1974 Volvo 142: ALL the Orange!
It should probably come as no surprise to regular TTS readers that we like old school Swedish bricks. Heck, my daughter drives a ’92 240 which is, for all intents and purposes, the same as our feature car – only with 18 years between them. Still, there’s something very cool about the early cars. This clean and remarkably bright example can be found HERE on CraigsList in
my backyard Reston, Virginia for $8,500.
I am particularly fond of the 1973-74s . My uncle bought a ’74 wagon brand new (in an equally bold light blue) back in the day that survived 4 young drivers, lost a cylinder, and even had a tree fall on it and kept on ticking. I also like that the 73-74s retain the earlier 2-headlight grille and have the more modern dashboard with round gauges and proper adjustable vents as opposed to the old-school ribbon speedometer more appropriate to the earlier 122 Amazon. 1974 was also the last year of the 140: the 240 was introduced that same year as the 140’s replacement and came with additional styling updates, safety features, and an overhead cam inline-4 engine in place of the 140’s pushrods and overhead valves.
It is insanely rare to find a Volvo 140 of this vintage that hasn’t been driven to the ends of the earth and demonstrating the scars and bruises to prove it. They are rarely this clean or, frankly, this orange. Finished in Bright Orange on orange cloth, both interior and exterior finishes and trims are in nice overall condition. The seller indicates a few small dash cracks under the cover, like just about every other Volvo 140/240 I have ever seen. That may include new ones in the showroom, but my memory is a little hazy. The Coco Mats are a great period touch and the colors work brilliantly here. Unlike later 240s, these 140s used vinyl door pouches instead of plastic pockets – so also unlike later cars they are intact and still useful.
As vintage 2-door “personal “coupes go, these Volvos are remarkably roomy. In this example I can’t help but feel like those massive speakers behind the rear seats might dissuade someone from wanting to sit there – but they probably make great sound with the modern Kenwood CD. I might go for something a little subtler if I brought it home. That said, there is an argument to be made for loud music to go with loud colors….
The seller notes several performance “tweaks” over the years, including:
- performance cam
- new headers
- chrome cylinder head
- an aggressive sounding performance exhaust
- upgraded radiator fan
- IPD sway bars
Now, the 140 with its 2.0 inline-4 was somewhat utilitarian and not terribly exciting from a performance standpoint – even with Bosch K-Jetronic injection – no doubt these upgrades make it just a little happier. From the factory they delivered 109hp and 115 lb-ft of torque, meaning 0-60 took a casual 12.6 seconds for the coupe (sedan and wagon took even longer) and a top speed right at 100mph. Hopefully this one goes up to eleven. Or ten-and-a-half, anyway. Speaking from experience I can tell you that a fully loaded 240 sedan with the later 2.3 OHC motor will struggle on the long uphills. YMMV.
It is interesting that this car does not have the optional power steering, but is equipped with the optional air conditioning. Not surprisingly, the AC isn’t blowing cold right now. Still, it’s there for someone who wants to make it work. Fortunately, it’s a pretty straightforward system and you can buy the pieces. I like how the seller touts the manual steering as a good way to work your muscles on the backroads… He also talks about the non-overdrive 4-speed manual in a positive light. I can’t help but wonder if the gearing is favorable to highway driving. But that’s not really what you buy this car for, is it? The later Volvo alloys surprisingly don’t take away from the aesthetic.
As a habitual car buyer and classified ad surfer, I can’t help but think that this car is a reasonably good deal at the asking price. At $7,500 I’d probably be a contender, despite not having the room or the bandwidth in my fleet. I’m already tempted to look at it just because it’s about 4 miles from me – BUT.I.MUST.RESIST!!
This would be a fun car to take with the kids to Cars & Coffee (fully mask-wearing, and all that) or to get ice cream. Get the AC working and you can literally enjoy it year round – these Volvos do handle snow and ice far better than they should, so long as you don’t let the salt accumulate. While I’d like to have seen an engine pic, what I can see here is a car that is refreshingly a COLOR, manual transmission, disk brakes, easy to DIY, and with plentiful parts availability. Beyond that, they are dead reliable. What more do you want?
Enjoy some more fun reading on the 1974 140 series HERE in the original sales brochure…
Reed – Hey that’s my car! Come take a look – its calling your name. I’m sure we can make a deal!
Adam – Awesome car!! It’s tempting for sure, but I’m not using the cars I have already enough as it is!! I’d think this would be a pretty easy sell, or a great candidate for BringaTrailer!
Holy cow guys I’m sending this to my Dad…
I’m a VW/SAAB/Bimmer guy but my family have been Volvo folks for many years….. growing up my friend’s father co-owned Jaguar Volvo BMW BL etc in Cleveland and guess what: We couldn’t afford BMW so we had Volvos, including a very orange ’74 144 and my Uncle had a matching 142 as he and my father had also done in ’67 with the first 140 series in the U.S.
Peace and thanks for the read.
PS: I had a 142 E in that deep purple color but otherwise just like this one. All these cars are commanding more coin than they cost in the first place now. When I got my first GTi I sold mine to some folks who didn’t tend to the little oil leak and it threw a rod 6 months later with like 200K on her.
I painted mine in that color as well … 1969 144S