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Background and Profile on the Volvo 240 and 260


By Bob Isaac

In the Autumn of 1974 the Volvo 240 and 260 Series was launched. At a glance it looked like the earlier 140/160 Series, but was also based on the Volvo Experimental Safety Car, a 1972 prototype experiment in car safety. McPherson strut type suspension was fitted to the front and the rear suspension was a modified version of that fitted to the 140 Series. The brakes were also modified. The main changes were to the engine. Although some models, the 242L, retained the B20A engine, most other versions had the new B21 4-cylinder engine. It had a cast iron block and a 5-bearing crankshaft and a belt driven overhead camshaft. The engine had a capacity of 2127cc with outputs of 97hp for the B21A carburettor version and 123hp for the B21E injection version. The 260 model had a new design engine developed jointly by Peugeot, Renault and Volvo (the PRV engine) - the V6 B27E with a capacity of 2664cc and giving 140hp. The block was an aluminium alloy fitted with wet cylinder liners. The new cars were available in six variants of the 240 and two of the 260. The 244GL was top of the range and had the fuel injection engine and leather upholstery. The 264GL had a choice of leather or plush upholstery and had electric windows. Power steering was standard on the 244GL and the 264. All models had a choice of manual or auto-matic gearboxes.

Volvo 262

The 1976 models were introduced in the Autumn of 1975 and several changes had been made. A carburettor version on the B27 with an SU carburettor giving an output of 125hp was added to the range but only used in the 264DL and the new 265DL estate. The choice of gearbox was also improved throughout the range. The B21A had a new camshaft which increased the output to 100bhp, and the B20A engine was dropped from the range because of emission regulations. The gearboxes were improved and new manual gearboxes introduced. Volvo celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1977 and released a limited edition version of the 240, the 244DL "anniversary" car. It was finished in metallic silver with black and gold decorative trim and plush upholstery. The glove box was fitted with a silver plaque with the text "Volvo 1927-1977." Special badges were also fitted to the sides of each front wing. The 264GLE was introduced with automatic gearbox, alloy wheels and air conditioning as standard. New standards of quality control were introduced as it had become clear that the anti-corrosion and paint treatments were not up to the expected standard and many 1975/76 models were suffering severe rust problems. During 1977 Volvo also won British awards for car safety and in the USA the 240 was selected to develop guidelines for US safety standards. By now, the variants of the 240 were extensive, with different markets using differing specifications of engine and body trim.

In March 1977 Volvo showed off its new model at the Geneva show, the 262. It was aimed mainly at markets with exclusive tastes. The 262 was based on the 264, in fact Volvo shipped 264 'kits' to Bertone of Turin who rebuilt them with the modifications. The seats were upholstered with black leather and doors had hardwood panels and the seats lower than 'normal' models. During 1976/77 only 3,239 two-door 260's were built; then in the Spring of 1977 it was redesigned the 262C. To begin with they were only available in metallic silver with a black vinyl roof but from 1979 modifications such as an enlarged boot lid and wrap-around rear lights, front spoiler and new design alloy wheels were introduced. An all over metallic gold finish was also available. Production halted momentarily in the summer of 1980 and then restarted in spring of 1981 with a new front design. In all only 6,622 models of the 262C were made, most going to the USA and Europe. This was a car for the truly discerning, as it also featured tinted glass, heated front seats, electric rear-view mirror, aerial and side windows, under-bonnet and boot lighting and power steering. In 1978 a few minor modifications were introduced mainly to the front of the car, and the seats were redesigned. The 242GT model was introduced, but not in the UK. This was a 'sporty' two door version with alloy wheels, power steering, fog lamps, four speed plus overdrive gearbox and firmer suspension and a rev counter. Volvo 244Again in 1979 some modifications were made. The GL's and GLE's had rectangular headlamps and a new grille. The front suspension was modified with stiffer shock absorbers, heavier anti-roll bars and the caster angle on models with power steering was altered. The diesel driven D24 was introduced powered by a Volvo-Volkswagen six cylinder engine with 2383cc capacity and giving an output of 82hp. This version never made much impression on the UK market but was well received in Europe and the USA. The redesigned 264GLE made it a 'luxury' car and made it popular with the wealthy and as a company car. The top of the range 240 was the 240GLE. It was fitted with the B21E engine and a choice of three speed automatic or four speed with overdrive gearboxes. Alloy wheels and a front spoiler were extras, as was power steering.

