0.5k: Mossy Unicorn: 1975 Volvo 242 DL

It’s not often that a single car gets a multitude of DT’s infamous badges applied, but when we find one that’s a Unicorn, Some Assembly Required, and a Thorsday posting all at once, it’s hard to resist. By unicorn of course we mean a seldom / never seen model or variation, which might cause some readers to scratch their heads in consternation. Surely a plain old Volvo 240 is no unicorn? Usually true, but this 2-door is the very first model year which has a few unique traits as well as the main attraction: it is smog exempt in CA. Find this 1975 Volvo 242 DL for sale Snohomish County, WA for $500 via the turbobricks forums.

If you wonder why I have a soft spot for Volvo’s stalwart 240, it’s mostly not due to the features outlined in this video from Regular Car Reviews on youtube (which you should watch anyways). Yes, it was ’70s tech that was based on ’60s bones and kept alive through the early ’90s, and it’s hipster bait today. But it is minimalist, just the right size, comes in many shapes, and it is infinitely and easily modifiable into anything you might want from a car. The automotive equivalent of LEGO is a brick; go figure.

Early 240s shared the Kamm-back rear end sheetmetal with their 140 predecessors. It’s not the ugliest rear end on a car ever, but the taillights look tacked on and in my eyes the 1979+ redesigned tail suits the brick design much better. The seller of this particular car says it was a daily driver until a few months ago when a timing gear broke in the engine, rendering it inoperable. It does have a slushbox auto trans and those unabashed diving board Commando bumpers, but looks mostly complete from the pics.

The truth is, if you’re not within convenient driving distance but are interested in this car, you probably don’t care about the engine because you’re going to swap in an LQ9, or a wicked motorsports B8444S, or a 13B turbo rotary anyways. Whatever. It’s just interesting to note that the 1975 model year was the only 240 to use ye olde pushrod B20 engine, with the addition of K-Jetronic continuous fuel injection. The timing gears on these are compressed fiber made from shredded IKEA flat-pack Poang boxes and are easily accessed under the front engine cover; getting it running again should be cake if you so desire.

But a $500 car that you’re going to spend $1000 shipping to CA (or a long trip with a tow dolly) should just be viewed as a blank canvas, after thorough de-scuzzification. The interior shot shows that it’s best to start over in the carpet and upholstery departments. Again – this is the only 242 you are going to be able to legally hot rod to your heart’s content in the Golden State – so why not build the super awesome 256-cylinder LEGO air powered radial engine you’ve been dreaming of and drop it in?

The seller’s album of pictures is here, but you’ll have to be a turbobricks member to view the classified ad or contact him through the forum.

See a better 0.5k project? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com