The seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice Volvo claims that you won’t find a cleaner wagon anywhere, and the pictures in the ad do support such a boast. Let’s see if this classic longroof is priced to also clean up.
I’m not going to say outright that, by dint of its oddball RHD conversion, last Friday’s 1997 Chrysler Town and Country had a limited target audience. No, I think that was pretty obvious. Catering to such a niche market can either create an air of exclusivity or, as was the Chrysler’s case, just raise ridicule.
That case was not helped by the minivan’s $5,500 asking price, especially considering the postal service’s current financial straits. In the end, fully 93 percent of you said no COD for such a van at that price, sending it to the undeliverable pile with a No Dice loss.
Think a moment about your current main-squeeze — the car, truck or bike that you call your daily driver. How old is it? More important, how long do you think its designers and creators intended it to last and remain a reasonably viable option for such daily use?
If you’re contemplating a car like this 1981 Volvo 245 DL then your answer would obviously be “forever.”
Yep, with the 100 and following 200 series, Volvo seemed to want to build cars with staying power. They may not have been the fastest or the most attractive, but like Aesop’s stalwart turtle, the charmingly boxy Volvos were in it for the long haul.
That’s pretty evident with this wagon, seeing as it’s fully 40 years old and is still rockin’ in the free world. The seller claims the car to be clean, and it seems to have survived those years and its 187,000 miles without much in the way of war wounds. Sure, there’s a bit of road rot bubbling up under one back window, but overall it seems a solid ride.
Other minor aesthetic issues that you might notice include some mottling on the surface of the aluminum bumpers and cracks in the reflectors under the headlamps. There’s also some fading of the window trim paint, but that’s common on these.
On the plus side, the paint appears serviceable, and the car still sports both the center caps and the trim rings on all four of its factory steel wheels. Those are “chef’s kiss.”
The seller treats us to one shot of the interior that’s so blurry you might think it’s of Bigfoot or a UFO sighting. Dammit, people, get a grip when shooting pics for a sale. What we do get to see are apparently rip-free vinyl seats, manual windows and a dash topped with a carpet cap that seems to fit far better than it rightfully ought to.
Despite the shaky shot, what you’ll also notice is the presence of three pedals in the driver’s footwell. This Volvo has an M46 four-speed manual, enhanced by way of a Laycock de Normanville overdrive. The latter is activated via a button on the gear knob. A good practice with these is to use the clutch when activating or deactivating the overdrive like you would a fifth gear. That and regular fluid changes will keep the add-on box happy.
In front of the dynamic duo transmission is another Volvo stalwart, the 107 horsepower SOHC B21F inline-four. Sadly, not the turbo edition, this engine will provide adequate if not scintillating performance. Still, it should have miles more to go with just regular attention.
The seller says the car is putting down the miles right now, having recently done a four-hour stint from Orange County to Palm Springs and back. A replacement wiring harness has apparently been installed, as have new taillamp lenses which should help keep it off the side of the highways and byways. The car comes with a clean title and its original blue and gold California plates.
How much might you pay for what could conceivably be considered the last car you’d ever need to buy? The seller asks $4,500 and before you all complain about how many more modern cars with things like airbags and power windows you could buy with that kind of money, consider the impermanence and complexity that comes with all those conveniences.
This is a simple car for a simple job: getting there and back again like a good little hobbit. If that’s what you need, and if this Volvo’s classic style is what you want, then this should definitely be on your consideration list.
What do you think, should that consideration extend to the Volvo’s $4,500 price tag? Or, is that too much even for a forever car?
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