High Mile Survivor: 1985 Volvo 240

This 1985 Volvo 240 DL wagon may have high miles but it remains in seemingly excellent condition. The odometer reading is fairly typical for one of Volvo’s hardiest models, with over 300,000 on the clock, but the condition of the body seems to be that of a car with half that distance covered. The 240 is described as being a southern car and a well-loved example, with running gear that is in good working order and an interior that is almost too good to be true. Check out this high-mileage 240 here on eBay where bidding is just over $2K and the reserve remains unmet.

It’s odd to me to see one of these described as a southern car because I typically associate them with old-money New England. My grandmother owned one of these not because she was any sort of blue blood, but because she was impressed by the safety record and wanted to lug her grandkids around. I can still remember the all-weather floormats with their grid pattern, and the glacial acceleration. They weren’t especially sexy cars, but you certainly felt like you were riding around in bank vault (at least as a five-year-old.) This example retains its original mudflaps, hubcaps, and four-eyed headlight design, which would change in later years to one gigantic sealed-beam unit.

The Volvos of this era were not entirely different from Mercedes’ W123 and W124 lines, with extremely durable materials underpinning a robust structure that could seemingly withstand years of abuse. Even so, it’s hard to believe a car with over 300,000 miles could still look this good inside, but the seller claims the 240 remains completely original. Judging by the condition of the front seats versus the armrest, it seems plausible to me the front buckets were re-done, but only the prior owner could tell us for sure. The rest of the cabin looks equally nice, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this also used by a set of grandparents for the sporadic hauling of children.

Given how clean things look underhood, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a factory maintenance booklet stamped all the way up to 300K. The engine bay effectively puts to rest any doubts that this 240 hasn’t been loved, and the seller notes that a box of spare parts that accompanies it further points to years in the care of an attentive owner. The 240 is listed with a Buy-It-Now of $4,995, which seems quite fair to me considering the condition. I’d have a hard time not tweaking it slightly, which would include European-spec headlights, a set of factory Virgo wheels, and a very modest suspension drop – and then just cruising in the low-speed lane.

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  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    I have owned many Volvo’s with over 300K. If properly maintained, I wouldn’t worry about the mileage. I currently own (3) 07 XC70’s that I use daily in my business with 100K, 180K, and 290K, and all 3 look and drive great. This looks like a nice wagon, with the exception of the wrong wheel covers and the price. IMO, it is a $2500 to $3500 car.

    Like 5
  2. Weasel

    I was out until I read that it still has its original mud flaps (a very rare find today). Often these were stolen and sold on the black market. Finding an original OEM set with sequential molding sequence numbers is nothing short of a god-send. These sometimes find their way to a B-J auction and fetch some big change.

    I’m sorry, I just had to.

    Like 5
    • Fred W

      OK Weasel, not being a Volvo guy you had me going for abourt 3.5 seconds. Kudos on giving me a great morning guffaw.

    • Drew

      Backs AND fronts, baby. Livin’ the dream!

  3. Bob S

    Impressive car for the mileage, but what I’d like to know is how long have they been running it without the timing belt cover?

    Like 4
    • Chris in Pineville

      having 5 of these bricks over 20 years, the timing cover was the first thing I noticed. maybe it is in the box of spare parts……

      Like 4
  4. ken tilly

    Back in the sixties in Southern Rhodesia where most of the roads outside of town were gravel, a Volvo was the car to have as it was virtually indestructible. We made our own track up in the gravel pit and raced our Zephyrs, Anglias, Austins, Vauxhalls etc. along with the Chryslers,Chevs, Pontiacs etc. and at one time or several, they would all suffer a breakdown, however, my mate with his Volvo 544 never broke down that I can remember and he used to drive the wheels off it.

    Like 1
    • Weasel

      But were the mud flaps still intact?

      Like 4
  5. Alan Brase

    Keep in mind, this is the interpretation of an automobile from the biggest truck company in the world.
    Actually, if flogged very hard they handle pretty well. but the normal Volvo driver would likely never discover this.
    Sign me: “still crazy after all these years”

    Like 4
    • Drew

      The cars came first, with #1 leaving the factory on April 14, 1927, while the truck division lollygagged all the way into 1928 to put anything on the road.

