Thursday, April 11, 2013

5k: Thorsday Scarlet: 1974 Volvo 142 w/240 drivetrain

Our New England area readers (if there are any Yankees reading this) might want to check out this nice little Volvo we stumbled across recently - it's what appears to be a very solid 1974 142, with upgrades in the form of a one-year-newer built pushrod B20 engine, M46 4spd + overdrive transmission, and some custom interior work. The deep red color suits the 140's crisp lines well, and the fog lights mounted on the massive Commando bumpers mean that you'll be able to clearly see anything you bash into, and then drive away unscathed. Find it here on Albany's craigslist (but located just across state lines in western New Hampshire) for $5500.

The engine in this Scarlet classic is a '75 it's a pushrod four, just like the car would have had originally, but one year newer. It's a challenge to fit anything other than an upright four-cylinder in a 140 engine bay because of the double a-arm suspension geometry and intrusive inner fender sheetmetal. The 240 chassis, while based on the 140 has a much more swap-friendly McPherson strut suspension setup in the front, making for a roomier engine bay. So it makes sense to stay with the B20 in this chassis.

The seller states that this particular B20 is "POLISHED PORTED AND STROKED WITH COMPLETE EXHAUST INCLUDING STAINLESS STEEL HEADER." That's cool - and it should make more than the 98 hp (SAE) that it did new. But Captain Capslock doesn't give any more information on the build, or explain why the fuel injection was tossed in favor of a single Weber carburetor. This engine could make 125 hp or it could make 150; either way it should be a fun drive and reliable. The body-color brake booster, master cylinder and hard lines (not to mention overspray on the fuel lines and filter) make us think that this was a quickie respray job that was probably done recently. Hmm...could there be any rust or bondo hiding underneath?

The interior is actually largely stock for a '74 142 except for the seats and door cards which both look non-Volvo. We are thinking the seats may be Recaros or similar, from a Honda or Mazda. That chunky dash is stock for a late 140 and looks very similar to the 240 dash setup used from 1975 until 1981 when they changed to the larger instrument cluster. Even though this interior is a mish-mash it seems clean, livable and perfectly acceptable for a daily driver. The hot-rod "billet" window cranks are an odd touch. But the bolstered seats will definitely hold you in place better than the standard 1974 Swedish orthopedic sofas would have!

From the rear this car looks almost exactly like a '75 - '78 242, which isn't a bad thing. The slotted steel wheels are the only obvious giveaway in our eyes that this is a 142 from this angle. We like this car as a cheap but upgraded classic and it should be a great daily driver for the next owner. The 140 series is the original bricky Volvo, and lots of them are still buzzing around today. Unfortunately many more of them have gone to whichever Norse Great Hall that old cars ascend to when they die; Valhalla is for fallen warriors, so maybe they go to Volvhalla?

Find a better Bordeaux brick? Email us here:


  1. Price seems a bit steep, particularly considering the lack of information provided on ownership history and location, rust, and of course mileage (on either the drivetrain or body.

    A message from the geographic police: Western NH is hardly "located just across state lines" from Albany. There's an entire state (VT) in between.

    1. Those cute little states are so small! My bad for the geography error...still it looks like it's only about 50 miles as the crow flies from Albany to the NH / Vermont border.

      Anyways - agreed about the price being steep on this one. If it's not hiding any major faults, and has records, then it might be close to reasonable. Any prospective buyers should try to get as much info as they can from Capt. Capslock.

  2. I can't remember if I've told this story here but in 2001 or so I flew from DC to Oregon and bought a '71 142e for about $1800. Handed a check, got the title and headed back to DC. Made it in 3.5 days. Stopped once in a rest area and woke up covered in snow. Went off the interstate (which was covered in snow) the same day when a semi hit the brakes in front of me during a snow storm and ran into the median. Backed it out (posi-trac) and kept on going. Only other set back was a 92mph ticket on the PA turnpike (which I never paid, suckers). Made it into DC on a Thursday before last call.

    Excellent car. Had to sell it later when I was poor and had to pay bills. No idea who ended up with it or where it is now. Love to have one again sometime. Volvo was doing it right then - fuel injection, positive traction rear, heated seats, four wheel disk brakes...

  3. Heated seats in '71?!? Really?!?

  4. How the heck does a 4-cyl swap end up resulting in DUAL exhaust?

  5. Saw this today at a lot in Manchester/goffstown line. Floors have been patched and definitely a quick respect. Paint/Bondo crack on rear driver side. Motor seemed to run good


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.