Junkyard Find: 1970 Volvo 145

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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Because Volvo sold the 200 Series cars here from the 1975 through 1993 model years and so many owners loved those sensible bricks so deeply, plenty are only now showing up in the self-service car graveyards I frequent. What about the 200's predecessor, the 140?

junkyard find 1970 volvo 145

While not as easy to find as the 240 in Ewe Pullet yards these days, I still run across one or two 140s in junkyards per year, mostly in Volvo brick-loving Northern California. This one now resides in the same San Jose Pick-n-Pull as three Renault Dauphines (including a Gordini).

If you go there, make sure you get some tacos from the roach coach out front; it's one of the best junkyard taco trucks in the Golden State (which is saying something).

Like so many old Volvos I've found in junkyards in recent years (including a 240 with better than 600,000 miles on the odometer), this one has the look of a car that spent most or all of its life with one owner who loved it very much.

It's very well-preserved, with seats swapped in from what I assume was an early 240 and other signs of meticulous care for a reliable, if elderly daily driver. For example, this envelope with some carb gaskets I found in the glovebox.

On the back is a lengthy description of the details associated with a very careful rebuild of the Skinners Union carburetors.

Having daily-driven a few cars equipped with dual SUs, I know and love/hate this hardware quite well (and I can say that the license-built Hitachi versions used on Datsuns have far superior build quality).

Volvo was an early adopter of the six-digit odometer, so we can see that this car traveled close to 250,000 miles during its life. Did the owner finally trade it in on a new Volvo?

Plenty of curmudgeonly Silicon Valley tech-industry workers drove old Swedish cars to work for decade after decade.

The 140 and 240 Volvos were essentially the same car from the A pillar back, as is made clear from the side view. The 200 Series ( which included the 260 six-cylinder cars) got a modern MacPherson strut front suspension but otherwise didn't change much.

All the 140s got B18 and B20 pushrod straight-four engines, continuing the tradition of tractor-grade B-series Volvo power that went all the way back to the PV444s of the middle 1940s (and through the US-market PV544 and Amazon).

The 240 got the B20 here as well, though only for the 1975 model year. After that, the 240 went all overhead-cam. There were six-cylinder members of the 140 family, but only in sedan form.

140s with automatics were available, of course, but this car has the four-on-the-floor manual you'll find in most of these cars.

The old-school aftermarket AM radio shows "BC" (which meant "Broadcast") and "KC" (which stood for "kilocycles" rather than the kilohertz nomenclature established in 1960 by the Systéme international d'unités).

What was the last year in which you could buy a new car in the United States with a manual choke lever from the factory? It couldn't have been much later than the early 1970s.

How could a classic Volvo this solid have ended up in a place like this? Why didn't someone buy it for cheap and drive it to a place like Michigan or Vermont, where some say that Volvo fanatics will pay five figures for any rust-free 145 or 245? That was money left on the table!

Sadly, most of those fanciers of Swedish bricks in the territory of the Rust Monster already have a dozen or three project cars and they tend to be weapons-grade tightwads when it comes to buying Volvos and/or Volvo parts. A very nice running 145 might fetch acceptable money in the real world, but not enough to make a car like today's Junkyard Find a good investment from a strictly financial viewpoint.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

1970 Volvo 145 in California junkyard.

[Images: The Author]

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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Writer d'Elegance Brougham Landau.

More by Murilee Martin

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  • Sarah Sarah on Nov 21, 2023

    Hey fellow junker! Any chance you remember where that Colony Park was I'm dreaming that maybe it's just still sitting there haha

  • Clay Clay on Nov 30, 2023

    Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60 had manual choke through 1987.

    Also, just started daily driving my 1992 Volvo 240 that I picked up in September and brought back to the road. Some fresh studded tires + RWD, bring on the snow!! Old Volvos make me smile

  • Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
  • Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.
  • Marky S. I own the same C.C. XSE Hybrid AWD as in this article, but in Barcelona Red with the black roof. I love my car for its size, packaging, and the fact that it offers both AWD and Hybrid technology together. Visibility is impressive, as is its small turning circle. I consider the C.C. more of a "station wagon" by proportion, rather than an “SUV.” It is fun to drive, with zippy response and perky pick-up. It is a pleasant car to drive and ride in. It is not trying to be a “Butch Off-Roader”, or a cosseting “Luxury Cruiser.” Those are not its goals or purpose. The Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD is a wonderful All-Purpose Car (O.K. – “SUV” if you must hear me say it!) with a combination of all the features it has at a reasonable price.
  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
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