      Volvo cars aren’t built like trucks; their trucks are built like their cars… ;)

  6. dave

    I have a personal ’92 240 wagon at the shop, good condition, with nearly 300k, and it runs like it never missed a beat. It will outlive any of our customers cars for sure.

    Like 2
  7. Cliffyc

    Wheel trims from post 89 spec ?. Still look fine to me as these cars age well. Popular here in UK with antique dealers.

    Like 1
  8. Bultaco

    These are indestructible. I had one with over 250k which was still a reliable winter daily driver. I saw one in a junkyard once with over 400k showing.

    Like 2
    • Drew

      My first car–ordered new from the factory in late 1980–is an ’81 245DL. I say “is” because she became mine in 1991 with 100k miles on her. She is now at 1.3 MILLION, and her engine’s never been apart.

      [She’s on her second M46 complete and fourth OD unit, but I’ve never found the M47 I want when I need it…]

      Love goes a long way with 240s…

  9. Lynn

    Volvo wagon drivers never drive in the right lane. They’re going 68 in the left lane keeping us all safe.

    Like 1
  10. SG

    I was looking for a car for my Mom to use when I stumbled on a $400.00 V70 about 10 years ago. Craig’s list ad, gave the year, price, miles and phone number.
    I called, seller told me I had a lot of interested competition.
    Car was in Kenosha, I live on north side of Milwaukee, so I was about 45 minutes away, plus I didn’t have anyone with me to drive a second car home.
    I flew out my door, called my exwife on my cell & told her I am coming to pick her up, not to ask questions.
    We made it to Kenosha in record time & the car was still there. I drove it around the block & bought it, no questions asked.
    The car was a 1 owner, 320,000 mile car with nice body & paint, flawless leather interior, & everything functioned as designed.
    The guy bought a new car & had no garage space for another vehicle. His subdivision had a rule against parking outside ON YOUR OWN DRIVEWAY over night. I could never live there lol.
    Mom drove the car for a couple years & when it reached 350,000 miles she upgraded to a different car. I sold the Volvo to a friend on his offer of $3,500. He still has it & loves it, with north of a half million miles on it.
    I always thought Volvo cars were boring and even a little ugly, but that car really impressed me.

    Like 4
  11. Drew

    I am the new owner of this car, and despite my semi-deep knowledge of the 240, I am at a loss to explain many of its “updates”.

    First, of course, is the flat hood. Fortunately it was done by a professional so it–and everything else like the fenders, headlamps, grille, etc.–all fit as if Volvo put them there.

    Speaking of, I’m not as “with it” with Euro 240s, but the two-tone turn signal lenses and grille were NEVER a ‘Murrican market thing, and if you look at the second auction listing [https://www.ebay.com/itm/1985-Volvo-240-DL/264604771243?vxp=mtr&item=264604771243&pageci=abebffe3-2ba4-4a80-93a4-de701f9bab86&redirect=mobile], you’ll see a steering wheel and headrest covers that I can’t find info on. They don’t say “Volvo” on them, and Volvo never offered them so far as I can find.

    [BTW the timing cover wasn’t in the goodie box. But EVERY OTHER BIT OF KIT EVER SWAPPED OUT IS. The–I assume-Volvo superfan that owned her replaced every switch and knob in the IP, for instance, because the paint was worn from use. They all work fine, just not aesthetically.

    Any info on the topics above are appreciated. If I figure out how–this is my first visit here–I can post pics of what’s in the box. You never know; your unobtanium doohickey might just be in there…

  12. Drew

    I’ve got a other near-identical car with Virgos on it (but in comparatively worse shape) that I’d love to swap out, but they are 15s while these are stock 14s. But if you’ve got a set of the stock black-center two-piece “dog dish” caps in awesome shape, my ’90s covers could be yours straight-up in trade (if you cover shipping).

    [Bonus points for trim rings. She’s a DL, so they aren’t strictly correct, but…]

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