Monday, November 4, 2013

1971 Volvo 142 - From A Time When The Name Volvo Meant Something

New Volvos are nice cars. They're nice looking and loaded with creature comforts.

And they're not selling well...

Volvo has lost its identity. BMW has the ultimate driving machine reputation. Audi has quattro. Acura and Lexus have Japanese build quality and technology. What does a new Volvo have? Nothing special, really. They're nice cars. Nice cars lost in a sea of nice cars.

It wasn't always that way. For three decades Volvo was synonymous with safety and reliability. If you're of a certain age, you probably know someone who had a 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s vintage Volvo that ran 250,000 miles or more (often way more) without any major repairs. You may know someone or heard of someone who was in some sort of terrible accident with their Volvo and walked away without a scratch. That's what Volvos were all about. Safety and reliability. Back then they ruled those categories. No one even came close.

This is a car from those days. Introduced in 1967, the 140 Series were the first of the modern, boxy Volvos. They eventually replaced the Amazon, which had been around since 1956.

This appears to be a nice, mostly original 142. It has a bit of rust starting around a taillight, but nothing serious. The interior looks great and the engine is clean. It has 178,000 miles on it, which is nothing for an old Volvo. The seller's eBay listing features a lot of large, clear pictures.

As I write this, there are 7 separate bidders on this car, which attests to the desirability of these old Volvos.

Volvo and their Chinese owners (Geely Automobile) seem to realize that there is some value in the reliability reputation old Volvos enjoy. They've been using Irv Gordon and his 3 million mile P1800 in some of their ads and promotional material. But, until a 2013 vintage car goes 3 million miles (or even 300,000 miles) the only way of knowing you're getting a reliable, solid Volvo is to buy one like this.

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

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh in my neck of the woods. Must resist. Wife would kill me if I dragged anothone home.

Harv said...

Oh How I would love this car!

John

Anonymous said...

Id argue Volvo's are still very reliable...apart from the crappy autotragic transmissions. My 2001 V70 is regarded as one of the worst years to have, however with my manual box I have never had a problem, a buddy I know has over 400k on his, again, no problems. The early 90's imho was one of the best years for Volvo, the 850 is an amazingly well put together car, one of the best engineered road going machines I have ever worked on (at $2.5 billion is should be). The Swedes can sure build a car, Saab included.

Robert J said...

I am more of a Volvo 122S and PV544 guy, but this one is giving me boxy car lust. :)

Dan DiBiase said...

Love this, especially the manual. Seems like the survivors are always automatics....