Cop Package: 1985 Volvo 240 Police Car

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“It’s got a cop motor…cop suspension…” Those words are forever immortalized in many a gearhead’s mind after watching the original Blues Brothers movie. From that point on, we’ve always been fascinated by the notion that some huge, domestic sedan came with a little something extra under the hood and in the chassis, but would you ever guess a Volvo 240 could claim the same? That’s what the seller of this 1985 Volvo 240 Turbo here on eBay says his car is – a cop car in sheep’s clothing. 

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At first glance, this looks like an ordinary (albeit incredibly well preserved) Volvo 240 Turbo sedan. It’s an automatic, which is a shame, but that makes sense for a car meant for police duties. The seller’s story behind the car seems legit: he worked as a salesman for a dealer in Minnesota, and when Volvo discontinued its police car package program in the U.S., his dealer bought the last two vehicles intended for police use. I’ve seen 240s used as police cars overseas, but have any of you seen them on our roads?

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The seller does a good job describing all of the various bits of police kit, down to the nightstick holders pictured here and lots of other goodies: reinforced padding on the front seats, flashlight holder, heavy-duty suspension, front and rear sway bars, citation / reading lights, high-intensity dash-controlled dome lamp, a high-output alternator and other features. As a Turbo model, it of course has an intercooler and four-wheel disc brakes. The seller will also include a folder of marketing materials and collateral regarding the police-spec Volvos.

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Unfortunately, this heavy-duty 240 has some serious rust issues – including in the frame. That’s why the seller is moving this one along, as his plans to fix up this special-order Volvo in his retirement years aren’t going to materialize. The starting bid is a tad ambitious, I feel, but given the following that Volvos tend to have, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Swedish car fanatic snatches this one up. Can you imagine it with the single European-style siren and strobe light on top? What a draw this would be at car shows! How would you restore this cop-package Swede?

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Comments

  1. grant

    Shooting from the hip here, but some tubing and a map light, and what looks to be a standard volvo emergency kit does not a police car make. Anyone else ever seen a verified one it can be compared to? I’m assuming these were made for European police use and I don’t know how they equip cars, but one would expect to see other obvious mods to the car.

    • rapple

      Volvo did indeed have a U.S. spec police version available in the early ’80’s. Several local forces in New England used them including North Conway, NH and Augusta, ME. While working for Volvo at that time I was involved in their deployment. Naturally, there was push-back in some communities about using a non-domestic make but I remember the Augusta police chief telling me that they were able to get the purchase done (and done a second time) by demonstrating the long-term cost savings over the domestic alternatives due to better reliability and resale value.
      A close-up look at the window sticker in the ad will show the contents of the “Police Package”. There were some significant differences from the normal civilian 240 Turbo.

  2. PaulG

    The AZ DPS (Same as State Troopers elsewhere) had a few Volvo vehicles dressed in white w/ blue several years back. They might have been for “Motorist assistance” only, but my memory isn’t what it used to be…

  3. Blueprint

    Up here in Canada we had police packages on the S70 but I don’t remember ever seeing police Volvos from the “brick” era.

  4. Daniel

    Some of the Eastern states has them as patrol cars and we had volvo’s on police duty here in Quebec, all the way to the V70 wagons.

  5. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    If you Google:

    Volvo 240 police

    you can find a PDF of a 1981 ad for the US version of the Volvo police car.

    I tried to attach it but since it’s a PDF it would not attach.

  6. redwagon
  7. redwagon

    interesting to read the new car sticker from 1985 that the seller provides in the ebay advertisement.

    epa mileage was poor by todays standards 17 city and 21 hwy. ufda.

    the $16,350 sales price would come in at around $36,725 in today’s dollars so not too far off from what you might expect to spend at your local volvo dealer:

    v60 starting at $36,150
    xc60 starting at $36,600
    xc70 starting at $37,100

  8. AMC STEVE

    Would you pay 6800 for a car with giant rust holes in the floor and a rotted frame?
    Nuff said

  9. Sukey

    What if it it was a camaro Rs/ss 4 speed cowl ?
    Just the cowl ?

    • Donnie

      But its not.

  10. Car39

    plugged a/c drains make the floor behind the front seats rust on 240’s. The drain water runs down the side channels and the sponge insulation material soaks it up. Because the carpets have a waxy backing, you don’t know the water is there until the floor rots and cracks

  11. angliagt

    While in Redding,CA,in the ’80’s,I saw a Volvo 240 CHP car,
    in White.It just didn’t look like a CHP cruiser should – not intimidating
    at all.
    I saw it again,later,in the Black & White paint – looked even weirder.
    Seems that they were trying them out,but it didn’t seem to work.

  12. Dan Farrell

    I remember Volvo trying to sell police cars in the mid 1970’s, they apparently were pretty good too but they were way more than the Plymouth’s and Dodge’s that were popular at the time.

  13. Roger

    Centerville, Ohio had a couple of these in the mid 80’s. Couldn’t find a picture, but I remember it caused a bit of a stink.

  14. Jerry

    The city of Falls Church, Va. had a fleet of these mainly because of Don Beyer Volvo. I’ve seen the wagon and the sedan version, it was perfect for the small city. A friend, Jack, a Swede put these car together for the dealership and also had one has a DD. The local Ford dealer was a high roller in city politics so the city went with Fords.

    • Mike

      Jerry, I just bought a FCPD Volvo. I’d love to talk more about them! I’m from Herndon.

  15. Mike

    Farmers Branch Texas 1985 had these for city police cars!

  16. Bob in Bexley Member

    All 240s are 4 wheel disc brake. Not all 240 turbos came with intercoolers. They were rapid transit in their time. Even with rotted floors it’s a 400k + car but…working with that CI fuel system is a time gone by.

  17. mike

    Volvos were used in West Vancouver in the 70’s and early 80’s. I remember getting pulled over at a check-stop in 1982 with my dad and being in awe that we were getting pulled over by the same car we were essentially driving!

  18. Wade

    Winter Park Florida had 2 marked Volvos about that year model

  19. Jeric

    It would have rubber floor mat instead of carpet if cop car option also

  20. Mike Astringer

    I believe that the NJ State Police tested them but didn’t move forward due to blowback from citizens on the NJSP using non-American cars

  21. 62 Tricarb

    Macon, GA had at least one. I remember many of us thought it was a car that had been impounded and converted, but it turned out Macon Police bought it.

  22. Ex-Volvoite

    The odd part was that most of the Police cars and Taxis were assembled in Volvo’s plant in Halifax, NS Canada… Same country all the Police Crown Vics came from, I do believe. But ultimately, Volvo pulled out of the market as there absolutely was too much cheap political blowback from local politicians who wanted to score cheap points. Fact remains, as one Chief of Police remarked to me – they were a little more expensive, but were less than half the cost to “fix and feed” than a domestic, they never broke and they went (go) like stink! Faster than a Crown Vic!
    “I spent the early 80’s selling both 240 Police cars and 240 Diesel Taxis (62 to NYC cab companies) while working in Volvo Special Sales. I even had the first RED Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon built and outfitted as a Fire Chief’s car. We also sold cars to Rapid City, SD, Windsor, CT, Englewood Cliffs, NJ and even a town in Alabama – I forget the name, but the town destroyed them on purpose – ran them out of oil and tried to blame the dealer Hamp Griffin, who wasn’t very good. The car in question was sold by Borton Volvo.

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