1988 Volvo 240 DL 4 cylinder gasoline from North America


An engineering marvel for 300 bucks


This car is falling apart in just about every way a car can fall apart, but somehow it miraculously keeps soldiering on.

The odometer was not working when I bought the car. The girl I bought it from told me that it was not working when she purchased the car (her first) -- 7 years before. Judging by the wear and tear, I'd say that it has somewhere in the vicinity of 300,000 miles, but would not be surprised if it had a million.

It leaks oil from (at least) three different places. The oil drips onto the hot manifold and exhaust, burning off and causing a plume of smoke to bellow out from under the car at stoplights -- I have had several people tell me that my car is on fire. Hilarious.

A mechanic told me that the battery (and a grocery list of other things) was bad and needed to be replaced immediately -- over a year ago.

The A/C has never worked, and probably never will.

There is a good amount of rust in the rocker panels, and a large rust hole that I filled with Bondo on the inside of the driver's door. One of the door hinges has rusted to the point that it has completely broken off, causing the need to lift the door as I close it.

The radio has a mind of its own -- it works 80% of the time.

The brake lights are nearly impossible to fix.

Both the hood and the driver side door have literally almost fallen off -- rusted hinges. Both fixed with trips to the junk yard -- $20.

Popping in some new fuses has caused the rear wiper, heater, and fan to come back to life. None of which worked when I bought the car.

General Comments:

This car is amazing. I paid $300 for it, and have spent all of $20 to keep it on the road since then.

It starts right up every time, goes down the road nice and straight, still has tight steering and good brakes, a working heater and radio, and people seem to like it, which I find especially interesting for a $300 car.

I could still use it as a daily driver (and have occasionally) whenever my other, much newer car is in the shop.

Even as it continues to shed parts, I have driven it on at least three 500 mile weekend trips to south Florida with only minimal drama.

Truly an engineering marvel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th February, 2011

1988 Volvo 240 2.3 gas from North America


This is the best thing since sliced bread!!!


Alternator. Just didn't realise that the alternator is rubber isolated... need a wire to ground out the alternator to the frame or engine.

General Comments:

I bought this make and model after reading the online reviews. So I thought it was only fair that I put my two cents worth in.

First off, I don't know how anybody in their right mind can cry about a 20 year old car that has 200,000 plus miles on it, and then gets stuck for a few repair bills. These cars are cheaper to fix than a Chevy or a Ford. All the parts are there and readily available. This particular car was a 1988 with a 5 speed. I got a deal on tires and rims from my local pick a part, so I upgraded to 15 inch wheels and tires for 120.00. Put in a K&N filter, and away I went.

The car has a small tank. Just over 500 kms or 300 miles per tank on the highway, not much less in town.. The 5 speed shifts easily... and very little body roll.

LMAO, have a great story about a kid and his BMW convertible, when he couldn't pull away from me for the first 300 feet... the look on his face.

1988 and up solves most if not all of the electrical problems... make sure the blower motor was changed out... try and buy from the previous owner WHO has owned the car for a few years... Talk history if he doesn't know about the car repairs and such... buy it for scrap price... serious. These are under rated cars... and honestly if you actually drive one for a week... I really don't think you will want anything else!!!

In fact, I sold my 1988 only because the body was going to look like hell by this spring... rust wise... right... crawl underneath the car and push up on the floor pans... even the ones with good rockers might have the pans rusted out... and that costs money to fix, or will turn the car into a scrapper.

There are lots of these still around in the wreckers... parts are amazingly cheap...

And yes my "new car" is a 1990 240, automatic... I'll miss the 5 speed... and yep it is slower, but I am thinking the K&N filter will perk it up a bit... big thick heavy doors... slam with confidence... big trunk central locking.. 4 wheel disc brakes... rear wheel drive... cheap insurance... miles ahead of an over rated Toyota or Nissan... solid, solid, solid!!! People think that Volvo means expensive to fix... you will honestly crap your pants when you find out how cheap they are to run... 34.00 for rear pads, 37.00 for fronts... rotors front were 28.00, inner tie rod ends are 37.00. That's just over the counter prices... during an emergency... like have to be done now repairs... if I had time to shop around, I would get at least 20 percent off that...

I can see why people say Volvo for life!!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd December, 2010

5th Dec 2010, 12:39

And I forgot to mention the turning radius... I can park in places that only an Austin Mini (the original) can cut into.

5th Dec 2010, 20:05

"I can see why people say Volvo for life!!!"

When they say that, they are referring to the old ones like you have, not the newer, fickle garbage they build.

7th Dec 2010, 14:52

To the last commenter; do you own a newer example? I do - a V50 and S60, and none of their rivals even come close! These are fantastic cars in every way, and would fully recommend.