The ad for today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 164 claims it’s a real clean car and has been under non-operational license since Nineteen Eighty Three! We’ll just have to decide what it’s worth to wake up Rip Van Volvo.
Man, you just were not having it last week. There was so much Crack Pipe I’d feared I’d accidentally moved to the 909. Monday-Crack Pipe. Tuesday-CrackPipe. Humpday-Pipe. Thursday-Pipe. aEven Friday, with its interesting and ball of odd 1977 Mercury Monarch with a 302 and a four-speed stick ended up with 73% Crack Pipe loss owing to its fantasy-world price.
It’s possible that the used car market is following the housing market - which, at least here in California, is bat shit crazy once again. Property, even to rent, is so expensive here that some people are resigned to living in their cars, so naturally cars are getting more expensive too.
Damn you, unbridled capitalism!
Actually, capitalism isn’t all that bad. I mean with out it, how would we know when a sentence starts or what is a proper name? Plus, I guess without the free market exchange of goods and services for an easily convertible intermediary representation of value, there wouldn’t be any point in having this discussion right now, would there?
So, just what are we discussing? Well, today we have a “barn find” 1970 Volvo 164 sedan that looks, as we say in the trade, good from far, but is perhaps far from good.
The ad says that it’s been on non-opp status, which in California means it’s not able to be on the road but does remain in the DMV computer, for over 40 years. That’s good, as transferring title or getting current tags shouldn’t be a problem.
Before we dive in, you all remember the 160 series, correct? It was a stab at an up-market product and represented Volvo’s first six cylinder product since the PV800 went out of production in 1958. The car was a 140-series from the firewall back, but featuring an extended front clip and Jaguar-esque nose ahead of that to accommodate a 3-litre OHV straight six. It was sort of a reverse mullet.
The early editions of the B30 mill like this one breathed through a pair of Zenith-Stromberg 175CD side-draughts and made 130-bhp while doing so. Backing up the engine here is the standard M400 four-speed manual. All good, right?
Well, have a look at that engine in the picture from the ad. That’s what happens when you sit on your ass doing nothing for 40 years.
The ad doesn’t note whether or not the car actually runs, but from the looks of that engine bay, I’d guess that it does. That’s because, this is a Volvo and they’re harder to kill than herpes. Still, a new owner should plan on a weekend or two replacing each and every hose, belt, vacuum line, and fluid just to be sure.
Those carbs - which feature a degradable rubber diaphragm inside - will also need to be rebuilt. I have a pair of 175CDs on my junky Jensen and they demanded attention after having been left fallow for too long.
The rest of the car looks far better, although it’s hard to get a good grasp of the condition through all the dust and the seller’s avoidance of the flash on his phone’s camera.
There’s 135,000 miles on the clock, or about 10K per year if the ad is to be believed. The interior, with its King’s throne seats and huge steering wheel looks to be in remarkable shape for its age, and all original too. By the way, that pointer on the horizontal speedo isn’t the indicator stuck at 68, that’s a movable speed warning.
The body looks to be in amazing shape as well, and the only major issues I can pick out are a missing lock on the front passenger door, and a lack of aluminum trim on the driver’s. Those are both shared with the lesser 140 series so replacements shouldn’t be too troublesome.
More importantly however, I can’t think of the last time I saw a 164 with its major nose elements - headlight trim, grille, bumper, etc - all intact. That alone’s got to be worth something. The question for all of us today - remember, capitalism - is whether that, and the rest of the car, is worth the $3,500 the seller is asking.
What do you think, is $3,500 a deal to move a classic Volvo from non-opp status to that of opp? Or, does the ad go into insufficient detail for that price to be a wake up call?
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