1980 saw the introduction of the 244GLT (Grand Luxe Touring) model using the four-cylinder B23E injection engine with 140hp or the V6 141hp engine in the saloon, the estate using only the V6. The V6 versions were not intended for the UK market but it is reported that around 200 were brought into the country to test the market. The car was very sporty and striking in its appearance with all black body trim, multi spoke alloy wheels with low profile tyres and leather or plush upholstery. The 244GL had a new B23A block giving 112hp and the B23E giving 136hp. The B23E was also fitted to the GLT. A new V6 engine was also released in the 264 range, the B28 giving 155hp. In Sweden the 240 Turbo was released with the B21ET engine giving 155hp. This model never reached the UK market because it could not be converted to right hand drive because of the design of the exhaust manifold. A few have been imported and conversion meant a 'one-off' manifold had to be made to avoid the steering column. The new 1981 model was also released in late 1980. The model had undergone many changes. The bumpers were smaller, lights were redesigned, and a redesigned front spoiler were some of the changes. Inside there was a new dash layout. Under the bonnet saw numerous changes also. The GL got a B23A engine with an output of 112hp. The high compression ratio of 10.3:1 gave rise to many complaints of 'pinking'. The GLE had the B21E engine and the GLT the B23E engine which now gave a lower output of 136hp. Refinements in the emission control were introduced also at this time. The overdrive, standard on most GL, GLE and GLT models with manual gearbox automatically disengaged when the gear stick was moved out of fourth gear.

In 1983 the 'fleet' was trimmed and all were called '240'. Three engines were available, the 106hp B21A, the 112hp B23A and the diesel 82hp D24. The GLT retained the B23E engine. All other specifications could be included 'to order'. The only V6 variant left now was the estate, and the 240 variants now adopted the 260 front grille and bonnet. The 240 with the B23A engine was then fitted with a new five-speed gearbox. In 1984 some more modifications were made, with modification of the cylinder head of the B23E engine which gave an output of 129hp. The AW71 automatic gearbox used on the 760 was available for the 240. 1985 saw more changes to the engines as the 'low friction' engine was introduced. This was to increase engine life and improve fuel economy. Numerous modifications were made to many components of this engine. The new engine was designated the B230 with the introduction of a two litre B200 engine. This was the year that Volvo discontinued the 260 Series. In 1986, the year the number of 200 Series models exceeded two million, the car received another facelift. The front of the car was noticeably changed, with a new grille and bonnet, and redesigned rear-view mirrors. The boot lid was also redesigned and changed from the 'flat, look to a more curved appearance. An additional high level brake light was fitted to the rear screen. The three-way catalytic converter and Lambdasond engine system, used back in 1976 on models for the American market, were fitted to the UK models. This had the effect of reducing the power of the engine by about 10%. The following year saw the inclusion of a few more cosmetic items as standard, such as rear head rests on the saloons, and some more modification made to engines. Up until the end of production of the 200 Series in 1993 very few changes were made to the car. For the last couple of years only the estate version was made.

