Too Nice to Donate: 1983 Volvo 240 DL

75 percent of the time, donation cars deserve to be given away, due to absurdly bad running condition, accident damage or undiagnosed no-start issues. But sometimes, we see cars that absolutely could have found a loving home with an enthusiast if the previous owner or their heirs tried a little harder. Fortunately for cars like this minty 1983 Volvo 240 here on eBay, they are listed with no reserve by sellers like this one specializing in donation vehicles and usually go quite cheaply. Bidding is at $305 with three days left. 

The details get me every time, like the original dealer license plate frame still being attached. The paint is faded but very uniform, and given it’s likely single-stage, would pop back nicely with a buff. The taillight lenses remain in good shape and all glass looks good. This certainly was by no means a luxurious Volvo, but if maintained (and even if not maintained), it will provide years of reliable service and cheap running costs.

The interior looks incredible, way too good for the indicated mileage of 241K. Perhaps it was redone or this is just typical hard-wearing Volvo upholstery. The butterscotch color looks great with the dark green exterior and those seats appear to retain good bolstering. No matter what, this 240 was loved, likely by a longtime owner who took care of this Swedish sedan well into their elderly years. The California location undoubtedly helped it remain rust-free, too.

The seller does road-test all donation vehicles, and says this Volvo runs and drives fine. The only defect noted is that the A/C doesn’t blow cold. Those stickers on the shroud over the belts is likely indicative of a recent belt change or other maintenance update, definitely a good sign as to regularly scheduled maintenance taking place. A simple car in great shape selling cheaply – hopefully, this one finds a new home with a Volvo enthusiast.


  1. eggsalad

    I suspect the PO was a person of some means who couldn’t be bothered to deal with selling the car privately for a grand or so, and for whom the tax write-off of the donation to charity would be meaningful. Perhaps they bought a new car and the dealer made an insulting offer on the trade in, so the owner got more value from the charitable donation. I see this somewhat frequently.

    As for the car itself… I was a Volvo 240 nut for many years, having owned more than 40 of them, and ran a side business parting them on eBay. Of all the variants of 240, this is about the least desirable model. Wagons are really popular, 2-doors are next in line, and nobody wants the sedans, least of all in base trim with no sunroof and an automatic transmission.

    Having said that, if a buyer gets it for a grand or so, they’ll have reliable transportation for a while.

  2. healeydays

    You comment on a dealer giving an insulting offer made me laugh and remember a deal I made on a car for my wife.

    Back in 2008 she was driving a Saab 900S with about 180K on the clock and the car was used up. She decided she wanted a new Camry but it had to be a 5 speed. So I went to a local Toyota dealer, and found her one. I drove the deal down tight to margins, and once done I told them the Saab would be traded in and make me an offer. Well, they went away for about 1/2 hour and the used car manager came back and offered $500 for the Saab and I took his deal immediately. He was shocked and walked away. 10 minutes later the sales manager came over to us and tried to back out of the Saab deal saying it was only good for scrap. I held firm, and they finally did the deal. It was a case of them thinking they would low ball me, but they ended up with the Saab.

  3. newfieldscarnut

    This Volvo is in amazing condition and obviously very well cared for .
    If it weren’t on the other side of the country I would be bidding on it for sure .

  4. David Miraglia

    One of my favorite Volvo’s.

  5. Puhnto

    These are my favorite 240s (with the quad lights). We’ve had three 240s and two were 1983s like this one, but turbos. A wagon with standard transmission and an all black — as in, no chrome — sedan with a sunroof and automatic. Both had leather seats and those great turbo wheels Volvo had back then.

  6. Mike Reese

    Not bad. I’d be bidding if I could be closer to the seller’s location with the cash..

  7. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    That exterior color will polish out as new & cold a/c at idle was never a strong point. Also there is nothing that will keep that car from running other than the tank feed pump to quit.


    Beware of this sellers terms. Sounds like you have to live in this guys hood.

    $100. on top of bid price and pick up within three days or encounter a storage fee

  9. jesus bortoni

    A good compound job would fix the paint. A steam
    wand would take care of the engine bay. Possibly a $1,000.00 would give you a very nice ride.
    On second thought with a salvage title, maybe not.

  10. JimmyJ

    As a volvo owner it has to be a 5 speed wagon with a turbo intercooled 740 motor as i am building right now
    Almost at paint im running 16 psi boost with a g80 locker she goes like stink and im trying to hit 300 hp right now ive dynod 245 at the wheels!

  11. Chris in WNC

    we had 5 of these square nerd-mobiles over 20 years, sometimes 2 at a time.
    they were GREAT cars.
    if this was closer I’d be very tempted at that price……

  12. Howie Berkowitz

    Did no one else notice that it has a SALVAGE title. Nightmare in CA as you need a brake and light inspection and there can not be any cracks on any lens and all brakes must be within spec to get it registered. I was bidding on it until I saw that.

    • RichS

      Howie, the salvage title has already been issued. Until the Brake and Lamp is done, the ownership document is a salvage certificate or “junk slip”. This means that it’s gone through the brake and lamp inspection and a title issued. The newer plates indicate that this was likely done 4-5 years ago (starting with a 6)

      I used to smog cars here in CA and saw quite a few of these undergoing the process to get a salvage title. Anyone who buys a car in CA that is subject to emission testing should really check the emission test history of the car. This one is rather colorful. 9 tests since 2012 (probably when the salvage title was issued) and 5 have been failures. Last one was in 2016 – passed after two failures in the same week.

  13. DayDreamBeliever Alan (Michigan)

    “The paint is faded but very uniform, and given it’s likely single-stage, would pop back nicely with a buff.”

    Looks to me as though the entire right side has already been buffed. That, or it is a repaint along the whole side, which could explain why the salvage title. Very shiny on the right, compared to the rest of the car.

  14. RichS

    Jeff, no way is that an original plate frame. The style is far too modern.

    Google says Regan Motors is a used car dealer in Thousand Oaks.

  15. MSG Bob

    And somebody got a good deal at $990. Sucks being in the middle of the country — I miss out on stuff like this on both coasts.

Leave a Reply to Alan (Michigan) Cancel reply

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.


WANTED 1973-1974 Chevrolet Corvette Looking for a 4-speed convertible with A/C in the Los Angeles, CA area Contact

WANTED 1979 Chevrolet Monza Looking for the Town Coupe version, brown, ideally California but willing to buy from anywhere. Contact

WANTED 1961-1974 Porsche Jaguar xke or porsche Top dollar for any Porsche Jaguar im a private buyer 613-894-1141 Contact

Submit Your Want Ad