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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3 of 22 comments
  • 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 3 days ago

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

  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.