911 Compromise: 1993 Volvo 240 Classic

We couldn’t have Wagon Wednesday without bringing up Volvo. Loved by hippies and college professors alike, the 240 is the quintessential wagon. Most people don’t understand them, but in a sea of SUVs and Crossovers, the Volvo 240 looks like a good idea today. It is functional, efficient, and we want one. This 1993 Volvo 240 Classic represents the last of the line. It is located in New Hampshire and is listed here on eBay with bidding at $3,500.

This particular 240 is in excellent condition and the seller has just had it gone through to make sure it is ready to go. The timing belt was recently replaced and all service records are included. The odometer stopped working a while ago, but this is a common fault which can be easily corrected.

The 240 started life in 1974 as an updated version of the 140, which was an updated version of the 120, which was… You get the point. Volvo believed in continual improvement instead of today’s mentality that consumers want a new model every couple of years. The 240 didn’t change much in its 19 years of production and it is safe to say it can be considered an icon today. It may be a stretch, but the 240 actually has more in common with the 911 than most would like to admit.

With rear wheel drive, a five speed, and the addition of some ipd anti-sway bars this wagon could actually be fun to drive. Not up to Porsche standards, but unlike other sporting options, you will still have room to bring the family and a few boxes of junk. Sounds like a good compromise to us.

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Comments

  1. Lon Lofgren

    I had an ’84 DL, which was what they were calling the 240 at the time, for some reason. It was a sedan, but it was fun, comfortable, and pretty darn reliable!

    Like 1
  2. Kman

    I had a 140 coupe and a 240 coupe which were somewhat sporty and reliable. They had nice balance and therefore good traction. Pretty much did everything with competence but nothing with elan. Drove a 740 later and thought it WAS my fathers Oldsmobile, without the V8. About five years ago, I tried a sporty convert but it was very un-sporty and I haven’t looked since.

    Like 1
  3. NLCTVWGuy

    Nice to find one with the 5-speed. That trans does a lot to wake up a competent but sleepy car. Still they’re all happy enough around town and up to 80… the 240 is in my opinion well deserving of its reputation for longevity and is one of the most solid cars ever built. 2 others compare to it in my view: the BMW 528e and the Mercedes W123 body series.

    The only thing that would make this one better is to be the Ruby Red that is the only other color the Classics were built in. Well, that and a turbo, like my 89 240GL, which was professionally put together by a Volvo shop…

    This is the last and best of the 240 line. Someone’s gonna love it.

  4. Dino7

    It also has 4 wheels and turn signals like a Porsche 911.

  5. paul

    Indistructable tanks, that handled quite well on twisty mountain roads & turned on a dime. A very good car to give to a new driver or keep for yourself.

  6. Carl W. French

    Very Cool 240. already sent the auction to my son who has a 91 240 wagon with 330K + on the odometer and still purrs. He actually had a 740 sedan w/5 speed. can’t imagine there was many of those. He misses the 5 speed. This is maybe 30 mins from here. Might take the 740 or 940 down to see it. That car is good for another 20 years :-)

  7. Dolphin Member

    These were real workhorses, and a bargain for the service they provided. I don’t know about the late ones like the one featured here, but certainly the early ones rusted something fierce in the rust belt. I had a number of them and the drivetrains always outlived the bodies for as long as you could drive them safely. And even with their OHC engine it was still a relatively simple design, so you could R&R the head gasket without special tools and spending a dozen hours at the job like the recent 5-cylinder Volvos require. I don’t think the modern 5-cyl Volvos get any better mileage than these older 4-cyl 240s got, so there remains only one advantage to the modern design: forgive my cynicism, but that would be the greater flow of $$ into Volvo dealerships for $2,400 head gasket replacement jobs. Back in the day I got that done myself for about $75 in parts and a Saturday afternoon’s worth of time.

    This one looks really good despite being in NJ and snowy NH for part of its life. And the 5-speed makes it especially desirable, with one less electronic/hydraulic thing to go wrong because it has 5 real gears instead of the 4-speed + overdrive the earlier ones had.

    Like 1
  8. Loits

    I’m at a bit of a loss here, I’m a motor trader from South London where these things can still quite easily be picked up for a couple of hundered quid. Reliable and sturdy, yes and I’ve had many to use as vans, or just to have lying around for the dogs. I, like most people I know, have no love for them though. They are rowing boat slow and drive like a barrel on a river. $3500 seems more like 90’s BMW 5 serries touring money, and that is 100 times the car.

  9. Dolphin Member

    @Loits
    I think it’s a case of No Americans discovering years ago that 240-series Volvos had very good qualities for a low entry fee. They were practical and unpretentious, so your neighbor wouldn’t accuse you of ‘going BMW’. Many people I know, including me, had them because they were affordable, didn’t wear out or break down like cheap American cars that cost about the same to buy, and had a certain practical appeal. The advertising over here hammered all those qualities home for years.

    Agreed that a BMW 5-series is a more satisfying and capable car to drive, but the BMW has a luxury/performance image, as opposed to the practical image that Volvos have over here. Anyway, I think the positive feelings for 240-series Volvos now is mostly a rosy memory of past service rendered, aided by their rarity. You don’t see many on the road here now because most of them have collapsed into piles of rust-colored flakes, at least in the rust belt (Northern states & Canada).

  10. Richard V

    I never ran into a “Classic” in all my years as an independent Volvo tech but this one does look nice. I find the different color schemes in the interior interesting though, blue dash but tan paneling and seats – unusual. I have owned a number of Volvos in my life and love them, even the 1980 GLE with the Peugeot V-6, in spite of the camshaft maladies. I also loved my ’82 GLT Turbo, great car! Now, my ’95 850 Turbo serves me well, with over 220k miles. As a broadcast engineer I take that car to many brutal mountaintop sites and it takes it in stride.

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