5k: Redman, Your Redmobile Awaits: 1978 Volvo 245 DL, 51k Miles

The Volvo 240 has been many things to many people since it debuted nearly 40 years ago, from sensible commuter car, to family truckster, to Group A championship winning touring car, to rally machine, and so forth. But what if the 240 was a superhero’s ride, and his name was Redman? No, not Method Man’s buddy Redman the rapper (aka Reginald “Reggie” Noble), but a dude dressed in red spandex who drove from public library to public library solving petty theft mysteries, sharpening pencils, and slipping on banana peels. I’m thinking of an even dorkier version of The Greatest American Hero. If that Redman existed, the wagon below would be his Redmobile. You’ll see what I mean. Find this cherry 1978 Volvo 245 DL for sale in Tucson, AZ for $6500 via craigslist.

The 245 (as the wagon version was known) is without question the most utilitarian of all the myriad 240 variants, with plenty of room to haul lassooed bad guys in the cargo compartment while still getting decent mileage. If Redman was active on the mean streets of Salt Lake City circa 1978, this is the version he’d have chosen off of the dealer lot. The 244 sedan would have been too ordinary, the 242 too sporty, and the chop-top 262C Bertone too menacing – definitely a bad guy car.

But the Redmobile is totally unassuming while maintaining an air of spunky charm. A lot of that is down to its condition; after 36 years of use it’s incredible that any car could look this good, let alone the mileage king 240. It’s claimed to have traveled just over 51,000 miles which means an average of 1500 miles per year if it’s been used regularly. I hope it has always been in service and never laid up for too long, because even the mintiest looking creampuff will require frustrating amounts of sorting out after extended storage.

Holy red pleather; look at those seats! They seem to have been only gently sat upon by exceedingly clean and lightweight bottoms. The floor mats are clearly out of place and the slushbox auto trans is a downer, but how many 245s survive to this day in such good shape? If you wanted a classic RWD Volvo to putt around town in or cruise the local Swedish car show scene on the weekend, this would be a mighty fine choice and extremely unlikely to be replicated for anywhere close to the $6500 asking price.

Redman’s powerplant of choice was the B21F, a ~100hp 2.1L iron block tractor of a 4-cylinder. They are decently torquey for the job they are saddled with, but don’t make anything resembling enthusiastic power. It is truly a workhorse engine in the best sense of the word in that it’s easy to maintain, incredibly durable, and cheap to run. Now that Redman has retired to Arizona and has hung up his cape, the next owner could feel free to add a turbo and maybe EFI to replace the K-Jet continuous fuel injection system, and pretty easily make close to 300hp without fear of destroying the old girl. Swap in any of a handful of applicable manual transmissions (M46, M47, T5, Getrag 265 – the latter two with adapter kits) and you’d have a pristine and semi-entertaining mobile red brick motel to impress the ladies with. Watch out!

See a mintier cherry Volvo? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com