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1972 Volvo 145: Should We Buy It?


You know I wouldn’t sell a car without having a replacement lined up! We found this wagon while we were on the hunt for an old Volvo. We did end up dragging home a 1964 122s, but also met a few Volvo guys along the way. One father and son team had this 145 along with a huge stash of 122 parts. As I had mentioned, this car had a little rust, but the real reason I passed on it was the price. Well, I have been talking to the owner and I think we have come to a mutually beneficial arrangement.


It’s funny how cars acquire stereotypes. The SAAB was a “yuppie car and the Miata was a “chick car”. I supposed the most fitting title for this yellow Volvo would be “hippy car”? I don’t really fit into any of those groups, but I still want this vehicle for hauling and hooning duties. It has already had everything that IPD has ever made for the car thrown at it so it should actually be a fun driver. We are talking all new performance suspension, upholstered seats, and fully sorted mechanicals.


Here is what Josh and I are envisioning! Ours would be able to do Home Depot runs though. The car was built by a guy in Portland and if you have ever been there, then you know that they love their Volvo wagons. There is a little rust in the rear fenders, but the $3,750 asking price seems more doable since they are also going to throw in a bucketful of trim that we need for our Amazon project for an extra $100. Every woman in my life seems to hate it, but what do you guys think?


  1. Philip

    Had one sold it with 420,000 on it loved it

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  2. Bruce

    There is a huge volvo grave yard outside of Pittsburg KS

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  3. Mark Hershoren

    you don’t own this car yet; really!? Far more tossable than that 900 you were suffering with, and vastly easier to maintain. and there’s the Home Depot factor… Screw those that think these are Hippy cars. Those in the know, know. Get with it!

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  4. chris

    This is a keeper BUY IT ! perfect ski wagon !

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  5. Drew

    I like it…

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  6. SoCal Car Guy

    I like long-roofs, so I’m based. Shut up and buy the damn thing already. Fix the minor rust and drive the s**t out of it. If the stock Volvo engine gets too boring, theres’s always an LS1,LS2 or LS3 and six-speed swap to take ‘er to an entirely new and definitely insane level.

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  7. SoCal Car Guy

    Oh yeah, I forgot…since it’s a hippy car and a wagon, you can buy and carry home case lots of granola and tofu burgers from the nearest Costco.

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  8. Richard V

    Do it! By the way, it’s “Hippie”. I oughtta know…

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  9. AM on FM

    Very cool car in a very uncool color. Buy it, paint it, enjoy it :)

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  10. Joe

    Cool ride. Buy it. If you don’t I will !

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  11. guggie

    Y not , fun ride !!!

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  12. Mark E

    I like the appearance of that model and the color is perfect. Not to mention throwing in the parts. Haven’t personally known Volvos but this was back when they were known for their safety, quality and indestructibility. Oh and finally, I don’t get the hippie thing, seems more yuppie to me but then I live in the Midwest…

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  13. Robert J.

    It took me a long time to figure out that hippie girls are the most fun of them all. I suspect that people who use the word hippie as an insult aren’t having nearly as much fun as I am. Oh, nice Volvo too.

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    • Richard V

      Indeed Robert, indeed!

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    • Rob

      I’ll agree with ya Robert, best fun I ever had was with the Lil’ Hippie girls during those free love yrs between ’67 thru ’75. And as far as those Volvo Station Wagons go, one of my lil’ lady friends drew up this sketch from days long past, showing her sitting on its roof, lookin’ at the stars.

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      • DT

        thought that was my old girlfriend,but her 145 was green and she was a brunette

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  14. cafiend02

    I had a ’72 145 as my first car in 1985. Drove it like a rally wagon all over the back roads where I lived. Busted it up time after time and it kept on ticking. On the plus side, you can haul a shitload of beer and friends. Buy it now.

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  15. Somer

    Put a B-21 engine in it ( I did). They’re great rides.

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  16. Steve

    I’ve had a couple old Volvo sedans over the year, a 78 and an 81. Put huge miles on both of em. You can’t kill em, great choice.

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  17. Brian

    To me, these cars are ok – but do not have nearly the character of the old 122. I vote skip it, spend the money on the 122! Deep down, I know that someday you guys are going to buy a fixer’ upper and keep it until the resto is finished!

    While on that subject … here is my inspired idea: why not finish the 122, posting the restoration along the way, and then sell raffle tickets and give it away?

