Thursday, September 11, 2014

5k: Party Like It's Thorsday: 1971 Volvo 142S

The Volvo 140-series (1966-1974) was the bread and butter offering of Volvo's product lineup and was built on the same mechanical parts as the 120/122/122S Amazon.  It won't wow you like a 60s American muscle car, or appreciate wildly like something from Germany, but its Scandinavian ruggedness will withstand the test of time, and get you to where you need to go...probably.  Find this 1971 Volvo 142S offered for $6,900 in Aptos, CA via craigslist. Tip from Kaibeezy.

You are not alone if you find yourself attracted to the boxy lines like a moth drawn to a Cibie fog lamp.   Similarly, you are not alone if you don't understand why anyone would ever drive such a miserably slow and boring automobile a distance farther than to the nearest scrap yard.  Is it cool? As Scottish television writer/producer Steven Moffat once said: "See the bowtie? I wear it and I don't care. That's why it's cool.”

The engine in a '71 140 should be a B20, but the seller says this carburetor fed inline-4 displaces 1.8 liters, meaning it is a B18. Regardless, the 4-cylinder tractor motor is the same basic design as found in the 1800ES and is probably pushing 100 horsepower with what looks like a non original carb. 

It seems odd that someone would spend as much time refurbishing the mechanical components as the seller claims and not replace the dirty/worn seats, but every man sets his own least until he gets married.  

See a better Thorsday classic?


  1. For a B18 non-fuel injected 142 I think the price is a bit (by about $3500) too high, especially with the condition of the interior and especially with the Amazon for sale today on BaT.

    In 2001 or so I found a 142e on IPD with only one photo. I flew from Washington, DC to Portland, OR, gave the guy the money at the airport parking lot and began the drive home to DC with an AM radio for company.

    I drove as long as I could and woke up to a few inches of snow, except I'd parked behind a building in a closed down restaurant parking lot and ended up in a drift. Car pulled right out of it. A few miles down the road I went sideways on the Interstate about about 80 mph and ended up in the Median covered in snow. The car had a posi-trac rear so I backed right out of a couple feet worth of snow, onto the interstate and took off again.

    Ooops, I must have fudged the car up completely as over 25mph it wobbled and shook something fierce, as though I'd bent one of the wheels. Limped 10 miles down the road to the next town like this and was looking for a place to take it when I remembered how crappy it is working on cars covered in gunk so I pulled into a self serve heated car wash to clean it off first.

    Got all the snow off it and surprisingly no more wobble. Guess the snow had packed into the wheels so tightly and off center that that was the problem. Saved myself embarrassment by cleaning the car first rather than showing up at a shop.

    Rest of the trip was uneventful except for a 92mph speeding ticket on the PA turnpike that I never paid. Made it from Portland to Washington DC in just a couple hours over 3 days.

    Car never gave me a lick of trouble but I ended up selling it a year or so later to afford doctor bills after being hit by a chick while I was riding my bike training for a race.

    One day I'll have another, but this one ain't it.

    1. Great story!
      This should have a fuel infected B20, but that's ok because this Weber conversion will be far less trouble and is preferable for me. If there is absolutely no rust and the chassis has less than 150k it might be worth 5k.

    2. I learned how to drive in snow in a 245, and later had a 242 in northern climes. They were fairly well suited, being heavy, long, underpowered, manual and with 175/75 tires on it.

      I agree though, with the rust and general condition this is priced about twice what it should be.

    3. Packed-snow-induced wheel vibration is a regular part of life up here in the snow belt. So much so that I forgot to mention it to my son when he started driving through his first winter.

      I got a panicked cell phone call after his first spin out on a four-lane. He had avoided hitting anything solid, but had "recontoured" the snow banks a bit. He drive away and thought his eyeballs were going to shake out of his head. We talked for a minute, and I told him to use his snow brush to clear the wheels. It worked, and he thought I was a genius. As you dads-of-guys out there probably know, moments like that are rare and to be cherished.


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