Diplomat Driven: 1984 Volvo 240 Diesel

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This 1984 Volvo 240 here on eBay may look like just a nice survivor-grade example of a fairly common car. But this particular 240 is a special-order model, equipped with a diesel engine and supposedly purchased through Volvo’s Diplomat Sales Division. It was purchased new by a U.S. diplomat and brought stateside when he returned home from an overseas assignment. 

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The seller goes so far as to say this is likely the only Volvo 240 diesel in the U.S.A., and that it’s equipped with a range of desirable options: 5-speed manual transmission with overdrive, factory sunroof, original Volvo tape player and air-conditioning that likely will need a replacement compressor sooner than later. The OEM rubber floormats are also included.

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While the engine is damn near bomb-proof, the seller has still tackled a bunch of maintenance items that the next owner won’t have to worry about: new timing belt and drive belts, a rebuilt injection pump, new tires and brakes, freshly recovered seats and a modernized stereo (factory head unit included). This Volvo could be a perfect blend of classic car ownership and daily driver reliability.

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After many years in long-term family ownership, this 240 is now up for grabs. Its accident-free body and rust-free condition are two rarities in New England, so hopefully, this 240 stays close to its Florida location. With no reserve and bidding just over $1,000, there’s plenty of room on the board to get in the mix for owning one of the best classic dailies ever made – but remember, the diplomat license plates aren’t included.

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Comments

  1. Jake

    Well I can say one thing for sure – that is NOT the only diesel 240.

    • greg stenzel

      check the manual…only one timing belt on the cam…the other is on the fuel pump

  2. gord

    i hope he did BOTH timing belts! (there are 2 on these VW engines (yes it is a VW engine under that, used in the LT truck

  3. David Frank David Member

    Interesting car? Is that really a speaker sticking out of the door panel? Ouch! (at least replacement panels will be easy to find.)

  4. jim s

    i saw this car on ebay but instead of sending it in to BF i put it in my Ebay watch list for some reason! i had a volvo 240 diesel wagon which i loved but still sold. great find.

  5. Bobsmyuncle

    This IS a great find, if only it was a wagon.

  6. Dolphin Member

    Jake and gord are right. This isn’t the only Volvo of that era over here, or at least it wasn’t years ago when I looked at a 240 diesel like this car for possible purchase. I passed because I found out that the engine was supplied by VW, and the parts guys at the local Volvo dealership weren’t too encouraging about getting parts for it quickly or affordably. I’d better not write what they said here, but it wasn’t too positive.

    I don’t know of they were right about that, but I liked the gas engines that Volvo put in their cars, and having ‘the only one in the country’ isn’t an advantage to me when it comes to the family daily driver.

  7. Healeydays

    If that rare, what’s it like to get engine parts?

  8. wynkin

    The headlights are not European market.

    • Jeff Staff

      Agreed – I suspect those were swapped out in the days of strict DOT conformity requirements.

  9. Bobsmyuncle

    The diesel was an option from ’80 to’ 85.

    Current opinion is that they are slow, and require sharp attention to maintenance to run trouble free.

    At the time however they were the fastest and quietest running diesels sold.

    Maintence is described as rudimentary however, because most of these engines were in the VW LT series (as mentioned earlier) access was limited, and as commercial vehicles often don’t get the attention they deserve these suffered neglect.

    Maintence includes tappet adjustment, camshaft belt and attention to the cooling system though the later probably applies more to the later turbocharged versions.

    Camshaft work is best performed by a VW mechanic as the tools required are unique and expensive.

    While the engine suffers some wrath there is an equal sized group of happy owners claiming 5 to 600 000 miles.

    My research is complete LOL.

  10. Francisco

    I had one of these which I bought new. It had 300,000 miles on it when I sold it. My dad filled it up with gas one time and really screwed it up. It smoked so bad, no one could follow me. The 5 cyl. diesel had plenty of power, and cruised nicely at 70-75 m.p.h. I towed trailers and my boat with it.

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  11. Andrew

    The head lights are north American. The European model had a one piece rectangular headlight, not the two in one bezel.

  12. moosie Craig

    In the one picture of the motor it shows the intake runner with 6 passage ways but the listing says its a 4 cylinder, ? I dont know squat about any Volvos except my daughter had one and got real ugly when my son wrecked the transmission. She loved that car , rear fog lights and all.

  13. rapple

    The seller has muddied the issue with the original purchase story. The only cars available through Volvo’s Diplomat, Military & Tourist sales that legally could be brought back into this country are U.S. spec vehicles, which this one obviously is. The diesel engine cars were sold in the U.S. for several years and the VW-built six cylinder was also offered in a turbocharged version in the Volvo 740. This one does seem to be a well preserved example of a variant which had sales as tepid as its performance.

  14. John

    Volvo’s are good cars.

  15. Ern Peters

    Any US government employee working overseas could buy through tourist and diplomatic sales. This does not mean the seller was a diplomat, only that they had access because of government employment status. And it was only for US spec cars.

  16. Todd Christensen

    I am posting in 2018. Does this car still exist?

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