5k: Mintiest Thorsday Ever: 1983 Volvo 245DL

A minty clean survivor Volvo station wagon is kind of like a minty clean survivor Toyota pickup…they are so rare in unabused form that it’s almost shocking to see one looking good-as-new in 2013. But the same conundrum keeps coming up with survivor “utility” vehicles like these: what do you do with one? If it’s used as intended, it becomes another worn-out, banged up mass production vehicle. If it’s driven sparingly and never burdened, what’s the point? We think the answer can lie somewhere in the middle – use it but don’t abuse it, keep it clean, waxed and inside (or under cover), but don’t be afraid to get a few rock chips and make sure to keep up on maintenance. Today’s 1983 Volvo 245 is just such a creature. It seems to have survived its 30 years miraculously well, and even though the sale is the obvious work of a flipper, it’s too nice not to share. Find it here on ebay with bidding near $5k, reserve not yet met, in Portland OR (Volvo’s home away from Sverige).

We say this is an obivous flip for several reason: the seller bolds, underlines and capslocks ONE RETIRED LADY TEACHER OWNER, flagrantly shouting at us. This is obviously not that retired lady teacher writing the ad copy, judging by the statement “ITS UNIMAGINABLE THAT ANYONE CAN KEEP A CAR THIS NICE FOR 30 YEARS.” If you were the original owner selling such a car, that fact should be perfectly imaginable, because you’d have done it yourself! You might say something along the lines of “I bought this car new in 1983 and have kept it nice ever since.” Case in point, “Sid” is not a very common name for a retired lady teacher. But the supply of extremely clean unmolested early 240 wagons in a decent color is so limited, if you’re in the market but don’t have connections…buying from a flipper may be the only choice.

Who are we to say that this engine bay hasn’t been cleaned up, but it looks far too nice to not have been degreased for the photos. However it is one of the nicest looking unrestored 240 engine bays we’ve seen. The radiator and pressurized coolant overflow bottle look fresh, and the seller claims the timing belt, exhaust system, catalyst and battery have all been recently replaced. This is the high compression 2.3L B23 engine with the early Bosch LH-Jetronic 2.0 system; the same engine lives in our DTPC and it’s surprisingly peppy for a 30-year old naturally aspirated 4-cylinder. As nice as this redblock is it sure would be tempting to replace it with a modern V8 and create the ultimate clean sleeper wagon.

Since there are so many Volvo 240s still on the road in the US, you may wonder why a 1983 example would be appealing over a later model. From about 1989 to 1993 model years a well cared for wagon like this car seems to be fairly easy to find, but the early ’80s models have mostly been scrapped or turbobricked by now. And it’s even harder to find a 1975-1980 example in the same condition. So this one is appealing to me due to its upgrades vs. the earlier cars and its relative rarity vs. the later ones. The blue single-stage paint is gorgeous on this car, but will need regular washing and waxing to preserve the gloss and keep the chalkiness at bay. Bonus is: no clearcoat, so it can never peel off!

The interior looks just as fresh as the exterior; the dark blue vinyl is remarkably intact and Mike Tyson hasn’t been chewing on any plastic bits. The elephant in the room is the slushbox automatic, but at least these have overdrive for decent highway mileage and it’s exceedingly difficult to find any car in the same condition with a manual trans, for whatever reason. Something is wrong with the VIN listed in the ad however…ebay didn’t recognize it and no AutoCheck report shows up. Perhaps there was a type-o? Our advice: ask Sid the seller on the phone since he was nice enough to include his number.

We hope Sid hasn’t set his reserve price in the stratosphere; anything over $3300 will likely be a profit for him if the original owner sold it at a market-correct price for an an above-average 1983 245. Mileage is below average at 140k; that’s less than 5000 per year if the odometer has been working its whole life (which would be a small miracle in a 240…the plastic odometer gears are made from the same compressed Wasa cracker material as the wiring insulation).

Assuming the gavel falls at a reasonable price, what would you do with such a minty clean basic wagon?

Find another survivor like this one that hasn’t been beaten by Thor’s hammer? Email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com