inevitably pushes the reset after the odo dies.

    • Jeff S Jeff S on Jul 19, 2022

      I have heard that about Volvo odometers. Wonder why in such an otherwise well built car that Volvo would put in odometers that would not hold up. Seems odometers are fairly simple devices. Never had an odometer go on any car even American ones.

  • Heron Heron on Aug 04, 2022

    E30 BMWs will do the same thing. VDO plastic gears turn to butter with time.

  • Art Vandelay I am sure somewhere, somebody is saddened by this.
  • Dukeisduke It's becoming the norm for cats to be moved out of state for sale, and even out of the country. The thieves are looking for the easiest places to get rid of them, as laws tighten down in some places. Here in Texas, catalytic converter theft became a felony last September 1, so the stakes are going up.A couple months back, an off-duty Harris County (Houston) sheriff's deputy leaving a grocery store was murdered in the parking lot by a thief that was in the process of stealing the cat from his truck. As far as I know, they're still looking for the suspect, who would be charged with capital murder, and subject to the death penalty.
  • Dukeisduke Here's a real horror story: A friend of mine that's a commercial wallpaper installer owned an '09 Tundra, and had his cat stolen while he was working on a job in Dallas. He would normally have driven his work truck (an '03 Silverado with a zillion miles on it, and one engine replacement), but it was out of commission that day.At the end of the day when he got in the truck and started it, he noticed the noise, *and* saw smoke and flames. The thief had somehow cut or nicked the fuel line, causing gas to spray out. The truck burned to the ground in just a few minutes.He replaced it with a '19 Tundra, and the dealer installed a steel plate attached to the frame rails below the cats, and it's riveted (or maybe security bolts?) to the rails (I only saw it after dark, so I didn't get a really good look). He said the plate cost $750 to install. He says he'll never take the new one to work.
  • Dukeisduke I'll probably own some kind of EV someday, but I don't see it happening in the near future. Any kind of really large scale production is going to be hindered by the availability of rare earth minerals, so I don't see EVs taking over anytime soon, despite the wishful thinking of some folks. Instead, people in urban areas will be "encouraged" (shamed) into riding public transportation, and for people that live further out, or in the country, will still mainly drive ICE vehicles.I don't have anything against EVs, I just think the hype is overblown.Speaking of Dodge, I was watching the "Roadkill Nights" stream on Motortrend+ on Saturday, and Tim Kuniskis was interviewed live, and said there was a huge announce coming about the future of Dodge muscle, at the Woodward Cruise this weekend. I assume it'll be something about EVs. By the way, it was mentioned after the interview that Kuniskis started his career working as a service technician at a Dodge dealership. I'd never heard that before.
  • Dukeisduke I'd like to see some kind of two-door pickup version (like the original Bronco, not a Gladiator clone). The one on the recent Dirt Every Day episode made a pretty decent crawler. I like the steelies on this one.
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