At $5,000, Would You Ring In The New Year With This 1974 Volvo 140?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

There’s a lot going on with today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Volvo. We’ll just have to see if its price means it also “has got it going on.”

Here’s a sobering fact—BMW offers twenty-two distinct body styles here in the U.S. today, and none of those are station wagons. If you want a long roof and the enhanced utility that an expanded load area provides in a new Bimmer, you’ll have to go with one of the multitude of crossovers the company now provides instead of the venerated 3- and 5-series Touring models.


Or, you alternatively could buy an older model like yesterday’s 2003 325XiT. There were, of course, cautions in choosing that path as well. The car was seemingly in decent shape overall, but it did carry a load of miles and a few issues, most notably a recalcitrant five-gear synchro. All the negatives seemed to outweigh the positives—and the $4,900 asking price,—which saw the car fall in a 72 percent Crack Pipe loss.

Hey, it’s New Year’s eve! Well, to be pedantic not for everybody. Chinese New Year is still coming up in 26 days after all. Still, for many of us, tonight’s the big night. There’ll be celebrating and boozing for some, and a lot of us will be staying up well past our bedtimes. To celebrate a new year, and a new decade, let’s look at a candidate that represents from a model that I think we all can agree has established itself as being pretty timeless.

This 1974 Volvo 140 two-door may be the long-serving model’s rarest body style, but that just makes it all the more interesting a find in this day and age. It also comes with a spate of desirable features and upgrades, and, like yesterday’s Bimmer, with a few monitions as well.


In the plus column, the car’s B20 four-cylinder is claimed rebuilt. It rocks an aftermarket intake and what looks to be a 2-barrel down-draught in place of the factory Stromberg CD175s or fuel injection, whichever this model originally carried. The rebuild also seems to have included an IPD cam and a bump in bore to bring it up to 2.1 litres. So far so good.


Behind that refreshed mill sits an M41 manual gearbox which is a four-speed with a shift knob-activated overdrive for highway cruising. IPD has also provided parts for some suspension updates, including anti-sway bars and springs.


The body carries an older respray in factory medium blue metallic. Mods here include the replacement of the interurban bus-sized front bumper with a smaller blade unit off an earlier car. A modest air dam below that. Out in back there’s a somewhat incongruous wing on the boot lid, which the seller says is off of a 240 GTP Group A car and is fairly rare. I can see why that is.

The interior is a good bit more successful. It rocks pieces from a later 240 GT, including the seats—front and rear, steering wheel, and cool yellow-faced gauge cluster. It all looks tidy and without any major issues.


That’s not to say that the car doesn’t have a few issues, however. The biggest one seems to be the transmission, which the seller says drops a quart of fluid “every few thousand miles.” That may be something the seller is willing to deal with by refilling every few weeks, but I think most owners would want to pull the box and fix the leak. Other issues that should be on the to-do list include a leaky exhaust system and that aftermarket carb that apparently doesn’t like cold mornings. That looks to have an electric choke so that would be a good place to start with the flaky starting.


You do get two sets of alloy wheels and tires with the car. The 15-inch Virgos come with new all-season meats, while the 17-inch aftermarket wheels are shod in worn-out rubber. Extra tires come with the car so plan on filling the boot.


There’s no mileage given in the ad, and the 240GT odometer obviously isn’t accurate for this car. This being an old 140 mileage isn’t all that important, right? It does come with a clean title and a somewhat cryptic explanation that the power steering belt has been removed by the seller, not because of any issue with the system, but due to “driving preferences.” Huh?


Nineteen seventy four was the last year for the 140 series, which had debuted all the way back in 1966. The next year the line would be replaced by the updated 240 series which soldiered on for another, what has it been now, 300 years?

This being a 140, it carries the model’s vertical grill and diminutive corner lamps. That’s a refreshing change from the dead-eyed glass bricks and wrap-around lamps of the later 240s. These cars can look even sweeter, as evidenced by this appreciably similar example.


With all that being said, does this old Volvo look like a car that might have a lot of life left in it? If so, do you think it’s worth a $5,000 asking to share that life? What do you say, shall we say a fond farewell to 2019 by giving this 1974 Volvo a thumb’s up at five-grand? Or, will we ring out the old by giving it the ol’ Crack Pipe cheerio?

You decide!


Pittsburgh, PA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Douglas Weller for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.