Owned Since ’83: 1980 Volvo 240


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Grandma-owned: that’s the goal for a lot of project car chasers, finding that specimen of a car that’s usually rusted out or spent too many years on the used car circuit to be useful. This 1980 Volvo 240 sports the rare early-model dual round headlights and a body and interior in great shape thanks to the long-term ownership of an elderly woman. Find it here on eBay with a Buy-it-Now of $8,000. 


The interior on these old-school Volvos tend to be pretty hard-wearing, but this one looks virtually new. The switchgear, tan seating surfaces and dash plastics are in excellent condition. The automatic will keep your pace quite leisurely, but I don’t think a third pedal would greatly alter the driving experience in this application.


The B21 is a tough engine to kill, and with only 65,000 miles, there is plenty of life left. Even the A/C still works on this car, which I thought for sure would have expired by now. I’d want to verify the seller’s somewhat hazy description of when the timing belt was last changed, however.


What’s even more shocking is that this car has been in the northeast most of its life and is still in this condition. It almost makes me cringe to see it rolled out on the snow for pictures! I think the asking price is a bit ambitious, as these 240s aren’t that desirable and likely will never be collector cars. But it is a $5K car all day long in this shape.

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  1. audifan

    Timing belt is no issue in old Volvos. These are non-interference engines. If it pops, have it towed to a shop and put a new one on.
    This is a gorgeous classic Volvo, but closer to 5k than the asking price.

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  2. David

    What-the-hell color is this car?

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    • jim s

      green, some of the photos on the ebay listing show the color much better.

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  3. DolphinMember

    I owned one almost exactly like this—same year and equipment except for the color, more miles on the clock, and transmission—-mine was 4-speed + OD, which is much better than the Auto for anyone with a pulse.

    Great car, rugged as a tank, cheap to run and fix, and a decent performer for what it was, but….. there are more exciting cars to drive, better handling and better to look at, so I have not owned one for a few decades. But they are very hard to beat for good, reliable, safe transportation with a little bit of style. And this one must not have been run in Winter salt because these could rust something fierce if you give them a chance.

    I also think it’s overpriced, but I could see an argument that for someone who wants what this car has to offer, and considering the ultra low miles, it could be a better bet than a generic econobox even at the $8K ask.

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  4. Puhnto

    I think you underestimate it. 240s are VERY desirable and loved by almost everyone who’s ever had one!

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  5. duke

    sweet overpriced find—btw the hub caps are wrong for this car

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  6. Dave h

    Oh great – a car that was owned for THAT long by someone like my mother. She had her last car for 11 years and only put 5,000 miles on it. Oil was never changed, belts never changed etc. It spent all its life in a dry (but unheated) garage. It rusted to death, all the seals dried out, engine & trans leaked like a screen door, but it truly WAS owned by a little old lady (she was 92 when she died and the car went to my brother) and it truly WAS low miles – just over 5,000 as I recall. And the same car, with 10 or 20 times as many miles would have been a better car to buy!

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    • moosie Craig

      You have issues,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Dont you ?

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      • krash

        Extremely Funny.. (Craig) !!!…

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  7. jim s

    the same seller has a 2011 vw tdi s/w for sale for just $495 more. love all the photos, this seller has put a lot of work into this listing. this is a great driver but the automatic is not near as much fun as these with a manual are. great find

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  8. BobinBexley Bob in BexleyMember

    Working knowledge of this era of Volvo’s fuel injection system is now its downfall. As basic as this car is FI maintenance/repairs is not for the casual DIY guy.

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  9. Patrick McC.

    I was required to drive my great aunt’s 1984 240 GL (Grand Lux!) for my first year of driving. Although everyday that I got in it I wished I was driving my Volkswagen, the Volvo is comfortable, reliable (221,000 and we drove it from central Oregon to central California), durable and gets good millage. Despite having only paid $300 for it, it has acquired a couple mechanic’s bills, most of which we could have avoided by taking it to a proper Volvo mechanic in the first place to tell us that the computer isn’t properly engaging the fuel pump.
    Takes a lick’n and keeps on tick’n!