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  18. Andrew S Mace Member

    I had several…and loved them all. I preferred the older B-18, but the one ’74 I had with the B-20 and K-Jetronic fuel injection was pretty good, too, once all the Belgian-assembly faults and teething problems were sorted out. And then it dissolved from rust — another characteristic of Belgian-assembled Swedish cars. Frankly, with a set of four snow tires, these were much better in upstate NY winters than even the mighty Saab! :D

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    • BTG88

      I grew up in the upstate NY winters with a collection of Saabs. Nothing could touch them for ease of driving through snow and ice. The FWD and weight balance made them unstoppable. There’s a reason that these are cars of choice for vintage dirt rallies and ice-racing. RWD Volvos – not so much.

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      • Alan (Michigan)

        I beg to differ, the Volvo is great in the winter with proper tires….
        For the better part of the 80’s I participated in hard-water racing in Michigan. Wintertime fun on frozen lower peninsula lakes. Racers were classed in one of four groups. Three were rubber to ice: Engine over drive, Engine opposite drive, and 4wd. The fourth was for stud -bearing tires (all drives).

        The cars I drove were pretty much FWD: Saab 96 (Ford V6), 99, Sonett (Ford V6) Voldswagen Rabbit, Scirocco. There was one guy…. ran a Volvo wagon pretty much of this vintage, and then one a bit newer. He was certainly a front-runner among the front engine/rear drive types (engine opposite drive). And when he chose to add studded tires for the ice-ripping races, he was again a contender.

        These wagons make great all-season drives, as long as the rubber matches the stuff which falls on the pavement.

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  19. Eli

    122 yes and almost always yes…122 wagon……leave in the middle of the night and get it. 142 no.

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  20. Mike B

    Had no choice as Dad was a Volvo guy.
    Heavy and painfully slow.
    Ever replaced a heater core on a 245?
    They say it Went down the assembly line and had the entire car built around it.
    Kept the 544 though
    And yes it is in a barn since the late 80s
    Great site.

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  21. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Personally could care less for ‘IPD’ updates. I’d be looking at structure. If it’s F/I & you have no working knowledge then at some point you’ll be finding someone that does know. The 140 series may accelerate in value- I’d want only a very sound example & then as sure as the sun rises I’ll find myself calling our retired mechanics.

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  22. Don Andreina

    Had a big bumper 145 bought from my dad. It was my first car so I hated the fact that it was not an Alfa. In retrospect, I actually enjoyed driving that car and looked for another more recently. Very hard to find. You already know you can mod these engines if you want, guys. Heavy and solid makes for great family or parts transport.

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    • DT

      My first was a 544, I hated it,because it wasnt a Borgward.sold it, bought a Borgward

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  23. Dolphin Member

    I had a ’73 145 as a family car back in the late ’70s. It did the job, but the ’73s had more emissions equipment than the ’72s, so this ’72 should run better than the ’73 I had, which was gutless compared to the earlier 122S cars.

    I just hope this ’72 has a std transmission. Mine had an automatic, which I regretted having every time I drove it.

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I should have mentioned that the fuel injection has been replaced with dual SUs and that it has a 4-speed manual with overdrive! It seems to run and drive great. The brakes were also upgraded with 164 discs and the rear end is apparently an LSD out of a ’68. It feels smaller and lighter than it is once you are behind the wheel.

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      • Dolphin Member

        All the right stuff on this baby, in place of all the wrong stuff on the ’73 that I owned.

        I’d go with it, Jesse.

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      • Jeff Lavery Staff

        Wow – nice upgrades, indeed. Can’t go wrong.

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  24. Nick

    C’mon … those guys look like they’re having FUN!

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  25. Scot Carr

    ~ A near identical 145 S [no O/D] began my decades long Volvo obsession, even to the color. I am excited for this adventure, as I said when you first found this one. I am hooked. I own two 740 wagons and a 242 presently, my 16th, 18th and 20th Volvo purchases.
    . Can I have first dibs on this wagon when it possibly goes up for sale someday??
    Great score, Gentlemen. SC

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  26. Barry

    A co-worker of mine years ago had one of these and he put around a gazillion miles on it. I used to kid him that he would have to drive it off a cliff to kill it.

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  27. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    @ rob What? are we able to post pictures to our posts?? Cool! Jesse, these are classic! Get in and go! I am one of those Portland wagon guys… 122 amazon wagon -among other cars.

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  28. Andrew Minney


    Walk away, it’sa heap o’ dung and the same colour too!!

    But I’m biaised!!

    Andrew in England

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    • rapple

      Sorry Andrew, in addition to being biased, you’re WRONG!
      The clincher was Jesse’s last note about the carbs, trans, etc. It appears this car has been owned and modified by someone who KNOWS about older Volvos. Pay attention to what Bob in Bexley said about “structure”. The only thing that will kill these is rust.

