Live Auctions

1972 Volvo 145E: Rally Wagon

Rally Wagon

UPDATE 3/14/14 – Well, the auction didn’t meet reserve and since I already purchased the MGB, I really need to get this one sold. So, to encourage a sale I have relisted it here on eBay with a BIN of $2k! That doesn’t include the center console, rally gauges, or fuel can, but seems like a great deal to me. Guess it should though because I paid almost double that…

FROM 3/6/15 – The other day I mentioned that my 1972 Volvo 145 was for sale. I had a few bites, but no firm commitments so I have decided to auction it off. You can read the writeup I did the other about the car over on Credit Card Classics or continue reading to learn a few things I discovered about this wagon’s past. It seems like all the action happens right at the beginning so we are going to test out a 3 day auction. Find it here on eBay!

Mud flaps

This car may have covered a lot of miles over the years, but I have a thick folder full of receipts documenting its maintenance. A handful of people have cared it over the years, but it was the first owner who intrigued me the most. What possesses a person to buy a bright yellow wagon back in 1972? Was it to haul the kids and dog around? Was it used by a handyman? Well, turns out that the first owner appears to have purchased the car to haul around musical instruments. I’m not talking about moving a drum set for the occasional jam session though…

Service records

From what I can tell from a few of the early receipts, it was originally purchased by Farmer’s Music in Seattle, Washington. If you are into classical guitar or have lived in the Seatlle area for any length of time then you will probably recognize the name. Joe Farmer was well known for his musical talent, even playing with greats like Nat King Cole. When he got on in years though he settled down and opened a music store in Seattle. He also helped form the Seattle Classic Guitar Society while he was at it. He sold the business in 1978 and from what I can tell the wagon changed hands around that time too. That means this eye catching wagon most likely served as a heavy duty instrument hauler for the first few years of its life.

Cargo hold

That may not be interesting to everyone, but it is to me. When purchasing a used car, it is always nice to be handed a big folder full of receipts. I have a feeling there is more to it than just the maintenance history though. Being able to learn about a car’s past and its previous owners can be exciting. Even more so when you Google their names and something interesting pops up. I will miss this old wagon. It has been a faithful companion for the last few months and has never let me down. I hope the next owner will appreciate it for what it is and will have the courage to show up at a rally or two with driving lamps ablaze. I never had the chance to see the look on everyone’s faces, but I’m sure it will be worth the price of admission. One last thing that I found interesting about this car’s past. Joe Farmer was born in Boise and ended up in Seattle. This car was purchased in Seattle, but is now in Boise. Car karma I guess…


  • Original yellow paint. Looks good at 20 feet and will still shine up with a little elbow grease + wax, but several rock chips other small paint problems exist around the car, including one large scratch on the top under the roof rack.
  • A couple small areas of rust showing through the paint (see pictures for close up shots). The worst is under the rear driver’s side door, right in front of the rear wheel. No through holes.
  • 240 chrome rack
  • Aftermarket fog lights and E-code conversion headlights with H4 halogen bulbs for the main headlights
  • Windshield is cracked but all other glass is good.


  • Recovered and restuffed black leather (pleather?) seats which look absolutely great and are very comfortable. Leather is soft and supple.
  • Original brown carpet in good shape w/ Volvo OEM rubber floor mats
  • Uncracked dash!!!
  • 240 gauges in the lower center cluster w/ voltage, oil pressure, and super rare fuel economy gauge. Small aftermarket tach in the ash tray location. Original speedo cluster with working fuel and temp gauges. All gauges are working properly.
  • Nice aftermarket stereo w/ two front speakers in the doors.
  • Good headliner out of an early 240.
  • Rear deck, carpet, and trim out of a black 240.
  • “Butt cheeks” in spare tire wheel show some rust, with a through hole in the right spare tire wheel.


  • Running a B20 out of another ’72 145e.
  • Good compression on the engine when installed about 3? years ago. Engine has great oil pressure. Does smoke a little bit at startup and when idling.
  • Engine repainted and resealed (front/rear mains, oil pan, other misc gaskets) before being dropped in.
  • Head changed out for a “carb” head and new headgasket for a bit more compression.
  • Cam is the stock D grind cam found in the ’72 blocks.
  • Currently running a rebuilt set of HS6 carbs on an aluminum intake manifold and stock airbox.
  • Exhaust system is a custom 4-to-1 header and full 2.5″ exhaust system w/ Magnaflow muffler. Added second muffler to quiet it down.
  • IPD aluminum Valve Cover
  • Running non-clutched fan recently powder-coated proper Volvo yellow.
  • Fully rebuilt and re-cored radiator w/ new hoses.
  • M41 4spd+OD transmission with working overdrive. Shifts great in all gears, a bit of whine in 3rd gear (seems typical for these trannies). Very slow leak from transmission rear seal.
  • Working Overdrive light in cluster when engaged, OEM overdrive switch on the steering column.
  • Factory 4:56 limited slip differential, tested and pulled from a 1968 145.


  • Bilstein HDs at all 4 corners
  • IPD front and rear sways.
  • Rear springs replaced with later 240 springs for a bit more stiffness
  • It tracks straight just like it should.
  • Discs all around with the fronts upgraded to larger, vented rotors and calipers from a 164 model.


  1. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    I forgot to mention that I just purchased something else and it’s not a Fiesta. We will announce what I found soon, but obviously this has motivated me to make some room in the garage!

