Rare GT Spec: 1978 Volvo 242 GT

There exists a class of vehicles that is not terribly valuable but still quite rare and cherished by enthusiasts. This 1978 Volvo 242 GT falls in that category of being a vehicle that doesn’t come up for sale all that often, but not necessarily being a priceless acquisition; really, such a car is a great entry point for young enthusiasts. The 242GT can be found here on eBay in running condition with some very useful spares included.

Bidding is just over $1K at the moment with the reserve unmet. The 242GT remains near and dear to my heart, as finding one with the rare grill featuring Bosch fog lights in a remote Pennsylvania junkyard is probably one of my best parts scores. This 242GT retains all of those special trim bits that set the car apart, such as the grill and unique upholstery inside the car.

Well, let me clarify that last statement: currently, the seats are missing the iconic red striping like you see here on the dash, but the seller is including what looks like NOS upholstery still in the sealed froparts bags. Other desirable spares include a restored rally gauge cluster and upper rear seat upholstery. The dash appears crack-free and GT steering wheel remains in place.

Now, the biggest strike against the 242GT is aside from the grill, it doesn’t look quite proper. Why those unique trim elements have been removed or are missing isn’t discussed, but the seller is including the original body graphics kit; front air dam; and original aluminum alloy wheels. While still a bit of a project, this is a truly rare Volvo that deserves to be restored.


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  1. Adam Clarke Staff

    Great article Jeff. I have quite a sentimental soft spot for these too. They pack a bit of a surprise in the performance department because they can leave the V6 brothers well in their wake.

    Like 1
  2. Mike

    God those bumpers are horrible.

    Like 2
    • PairsNPaint

      Yeah, my first wife wanted a Volvo and wound up with a 244 sedan, a real tank and very dependable except for the motor mounts and fuel pump.

      Personally, I’d love to find a nice 142 (almost pretty!) and do a sleeper LS engine swap into it.

  3. Husky

    When Saab introduced the Turbo in 1977, Volvo tried desperately to come up with something to compete with, and the GT was born.

    Like 1
    • Wolfgang Gullich

      Not really why the 242GT was designed… It was intended for homologation for rally racing… It put out more power than SAAB’s early turbo 99s and 900s

      Like 2
  4. Superdessucke

    Should be a way to get into the old car hobby for twenty-five hundred bucks or less if the seller lets it go for what It’s realistically worth.

    Like 2
  5. Chris in Pineville

    Volvo brick experts please correct me but the grille looks just like I remember them……
    and c’mon- where are the engine pics?

    • Spud

      Grill looks legit to me.

      My guess is that the seller has the reserve set for closer to $4K (not $2500). That said, it could be worth that … depending on the rust. The areas he notes that are rusted are tip-of-the-iceberg areas in this car and could be rather expensive to address should the buyer actually want to address them. But you’d have to actually see those in order to assess. If he’s honest about the car coming from NM (when? it has TX plates and is currently in FL) then that’s promising.

      Complete and (mostly) unmolested 242’s of this vintage, without significant rust, routinely sell for around $5K.

      Like 2
  6. Matt

    Spud”s assessment sounds about right to me. I once drove an hour each way t pick up a set of GT door cards for a friend. They were in awful shape and cost $200. It cost me $100 to ship them and my buddy gave me $50 in gas.

    The car advertised is worth a fair amount in parts alone.

    Like 2
  7. RetroMojo

    Looks like the same car from Bring-a-Trailer in 2017

  8. jpb

    Seller wants $ 5k. I had an 80GT. want one back. No sunroof on the 78s and I am also suspicious of interior . Easy to clone one. jpb 71e

    Like 1
    • Dutch 1960

      To check for a clone, look for the pressed steel well for the spare tire in the trunk, the half round one hanging low in the rear corner of the car, because the spare sits upright. It peeks out below the rear fender. GT’s don’t have them.

      Like 2
  9. CJinSD

    A much nicer 1980 242GT that actually looked like a 242GT sold for $2500 on BAT. I don’t think of BAT as a place to find bargains.

    Like 1

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