Stored for 45 Years: 1970 Volvo 164


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Not too far from me in Bristol, Rhode Island, there is a beautiful Volvo 164 sedan languishing in a junkyard. It has stickers from the naval base in Newport, where I can almost imagine a visiting captain serving out his retirement as a faculty member on the War College campus. It deserves a better fate, but we’ll have to hope this 1970 example here on eBay that’s been parked for 45 years comes up with a happier ending. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Jim S. for the find.


The 164 was considered Volvo’s first foray into building a luxury automobile, and with a 3.0L straight-six up front and a richly appointed interior inside, it certainly looked the part. The Volvo blended different styling cues from other automakers in its front end design while retaining an overall look that somehow was still pure Volvo: boxy, upright and the appearance of being carved from a solitary brick. This example is said to have been stored for 45 years, and only driven for one year in that time.


The interior of this 164 remains in good shape, which provides some indication that its storage arrangement was within an environment free from major invasions of pests and moisture. The door panels and carpet practically look new. Although these 164 sedans could be optioned with a manual transmission, this one makes do with a column-shift three-speed Borg-Warner automatic. Not much is said about the Volvo’s mechanical integrity, but I suppose you should assume it needs everything. It has only 39,000 miles from new.


So the seating surfaces will need some restoration – perhaps a re-dye will bring them back. But they aren’t torn, which is what you typically see on a vehicle of this vintage. Crank windows mean there aren’t any finicky electronics to sort out in the door, and the woodgrain dash seen in the previous photo – a 164 selling point when introduced – looks surprisingly solid. Paired with the Turbo-style Virgo alloy wheels and attractive gray exterior, this 164 appears to be a classy mode of transportation with an interesting story behind its 45 year sleep. Why do you think it left the road for so long?

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  1. Matt Tritt

    Excellent cars, if slightly front heavy. I personally prefer the 4 cyl version because of fuel economy.

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  2. MikeG

    Beautiful little car. Very nice condition, someone will bring it back and re-dye those skins, it’ll look almost new again. I’d prefer a stick, but still a great find.

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  3. DolphinMember

    I owned one for 3 days back years ago. It had the auto transmission, which was my mistake, but even if it had the 4-speed I would not have kept it. Too heavy and lumbering on the road.

    I went back to a 240 with 4-speed + OD and was happy again. Then I discovered other cars that handled even better and was even happier.

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  4. duke

    please check your info again -this 164 is in canada—if it were as close as rhode island ,it would be in my driveway right now

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    • Jack

      I almost fell for it too, you just have to read the first paragraph a little more closely. I am more interested in the 164 in Bristol, RI. Since I live 10 minutes from Bristol, I might have to go find it.

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  5. Luke Fitzgerald

    It’s not been off the road for that long – 39k – in a year / L

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  6. HoA Howard AMember

    Pretty soon, it’s going to be “jim s.’s Barn Finds”. Just kidding, jim, you always share cool stuff. I believe, this style Volvo ( not this particular model, though) really got the ball rolling for Volvo in America. I don’t think the 164 was as popular as the 144, but was a quality car. While it’s hard to argue with Volvo’s 6 digit odometer ( something America wasn’t used to) I highly doubt this car has 39K miles. The engine is just too ratty. I too would much rather have the 4 speed and O/D. B-W is a good trans, although, my Volvo’s were all manuals. If it was sitting that long, going to be a slew of issues, but a very nice car, and well worth the price.

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  7. another Bob

    I had a 74 Volvo 144 back in the mid 80s that I loved until it got T-boned by a lady in a station wagon that ran a stop sign. Even then they were the safest cars on the road. I didn’t get so much as a scratch but it totaled the car.
    I always wanted a 164. A friend on mine had a 73, and it was way ahead of the 144 as far as styling and comfort.

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  8. Bill

    I had a 164.. boxy back end, but the front looked like a Daimler or a Bentley type sedan. It wasn’t a rocket, but it was a lovely cruiser. I felt very posh driving that beauty, It was rust free.. gold with black leather interior. Carted my firstborn around in it as well as guests and it was a treat. Even my Mopar forever father was impressed when i took him out in it.
    I’d love another one day.

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  9. George Swift

    I don’t trust the alleged history of this car. It’s nothing special. I am surprised it’s not in Oregon. I’d say pass on this one. Forgive me for calling it like I see it.

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  10. Richard Gonzales

    If it was a stick shift 2 door model I would be pitching it to the wife right now. Always been a fan of Swede speed of this era. Nice find.

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    • Jimmy

      The 164 Was not availible as a 2 door just The 144, and then it Was The 142.

      Like 0

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