1988 Volvo 340 DL 1.4
Retro cool, cheap, easy to DIY and super comfy
When I bought this car, it had the French MOT, but hadn't been running for a month or two, and was extremely thirsty on gas. After getting documented, I decided to refurbish the carburettor, which was warped.
It was a lot of sanding work to get the base plate straight again, and I was extremely lucky to find a set of gaskets for this old complicated and unreliable Weber carb.
I also changed to ignition spark emitter and distributor head, spark plugs, oil, cooling fluid and all the filters.
I changed the rear exhaust silencer too that I got second hand.
All in all, about 250€ repairs worth and some sweat. But still OK given I bought the car for 400€. Parts are not common in France, but still reasonably cheap.
The car now works fine, and is giving no sign of faults to come.
It's a charming car. I love its retro shape and the ride is smooth, safe and comfortable. Does not pull girls I suppose, but does make fiends laugh.
The engine is no-nonsense extremely basic French engineering, the conception of which dates back to the Renault 4. We're talking about the Cléon line of engines that were only discontinued in the early 90s! Except Volvo had them made by DAF from what I've read. It's trouble-free provided the flimsy carburettor works and it has a permanent transmission chain rather than a belt that you have to change. It's a little slow and still a bit thirsty (but I'm fine-tuning the carb screw settings right now, so should be economical soon).
The dashboard is dull though layout is efficient and quality OK. It reminds me of a friend's Golf 2. Glove box is sweetly lit when opened, and I love the light right of the steering wheel to help you find the ignition - very smart these Swedes. Doors make a lovely solid bang when they close and seats are terrific. Dials are a cool red needle on green figures.
All in all, a straightforward, solid, rather reliable and cheap, extremely comfortable, not so fast, head turning (deafening looks!) car that makes you feel a little special and way better than in many dearer yet cheaper made cars (eg, the Clio RL I used to have).
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd May, 2010