Volvo 245

So what made the 200 Series Volvo such a popular car for so long. For those who have driven it, and many of you will have at some time, the answer is very clear. It is reliable. Reliability is considered to be one of the most important features of any car. If the car was maintained properly the engine could be expected to run without trouble for over 100,000 miles. Indeed, figures in excess of 200,000 miles have been reported. A tribute to outstanding engineering. It is a pleasure to drive and very comfortable. Some refer to it as a mobile armchair, I won't argue with that, I like to travel in some comfort. The only thing I will say against it is that it doesn't like strong winds, you have to hold on to the steering a bit firmer. It is also a very safe car in the event of an accident and this has helped maintain its position as one of the safest cars on the roads. I have been asked many times what to look for when buying a second hand 200 Series Volvo. First thing to do, is NOT to switch on the engine yet. Let us start with the outside, the visual examination. Signs of damage repair or misuse will often show up by looking for variations in the colour of the paintwork. Although Volvo's have a good reputation for not rusting there are a few places that the 200 did suffer. As mentioned earlier, the very early models suffered badly because of poor anti-corrosion processes. The rear wheel arches tend to show signs of rust because moisture gets between the lips of the wing and inner wing panel. With age the sealant becomes cracked and loose. It is not too expensive to replace the wheel arches. The tailgate of the estates has long been a problem, but later models received extra attention in that area. For some reason the models of the early 80's suffered rusting at the bottom forward corners of all four doors. Rusting of the windscreen aperture seemed to effect some cars. Water leakage through the bulkhead can lead to all sorts of problems, and many suffered such leakage. The source was often bad fitting grommets or blanking plugs. Water leaked down the inside of the bulkhead and settled in gullies in the floor pan and if left undiscovered would gradually start the rusting process. Often, cars less than 10 years old would suddenly develop holes in the floor pan along the sides. The fuse box also suffered from corrosion through moisture build-up because of its poor location. Regular cleaning and some Vaseline often solves problems here. Continuing the visual examination, the car should not sag on its suspension, if it does then the springs have taken quite a load over its life. Most 200's had oil-filled shock absorbers and should be checked for leakage, but some GLE's and most GLT's had gas-filled shocks. The 200 also had quite an appetite for front tyres, especially models with power steering, which for 'town' driving I consider essential, unless you eat three Shredded Wheat a day, and once you've had the pleasure of power steering you don't want to go back to 'tug and pull'. A common problem for many years was rapid wear on the outside edge of the front nearside tyre. This was rectified by fitting a harder brush to the wishbone-to-body bracket. Fitting a stiffer front anti-roll bar will also help.

Volvo 262C

Having satisfied yourself with the outside of the car a good look inside is next. Make sure all the bits of trim and panels are properly mounted and not held on with tape or other means. Make sure all the switches work. Look at the mileage, don't panic if it is high, often a high mileage car is better because it has been used. Make sure all the digits are in a straight line. If one is crooked then the clock may have been altered. Look at the condition of the upholstery as this gives some idea of how much use it has had. In the boot look at the wells each side and look for rust. On older cars expect to see some, but make sure it has not started munching big holes. Under the bonnet look for oil leaks, and if the car has been serviced by Volvo this will be easy because they often steam clean the engine. However there are not many Volvos around that are dirty under the bonnet. Check the oil dipstick, making sure it is between the two marks, and look at the colour of it. If it is grey or has bits of white "cream" then the oil may be contaminated with water. This may be because it has done a lot of short journeys. When satisfied that all looks well then start up the engine. If the engine is cold and not run for some hours a gentle tap may be heard, especially on high mileage engines. This is normal and goes when the engine warms up. If it has a manual choke make sure it is working. Injection engines and later carburettor engines had an automatic choke system. The rev counter should register around 1200rpm. Press the accelerator a few times and the engine should respond positively. A test drive comes next, and the car should drive away smoothly without jerking. The gear changes of both auto and manual boxes should be smooth, otherwise a problem with that unit may be the cause. There should be no or little transmission noise, the 200 is very quiet even with 150,000 miles on the clock. A short drive should indicate if there are any problems with engine, transmission, steering or brakes. Some repairs can be expensive so it helps if you can get the assistance of someone who knows what to look for, such as an RAC vehicle inspector.

