Angeleno Wagon: 1971 Volvo 145S

By Nathan Avots-Smith

As I’ve pointed out before, major cities tend to be short on literal barns, but long on tucked-away spots to store old cars. Los Angeles has the added benefit of generally excellent weather, so while many of its automotive treasures are outdoors and even often uncovered, they tend to remain relatively well preserved. The seller of this 1971 Volvo 145S, however, seems to be banking on these assumptions rather than proving that they apply in this particular case; only two photos are provided, both showing essentially the same part of the car. Is its $1,000 asking price low enough to offset the potential for major problems around the back or driver’s side of this wagon (not to mention mechanically)? Check it out here on craigslist if you’d like to find out (archived ad).

Yup, this is the second photo—so all we can really see is that there appears to be at least surface rust in several places around the windshield, and that this wagon still wears its original California blue license plates and the license plate frame is from Williams Volvo in Buena Park, which seems to have moved from that location or gone defunct in the early 1990s. We also see the iconic diagonal slash across the grille making its first appearance on the 140-series cars for 1971 after being reintroduced on the 164 in 1969. The text of the ad describes the car as having leather upholstery (that’d be vinyl, hoss), power options (I can’t think what those might be on a 145), air conditioning, and all of its original glass. This sad puppy doesn’t look like it’s moved in some time, but the B20 inline four is a pretty simple little lump—and 1971 is the last year it was offered in the U.S. with a carburetor, which was replaced by Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection the next year—so if the rest of the car is as straight as the front three-quarter view, I’d argue that there’s a solid basis for restoration here. LA brings out the dreamer in all of us, or so the movies would have us believe; what more would you need to see from this Volvo to take it from dream to reality?

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  1. Steve65

    One less zero in the asking price. They’re asking usable car money for a non-runner. Even if this car is a solid as it looks, it will still need essentially everything for a restoration. As with most old cars that are just ordinary cars, once they’ve reached that point you can always get more for less buying one in better condition.

  2. Howard A Member

    My kids live in L.A. and on a recent visit, I can agree with what Nathan sez, every alley ( and there’s a lot of them) has at least one, if not several, of these “beaters” in various stages of disrepair, very similar to this, and like Steve says, they may be free of rust, but pretty shot otherwise. There’s a reason, these are just sitting. they are cost prohibitive to fix, and probably sink $1,000 dollars into the brakes alone. I’d love a Volvo wagon, but not this one.

  3. Wayne Thomas

    Needs Volvo V8 swap.

  4. Randy

    Without more info, it’s not even worth the look unless you live nearby.

  5. jaymes

    series 1. 4 cylinder. 5 door wagon. 145

  6. David Miraglia

    500 more like it. Always liked the old 140 series.


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