Are boxy Volvos finally ready to take off?


Volvos are known for safety, unique designs, and a certain pragmatism. They are not known for outrageous performance, mentions in hit pop-songs, or making waves in the collector car market. That said, some of these old Swedes might be poised for an acceleration in values.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/10/18/are-boxy-volvos-ready-to-take-off


In the late 70s-early 80s I carpooled in the back seat [ penalty box ] of a 240 series wagon.
Back problems persist to this day.


To each his own. There is a lot of grey area in what some people call classic or even collectable. Many cars I see on these pages are just plain blah with no redeeming attributes other than being 30+ years old. But if you like them then don’t let me burst your bubble. It’s your business, not mine, but don’t be surprised when only a few others see your pride and joy as just an old car that has no real value, just one that we’re probably all glad escaped the crusher.


Back in '88 I was shopping for a family sedan (for reasons that escape me now) and I had a hard look at the Volvo 740. I wound up buying an Acura Legend LS and never regretted it. My best pal had one of the box Volvos and it was the worst car he ever owned. Aside from the fact that they are slow, ugly and not particularly agile, they have a lot to recommend them. The only Volvo I have ever really wanted was the P1800. BTW, if they’re “ready to take off” they need a little more aerodynamic lines.


In 2002 I purchased a 1985 240 for $500. I was looking for something cheap and reliable for commuting around the L.A. area. Yes, the engine and drive train was bulletproof, but the wiring wasn’t. I was constantly having to replace wires. The insulation was actually crumbling. After joining a Volvo forum it appears that Volvo designed it so the insulation would actually disintegrate after about 20 years to help protect the environment. Just about everyone on the forum were replacing the whole wiring harness. After a year of dealing with repeated electrical problems I sold it for what I paid for it.


I’m one of those kids who took their parents wagon to college. It was a 1975 245, with the older first year only pushrod B20. It was British Racing Green and had a 4 speed. If I ran into one like it now that was in decent condition then I would buy it in a heartbeat!


Who writes this garbage? These boxy old Volvos where ugly cars when new and still ugly now. I have yet to see any of these old boxcars at car shows in the Phoenix area - even at the largest shows in the area open to all makes, models and years.


Amongst my collection of European cars, I have a good sampling of just about all the curvy Volvos, with a PV544, 1800E, 1800ES, and a 122S (Amazon). I also have a wide range of other contemporary Italian, British and German classic competitors for these cars are the Volvos still prove to be incredibly reliable, capable options if you were after a car you could drive every day. The majority of Gen X and Millennials don’t have the option to have a true occasional-use car as they don’t generally have the disposable income or space. In light of that, the boxy Volvos are great options as they are affiordable classic cars that can be driven regularly in all conditions and are reliable as well as versatile while being distinctive in modern traffic, without being pretentious.


I just returned from a two day trip totaling up 675 km’s in my 1988 Volvo 245. I do not have any of the complaints these people at squawking about. The car performed like a trooper running with the best of them smooth as a kitten and keeping up with traffic which cruised along between 120 & 140 km/hr.
I have owned several 240’s and 245’s over the years and are the only cars I have kept for more than a couple of years. My current car I have owned for a good nineteen years. My 1983 245 had 414,000 km on the odometer when I sold it, I tested the compression which read 165 psi in each cyl. + or - 4 psi. The only car that I can truly say is a better car is my 30 year old Mercedes-Benz 560SEC.


They were a piece of crap back then & now are just an old piece of crap


I remember when a company rep of mine was so excited that she just purchased a new mustard yellow 240. I looked at the car and said: “Why ?” A few years later she bought a 740. I looked at it and said: “What the Hell ?” Then in 1998 my father told me he was going to buy a Lexus coupe. My response was: "Why don’t you go get a BMW, Volvo, or Audi sport wagon. He came home with a 98 Volvo V70-GLT. My life changed forever. My father passed away in 2006 and my Mother gave me the Volvo. I have a collection of a dozen or more cars. All of them are either GM or Ford Products, with the exception of a Jaguar, a Saab and this Volvo. That V70 with a turbo is a Wolf in sheep’s clothing. It will smoke most cars on the street. It runs and handles like a sport coupe. I’m partial to Volvo wagons and somewhere down the road hope to get an older wagon and do a V8 swap in it. In order to understand and appreciate a Volvo, you have to have one. When Ford announced they were selling Volvo, I actually wrote to Ford to tell them they were selling off their best car brand !


