Bought New in Sweden: 1969 Volvo 164

To me, one of the coolest aspects of a car’s history is if it was purchased new in its home market and brought home at a later date. I know not everyone finds this as fascinating as I do, but it’s one of my favorite details about my junkyard find Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 project – the fact that it was purchased new through the company’s European delivery program. This pretty 1969 Volvo 164 was acquired when it was nearly new in Sweden in 1969 and brought back to the states, where it’s resided ever since. It’s a project, but one that looks very complete and is said to still run and drive without issue. Find it here on Facebook Marketplace for $6,000 in Brooklyn, New York.

The 164 is a Volvo model that I feel many enthusiasts gloss over when thinking about their favorite vintage example from the Swedish automaker. I suppose it’s partially due to the company’s other offerings from the same timeframe being oriented towards performance driving and rally events, or at least capable of being easily modified for such purposes. The 164 is definitely more of a lux0-barge by Volvo’s definition of the genre, with room for several passengers and elegant styling. I still remember seeing an absolutely mint one in a salvage yard many years ago and wondering what minor mechanical fault sent it there.

The interior of this example is far from perfect, but I’d call it typical for the age of the car and for one that’s likely never been restored. The seller claims it has been “meticulously maintained,” but perhaps that refers to the mechanical bits. The 164 came with a beefy 3.0L inline-six that put the Volvo in a similar league to the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes 250, but it seems those models had more sticking power when it came to carving out a niche for those automakers. Volvo has always flirted with being a full-on luxury brand, but its impressive reputation for safety has kept it in a sort of identity limbo, never quite achieving the same prestige as its German and British competition.

Despite fairly healthy production numbers, the 164 doesn’t pop up all that frequently in any sort of condition. This one looks quite nice and if the mechanical bits are as healthy as described, it should be a fairly manageable project. The seller notes it has good floors and no “….heavy rust.” The doors and nose panels all look quite nice, and it still rides on factory wheels. The glass is clean and clear, and the chrome trim doesn’t appear to be tarnished. $6,000 is a strong ask, however, for a semi-obscure model like this, and I suspect the seller will be holding onto this one for a while at that number. What do you think – does the condition justify the asking price?

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  1. Howard A Member

    Speaking of game changers, I think this car was the 1st really nice Volvo we saw. 140’s had been around a couple years, with a huge following( me included) and a 6 banger, the bullet proof 4 with 2 more cylinders, had to be a hit and it was. I had a ’78 244, and I loved it. Doesn’t say if it has O/D ( I know, again with the O/D) but I think most 164’s had it, making it a cushy cruiser. After the “brick” Volvos past, I grew less interested in them, but anybody that’s owned one will tell you, this was a really nice car, if you can afford the parts, that is. (my ’78 needed a full brake job, which was more than I payed for the car) Nice find.

    Like 4
  2. geoff

    My friends Dad traded in a 61 Cadillac sedan deville for one of these. I remember riding in it at age 15 and marveling how well put together it was. It was quiet, tight and luxurious in a totally understated way. It changed my idea of what a luxury car could be.

    Like 1
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    Funny,I saw one of these just off one of the main streets here,
    except it was white,with some rust.

  4. On and On On and On Member

    I had a light grey over maroon leather 1970 164, automatic was nice and performance suffered but that’s not what they were bought for. I used it for long trips, my road car and it was awesome for that. Good times.

    Like 2
  5. alphasud Member

    Volvo’s first attempt at making a flying brick!

  6. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. I’ve always loved the Volvo 140/160/240 series cars. I find them way more attractive than what’s being offered by Volvo today.

    Like 1
  7. fred

    I had a ’68 – ’69 164, cornflower light blue with matching interior. So comfortable to drive – when doing 80 mph on a trip to Visalia the car felt like a lovely sailboat. Sadly – the automatic transmission had a leak that couldn’t be fixed by Volvo, ever! Add to that the spun crank bearing that brought the oil pressure lamp on intermittently – you have a comfortable car with performance issues. Loved that car – It was My Grandfather’s last car and cost me 1800.00 in the late 70’s. Loaned it to a friend that needed a ride to Court in another city. Soon got a phone call – He plowed it into a ditch. bent it. so sad. Moral of story – Don’t loan your car to anyone!

    • Zack DeMundo

      I too had one, a 1970 in Taxicacab yellow (almost) but the black leather interior and beautiful functionality of the interior made me feel like James Bond in “The Spy Who Loved Me” whenever I drove it, especially in the rain, for some reason.

      Unfortunately, the automatic trans went, and after I had AAmco rebuild it for what seemed like an astronomical amount of money at the time, it was never the same.

      I loaned it out to my girlfriend. The car was slammed into by two burglars escaping from the cops when they ran a stop sign. The Volvo was totaled, but she was ok.

  8. chrlsful

    friend has 1 of these, the Bertone (what is it a 240?) the oe ‘chop top’ 2 dor. He’s got a semi (or ‘not’) authorized dealership & had the crew put in the ford SB (they had kits for it and the chebby yrs ago), Kinda neat. They don’t wrk on Saabs but one of the mechanics has the 9-2x Aero (’05?) w/the subie WRX motor oe.

    What you find in these medium size cities…

  9. Kurt W. Krauss

    My parents traded their ‘67 144S on a left over ‘69 164 automatic. Was off white with beige leather. It had issues the dealer never could fix like an exhaust smell and rattles. And the air conditioning system had constant leaks and often blew warm. The BW transmission was troublesome. They kept it 9 long years. They never did buy another Volvo.

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