Wednesday, September 22, 2010

1979 Volvo 242GT - A Tradional Volvo With A Bit Of Flair

You don't see many of these around anymore.

The Volvo 240-series cars were well engineered, extremely durable, incredibly practical cars. Sporty, they were not. The 242GT was Volvo's attempt at changing that.

The 242GT was still well engineered, extremely durable and incredibly practical, but it had a bit of sportiness about it, too.

Volvo basically took the stock 242 (200 series, 4 cylinder, 2 door), dressed it up and called it the GT.

All 242GTs were painted silver and had orange and black stripes. The front end got a little spoiler. The grill had a pair of well integrated driving lights. The wheels were a 14 x 5 1/2-inch alloys.

Inside, All 242GTs came with black corduroy seats with an orange vinyl stripe. It also had an orange stripe running the length of the dashboard. That doesn't sound real good on paper, but it actually looks really cool, in a retro kind of way. The GT also got a tach, a smaller diameter steering wheel and a shorter shifter.

To give it a little crisper handling, Volvo tweaked the suspension, replacing the standard 17mm front sway bar with a 23mm bar. The springs were stiffened and the shocks were revalved.

The engine, sadly, remained the same. It put out just over 100 HP, which meant that this car was no rocket. Volvo was aiming this car towards a person who liked European cars that were sportier than Volvo's standard offerings. With the relatively weak engine, I can't imagine many people chose the 242GT over an Alfa, BMW, Audi or Saab Turbo. The 242 GT most likely sold to traditional Volvo buyers who were attracted to the body add-ons and the interior. (In 1981 Volvo introduced the GLT Turbo which, with its 127 HP turbocharged engine, was competitive with Alfa, Audi BMW and Saab.)

I remember seeing a few of these cars back in the day, but I haven't seen one for a very long time. I doubt that many still exist.

This car has 126,553 miles on it. That's low mileage for an old Volvo. The seller says that most of the car is original.

The Buy It Now price of $9,850.00 is steep, but if you're looking for a unique old Volvo, one that is loaded with all the things that made Volvos great 30 years ago along with a few sporty touches, this car may be for you. Just don't expect to win many races.

Located in Portland, Maine, click here to see the eBay listing.

13 comments:

m4ff3w said...

To be fair, the 100hp was slightly more power than the BMW E21 318 that it competed with. Though I concede that the BMW was lighter.

P said...

As a die-hard Volvo enthusiast, I would buy this car over anything brand-new. (Yes, even the new Camaros - when those are about to be junked years from now this '79 Volvo will still be running.)

Stephen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen said...

I own a '79 GT and I love it, it has aprox 80,000 miles. I just wish I had more time and money to put into the restoration right now.

Huddy said...

I had a '78 242GT which I bought new. Great car, very rugged and "sporty" in the Volvo sense. $7800, which was pretty steep back then. The car was well made and stood up to years of abuse.

Aurelius said...

interested in this car

jimmy 544 said...

I have a 1979 242 GT Volvo. I bought it used in San Jose CA in 2001 just after 9/11. The kid who had it didn't think it was cool. It had 195,000 on it and the OD worked. I needed another car quick cause I had been in chain reaction accident in my 82 244 so I bought it. The car is still running pretty well and it has 311,000 on it. I am about to replace the exhaust system on it and do some more work so that it will pass Mass. inspection. I like the way it handles and the mileage is still reasonable at 25 to 29 mpg.

Anonymous said...

I owned a new 79 242GT fortwo months and was sooooo excited. It was great and I was re-ended at 60 mph. It saved my life..My insurance paid for a 1980 new one . I had it for 4 years and wish i never sold it. Very solid and I never thought of it as a slow car. The 4 speed made it feel very capable and tight.

Anonymous said...

My first car in High School was a 78' 242 GT, which i racked up almost 500K miles on it and loved every mile. That was 20 plus years ago and last year I just bought a pristine original condition 79'GT, I'll probably be laid to rest in this one.

Anthony Hardy said...

I bought a 1979 Volovo 242gt used in 1999 for $800. Now it is fully restored with every R sport option available.Today some stranger rang my door bell and wants to buy it. Sorry but it is too sweet and easy to work on. Fun Fun

Maree Benner said...

My first car was a '79 242 GT. My parents handed it down to me for my 16th birthday. It was a great car! My mom and I were reminiscing about it today. It was the first Volvo in our family and it started a serious trend (23 years ago)! Great pics, brought back lots of memories! I loved the OD switch and the hand crank sunroof. I'd LOVE to have her back to pass on to my daughter!

Jakeelwood Blues said...

The European 242GT we got here in Australia came with the b23e 140bhp engine and is lots of fun, I have a 79 and will never ever sell it, brilliant car easy to work on tough as nails gorgeous Swedish styling

Anonymous said...

I have an Aussie 242 GT 1979 model. Great car can't kill it, so I decided to put in a B230FT. Now I will have it forever.