I am sure the Volvo 200 will be seen on the roads for many years to come and one day I expect to see it listed as one of the great classic cars of the great era of motoring.


Volvo 240 production, engine and gearbox information.

Volvo 242 2-Door

Chassis Name Model Year Model Name Production ID Ch. Nr. from Nr Built Engine Gearbox
Volvo 242 1975 242 DL B 1 53804 B20F M40, M41, BW35
Volvo 242 1976 242 DL E 53865 45144 B21F M45, M46, BW35
Volvo 242 1977 242 DL USA H 99680 23215 B21F M45, M46, BW35
Volvo 242 1977 242 DL CANADA H --- --- B21A M45, M46, BW35
Volvo 242 1978 242 DL CANADA L --- --- B21A M45, M46, BW35
Volvo 242 1978 242 California L --- --- B21F M45, M46, BW35
Volvo 242 1978 242 DL USA L 122895 19230 B21F M45, M46, BW35
Volvo 242 1978 242 GT L --- --- B21F M46
Volvo 242 1979 242 DL USA M 142125 23445 B21F M46, AW55, AW70
Volvo 242 1979 242 GT M --- --- B21F M46
Volvo 242 1979 242 DL CANADA M --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 242 1980 DL CANADA A --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 242 1980 DL USA A 165570 22145 B21F M46, AW55, AW70
Volvo 242 1980 GT A --- --- B21F M46
Volvo 242 1981 DL USA B 189180 17809 B21F M46, AW55, AW70
Volvo 242 1981 TURBO B --- --- B21FT M46, AW71
Volvo 242 1981 DL CANADA B --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 242 1982 DL CANADA C --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 242 1982 TURBO C --- --- B21FT M46, AW71
Volvo 242 1982 DL USA California C 206780 17049 B21FLH M46, AW55, AW70
Volvo 242 1982 DL USA C 206780 17049 B21F M46, AW55, AW70
Volvo 242 1983 GLT CANADA D --- --- B23E M46, BW55
Volvo 242 1983 DL USA D 223940 12893 B23F M46, AW70
Volvo 242 1983 TURBO D --- --- B21FT M46, AW71
Volvo 242 1983 DL CANADA D --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 242 1984 DL CANADA E --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 242 1984 DL USA E 237370 7887 B23F M46, AW70
Volvo 242 1984 TURBO E --- --- B21FT M46, AW71

