Junkyard Find: 1970 Volvo 164

In North America, the Volvo Brick family first appeared with the 140 in the 1968 model year, and the sensibly square Swedes remained on sale here through the last of the S90s and V90s (formerly known as the 960) in 1998. I’ve managed to find junkyard examples of all of these cars, including such oddities as the 262C and 780 Bertone Coupes, but the Volvo 164 has been a tough one; prior to today’s Junkyard Find, I had documented just a single 164. On a recent trip to a snow-coated yard between Denver and Cheyenne, I found another: this scorched and punctured ’70.

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Junkyard Find: 1968 Volvo 140 Sedan

How is it that there are still sufficient Volvo 140 s left, more than 40 years after production of the original Swedish brick ceased, that you’ll still find plenty of them in American wrecking yards? Not in the quantities you’ll find of their 240 descendants, of course, but anybody driving a 140 today should have no problem getting parts.

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Junkyard Find: 1971 Volvo 144

The Volvo 140 was the first of the beloved brick-shaped Swedes. It was built for the 1967 through 1975 model years, and it served as the basis for the legendary 240. I owned one, briefly, and found it was a very competent machine for its era. These cars are not worth big money today, unless they’re in excellent cosmetic shape, so the ones that stay on the street tend to do so because their owners can keep them running for cheap.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Volvo 145 Station Wagon

If you listen to those who claim to love the Volvo 140, every example of the breed is extremely valuable and must be saved… and yet there’s a greater disparity between the Talking The Talk Quotient (TTTQ) and the Walking The Walk Quotient (WTWQ) seen among self-proclaimed Volvo fanatics than found among aficionados of any other marque. Yes, the TTTQ:WTWQ value approaches something like 100:1 when it comes to the poor old Volvo 140, a car whose basic design lived on well into the 1990s (in the form of the 140-descendent 240), and so almost none of these cars get rescued when they get down-at-the-heels (and the same goes for 240s). Here’s a San Francisco Bay Area 145 that shows signs of being well-cared-for during its first 15 years and then forgotten in a side yard for the following quarter-century.

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Junkyard Find: 1971 Volvo 144 S

While Volvo 240s continue to be crushed in alarming quantities, I also see quite a few Volvo 140s during my wrecking-yard trips. Prior to today, we’d seen this ’68 142, this ’69 145, this ’71 144 and this ’71 142, and now another non-rusty, solid-looking 140 is going to be eaten by The Crusher.

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Junkyard Find: 1971 Volvo 144

The Volvo 140 is the often overlooked parent of the extremely successful Volvo 240, with everything behind the rear doors pretty much the same between the two cars. I owned a very tired 144 for a brief period and I’ve always liked these things, so I photograph them when I spot them in wrecking yards. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’68 142, this ’69 145, and this ’71 142. Today we’ve got a very clean-looking ’71 four-door, which I spotted in a Denver self-service yard last week.

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Junkyard Find: 1971 Volvo 142

A Volvo 140 doesn’t always jump right out at you, thanks to its similarity to its still-with-us-in-huge-numbers descendant, the Volvo 240 (especially when viewed from the rear), so I probably overlook a few of these in junkyards. The 140 isn’t an uncommon sight in Denver, and I’ve found this ’68 142 and this ’69 145 just in the last year. I’ve always liked these cars (though I’ve only owned one example, and it was quite troublesome), so it makes me a little sad to see another one about to get crushed.

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Junkyard Find: 1968 Volvo 142

After seeing this 1969 Volvo 145 wagon a couple of weeks back, I figured I wouldn’t be seeing any more 140s for quite a while. Not so!

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Junkyard Find: 1969 Volvo 145 Wagon

I see more Volvo Amazons in junkyards (and on the street) than I do 140s, probably because the Amazon was built for 15 years versus the 140’s eight. Both cars got the pushrod version of Volvo’s sturdy— in fact, tractor-grade sturdy— B engine and were unusually safe for their times. Both were typically bought by owners who planned on keeping the cars for many decades. Still, there comes a day when a 43-year-old station wagon just isn’t worth maintaining. Here’s a ’69 wagon I found at a junkyard near my house.

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  • Conundrum Was unlucky enough to have a ride in the back of one of these things shortly after they first appeared, a project of Mercedes' ownership of Chrysler and that silly German professor with the gigantico walrus mustache who ran the place.Brother rented one of these early Magnums. The ride in the back was of constant wallowing up and down, like a 2015 BMW 3 Series, where my senses were similarly assaulted by lack of attenion to rear ride comfort, Up front was OK in both, back seat ride bloody awful. Must be a Germanic trait.The Magnum had an additional sensory deficit. Interior smelled of the peculiar rubber/plastic dash. Smelled like Chinese winter boots for kids, or Chinese tires of yore. Pass.
  • Anonymous My dad drove an 84 LTD. He always bragged about how special it was. Interesting to see that again.
  • Conundrum Here's how much Ford had to do design-wise with that engine in the article's lead picture.Zero. It was a Cosworth when Cosworth was still original Cosworth, over 30 years ago. The engine shown is a development of the original DFV. Ford paid to have its name on the cam covers for decades.I wonder who Ford will get to design this proposed new F1 engine for 2026. Because sure as hell, they don't have the in-house talent to do it themselves.