Pragmatic Police: Volvo 240 Cop Car


When we think of police cars, it’s easy to jump right to V8 powered, rear-wheel drive sedans that are equally capable at smoky burnouts as they are at hauling criminals. But at some point in time, Volvo got into the cop car game and started offering its bread-and-butter 240 as a Crown Vic alternative. This example here on eBay has to be one of only a few left. 


Shown here in its original form, this photo supposedly captures this exact car when it was delivered new to the Falls Church, VA police department. Oh, how I wish it still had the original light bar and police numbers still on the side. Regardless, you can likely pick those up on the aftermarket and bring it back pretty close to original form if you’d like. I wonder if the police officer remembers his Swedish patrol car!


The 240 cop car wasn’t so different from your standard-issue police vehicles, coming with a range of features not found on civilian 240s: factory rubber floor carpet, flashlight and baton holders, rear vinyl drop cover, extra padded seats, heavy duty suspension, dual transmission coolers, rear 3.91 differential and even a 120mph speedometer. The interior looks to be in fine shape, still.


There’s little info out there confirming just how many 240 police package cars were sold, or how many are still running around. When they lose their distinguishing exterior qualities, you’d have to have a keen Volvo eye to tell them apart. This 240 is certainly one for the Volvo enthusiast, and with bidding at just over $2,000 and no reserve, it looks to be a decent value for just about anyone.


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  1. angliagt

    The CHP used these briefly,on a trial basis.
    This may have been part of their purchase.
    I saw one in Redding,CA,in White.Sure didn’t
    look like a CHP cruiser.Then I saw one in Black/White-
    looked even weirder.Evidently,it didn’t pass the trial test.
    Our county Sheriff’s department tried one also,
    ended up getting totalled by a Deputy.

  2. Zaphod

    We had these in Maine for a long time. It was endless fun pulling the cops out of ditches during the winter.

    • John K

      Yep, I remember them quite well! IIRC Augusta has a few of them.

  3. Howard A Member

    I had a ’78 240 very similar to this. Never once thought of it as any kind of LEO vehicle, and quite frankly, not sure why a department would choose these cars, but here it is, obviously. I bought mine in the mid-80’s for $350 with a charging issue ( turned out to be a alternator brush set) and it was a great car, like all Volvo’s. Be advised, parts, even at that time, are very expensive, and just the brake parts were $500 ( $150 more than I paid for the car), who knows what they are now, and I sold the car. Mine had the 4 speed w/OD. Cruised great. Volvo’s are great cars and this is a good price for this car.

  4. Chris A.

    As I recall, the Jamestown NY PD tried one, and it was a turbo with intercooler version. Volvo’s were well liked in Jamestown as the city has a large Swedish population with at one time a Swedish consul. The cop car had problems just sitting with the motor running and rust finished the job. I tried to buy it for the intercooler parts but the price was out of reasonable reach.

  5. Car39

    There was one on Hemmings site for too much money and not enough floor. It was rough and the owner thought he had unobtanium.

  6. Biggles21

    I’ve driven Volvos ever since my college days, 4 sedans and 3 wagons all of the 244, 245 variety. They always need a heater motor, the windshield mechanisms always seize. The rear lights are hooked up to the system via a “touch” metal contact that corrode and hence don’t touch anymore. They are hard on water pumps and alternators. Everything is relatively expensive to repair but these cars run forever with some TLC and I love them. My wife is always saying we should buy another one. Just gave my C30 to my son so he can start his Volvo journey as well.

  7. Yasha

    I’ll go look at it for anyone interested, only 20 mins away. I would get it in a heartbeat if my son was 16 not 11; too early for car projects for him.

  8. Doug Towsley

    In the early 1980s, there was not a lot of GOOD cars being produced. I lived for a while in Troutdale Oregon (Near Portland) and it was laughable with the police driving Chevy Citations. They struggled with lack of power and they were overwhelmed with the charging system. It was common to see them stalled needing a jump start.
    Now, I spent some time in Texas on Delayed enlistment for the military. (Economy was bad and joining the Air Force seemed a good idea)
    So there was an area near Dallas that had some really souped up Volvo Police cars. Nicely done. Seems to me (I could be wrong) many were turbo. I was initially amused, then impressed with them. They had little maintenance issues I was told, and more than able to catch most cars on the road at the time, they handled better than most and while expensive, they also were very durable as well as excellent safety records.
    I have discussed this MANY times on this forum and several other listers also know about that Police dept. (Not the only one)
    You would think Texas-Macho but that was a wealthy suburb of Dallas and they fit in well and did the job I think pretty well.
    All I can say is i know 2 people who were both in car wrecks and both times Boxy Volvos like this and everyone said they would have been dead meat in anything else. So, there IS that!

  9. Clinton

    Can someone post the ebay item number? Barn find ebay links NEVER work on my phone.

  10. Clinton

    Can someone post the ebay item number? These ebay links don’t work.

  11. eskild

    Police in Sweden and Norway used these cars for many many years as police cars.They lasted forever,trusty wagons these 240`s. They started making these in 1967,as 140 series.Do you know why they were called 242(142),244(144) and 245(145) ? Well,its easy and simpel…..242 2 door -244 4 doors and 245 stationwagon..:))
    I think the 145 Express is the coolest one.

  12. Bobsmyuncle

    Sold for just over $2000 seems well bought to me!

  13. Bill McCoskey

    Many years ago I worked for an antique car dealership & restoration shop in Falls Church, VA. I was surprised to see so many Volvo police cars, and asked the owner of the dealership about the Volvo cruisers. His response was along these lines:

    Mr. Don Beyer, Sr. owned the local Volvo dealership, and was active in the town’s politics. When he heard how much $ the police force was paying for Ford cruisers, along with the maintenance costs, he offered the town Volvo police cars at just about cost. As far as I know, Falls Church is still using Volvo police cars!

    Attached is a photo of a Falls Church Volvo cruiser from the early 1990s.

  14. John Perry Member

    I’ve owned many a Volvo over the years. Scrapped 2 with well over 300,000 miles due to rust issues, cost to repair outweighed the value. I never found them to be expensive for repairs unless it was an odd item. Still drive one today (last year of the C70 Hardtop Coupe) they were always reliable safe and comfortable to drive. These 200 series are the most economical of the bunch.

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