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  29. Rick Russell

    I’ve had a bunch of these when I was younger. The rarest I had was a 1971 145 Raised roof sedan delivery. The wife and I drove it to approx. 750,000 miles. Great car and as far as I know it is still running. I worked for a Volvo wrecking yard in Surrey B.C. for a number of years and I found that the best car Volvo made was the 1972 142E. The 73 and 74 models had soft camshafts and poor timing gear sets. Great car if you can find a nice one.

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    • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

      Rick, the best car Volvo made is brand new sitting on the showroom floor 20 feet from where I stand. You think they’ve been slacking ?!

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  30. Jerry Sira

    Buy it. I have had two of these, a blue ’71 and a yellow ’72. Both were great cars, could carry plenty of stuff and super reliable. First put a set of SU’s on it and a mechanical distributor. My ’72 was almost identical to this one even with the mods that are done. Personally, the 122 wagon is the one to keep and mod.

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  31. chef dave

    Volvo 140’s rule! Rare enough to be interesting and easy to work on. Finding parts can be kind of hard, but they’re out there.
    I have a ’69 142 that I’ve been bringing back. I’ve never regretted a moment of the project. Getting ready to build a higher performance b20 for it right now.
    You need this car, it’ll be fun to drive, it’ll qualify for vintage rallies, and you can haul damn near anything you want. I had a ’77 240 wagon, hauled fire wood in it.

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  32. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Wow, I’m surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response from everyone! I’m planning on bringing it home tomorrow and will post an update by next week.

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    • Scot Carr

      ~ Surprised ? We dig your appetite for Volvos. That should have been presumed from clear back in August, when you suddenly found that ‘those good church-going folks who presumably keep their word’, did exactly the opposite.
      Bring them stories, pile ’em on us.
      PS, can I have first dibs, please?

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      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        I guess you are right Scot! Looks like we are going to learn a lot about Volvos with two of them around.

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  33. jim s

    yes,way to go. this could make a good family car. you two wearing helmets up front and a child seat or two in the back. another fun BF project.

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  34. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Jesse, no worries. We’re Volvo, we don’t mess around.

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  35. julian

    These are mighty tough cars.
    I had a 3/4 head on accident in one, where an Austin Marina lost control on a bend and took to my lane. The Marina bounced off the Volvo into a field, was ‘totalled’ and caught fire. The Volvo needed a headlamp and a grill, but was perfectly driveable and I completed my journey.

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  36. RickyM

    My parents owned a sky-blue 145 and it carted around four of us and all our stuff with ease. My dad only changed it after a massive mileage because the electrics started malfunctioning too regularly. Go for it guys !

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  37. Chris A.

    In addition to myself, my parents, sister, nephew and daughter have all owned or driven Volvos of the 142 ilk to over 1,000,000 miles total. Great cars, great haulers. Yeah, the heater core is a PITA replacement job, but as a winter car, I just love the comfort and traction with good winter tires. Buy it. Fix the rust, do your usual maintenance and drive it. The color is classic Volvo and was introduced so you could see the car in the winter. My wife and I still have Volvos and I just came back from two road trips of over 1,600 miles. Volvo still builds the best car seats you’ll ever put your butt in. If I lived in Buffalo (again) I’d try to buy and drive one of the Swedish Army 4WD heavy duty wagons.

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  38. john S

    Buy it already as the man said.
    I had a 144 after totaling a 122s that deserved better driving.

    The 144’s are unbreakable and, while maybe not having the cachet of the 122, certainly did my hippie thing no harm at all. Recall camping with a kayak on the roof. Also, mine came with magnesium alloy Ferrari rims from the sixties, bolt right on to a 144 if you want to reduce unsprung weight. Mine were off a 1960’s Australian-made Bolwell Nagari. Rare as.

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  39. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Guess what I drove to work today?

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  40. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    A member of the family !

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  41. Castor

    Unbreakable – as is the Amazon.

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  42. CosmicPentastar

    I’d say yes, this car is a quintessential hippie car. Mind you, not in 1972, when this car was sold (what hippie buys a new car- lol!? New cars are for capitalist sellouts and people with jobs!) I would be surprised to have ever seen a hippie driving a car newer than about 7 years old (unless they have a grant from a liberal university protest group or something). So in my eyes, this would be (along with Super Beatles and 70s Microbuses, Econolines and Ram Vans and just various random beaters in general) possibly one of the quintessential (aging, washed up, likely disconcertingly drug-addled) hippie chariots of roughly the years 1979 to 1992. But then I was only 3 in 1992 so what do I know? All of my reasoning is based on pop culture and *extremely* vague memories, possibly (almost certainly) tainted by said pop culture. Peace out, you groovy cats…

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  43. Castor

    The US stereotype for these may be Hippy, but in the UK they are the bastion of the Green Welly brigade.
    Labradors and shotguns are (nearly) mandatory.
    These are always fitted with a towbar for the horsebox.

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