6.28.2012

TireKicker Time Machine: 1986-1992 Volvo 240 GL

Blue 1986-1992 Volvo 240 GL sitting in parking lot after rainstorm
The 1986-1992 Volvo 240 GL.
Boxy, slow and Spartan.

Still, I (almost) kick myself for not having bought one new and I'd love to find a solid one for the right price today...but the Volvo 240 is finally approaching an age where the true survivors are becoming few in number.



Rear view of blue 1986-1992 Volvo 240 GL in parking lot
We're going with 1986-92 for this TireKicker Time Machine because the CHMSL (Center High Mounted Stop Light) appeared for the first time in 1986, and the last year for the 240 GL was 1992.


Volvos sold (at premium prices) largely on their safety reputation. They were not just brick-shaped, they had the structural integrity of solid gold bars. That offset a large-ish, heavy-ish sedan being powered by a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine.


Those "premium prices" mentioned in the last paragraph? Base price for an '86 240 GL was $16,425. That's within walking distance of an '86 Buick Electra Park Avenue. A bit more of a walk (less than 2 grand) and you could have had an Audi 5000.

Now, about that (almost) kicking myself for not buying one new: As much as I loved the one and only 240 I ever drove (a 1992 rental from Hertz), I'm glad I didn't rush home to my local Volvo dealer and plop down what was then an MSRP of $22,170. For while Volvo 240s held up well over the years, their resale value never did...falling off a cliff into the bargain basement at an alarming rate. Today, it's a $2,500 car, with the best one in the world worth maybe $3,675, according to the NADA guidebook (the Buick and Audi would fetch closer to $5,000 in top condition).

Still, there's something so straightforward, authentic and honest about the 240. If you've owned one, or have a 240 story, click the comment button.



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