1974 Volvo 164 3.0 liter from North America


A beautiful, classy car and a joy to drive


Car hadn't been driven much, so had to change all fluids, replace water pump & injector hoses and sort out fuel injection a bit -- manifold pressure sensor, temp sensor (lots of fun to pull into a garage and ask if anyone knows how to work on Bosch D-Jet)

Replaced old shocks with Bilstein HDs (hee hee).

General Comments:

A beautiful car and a joy to drive. Previous owner was a serious Volvo aficionado who added IPD sway bars and lowering springs, and replaced the ugly safety bumpers and grill with better-looking 1972s.

Lots of torque at relatively low rpm mated with 4-spd manual plus overdrive -- keeps pulling great at highway speeds, too.

Best seats Volvo ever made.

Suspension mods made it drive like it was on rails (though a bit harsh on DC roads).

Classy, classy lines -- several people insisted it had to be a Jag or a Benz. Never saw another one in three years of driving.

Panicked and sold when gas crested $4 gallon (got about 15 mpg around town/21 highway). Would snap up another one if I could - - only with 4 spd/overdrive combo though.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th August, 2009

25th Jul 2015, 18:41

I had a 74 back in the early-mid 80s with an automatic. I remember when the injection was working more or less properly, I'd get around 17 MPG on average, dipping down to 14 when I stuck my foot in it. It delivered around 21 on the highway.

I would have loved to have performed the mods that your car has, but at the time there wasn't much of a performance market for that model, or at least that I was aware of. I drilled a bunch of extra holes in the air cleaner lid, bumped up the timing, and replaced the muffler with a straight pipe. It was probably good for a mid 15 quarter, and would definitely give some of the factory performance cars a run for their money if I launched at 3000 RPM.

One thing is for certain; they didn't make a lot of 164s, and there aren't many around today.

1969 Volvo 164 3.0 litre straight 6 from Australia and New Zealand


My first car which I have kept since 1986 = love it


Window regulators, where they fix to the glass, have a tendency to rust and part company.

The brake master cylinders wear out as normal wear and tear, and I suspect will happen more often when you don't go to the trouble of bleeding the brakes routinely.

Not surprisingly the leather seats crack and wear as they get older. The seats are very comfortable and have a good range of adjustments, including lumbar support.

Engine and drive-line are pretty much bullet proof. The fibre timing gear tends to have a limited life and will produce a rattle as they wear (sounds like a terminal death rattle), but not a big deal to fix. Best solution for this is to locate a set of steel gears, which was a genuine part as fitted to some later fuel injected cars, I think.

The M400 and M410 gearboxes are great, if not a little heavy (over-engineered) and deliberate to use. I upgraded the M400 4 speed original to the M410 overdrive box and this makes the car a superb highway car. The car also has a limited slip differential, which contributes to excellent handling and traction, if not sometimes exciting over-steer. The spider shafts are prone to cracking in LSDs.

The car is fitted with a Volvo trible SU manifold and carburettors, which I have become quite adept at tuning and balancing over the years. The manifold I think originated from Volvo Penta marine (?) and is an improvement from the standard twin Strombergs.

I also upgraded the standard front discs from solid to ventilated with ATE calipers from a later 164, and these never let you down.

General Comments:

These cars are under rated, and unfortunately you don't see many on the road any more. Heaps of fun to drive, and with a little tweak will handle beautifully. I have replaced bushes, rubbers and ball joints, plus upgraded the front sway bar and put a bar on the rear (not standard fit item). Koni shocks are worth the money. With the 4 wheel disks and coil suspension, mated to a sound design and construction, you have something worth working with.

While Volvos are considered by most to be rather uncool, you can have a lot of fun in a 164 at a very reasonable cost.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th January, 2008