5k: Boosted Ute; 1985 Volvo 240 Turbo Custom Pickup

In the vast pantheon of automotive interest, there are as many different preferences as there are auto enthusiasts. Some of us like clean stock rides, some like wild custom hot rods, and some are in between. We know there has to be someone out there looking for a light-duty “ute” / El Camino style pickup truck, a Volvo 240 Turbo, and sweet ’80s Swedish flag themed graphics all at the same time. But if you’re that person, you may not realize that they can all exist simultaneously as one vehicle. The good news is – the mischievous Norse god Loki is smiling down on you – and this vehicle does indeed exist, and can be yours! Find it here on the turbobricks forums for $6k or reasonable offer in Harbor City, CA.

This ute/pickup/El Volvmino is being listed by a friend of the owner. Said owner is Swedish, was the builder of the beast, and owns a Volvo / Saab independent repair shop. Apparently the cartruck was created by starting with a 1978 264 (6-cyl, 4-door sedan), to which the rear half of a de-roofed 145 (wagon) was grafted. The friend who wrote the ad claims the build quality is excellent, with no apparent seam between the two vehicles because the factory spot welds were drilled out to exise the sheetmetal, and then the two cars were welded together at the factory locations. All of the 140 and 240/260 series Volvos from 1967 onward share the same basic architecture aft of the firewall, so this may have been more straightforward than it sounds.

The taillights are from a later 240 wagon, and it looks like the builder incorporated a custom grab handle into the tailgate. We’ve seen a lot of custom El Volvminos in our day, and this one appears to be much better planned and constructed than almost all of them. The tailgate actually opens (gasp!) and hinges downwards as it should. The rear window in the cab looks to have been taken from some other vehicle but fits the proportions well…unlike some of the others we’ve seen in which the wagon hatch window was used as the rear pickup cab glass.

With the tailgate down it’s clear that the bed actually has finished inner sheetmetal, again unlike most of the converted Volvo pickups we’ve seen. It looks like the builder made custom front and side panels, and extended the wagon load floor forward over the original rear seat location. The black bedliner is a nice touch and indicates that this vehicle was probably used to haul parts as intended. There is an access hatch in the rear of the bed which covers the spare tire well in the 145 sheetmetal, which apparently harbors the only rust in the car. It should be an easy fix…

Under the hood there has been some further innovative Swedish swapping, as the turbocharged B21FT 4-cylinder engine from a 1985 240 Turbo now lives between the shock towers. The automatic trans and rear axle were taken from the same later car and are welcome upgrades over the original equipment that would’ve come with either of the earlier 264 or 145 donor vehicles. The autotragic trans will be a deal-breaker for some – but it would be simple to swap for a manual. For an around-town parts runner the auto might be just fine though, considering the extra power provided by the turbo engine.

Inside it looks like later-model (’80s – ’90s) interior bits were used, such as the seats and dashboard assembly. From what is visible in the shots it looks clean and complete. There are a few stated minor cosmetic issues for the next owner to sort out, like a busted glove box door.

For those who aren’t members of the turbobricks.com forums and therefore cannot log in to view the ad, we’ve copied the seller’s text below. The car is being listed as an ’85 but as the seller’s friend says…

“Well actually it’s built on a 78 264 chassis with a B21ft intercooled turbo engine, AW 72 trans, and rear end from an 85 240T, so it’s registered as a 78. The instrument cluster is from the same 85 240T that the drive train came out of and registers 118,938 miles. The owner asked me to list the truck for him. He owns an independent Volvo/Saab repair shop near me and is Swedish. Build quality is excellent. I think it’s the long cold Swedish winters that turns the Swedes into ultra creative and innovative fabricators (there’s nothing better to do). The back of the truck is from a 140 wagon. He drilled all the spot welds on the frame to remove the original rear section of the 264, then attached the 140 “bed” using plug welds, so you won’t find a seam where the two cars were spliced. He put 2 swaybars on the rear and says it handles awesome. There are Bilstein struts and shocks on it as well. It needs a few trim pieces to finish it off (he has the cover plates for the bed), and a paint job (unless you want to advertise for him).The glove box is coming apart, the bezel around the shifter fuzzy is cracked, the antenna’s bent and there’s rust in the spare tire well, but the body is straight. It even has e-code glass headlights and Virgo wheels. If the pics look a little weird, it’s ’cause I digitally blanked out the business name, address and phone number. The reason he is selling it is because he’s building a new one from an 850T5R. He’s asking $6000 for the truck with current registration and includes the VOLVOPU license plate. It’s California smog legal to boot.”

The VOLVOPU license plate seals the deal for us! Later in the for sale thread he adds the following:

“Put hundreds of hours of your time, thousands of dollars of your money not to mention blood, sweat and tears into designing, fabricating, re-designing (nothing ever works out exactly the way you want it the first time), and re-fabricating everything it takes to make a custom vehicle reliable enough to be an everyday driver, not to mention smog legal here in California (not an easy feat), and see how easily you’re gonna let go of it. I have seen the type of work this guy does, and he spares no expense. He built this for himself to use as a parts truck for his business, not to sell to some unsuspecting rube. Look at the detail work on the rain gutter.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you could get in this thing and drive it across country without a hitch.That being said, I don’t think the price is set in stone, so feel free to make a “serious” offer and I’ll pass it along.”

Since the seller’s friend is listing this on turbobricks and we are members, if any non-member DT reader is seriously interested, we would be glad to send a message and put you in contact. Email us at mail@dailyturismo.com if you really do imagine yourself cruising the boulevards in this. Otherwise, save all the Nigerian prince money transfer offer emails for someone else.

Find a better-built 243 Turbo El Volvmino? We didn’t think so. Send us your other kooky tips anyways! tips@dailyturismo.com