1980 Volvo 242 GT for $850
Given our obvious bias towards clean RWD Volvos, we couldn’t resist posting this next find. The 242 GT was the sportiest model in Volvo’s lineup for several years, before the 240 Turbo was introduced. In the US the GT featured the two-door body style, suspension upgrades and several GT-only styling cues. This particular 1980 GT is for sale in Davis, CA for only $850 – and it looks to be in incredible condition for the price. If major needs are limited to just “brake work and a tuneup” then the next owner will have a unique, fun classic brick for a drop in the bucket – way less than our 5k badge would suggest!
From the exterior images we can see that the wheels have been swapped for some 15″ alloys from the 240 Turbo model; these wheels are known as “Virgos” and are a classic compliment to the blocky 240 styling. We also spy a broken / loose front marker light, but these were shared with standard 240 models and are cheap and easy to source today. The appearance upgrades on the GT were a unique grille with integrated fog lights, factory black & orange exterior stripes on the silver paint, a smaller steering wheel and a black corduroy cloth with orange stripe interior motif that has stood the test of time. The front chin spoiler was a GT-only feature as well and won’t interchange with more common air dams offered on the skinny-bumpered later model 240s.
We love the way the side stripes wrap up over the rear quarter panels and around the recessed center section of the trunk. The factory silver paint looks a tad faded in these pictures, but perhaps a thorough buff job would get it shining again. The seller claims there is no rust, which we think is likely to be true given the exterior condition and the Oregon plates – where it snows plenty but the roads are not salted, giving a higher probability of survival for older European cars that seemed to actually enjoy returning to the earth.
The Pacific Northwest (inluding Oregon and Washington state) is a mecca for Volvo älskare; with thousands of them still surviving daily use and plentiful independent shops and performance suppliers such as ipd and RSI in the area, there’s a good chance this GT was well cared for before it moved south. For $850 though, there are bound to be some surprises lurking, but the plus side is that supply is still good for most common 240 parts needs – and all the harder to find GT-specific stuff looks to be intact on this one. The upside down glove box is a head-scratcher though.
In other parts of the world the GT was offered with a 140-bhp 2.3L engine; sadly in the US we were relegated to the standard 2.1L B21F engine found in all other 240s at the time. If we are not mistaken this puts out about 107 hp, which when mated to the manual transmission means it can get out of its own way, but that’s about all. The Bosch K-Jetronic continous injection system is antiquated and prone to costly repairs if it fails – but if it works, it does not need much attention. Even if the engine has major needs besides the “tuneup” recommended by the seller, a swap to a later 2.3L turbo EFI engine is fairly straightforward and would really wake up this sleeping performance car. In Europe the GT was meant to be a competitor to the recently released BMW 3-series, but US drivers may not have been quite convinced given the lack of power offered here.
About 45,000 242s of all trim levels were produced from 1978-1980, and a small (yet not well documented!) percentage of those were GTs, meaning that this is a fairly rare car when taken in the context of the entire 240 production run of 2.86 million cars over 19 model years. For $850, would you take a chance on this uncommon silvery striped Daily Turismo?
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Man where were you guys about 20 years ago… I had a 1980 242GT when I lived in Ft. Lauderdale, nice one, white on black. I was the only one who thought the car was cool… most of my buddies laughed when I told them it was a GT and a rare model! They were like "It's a nice volvo, dude." Loved that car, it would run on spit. It died a lonely death in a junkyard in NY.