Sunroof Prototype: 1983 Volvo 242

What does it take to make a car rare? Is it simply limited production, or must there also be some feature or option that sets it apart from the masses? This 1983 Volvo 242 DL coupe falls into the latter category, but there also can’t be too many coupes like these left in such nice shape. If the seller’s claim holds water that this is a prototype sunroof car, then it would likely be among the rarest of the rare. Find it here on craigslist for $6,250. 

Although your eyes might be drawn to that sweet vanity plate, it is not included in the sale. The other thing you may notice is the clean paintwork, and that’s due to a recent respray in the original Scotia Blue paint code. Virgo wheels always do wonders to update old-school Volvos with a factory-like appearance, and they work well here. But the sunroof is apparently a big deal to the Volvo enthusiast, as the seller contends only eight were built with this option.

The seller goes on to say that the sunroof parts were used by BMW as well, and even the Volvo’s manual crank handle matches what would be found in a similar era 3-Series. One of the more curious parts of the description is the reference to the sunroof as a “Webasto” unit, which is typically associated with those full-length canvas conversions. Regardless, if the sunroof production numbers can be verified, this Volvo would likely be coveted by enthusiasts both for the rarity and the opportunity to drive their classic with open-roof ventilation.

Inside, the cabin remains quite tidy with unmarred seat fabrics and decent carpet. Although not the eye-catching design of the 242 GT models (both inside and out), this 242 DL could be the next best thing. The seller points out that the suspension is getting up in its years but that it was completely refreshed 12 years ago and has seen very little use since then. Swap in some glass European headlights, drop the suspension a bit and enjoy a modest return on your investment while adding a few hundred miles every year.


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  1. Francisco

    “Mileage unknown but over 200,000!” How much more, I wonder.

  2. Mark

    I really have to question the prototype sunroof. I had a 1976 Volvo 240 DL and it had a sunroof exactly like that. I’m not sure why they would go back to the prototype phase with a sunroof and that style of car. Mine was also a manual transmission with an electric overdrive. It was a great car.

  3. Mike H. Mike H

    Seat material looks a lot like the AMC Levi’s option.

  4. rando

    “If the seller’s claim holds water that this is a prototype sunroof car,….” – that’s funny. Most sunroof cars do seem to hold water. In all the wrong places..

  5. Jerry

    I had an ’82 242 DL, 4spd/overdrive and a/c with the same sunroof. Crank handle and all. Need full factory disclosure but t that they kept those kinds of records.

  6. Pantera1973

    My 1982 Volvo 242 Turbo, which was purchased new, had the same manually cranked sunroof. Not that rare.

  7. Emmy J

    Was about to add that I had an ’82 242 with a sunroof just like this one. Same blue, too. We’ve accounted for half of the claimed production just on this site!

  8. Larry K

    Buddy o mine had yellow one. He used to keep a penny in it that you used to make contact on the gear shift to get it into overdrive.

  9. Francisco

    I had an ’82 Volvo 240 GL. It ahd a 5 cylinder diesel, 4 speed overdrive, and guess what? a crank sunroof,

    • Karel van der Bijl

      A 5 cil diesel ? Is that a prototype or a broken 6 cil ?

  10. Mark

    Since many of us have posted that we had Volvo 240 series vehicles with manually cranked sunroofs I wonder what makes the owner of this vehicle think that his is a prototype? Or maybe he doesn’t and just thought it would be a way to get a little more money for the vehicle?

  11. Greg Member

    I had a 78 242GT and yes, same sunroof. But these are great cars. And if (and that’s a big IF!) the car has been properly maintained throughout the years, 200,000+ miles is no big deal. These earlier Volvo’s are tanks and will keep going for years to come. I’ve had muscle cars, big trucks, several convertibles that I loved. But my 78 242GT is still high on my “wish I still had it” list!

  12. Tracy Johnson

    My dad had a 1975 242 with a sunroof. not rare at all.

  13. Daymo

    It could just possibly be that 2-door body. We only ever got 4 doors here in the UK!

  14. Mike Neff

    Guess what – I had the following, all with sunroofs 1983 242t, 1982 242, and 1984 242t. All had four speed with push button overdrive. I will say that my sunroofs only cranked open from the front. The back of the sunroof did not pop up like the seller has pictured here. Is that what makes this a “proto-type” sunroof? Or maybe my sunroofs opened like this but I never cranked the handle far enough in the wrong direction to find out.

  15. Pfk1106

    Volvo stopped giving out those brass mileage badges years ago. I had a ,98, I hit 100 in ’02, and got the badge, but the 200 and 300 badges I had to source on the internet. Good chance this car is well above that

  16. Rustytech Member

    I did state inspections for a Volvo dealer back in the 70’s and 80’s, in a time when most dealers would send anything with over 60k straight to the wholesale auction. The Volvo dealer didn’t hesitate to put cars out for retail sale at 150k or more. I don’t know about the prototype claim, but this is a good looking car and I think a good deal for someone looking for a vintage Volvo.

  17. Mike

    I also had an ’82 242 Turbo. With manual sunroof. There was a rare option for an electric motor for the roof. I had found one on eBay. Never got around to installing it.

    How I wish I had that car back.

  18. Anthony

    Always had Volvo’s in my family and on of my favorites is the 1969 to 1971 164’s – especially the leather seats with the netting in the back. What I like about this year Volvo and a few other years is the square Sealed Beams and not the plastic cover ones that came later. Not my color preference though. A dark blue would look much sharper. Good luck to seller and buyer…

  19. Mercuryman

    Really nice car, someone will get a great, reliable car. Parts are still readily available. I think a good entry classic. As far as the sunroof goes, my 82 242DL also has a sunroof. Next weekend, I’m going with a friend to pick up a really straight, nice 1974 Volvo 142 with the same sunroof. The guy my buddy bought it from is including 2 spare sunroof panels that he took off of parts 242’s. He said the only way you got the roof on a 142 was with an automatic trans. This also got you p/s and air. He seems quite knowledgeable​, has pictures of his father and him at the Volvo plant in Sweden watching the 140 series cars being built. I wouldn’t let a little fib prevent me from buying that car as long as everything else is as advertised.

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