Total 242 cars produced: 245257


Volvo 244 4-Door

Chassis Name Model Year Model Name Production ID Ch. Nr. from Nr Built Engine Gearbox
Volvo 244 1975 244 DL, 244 GL B 1 82976 B20F M40, M41, BW35
Volvo 244 1976 244 DL, 244 GL E 82980 90736 B21F M45, M46, BW35
Volvo 244 1977 244 DL USA, 244 GL H 174910 100055 B21F M45, M46, BW35
Volvo 244 1977 244 DL CANADA H --- --- B21A M45, M46, BW35
Volvo 244 1978 244 DL CANADA L --- --- B21A M45, M46, BW35
Volvo 244 1978 244 DL USA, 244 GL L 274965 89685 B21F M45, M46, BW35
Volvo 244 1979 244 DL CANADA M --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 244 1979 244 DL USA, 244 GL M 364650 117855 B21F M46, AW55, AW70
Volvo 244 1980 DL USA, GL A 482505 106012 B21F M46, AW55, AW70
Volvo 244 1980 DL CANADA A --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 244 1981 DL CANADA B --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 244 1981 TURBO B --- --- B21FT M46, AW71
Volvo 244 1981 DL USA, GL USA B 592110 94111 B21F M46, AW55, AW70
Volvo 244 1981 GL CANADA B --- --- B23E M46, BW55
Volvo 244 1981 DIESEL B --- --- D24 M46, BW55
Volvo 244 1982 DL USA C 686100 126696 B21F M46, AW55, AW70
Volvo 244 1982 GL CANADA, GLT CANADA C --- --- B23E M46, BW55
Volvo 244 1982 TURBO C --- --- B21FT M46, AW71
Volvo 244 1982 DIESEL C --- --- D24 M46, BW55
Volvo 244 1982 DL CANADA C --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 244 1983 DL CANADA D --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 244 1983 DL USA, GL USA D 812610 125639 B23F M46, AW70
Volvo 244 1983 GL CANADA D --- --- B23E M46, BW55
Volvo 244 1983 TURBO D --- --- B21FT M46, AW71
Volvo 244 1983 DIESEL D --- --- D24 M46, BW55
Volvo 244 1984 DL E 939340 133104 B23F M46, AW70
Volvo 244 1984 GL E --- --- B23F M46, AW70
Volvo 244 1984 TURBO E --- --- B21FT M46, AW71
Volvo 244 1984 DIESEL E --- --- D24 M46, BW55
Volvo 244 1985 DL, GL F 72445 73235 B230F M46, AW70
Volvo 244 1985 TURBO F --- --- B21FT M46, AW71
Volvo 244 1985 DIESEL F --- --- D24 M46, BW55
Volvo 244 1986 240 DL, 240 GL G 145710 69511 B230F M46, AW70
Volvo 244 1987 240 DL, 240 GL H 215300 63045 B230F M47, AW70
Volvo 244 1988 240 DL, 240 GL J 278400 55318 B230F M47, AW70
Volvo 244 1989 240 DL, 240 GL K 334100 52509 B230F M47, AW70
Volvo 244 1990 240 DL, 240 GL L 386700 42846 B230F M47, AW70
Volvo 244 1991 240 DL, 240 GL M 429800 27464 B230F M47, AW70
Volvo 244 1992 240 DL, 240 GL N 457500 20790 B230F M47, AW70
Volvo 244 1993 240 DL, 240 GL, CLASSIC P 478290 11812 B230F M47, AW70

Total 244 cars produced: 1490102


Volvo 245 Estate / Wagon

Chassis Name Model Year Model Name Production ID Ch. Nr. from Nr Built Engine Gearbox
Volvo 245 1975 245 DL, 245 GL B 1 54709 B20F M40, M41, BW35
Volvo 245 1976 245 DL, 245 GL E 54710 60640 B21F M45, M46, BW35
Volvo 245 1977 245 DL USA, 245 GL H 115350 48485 B21F M45, M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1977 245 DL CANADA H --- --- B21A M45, M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1978 245 DL CANADA L --- --- B21A M45, M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1978 245 DL USA, 245 GL L 163835 47490 B21F M45, M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1979 245 DL USA, 245 GL M 211325 53430 B21F M46, AW55, AW70
Volvo 245 1979 245 DL CANADA M --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1980 DL CANADA A --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1980 DL USA, GL A 264755 51742 B21F M46, AW55, AW70
Volvo 245 1981 DL USA, GL USA B 317940 50532 B21F M46, AW55, AW70
Volvo 245 1981 GL CANADA B --- --- B23E M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1981 DIESEL B --- --- D24 M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1981 DL CANADA B --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1982 DL CANADA C --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1982 DL USA, GL USA C 368310 66194 B21F M46, AW55, AW70
Volvo 245 1982 GLT, GL CANADA C --- --- B23E M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1982 TURBO C --- --- B21FT M46, AW71
Volvo 245 1982 DIESEL C --- --- D24 M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1983 GL, DL USA D 434460 71295 B23F M46, AW70
Volvo 245 1983 TURBO D --- --- B21FT M46, AW71
Volvo 245 1983 DL CANADA D --- --- B21A M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1983 DIESEL D --- --- D24 M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1984 DL, GL E 506270 85729 B23F M46, AW70
Volvo 245 1984 TURBO E --- --- B21FT M46, AW71
Volvo 245 1984 DIESEL E --- --- D24 M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1985 DL, GL F 592000 68188 B230F M46, AW70
Volvo 245 1985 TURBO F --- --- B21FT M46, AW71
Volvo 245 1985 DIESEL F --- --- D24 M46, BW55
Volvo 245 1986 240 DL, 240 GL G 660380 58231 B230F M46, AW70
Volvo 245 1987 240 DL, 240 GL H 718700 47860 B230F M47, AW70
Volvo 245 1988 240 DL, 240 GL J 766600 42047 B230F M47, AW70
Volvo 245 1989 240 DL, 240 GL K 809000 36980 B230F M47, AW70
Volvo 245 1990 240 DL, 240 GL L 846100 36969 B230F M47, AW70
Volvo 245 1991 240 DL, 240 GL M 883200 27046 B230F M47, AW70
Volvo 245 1992 240 (DL, GL) N 910500 28427 B230F M47, AW70
Volvo 245 1993 240 DL, 240 GL, Classic P 933837 23337 B230F M47, AW70

