1981 Volvo 265 GLE Estate 2.85 V6 EFI from UK and Ireland


A wolf in brick's clothing


Tick-over problems when cold!

Propshaft universal joint bearings worn (knocking) (cost £10).

Difficult to start when wet, HT leads leaky (Volvo wanted too much to replace these).

Small chip in the windscreen gradually became a 1 metre crack. Replaced for £50 (a friend in the trade).

Rear light lenses tended to fall off, expensive to replace, so made my own by getting near fits from breakers and fashioning my own, super glue helped.

Alternator brushes wore out, (cost £11).

Serious rust in the wells behind the rear wheels (replaced with home-made aluminum, which I rivetted on).

Tailgate badly rusted at the bottom, but I used aluminum again to cover this!

General Comments:

Yes I got the model number right, it was a 265 GLE, I've only ever seen 1 other, all the rest were similar but said 264 on them.

It was all electric with big alloys, metlalic sky blue, had the more distinctive, sticking-out-bit front grille and I think was the flagship for its year.

I did a straight swop for my Transit Van, when offered by someone, as I'd just changed businesses and no longer needed a big vehicle. The van was worth about £475, so that's what the 265 cost me!

I was amazed by the smoothness of the engine, the gearbox was a bit low geared in top (3rd) gear, but if I needed it, I could use the enormous torque of the engine to take the car from 60 to 90 in just a tick, without kick-down, amazing acceleration for overtaking!

The problem with tickover (when cold) caused me to have a slight accident in a supermarket car park, the revs would go up and down from 500 to 2000 rpm, I used left-foot braking until it was warm, but it caught me out, with a sudden surge, when reversing out. The big front bumper scratched the paint of a newly resprayed boy-racer's car, he happened to be walking back to his pride and joy, he was suitably horrified (so was I). Luckily he called me the next day, the paint-shop had resprayed the panel for free, phew!

The car was very comfortable, had good brakes (it needed them), a really gutsy engine that surprised many a hot hatch, but it ate petrol, in the end I was only getting about 10 mpg in town and 20 on long runs.

Gradually the little things that were not working mounted up, the most serious being the heater fan; when I attempted to replace that, I was scared off by the amount of screws, nuts, bolts pipes and levers etc. I gave up on it. So in the winter it was just about useless, unless I put a mains fan heater in it, to defrost the inside before starting out!

I then bought a new Ford Escort, so the beast had to go, I drove Fords for 5 years until I got a 740 GL (because I crashed the Ford) I liked that, but that's another story.

In conclusion: As with the other Volvo I owned, this car cost me next to nothing to keep on the road, it only ever let me down once (the alternator brushes) of course on that day it erm "persisted" down with rain, and I spent a cold and wet 2 hours sorting the brushes out. I forgave the beast that, it deserved forgiveness!

One last funny thing, the tow hitch stuck out a good 5 inches from the back. In the two years I had the car, at least 6 people fell over it and 3-4 cars hit it when parking or stopping too close at traffic lights. This was despite me painting it day-glow red heh!


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd February, 2004

20th Mar 2005, 09:51

Read your review, you mentioned that you had never seen another 265. My parents had one, W Reg (suffix) 265 GLE, it was also sky blue metallic with black leather and had extensive rust (sills, doors, wings) which finally finished it off sometime in 1998. Looked impressive when it was newer though, but my dad never looked after it.

26th Jul 2008, 03:04

To the chap who commented. The author said he had never SEEN another, he didn't say that no others existed.

My Dad had a 265 too, awesome thing it was but he always said it was too thirsty. Volvo have got a lot more exciting in recent years but I wonder now if their build quality is as good now as it was then.