Boxy Volvo’s have already taken off, the estates/wagons have been popular with the surf crowd for ages and the saloons are considered cool by the hip urban crowd where the square shape etc. is considered anti-cool. Values will climb etc. and you will see more restored examples, a very nice viper green 245 saloon turned up round the corner from me a couple of weeks from me.
As to the guy from Phoenix 1 - Ugly is subjective 2- You are in Phoenix! At a car show! Of course you are not going to see these cars and their young urban hip and fashionable owners.


I have owned 3 240 wagons over the years. What you have basically is a tractor engine in a refrigerator that fell over and landed on 4 wheels. Having said that…totally reliable, safe unpretentious family cars that are virtually indestructible. The 240 wagons got soccer moms through the 70’s and into the early 90’s. Those that are writing ridiculous comments about the cars never owned one. Part of the American dream back in the day. The comment about the V70 turbo wagons is also valid…with one caveat…and that is the lousy Aisen/Borg Warner automatic transmissions that plagued those models from the early 2000’s to 2012. Lot of failures and a very expensive repair. This is a case where the replacement exceeded the value of the car. Just sayin.


I have a 1994 Volvo 940 wagon bought new which my wife drove for 10 years and 160,000 miles. I bought the Volv8 conversation kit and upgraded to a Rousch 302 crate engine and Tremic 5 speed. Eibach springs and 4 link rear with a Ford 9 inch really make this a sleeper. Anyone who watches Chading Classic Cars saw Wayne buy Paul Newman’s 960 similarly converted.


I agree that the earlier “curvy models” are the most desirable. The square models,
not so much. I have had the 80s model 2 door turbo and for a square model the best you can do…
Volvos, like Saabs, were really desirable in the California beach communities but future collectable? I would be truly surprised.


This article gives me hope! Maybe I’ll live long enough to see my Checker worth more than $85.00 a ton!


Garbage? Didn’t know Phoenix was the center of the automotive universe.


Are you sure you’re talking about the same cars everyone else is talking about? Volvos have been described as many things, but “piece of crap” has never been one of them.


Phoenix is the fifth largest metro area in the United States. And home to more car shows and events than most other parts of the USA. Home of the January Auto Auctions - including the Barrett-Jackson Auction - the largest in the USA. Our regular Saturday Night cruise ins at 67th and Bell Road draws 3-400 cars almost every weekend. And that happens all year long.


Fond memories when, in my experience, Volvos were Volvos and if you saw one a half mile away, you knew what it was (Like my current 1957 Pontiac.). There is a lot to be said in favor of those Swedish Bricks. My first was a 1974 164E I bought in 1975. I really liked the car, but rust did it in, even after a complete repair and repainting. When I got a new job in 1984, I bought a new 1984 240. My wife and I went to the dealer to look for a used Volvo, but once she saw that Blue 240 in the showroom, it was all over. She inherited it when I bought a Toyota Supra and sold it in 2002 when we moved to AZ from IL. I went back to Volvo in 1995 when I bought an 850 Turbo, in my mind the last of the good looking Volvos (Today, if one can’t read the badges, it is hard to tell what make a car is.). She inherited it when we moved to AZ in 2002 as I bought a Ford Explorer. An 850 Turbo is not the best car for being the only car if one lives on dirt/mud roads. It served her well until last December when she bought a 2018 Honda CR-V to join my 2012 Honda Pilot in the garage.

Those bricks were well designed from a maintenance perspective; it was easy to do lots of things with them, unlike the 850 Turbo. The odometer broke and in order to fix it the dashboard had to be removed. Needless to say, we did not fix it,. I recall removing the instrument cluster to perform some maintenance in the 164E and it took about 10 minutes to remove it,

Now, I don’t care for the looks of Volvos and believe our Hondas give us reliability and, with the CR-V, top notch safety and features at a much more reasonable price than Volvos. That being said, I do have fond memories or our three Volvos.