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  10. Dan h

    Not my cup of tea. I do however, love the ultra high quality steel Volvo used in the engine block. You could make jewelry with that stuff!

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  11. MountainMan

    Good looking old Volvo…this car should have years and years of life and hundreds of thousands of miles left in it. Somebody will want it bad enough to pay the $8k ask but should be half that. It would be nice to have it but not for what the seller wants

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  12. HoA Howard AMember

    I agree with Dolphin. I had a ’78 like this, also with a 4 speed +OD, and it was a fun car to drive ( I think the OD worked in 3rd &4th) I bought it in the mid-80’s for $500 and it needed an alternator. Lot of plastic inside, but it was a great car. Pricey to fix.It needed brakes real bad and just the parts were well over $500 ( almost $1200 today) which exceeded the cost of the car, so it was good-bye Volvo. Most people that had 240’s really liked them.

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  13. Steve

    Ugly but reliable to a point. Very safe and comfy car. The seller states that he will only entertain offers if it doesn’t sell.
    At the “Keep it now” price he will be taking offers.

    Don’t any of these sellers look at NADA for correct pricing?

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  14. john

    These cars cannot be long before serious classic status is awarded to them. In Europe they are being annihilated on the banger racing tracks at a furious rate. 144 for instance is no longer an easy car to find, and the 244 is going to go that way. You have more in the US, but not many are in good condition like this one. Personally the auto would suit me just fine. The colour would put me off, I don’t buy green cars.Never the less what a lovely find. It will be interesting to see what it makes….

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  15. Alan (Michigan)

    If the Bertone car listed a few weeks ago had been in this kind of shape, it *might* have brought the ask for this one.
    Too “Plain Jane” here, IMO. Maybe a Turbo model, or a higher trim level would get it, but I think that for this one the seller is reaching.

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  16. Chris in WNC

    GREAT cars.
    We’ve had 8 Volvos and 6 of them were these square nerdmobiles.
    Agree the price may be a little ambitious- will be interesting to see how the auction ends.
    Heater blower motor, master cylinders and rear engine seals were the most expensive repairs.
    Brakes were duck soup because the pads could be replaced over and over without turning the rotors.
    I have sworn off air-cooled VWs for this lifetime but could see another 240 out there in the future, maybe for a grandchild.
    Perfect car for teenagers because they are very crashworthy and slow and cheap!

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  17. Steve B.

    Volvos gave a limited market, after all there are only so many college professors out there.

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  18. afro_lou

    Wow, so many memories…

    My parents bought a 1980 240dl in 1982 (2 door 4 speed, btw). I was born in 1984, nearly in the car… They drove it until I was 16, at which point it became mine. 👹
    I got it with 220,000 miles, and drove it til the odometer stopped at 280,000 (about 2 years), then drove it for 3 or 4 years after that. I can only assume it had well north of 350,000 miles on it when I finally gave up on it… That car took so much more abuse than it had a right to…
    It’s been said before, but there’s nothing like sliding through a corner in a cloud of smoke, tires screaming, looking out the passenger window to see where you’re going, wrestling the (non-power) steering wheel to as near opposite lock as you can while dumping the clutch into 2nd gear… All at 20mph.

    I miss that car…

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  19. Chris A.

    In the mid 80’s I bought a used 240 GT Turbo with 4 spd + OD. First I replaced the worn Pirelli P7’s with Michelin’s to improve wet road handling and then enjoyed it as the family car for over 100K. the stiffer GT Turbo suspension made it a crisp handler but it still under-steered but not as much as a stock 240. The turbo was only oil cooled and pre intercooler so the turbo bearings cooked out at 75K. Other than that it was regular oil changes, brake pads and tires. My daughters both learned to drive on “Valerie” and all of us have fond memories of the “brick”. But $8K is at least 2k high even if it is a granny creampuff.

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