Volvo began selling its now-legendary brick-shaped sedans and wagons here in the 1968 model year, with the 140, and continued with the rear-driven sensible square Swedes all the way through the 1998 S90/ V90. Of all those cars, though, the most iconic is the 240. The first of the 240s showed up in North America for the 1975 model year, and here's one of them: a 245 DL wagon in a Denver self-service boneyard last summer.
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.
Ever since I began my effort to document some of the interesting machinery that shows up in car graveyards, the quantity of discarded Volvo 240s has remained steady. Back in the late 2000s, I’d had an idea that just about every 240 owner would make the transition from safe and sensible Swedish bricks to green and sensible Japanese hybrids, and that the transition would be wrapped up by the dawn of the 2020s. Such has not been the case, although the 1970s 240s are getting harder to find. Here’s a high-mile 245 in a mile-high junkyard.
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.
Volvo made the beloved 240 for 19 model years, 1975 through 1993, and the car didn’t change much during that period. By the early 1990s, Volvo had “replaced” the increasingly dated-looking 240 three times, with the 740, 940, and 850, but plenty of buyers were still choosing the ancient brick over the more modern iron. It had to end at some point, though, and 1993 was the last year for these cars.
Here’s a very clean, very high-mile ’93 wagon in a Denver-area self-service yard.
Occasionally on the vast and wondrous expanse of the Internet of Cars, I’ll run across one of these uniquely shaped little Volvos. In past instances they were either not for sale, were lacking in condition, or had few available photos.
All that changed the other day, when I sought out a photo of the 480 to make a point on Twitter. Let’s check out this charcoal-colored box, shall we?
In California, Volvo 240 s are going to the crusher in huge numbers as the traditional Volvo-buying demographic transitions to the Prius. This has been going on for at least a decade, and every wrecking yard in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas has at least ten 240s in stock these days. Here in Colorado, the pace is slower but I still see a fair number of 240s ( and 140s) in Denver-area yards. Today’s find is an early example of the breed, very straight and completely rust-free. Despite what fanatical 240 worshipers say, the 240 two-doors just aren’t valuable enough to be worth saving once they get a little tired.
Only 6,622 Volvo 262C Bertone Coupes were built during the Italo-Swedish machine’s 1978-1981 production run, and I’ve found two of them in California self-serve wrecking yards during the last year. We saw this silver ’79 (actually, all ’78 and ’79 262Cs were painted in Mystic Silver) last summer, and now there’s today’s find: a gold ’80. These cars were weird-looking and something of a puzzling marketing move by Volvo, but you’d think that their rarity would give them sufficient value to keep the survivors out of The Crusher‘s jaws. Nope!
“You know, I always wanted a…”
Those words are about as common as kudzu at my Georgia car lot.
They aren’t usually reserved for the late model vehicles though. When it comes to the primary drivers, customers are always willing to fork out the money for their dream car.
It’s the second older dream car, or third-string beater dream car that slides down the scale from want to nothingness.
You know what the most popular ‘almost’ car is these days?
Most of the time, a car’s final owner doesn’t realize that his or her ride’s next stop will be The Crusher, but some are very aware that the Automotive Grim Reaper will be coming for their wheels soon. Sometimes such an owner glues crap all over the car, and sometimes disturbing cut-and-paste body modifications are in order. In this case, the owner of Volvo 240 must have thought something like, “Hey, Sweden, Germany, what’s the diff?” and applied a quick dose of Bavarianitude to the boxy Swede. I prefer it when a car’s last owner turns it into a road racer, but I think this low-budget customization is worthy of a Junkyard Find.
In a Northern California self-service wrecking yard not far from the one in which I found the Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe, I found an example of a first-year Volvo 240 wagon. The 240 didn’t change much during its near-two-decade run, but the very early ones stand out in this setting.
Since we had an extremely rare 1979 Junkyard Find yesterday (a Volkswagen Dasher Diesel), let’s have another today. This is the first time I’ve found a genuine Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe in a wrecking yard (I have seen the occasional Volvo 780 Bertone Coupe), and it happened during the same trip to California that gave us the Dasher Diesel. Let’s admire this fine example of Italo-Swedish design!
We’ve seen some Volvo 240s do very well in the 24 Hours of LeMons, but never before has a 240 this terrible managed to crack the top 10 in a 100-plus-entry 24 Hours of LeMons race. This hacked-up ’92 244 has a creaky, squeaky much-worse-than-stock suspension and an octillion-mile non-turbo B23 engine, but it still beat up on most of the E30s, 190Es, and Integras in the Capitol Offense race over the weekend.
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