1977 Volvo 242 DL B19 from Norway


Cheap, reliable, comfy and even fast - car for the closefisted!


One wheel bearing had to be changed.

Broke a hole into the gas tank under excessive driving. Used gas tank found and installed for a smile at an independent local shop.

General Comments:

Very nice ride for the comfy-minded - the car is a sofa with wheels, built for long distances.

This is an engineer's car, as opposed to accountants (GM), race drivers (BMW) or marketing people (the French bunch) - meaning: Everything is dimensioned to last forever! Mechanically, this car is undestroyable, but mind the rust! This is a serious problem, especially around the wheels. Try to clean the water-run-off-holes in the doors every once in a while.

Though old Volvo engines sound like tractor machines, the 242 is significantly calmer than the station wagon 245.

I bought this car as a student, and it turned out to be a perfect choice. If you decide not to maintain it, ride far, much and hard, and sell it to some handyman within two or three years, this one will hardly cost more than the money spent on gas! It is cheap, but safe, it is ugly, but comfy, and visibility out of a brick is top class - you never need to wonder where your car ends. Have been a family man for a decade, now I am looking for another one of those.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th October, 2010

2nd Jul 2011, 09:30

Call me when your Volvo reaches 600.000 miles. My 87 Chevrolet Caprice has that mileage, and it's still going strong. Volvo engines don't last as long as the old cast-iron Chevy smallblock. My car still has the original 305 engine with its th2004R automatic transmission.

5th Oct 2015, 20:03

I've owned multiple Volvos, and multiple Chevrolets (and a Toyota and Mitsubishi). All were good cars for their own reason. The Volvo 1.8-2.3 and the Small Block Chevy are 2 of the best motors ever made. I have driven SBCs to 300k, but I have seen a couple Volvo redblocks with over a million.

1977 Volvo 242 DL from Sweden


Simple design but I doubt there's a tougher, more enjoyable, roadworthy, reliable car... period.


Yep, the seat belts have worn pretty badly (the driver's belt, that is), but what would you expect for original seat belts that are 31-years old and have been extended and retracted possibly 40,000 times?

The B21 engine is a work horse. A piston ring broke at about 300,000 miles while I was towing a trailer over the mountains between Oregon and northern California. I had the engine rebuilt, blueprinted and balanced with oversized bearings and forged pistons. I've used Castrol GTX oil exclusively since the rebuild and now have 385,000+ miles on that engine without a single major problem.

General Comments:

When I bought the car (@ 33,000 miles), I installed heavy stabilizer bars, gas strut cartridges, Volvo rally springs and a lot more up-grade stuff including Laguna wheels from IPD and a front spoiler. I also put a limited slip differential in the rear end for straight-ahead traction on wet or snowy roads. I later equipped the car with an OPTIMA Gel-cell battery which has lasted now for 16 years... believe it or not... and a 70 amp alternator replacing the original 55 amp unit. In effect, I turned the DL model into a GT+ with a 4-speed + electric overdrive 5th gear.

All in all, the '77 Volvo 242 is the finest, most reliable, fun, roadworthy vehicle one could imagine. I live off the US mainland for 9 months each year now, and when I get back and hook up the battery to get the car on the road again each June, it fires up within seconds. Of course, I put STA-BIL in the gas over the winter and take other storage measures. The point is, though, that I doubt there's ever been a more rugged and relaible car made than the late-70's and early-80's 240's with manual transmissions. This is a GREAT machine.

I will never part with this car and may ask to be buried in it instead of a casket (ha!). I love this car. Incidentally, my other car is a 2005 Corvette. I like the 'vette, but I LOVE my Volvo.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 25th October, 2008