Total 245 cars made: 962264


Volvo 260 / 264 production, engine and gearbox information.

Volvo 264 / 260 4-Door

Chassis Name Model Year Model Name Production ID Ch. Nr. from Nr Built Engine Gearbox
Volvo 264 1975 264 GL B 1 9674 B27F M46, BW55
Volvo 264 1976 264 GL E 9675 25287 B27F M46, BW55
Volvo 264 1977 264 GL H 34470 12045 B27F M46, BW55
Volvo 264 1978 264 GL L 46515 15590 B27F M46, BW55
Volvo 264 1979 264 GL M 62105 20950 B27F M46, BW55
Volvo 264 1980 GLE A 85055 24058 B21F, B28F M46, BW55
Volvo 264 1980 DIESEL A --- --- D24 M46, BW55
Volvo 264 1981 GLE B 107610 17696 B21F, B28F BW55
Volvo 264 1982 GLE C 125110 6390 B28F BW55
Volvo 264 1982 DIESEL C --- --- D24 BW55

Total 264 / 260 cars built: 131500


Volvo 265 / 260 Estate / Wagon

Chassis Name Model Year Model Name Production ID Ch. Nr. from Nr Built Engine Gearbox
Volvo 265 1976 265 GL E 1 8108 B27F M46, BW55
Volvo 265 1977 265 GL H 8115 2805 B27F M46, BW55
Volvo 265 1978 265 GL L 10920 4815 B27F M46, BW55
Volvo 265 1979 265 GL M 15735 6040 B27F M46, BW55
Volvo 265 1980 GLE A 21775 6481 B28F M46, BW55
Volvo 265 1980 DIESEL A --- --- D24 M46, BW55
Volvo 265 1981 GLE B 28320 2315 B28F BW55
Volvo 265 1981 DIESEL B --- --- D24 BW55
Volvo 265 1982 GLE C 30635 1918 B28F BW55
Volvo 265 1983 GLE D 32553 1018 B28F BW55
Volvo 265 1984 GLE E 33571 857 B28F BW55
Volvo 265 1985 GLE F 34428 704 B28F BW55

Total 265 / 260 Estate cars built: 35132


Volvo 262 / 262C

Chassis Name Model Year Model Name Production ID Ch. Nr. from Nr Built Engine Gearbox
Volvo 262 1976 262 GL E 1 3099? B27F M46,BW55
Volvo 262 1977 262 GL H 2430 230 B27F M46,BW55
Volvo 262 1978 262C L 2660 1670 B27F M46,BW55
Volvo 262 1979 262C M 4330 2120 B27F M46,BW55
Volvo 262 1980 COUPE A 6450 1920 B28F M46,BW55
Volvo 262 1981 COUPE B 8375 912 B28F BW55

Total 262 / 262C cars built: 9951

NOTE: The 262 and the 262C are different cars. The 262 was based on the 264 and made mainly for the US market and designed and made in Sweden. The 262C was designed by Bertone.

Volvo 240

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