Beautiful Blue Brick: 1988 Volvo 240 DL Station Wagon – Sold!

Mar 2020 | Classifinds, Wagon Wednesday

Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330

By the late 1980s, Yuppies with growing families typically passed Dodge and Plymouth dealerships (as even then they didn’t dare risk being seen driving a minivan) on their way to purchase a Volvo 240 wagon such as this Slate Blue over blue vinyl example listed on Craigslist in New Haven, Connecticut for $5,900 by the caretaker of the past year.  A quick check of the NADA Classic Car Online Valuation Tool confirms that while this private seller has his 240DL priced above the current “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail price range of $1,475, $2,050, $3,225, respectively, recent results for similar examples confirms the owner’s asking price is realistic, especially considering the rust-free body.  That said, with nearly 350K original miles combined with a non-functioning air conditioning system, we believe there’s room for negotiation on this 240.  Swedish car maker Volvo launched its 200 series of mid-sized cars in 1974 and continued production of these in coupe, sedan, and wagon versions for nearly twenty years to 1993, with nearly three million units sold worldwide. Sharing the same body shell and components aft of the cowl, the 200 series looked much like Volvo’s earlier 140 and 164 lines. Forward of the firewall, however, the 200 incorporated many of the features and design elements tried in Volvo’s 1972 VESC ESV concept car experiment in vehicle safety. The use of large crumple zones combined with a strong bird cage roof design quickly earned Volvo the reputation for safety long before consumer’s desire for this came into vogue.

Station Wagons made up nearly one-third of all 240s sold. The very large cargo space of 41 cubic feet combined with the option of rear-facing foldable jump seats made the 240 a very safe alternative to the domestic wagons of the day. Equipped with a 2.0-liter slant four mated to a four-speed automatic, 240s are reliable, if uninspiring, station wagons.

Here’s a TV ad we came across from 1988 when Volvo was still differentiating their 240 wagons from the competition by how safe it was:

The private seller, the second owner, states repeatedly how rust-free this 240 from San Diego remains and the few pictures of the car’s underside prove that out. That fact combined with a complete maintenance from the original owner dating back to when this 240 was new not only provides piece of mind on the car’s history but also serves as a testament to how durable these Volvos are.  While a rust-free example, we note this 240 has nearly 347,000 miles on the clock, but that said, we’d rather fix mechanical issues than rusty parts all day long.  Far from perfect, the seller provides decent pictures of their 240 flaws as well as documenting them below.  However, the most compelling item that will soon need attention is the Air conditioning system.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Up for sale is my 1988 Volvo 240 Wagon. This car was a one owner car from San Diego, California, which I purchased in late March 2019. I am the second owner. I have all the records since the car was new. The car was very well maintained. I drove it cross country after purchasing it, & I’ve taken it on a few other trips since then (once to Nova Scotia). It has absolutely zero rust, & I kept it off the roads when salt was present this winter. You will be hard pressed to find one this nice in New England, or even in California (for that matter). Most of the recent work was done right around the time I purchased it (just before, & just after). Recent work was done at the Volvo dealer in San Diego, by European Auto (A Volvo specialist) in CT, & myself (I’ve been running these for 20 years). It’s been totally gone through.

The Good:

-No rust
-Very clean interior
-Runs great, stops great, drives strait
-New headlight assembles (they are made in the EU, from a plastic that is not supposed to get hazy)
-Temp. board bypass
-Waterproof fuel fuse holder
-New tires on all 4 wheels (General Altimax)
-Scorpio rims, & an extra set of steel wheels (w/mounted tires)
-New heavy duty rear springs
-New starter
-New headlight relay
-New brake booster
-New PCV system
-Front seats were refoamed by previous owner.
-All new hoses
-Clean AMM
-New air filter
-New motor mounts
-All new gaskets (includes exhaust manifold gasket, intake manifold gasket, oil pan gasket, etc…except head gasket-coolant system was pressure tested & it is good)
-Recent transmission service
-Tie rods, ball joints, etc. are all good
-New rear shocks
-Recent timing belt service
-Heat is great, blower motor works great
-ATF & all fluids regularly changed
-Clean engine bay
-Cheap tax ($15), insurance, etc.
– Comes with complete exhaust kit (front pipe back, including cat)

It’s drives like a new 240.

Could use improvement (keep in mind, it’s a 32 year old car):

-Some clear coat issues under the side windows.
-Drivers seat belt doesn’t retract all the way, but works fine otherwise.
-Original radio goes in & out. I prefer it quiet when I drive, so I don’t use it much. I would guess that it just needs a cleaning.
-Paint chips/touch up paint here & there.
-Some interior plastic trim pieces broken.
-A/C doesn’t work


One of the nicer 240’s you will find, especially in New England. Zero rust. 1 owner until I bought it, with all records, well maintained. I would have no problems driving this car anywhere.”

Do you have a Volvo 240 Wagon story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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