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Carlisle Import Nationals Preview: Volvo 145

Jay Ramey May 1, 2013 Car Shows, Cars You Should Know 37 Comments

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Isn’t it amazing how quickly the 140-series Volvos disappeared from our roads? There are still plenty of 240s used as daily drivers to be sure, but I remember a time in the early 1990s when it was still pretty common to see a 145 station wagon. Actually, the Volvo contingent at the Carlisle Import Nationals has reliably been one of the strongest at this annual event.

While there is always a great turnout of 80s and 90s Volvos, occasionally with V8 power, my annual favorites to see are stock 140 and 240 series cars in great condition such as this example. Let’s take a closer look.

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Built from 1966 till 974, the 140 series Volvo initially came with 1.8 liter 4-cylinder engines out of the Volvo Amazon. The 145 station wagon joined the lineup in 1968, and continued as the 140 cars were facelifted. The 140 series, you might recall, was updated twice during its product cycle, in 1971 and 1973.

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The example seen at Carlisle 2012 above features the 1973 fascia, which I have to confess is my favorite. Some Volvo fans prefer the earlier 140 cars, because they still had the traditional “extruded” chrome door handles, and that’s perhaps one feature of the second-facelift 140s that I would have liked to keep. As you can probably tell, the topic of Volvo details is not a foreign one to me, and I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time before a 140 or a 240 appears in my garage. Perhaps an early 240 wagon with round headlights, like the one driven by the protagonists in Beetlejuice in the fictional town of Winter River, Connecticut.

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While a lot of Volvo fans are in agreement that the 240-series cars look best with the 5-spoke GT wheels, the 140 cars are thought to look best with the chrome wheelcovers (which are not present on this example). No worries, as I recall (perhaps correctly) that the chrome wheelcovers over steelies were available on the earlier 140 series cars. Overall, this was a sharp example that has been kept pretty close to stock condition, discounting a few add-ons.

If you haven’t blown off graduations/birthdays/reunions in favor of attending the Carlisle Import Nationals yet, the 2013 edition of the best furrin’ car gathering on the right coast will take place in Carlisle, Pennsylvania from May 17th through May 19th.

Full gallery from Carlisle 2012 below:


  • Sjalabais

    The 140 has had a cruel fate in Europe – the Amazon has been the Volvo to preserve for ages. With the 140 essentially being an Amazon with the looks of the iconic 240, it has been cannibalised for decades. With the 140 caught in the middle, collector values have only been rising recently. I remember an article in 2002 about the 140 in a German classic car paper conjuring up a huge value rise for the 140, but it has been more of a steady rise than a wake-up-jump.

    To be honest, I'd prefer the 140 above the 240 any day. On the background of having had a '71 145, a '77 242 and a '93 245 I'd say the 145 carries most of the Volvo spirit. Here I am thinking about practical solutions and an approach to sturdiness and longevity that can be felt all the way. Main features I miss sorely from the 2 year love affair I had with my 145 are the ventilation shafts in the footwell (Yes!) and man-sized aluminium handles to put down the back bench. Volvo, as any other producer, went from using proper metal to plastics everywhere in the mid-70s, and 40 years later that's a problem (heck, even 20 years later it is a problem).

    Of course, the 140 drives more like something ancient and is quite a bit more squashy than the tank-like 240 with modern front suspension. It is also damn noisy. But who cares?

    • Same here. When I owned my '69 144 a decade or so ago, the local independent Volvo shop told me they'd work on older "classic" cars and newer "regular" cars but specifically not the 140 series, as they didn't consider it to be in either category. They just didn't care and couldn't be bothered.

      I haven't ever been back to see whether they've changed their opinion, as I don't care and can't be bothered with them. My niece still has that 144, however.

      • Sjalabais

        Cool that you still have access to the car! Not a daily driver, I assume? I sold my 145 to a guy from my village who has since moved. But he sends me regular updates on what he has fixed with the car and he is definitely a guy who understands what the car hobby is about. A couple of days after I sold the machine he and his wife showed up at my door with their arms full of baby stuff and fabric for sowing – just to tell us they appreciate the deal. The 145 was sold because we got our first child and we wanted two "proper" cars, not a Corolla and a spotty 40 year old classic. Even my wife, who is only politely interested in cars, misses the 145, and "proper" has since been redefined. The 145 is easily (!) the most thought-through design I have ever put myself in.

        The story from that workshop is interesting, too, and oh-so-telling! I wonder how much this changes, and how it applies to other cars. I have noticed – in myself and others – that the butt-ugly 340 has lately received some positive attention. Values have also started to rise from the absolute bottom.

        • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

          Maybe Ivan doesn't get driven every day…

          • Sjalabais

            Are you the niece? Can't really say that I have full control of the Hooniverse genealogy yet.

            • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

              Ha, nope, I'm a guy and so is the Saucy Minx! Astrid and Ivan (the 140s) are internet friends.

              • Sjalabais

                Hehe, I see. Genealogy work just got expanded significantly. My 145 was called "Ragnhild".

                • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

                  Sweet name! Also Astrid is a 122 wagon, I hadn't had my tea yet.

      • Weird. Which local shop – Daisywagen? I've never seen a 14x parked there. (Or an Amazon, come to think of it.)

        • I'd rather not identify the shop in question, beyond saying that yes, absolutely, it was them.

          • Well, it's not like we've a dearth of Scandinavian specialists around here, regardless of your preference – redblock, whiteblock, pushrod, Trollhättan or Gothenburg.

            • Sadly there are still far fewer Scandinavian two-stroke specialists than I'd like these days.

  • Devin

    I'm always surprised by how few old Volvos I see driving around Canada, since they actually made them here.

    • I knew they built some 24x in Canada – earlier models too?

      • Devin

        Started with the Amazon, you could get one called the Volvo Canadian.

      • racer139

        They built the 122 and 123 gt models there as well, they where badged as the canadian gt and used some different colours . the cars came equipped with hazzard warning lights instead of the big driving lamps and also had only one outside rear view mirrior. Wikki says the last cars built here was the S-80 and the S-70. Makes me wounder where my 98 S-70 was built as It was from Quebec originaly.

        • Kris_01

          Geez, man, you of all people should know.

          VIN start with a 2? Volvo Halifax Assembly.

    • racer139

      That surprises me too. Especially since I live about an hour from the old plant… which is now a call center and community college. I dont see any 14x's, maybe a 24x every other week. I moved to a small town about five years ago and I had the only 850 in the county, now I see three in this town and 30 or so of anything newer(s/v70, 50,60 and 80). Still gonna have me a 245 with a v-8 volvo/yamaha engine someday, just to keep it different and volvo.

      • Sjalabais

        That sounds like the obvious choice for a V8 conversion. Do you know of anyone who has done it? Guess the Volvo/Yamaha is more expensive to source and maintain than the ubiquitous American V8.

  • Considering the relatively short run of 14x series vs 24x, I can't say it's too much of a surprise how few are left on US roads. New England, while long a Volvo stronghold, uses salt, so no surprise that they've mostly disappeared from that region. I see a few pretty regularly in the Seattle area, and the Bay Area seems to be pretty well stocked with them.

    Did they make the 145E in any color other than this green, and a navy blue? My 145 was the twin to the one above (with stock, chrome-capped wheels), and it seems like better than 90% of the rest I've seen are green as well. Relatives had a navy 145, and Zooey Deschanel's character in "The New Girl" drives a gorgeous navy one.

    This is possibly the coolest 142 ever: http://www.hemmings.com/hsx/stories/2010/03/01/hm

    • Sjalabais

      I watched that show exclusively to drool over the 145 (and a wee bit over Zooey Deschanel, to be honest). The '71 model in your link is my favourite model year, too. It sports the most beautiful front, imho, has the old dash and a short shifter. The best of everything!

      • I may have watched it for a bit of her as well.

    • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

      My friend has a sort of yellowish white '68 145, so there was that color as well. I call her Daisey, he calls it Troll 🙁

      • Ah, that's right. Friends of mine had one like that – also a '68, I think – about 25 years ago. Still, the vast majority seem to be green.

  • Slow_Joe_Crow

    It looks like there is Volvo high mileage badge on the grille. You could get those from dealers in the 70s and 80s along with a certificate starting at 100,000 miles. I actually got one for my family's beater 164 around 84-85 and knowing my packrattism may still have the paper although the car and badge were disposed of in 1986.
    While I really like the 73 model's combo of new style dash with vent wings I do miss the flip out rear windows from the early 145.

    • Jay_Ramey

      I think I may have seen one or two 300,000 miles badges on Volvos that have appeared at Carlisle. 200,000 definitely, but then that's not even that impressive a feat among the Volvo faithful anymore.

    • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

      Crud I can't find the issue of Rolling right now… But Volvo started a neat program with high mileage emblems again a few months back.

    • Sjalabais

      I live in Norway, but asked Volvo US for high mileage badges (100000 & 200000 miles) for my '77 242 in around 2004. They promptly send them. That was good customer care without any intent of earning money out of me being on a different continent and all. The local Volvo importers would probably never have shown that much cool.

  • Van_Sarockin

    The 140s will always be my icon of Volvos, simple and straight to the point.

  • failboat

    that is a great looking wagon.

    • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

      Isn't it! I really dig the wheels on this one plus the yellow lights on the bumper. Maybe it could use a roof rack, but that might be too much, it really is about perfect.

  • Rover 1

    Is this the right place to ask what has become of the 164? No,not the Alfa but the original, the Volvo 164

    • Sjalabais

      In my impression, the 164 has a tiny, but devoted following. Prices are not scaring, but significantly higher than for the common 240, for example.

      => 7 European 164

    • I've seen two being driven in the Seattle area within the last year.

      Come to think of it, that places them about even with my recent encounters with the 140 Series.

      • Rover1

        I would have thought that they would have all survived. Given their likely owner profile.Who bought a luxury Volvo back then?