The only complaint that could be leveled against today’s Nice Price or No Dice Volvo is that it’s sadly not a wagon. Other than that, its kit and condition are what most of us would want. We’ll have to decide if it’s also popularly priced.
While the mere thought of parting company with Romeo may have been “such sweet sorrow” for Shakespeare’s love-struck Juliet, the idea of parting out yesterday’s 1999 Mercedes SLK 230 ‘mechanic’s special’ was something quite a few of you considered a good thing to consider. At $1,650, though, it wasn’t quite cheap enough to push that consideration over the top, with 53 percent of you voting No Dice on the project Benz.
Today we’re going to do a complete one-eighty and go from a car that needs a lot of work to get running, to one that looks to needs nothing. This 1981 Volvo 242 Turbo is claimed by its seller to be in “fully restored condition,” and with its turbocharged 2.1-liter four with a four-speed stick, it is also kitted in a very desirable fashion.
This is an American-spec car that was imported into Canada last year, to be sold there on Bring a Trailer in January of this year. That explains the Quebec license plate on a car offered in Washington, D.C. The current owner is using the same photos from the January BaT ad in the Craigslist post, but we can assume that the car hasn’t changed all that much in the past eight months.
The car comes in black over black, wearing the wonderful factory Virgo alloys. The exterior has been updated with all the brightwork changed to body color which lends the car a more contemporary vibe. Just as the seller claims, the car looks remarkable in the pics. This is the two-door (hence 242) which is the least functional of the 240 series body styles, but is also the lightest.
Inside those two doors, there’s leather upholstery that looks factory-fresh along with solid-appearing door panels and dashboard. That dash features the extended cluster that includes a boost gauge for the turbo.
With the turbocharger, the B21FT SOHC four makes 127 horsepower. Later versions of this combo would gain an intercooler with more ponies as a result, but that wasn’t the case in this model year. Power is sent to the live rear axle via a four-speed manual with Laycock de Normanville overdrive operated by a button atop the shift-knob.
The Craigslist ad makes no mention of any work having been done, but the BaT ad claims that the “drive belt tensioner and air-conditioning condenser were replaced in 2020.”
Another discrepancy between the current ad and the former is the mileage. The present owner lists the odometer reading at 100,000. According to the BaT listing, however, the actual reading is 142K but notes that the true mileage is unknown as the odo is broken. The current ad also omits mention of the stainless steel cat-back exhaust replacement and the switch to R134 for the A/C. Both ads do note, though, that the car has a clean title.
So, let’s now run the numbers. Back in January, this Volvo sold with no reserve on BaT for $19,750, which we can assume was in U.S. dollars. Considering that the inflation rate for 2022 is somewhere around 9.1 percent, we can expect to pay more for the car now. Doing the math, that puts the car presently at around $21,547 and change. In the current Craigslist listing, it is pegged at $25,000.
Now, that may be a starting point at which the seller will come down, possibly even to the inflation-adjusted price we just calculated. The question for all of us, however, is whether it is worth even that. Who’s to say that the winner of the BaT auction in January got themselves a good deal at that $19,750 endpoint? We’ll just have to metaphorically duke it out over this one.
What do you say? Could this very nice, well-optioned, and built to last 242 be worth that $25,000 asking? Or, would paying that much for it scar you for life?
H/T to S.R. Gooch for the hookup!
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