1980 Volvo 244 GL 2.1L Inline-4 from North America
Pure class to look at, plus reliable, comfortable, safe and fuel-efficient
Shocks replaced all around. Still had the original shocks from 1980 when I bought it!!!
Injector seals replaced.
Electric overdrive is a little on the temperamental side. Recently cleaned the connections and that seemed to do the trick.
Regular maintenance every 10,000 km.
Not my first Volvo; I've also owned an '87 240 (manual), an '89 240 (automatic), an '89 740 (automatic) and a '90 240 (manual), so obviously I'm a fan of this make of car (when they were still an independent company, anyway).
I have to say that of all of the Volvos I've owned, this one is by far the quirkiest and best-looking. I got it for an absolute steal - the family that owned it never drove it in the wintertime, so it was in immaculate shape. It doesn't drive as well as my 1990 240, but it makes up for that in other ways. The dark gold paint is still vibrant, and all of the chrome and black trim on it still pop. The front of the car is a thing of beauty: double-round headlights with a large, chrome-coloured grille. Much nicer than the next generation's single-piece lights and black grilles. The interior is all black with unbelievably comfortable leather seats. The crank sunroof is a great feature, although its gears seem to strip easily. Lots of headroom and legroom (great when you are 6'2") and a HUGE trunk. In my opinion, the GL looks a lot better than the DL, and the luxury touches are really nice.
The 1980 244 GL carries on the Volvo tradition of using the reliable B-series engine. It's a 2.1L Inline-4 and the transmission is a 4-speed manual with overdrive. I couldn't imagine having one without overdrive, even if it only works some of the time. The gear thresholds are pretty odd (I'm in fourth @ 50 km/hr) and without the OD the car would probably struggle a bit on the highway and hills. Try to get a fuel-injected model if you can. The carburated versions are not as reliable from what I have been told by other 244 owners. Also, if you have some skills in auto repair, these things are a dream. The chassis are huge and the engines are pretty simple.
The overall performance of the car won't blow anybody away, but they are deceptively fun to drive. Don't ever purchase one of these cars if you want something fast!! 0-60 is timed with a calendar with old non-turbo Volvos. Also, you may want to upgrade the rims from the stock 14-inchers. The tires are too small and narrow, and really decrease handling quality. The rear-wheel drive is a real bonus though, and they have a fantastic turning radius. The suspension is nice and stiff, and if you chuck on some 15" or 16" rims, you'll be shocked at how well these things corner.
So... the 244 GL isn't the most nimble automobile ever made, but that can be overlooked if you are not in the market for that type of car. Volvos are more about style, comfort, reliability and safety. Plus my 244 is great on gas; I get 32 miles/gallon, which is excellent for a 30+ year-old vehicle.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th September, 2011