Sunday, March 10, 2013

5k: Thorsday on Sunday; 43k-Mile 1978 Volvo 242 DL

While we may get some guff when we feature too many BMWs or Italian rustbuckets in a row, the DailyTurismisti seem to be completely accepting of old Volvos so Thorsday never goes unappreciated. Consider the humble 242; the classic brick 240 series are great solid, simple, RWD, quirky machines that continue to be undervalued by the general car-buying public. A few more insurance and/or skate shoe commercials featuring mustachioed hipsters though, and 240 values will hit their tipping point. But until that happens you can pick up gems like this 43,000 original mile 1978 Volvo 242, looking much different from the later cars with its round headlights, Kamm-back tail and 2-door proportions. Find it here on ebay ending late tonight with bidding under $3k and reserve not yet met.

This white brick seems to have escaped the fate of so many cheap older Volvos; being driven into the ground by their 1st (and 2nd, and 3rd, and 4th...) owner and then being "stanced out" with cut springs, stretched tires, ironic stickers, and a flat-black spray bomb paint job on the hood. The seller of this car says it was bought from an estate sale, so presumably this could be a 2-owner car but that isn't specified. Either way it has been driven just over 1,000 miles since being bought by the current owner.

The early 240s have a distinctive look from the rear; they inherited the 140's Kamm-back cut off tail design, albeit with larger horizontal taillights. The diving board like Commando bumpers add a lot of visual heft; these can be swapped out for later slimmer units but at least the big boys can take a bruising and protect the car from decently strong impacts.

In the late '70s Volvo's idea of style was red terrycloth, red carpet, and red door panels with contrasting black dash and trim. This is pretty cool to see as a mostly intact interior since all of the later cars were either earth-toned (brown, tan), gray, black, or blue on the inside.It looks like the seats are serviceable but could use a thorough cleaning. The dash has one visible crack on the passenger side but would be fine for a daily driver as-is. Absent from the passenger's door is the speaker but this can easily be replaced and dressed up with a black grille from just about any year of 240.

It is slightly amazing to us that this low-mile survivor car has an M46 manual transmission; more often than not, grandma chose an automatic and the new owner is faced with the question of keeping it as original to preserve the value or swapping to a manual for more driving enjoyment. No such quandary with this one though! The B21F engine looks clean and tidy, and we don't spot any modifications under here. The coolant overflow bottle looks recently replaced, and there is a bit of surface rust under the hood. The Interstate battery looks new. The new owner can either leave this totally stock and have a relaxed cruiser, or go nuts with a +T turbo retrofit or any manner of V8 swaps currently popular in the Volvo world (if retaining the "original survivor" value is not a priority).

With the value of nice older 242s still within most people's reach, now is the time to snatch up a survivor like this one. These cars are still getting junked at an alarming rate; even though the 240 was a common sight in its day, it will soon be hard to find a nice stock example of any age. Now is a great time to go parts hunting too, since the self service junkyards are stocked with lots of later 240s to harvest parts from. Doing bolt-on upgrades to later running gear is easy with these Lego mobiles.

Find a cleaner stock brick that's still going strong? Email us here:


  1. Well that sucked. I open up DT after a late night in the ER to find a perfect, white 242 for sale on eBay. So I go to the page and...egads!!! already ended! A little notice, gentlemen, so that I may at least stoke my scandanavian fires a bit before my garage-space/marital-harmonized reality brings me back to terra firma

    1. doc: sorry for the late notice - we found this one in the latter stages of the auction but thought it was too nice to keep for ourselves, even with less than a day left. $3k closing price, reserve met; I'd say someone got a great deal.

  2. Replies
    1. Si, plural for "one interested in something" from the Italian "-ista" suffix...can be used to describe a fan group or party, as in Alfisti, Ferraristi, Communisiti, etc. I took the liberty of coining the term for this posting.

      Henceforth let the group of DT fans/followers be known as DailyTurismisti.

  3. These old Volvos are great cars and with some love can last through two years of high school and four years of college (as in my daughter's case).

    From my past comments, it could be construed that I hate BMWs. Actually, I know perfectly well that BMWs are outstanding automobiles. I remember lusting after a '76 2002tii that arrived at the old Saab-BMW dealer near my home. I just do not care for the "Bee-mer" crowd and the whole atmosphere of that group.

    My secret is that I have for years owned and put hundreds of thousands of miles on several very nice BMW motorcycles.

    1. No hate assumed or inferred, David! DT is a fan of the Ultimate Depreciating Machines for their driving dynamics and low cost of entry. There's nothing like ruffling the feathers of purists, fanatics and scenesters; hence the reason we support Black Iron racing in their quest to lower used BMW values even further...

      Black Iron Racing: Lemons Chuckwalla Race Report

      DT Sponsors Black Iron Racing

    2. "There's nothing like ruffling the feathers of purists, fanatics and scenesters;"

      Then I propose "Henceforth let the group of DT fans/followers be known as DailyTurismisti..." be regaled to the garbage can of bad ideas.

      Can I get a second?

    3. Daily Turimisu? Goes great with a cup of Joe!

  4. My apologies for betraying the good taste and decency of the people of Daily Turismo with my ill-advised naming proposal. Please carry on commenting about why this Lotus Cortina is a great buy at $80k...oh wait, wrong site ;-)

  5. ^^^this.

    Tirismisti, or whatever. It's your site, bro. Roll with it.


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