When I was growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs in the mid-eighties, Volvo 240 station wagons were everywhere. They were respected, but not appreciated. Now, they’re becoming collector cars, and I see them infrequently.
“… a car whose quality you can both see and feel.”
For 1985, Volvo’s 240 sedan and station wagon gained a revised “low friction” engine with slightly increased horsepower. Otherwise, there were few changes to a design that had been in production since the 1975 model year.
The 240’s standard powertrain was a B230F 114 bhp 2.3 liter/141 ci inline four with fuel injection paired to a four-speed manual. A four-speed automatic with overdrive was optional. 0-60 mph likely took a little over 12 seconds with either transmission. With the manual transmission, mileage in the 3,042-pound car was rated at 23 city/28 highway by the day’s standards (20/26 by today’s standards). With a 15.9-gallon fuel tank, 240 drivers could expect 330 to 365 miles of range with a 10% reserve.
By 1985, the 240 was no longer as spare as it had been a few years before. Standard equipment for the $14,690 240 DL station wagon included tinted windows, a front spoiler, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, power-assisted disc brakes, and 195/75R14 tires on 14-inch wheels. Inside, a rear window wiper/washer, power door locks, cargo tie-down rings, and air conditioning were included. Trim and upholstery features included adjustable front bucket seats with integrated head rests and lumbar support and full interior carpeting.
Moving up to GL added an engine compartment light, power windows, an intermittent setting for the rear window wiper/washer, a small diameter steering wheel (I’m not sure why this was notable or a positive), and a heated driver’s seat.
Volvo 240s had few individual factory options—you chose the trim level and the color, and that was about it. They continued to sell in decent numbers—the 1985 240 station wagon moved about 68,000 units worldwide.
The View from 2022
According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1985 Volvo 240 GL station wagon in #1/Concours condition is $19,000, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $6,600. A DL is thought to be worth about 4% less.
All vintage Volvos have strong club support, and there is definite collector interest in what 240 owners call “bricks”—enough for Hagerty to offer a buyer’s guide. 240 station wagons are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at online auctions such as Bring a Trailer that cater to the eighties car market.
Make mine Dark Red, please.
So far, the only other Volvo that has been covered in Eighties Cars is the 1987 780 coupe.