The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
6/26/18 3:27 p.m.

Photo Courtesy Volvo

Looking for a boxy sedan that captures that funky ’70s vibe, but don’t want to go with the usual suspects? How about a Volvo 140? Call it the tanklike alternative to a BMW 2002, Datsun 510 or even Alfa Romeo GTV. Plus, right now it’s a sub-$10,000 buy for a very usable classic.

“Crazy People,” the 1990 Hollywood blockbuster starring Dudley Moore and Daryl Hanna, verbalized what many of us had already been thinking for years: “Volvos: They’re boxy but they’re good.” Through the 1950s and ’60s, though, Volvos featured swooping bodywork that seemed more appropriate for a 1940s-era Detroit sedan.

The Volvo 140 series arrived for the 1967 model year and led the way for the company’s modern, chiseled look. And we say “series” because Volvo offered more than one body: Consumers could choose from both two- and four-door sedans as well as a practical five-door wagon. (The final digit in the model number represents the number of doors present.) That fancy new sheet metal covered Volvo’s tried-and-true, overbuilt B-series engine: 1.8 liters at first, then 2.0 liters starting with the 1969 cars. Sure, its camshaft sat in the block and not above the combustion chamber, but the B-series is known for being strong like ox.

Old school doesn’t mean old tech, either, as the engine received Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection starting in 1971. Volvo also increased the compression that year before decreasing it the next, meaning the 1971 cars are the hotrods–well, you know what we mean.

The next big upgrade came for 1973, when the 140 got a new tail and blacked-out grille. Remember, pretty much every factory had to deal with new crash requirements around that time.

After churning out more than 1.2 million units, Volvo ended 140 production after the 1974 model year. However, they kept the 140’s spirit alive for quite some time. The 240, its replacement, was basically an updated 140. Yes, the 240 got a new nose, and front struts replaced the A-arms found on the 140, but the basic design was a carryover. Volvo kept the 240 around through 1993, adding another 2.8 million cars to the tally. Finding parts will generally not be an issue.

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Tom1200 HalfDork
6/26/18 10:56 p.m.

Definetly an overlooked car. I miss my 142E, it had both A/C and overdrive. 

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