    • jim s

      maybe something off the credit card classics site like the 928.

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        No 928s in my near future, but this one would fit on either site nicely. Got a killer deal!

    • James Oroark

      Just want information on obtaining tires for our 1972 145e, which we decided to rescue after 35 years storage outside under a tarp. It’s being restored mechanically, very little rust.
      We just couldn’t let this car deteriorate further. Our kids drove it in their teenage years.
      Guess we’re Volvo people. We’re also using a 1984 Volvo as a summer car (in NY state) and here at home in CA we’re driving our 2002 V40. Can you advise us about tires?
      Jim and Joanne Oroark

  2. Robert J.

    OK Jesse I’ll bite;
    1) Why a three day ad? People need six or seven days to convince the wife and line up the funds. Gives them time to really dig their heels in and commit IMHO.
    2) As a car guy, you know that an ad should be filled with every little detail so that BAT can tear it apart bit by bit. :) Just kidding. But, really let people know that the engine runs like a cockroach after the apocalypse, a perpetual motion machine. In other words; it runs like a Volvo. How much tread is on the tires? Should I be worried about that rust? Does it shift through all gears smoothly? Do girls turn and smile at you as you pass?

    I used to have a fairly unattractive friend I would go clubbing with. He would bring girls home constantly. He would say; “It’s all about living the fantasy, man. Make them think it’s all real.” You need to promote that car like an overweight kid at a goth club on a Tuesday night! Go man go. Anyway, best of luck on the sale and don’t come crying to us when you realize that you sold an absolutely amazing (and boring) car. We know.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Good points Robert! Honestly it had been a long week and my creative juices were about all used up. I’m going to add a few more details to the listing today and I will relist it as a longer auction if we don’t get any bids soon.

      I wouldn’t call this car boring. The tight suspension, excellent brakes, and short shifter make it a pleasure to drive. Even though it can haul truck loads of cargo, it has a Miata sized turning radius! I have enjoyed this wagon and wish I didn’t have to sell it, but limited money and garage space make it necessary.

      • Robert J.

        I definitely am with you on that. These are not boring cars. They are amazing. We just picked up a 245 wagon and I dig it. Easy to work on. Well built. Fun to drive and haul anything ! Best of luck with the sale.

  3. jim s

    since this has 4 wheel disc brakes and your having trouble with the brum brakes on the 122 maybe you have the wrong car up for sale. it should be an interesting auction to watch.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      You’re probably right Jim. The brakes on the 145 work so well in fact that it is easy to forgot that you are not driving a modern car. I would sell the Amazon first, but I would feel bad if I didn’t address the brakes first.

  4. Howard Member

    If it was a 122 wagon, I’d jump at it. I had 2 Volvo’s, a 1958 444, my 1st car, and a ’78 244. The 244 was a great car, but way too expensive to repair. I like the style of the 122 and is still old school enough and simple (although, I feel your pain with the brake dilemma, but still cheaper than the disc brakes on my 244) 122’s are almost non-existent in the mid-west, and the ones that are around are out of reach for me.

  5. gunningbar

    I like your wagon alot…but alas I have a 1993 960…I d love to have a 4 speed again…I think you will regret selling it but one must go forward…wish I could bid. Good luck!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Thanks, but we will see if it even sells. No bids with only a day and half to go. There are 80 people watching the auction though…

  6. Jeff Lavery Staff

    Auction ended – offline sale, perhaps? Can’t wait to see the replacement, Jesse!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      No, I decided to pull it last night after the previous owner sent me an email containing a long list of all the parts that have been upgraded. I figured everyone would like to see that information before bidding and time was running out. I am going to relist the car tonight with the extra information and see if that increases the interest.

  7. thurman

    Hi Jesse,
    A couple of questions, please. What is a comfortable cruising speed for this wagon with that 4:56 rear and overdrive trans? I’m hoping that interstates are not out of reach. Also, just double checking… Your Ebay ad indicates that I can arrange to have it shipped (on my nickel, of course), but the ad also says (local pickup only…)

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I take her on the interstate often and 75 mph is no problem. Overdrive keeps the RPMs down, the brakes work great, and the car tracks straight. Also, shipping it is fine. I will look into why it says local pickup only. Thanks for your interest and please let me know if you have any other questions.

  8. achman

    1. Sell car
    2. Buy another car

    Switching the order these go in will result in stress, pain, unhappiness, annoyed wives, hand-wringing, and selling cars you want to keep.

    Just something I have learned.

  9. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Well, that must have been the magic number. Sold to a nice guy in Oregon. It’s going home!

    • Robert J.

      Seems like a fair price considering everything. I hope that you are satisfied with the results. The MGB GT is a step up just looking at these two cars in direct comparison. Any Volvonuts who think otherwise are by their very nature biased. I love British, German, Italian and Swedish cars. You learn to fiddle with what needs improving and enjoy the cars unique traits.
      MGB’s are solid cars. MGB GT’s even more so. Enjoy! You still have a lovely Amazon to tinker with when the mood strikes.

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Obviously, I wish it would have gone for more. I think it’s worth more than $2k, but not everyone sees the value in these old Volvos and that’s a shame because they really are great cars. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. After hitting a homerun with the Duster, I knew a foul ball was coming.

    • jim s

      you still have some spare parts to sell which might help with the profit/loss on the car.

  10. Bobsmyuncle

    Did the Volvo sell?

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