The Volvo 200 series was a range of mid-size cars produced by Volvo from 1974 to 1993, with more than 2.8 million sold worldwide. Also designed by Jan Wilsgaard, the 200 series replaced the 140 and 164, and overlapped production of the Volvo 700 series introduced in 1982. As the 240 remained popular, only the 260 was displaced by the 700 series — which Volvo marketed alongside the 240 for another decade. Ironically, the 700 series was replaced a year before the 240 was discontinued.
The Volvo 240 was Volvo's best-selling car from 1975 until 1982. During those years in European markets, its companion was the smaller Volvo 66/300 series.
The Volvo 240 and 260 Series was introduced in the autumn of 1974, and was initially available as six variations of the 240 Series (242L, 242DL, 244DL, 244GL, 245L and 245DL) and two variations of the 260 Series (264DL and 264GL).
At a glance, the 240 and 260 Series looked much like the earlier 140 and 164 Series, but while they used many of the same components, and were largely the same from the passenger compartment back, they also incorporated many of the improvements used in the Volvo VESC ESV in 1972, which was a prototype experiment in car safety. The overall safety of the driver and passengers in the event of a crash was greatly improved with very large front and rear end crumple zones. The 200 Series had MacPherson strut type front suspension (which increased room around the engine bay) while the rear suspension was a modified version of that fitted to the 140 Series. The steering was greatly improved with the installation of rack-and-pinion steering, with power steering fitted as standard to the 244GL, 264DL and 264GL, and there were some modifications made to the braking system.
The main changes were made to the engine. The 1974 240 series retained the B20A 4-cylinder engine from the 140 Series, with the new B21A engine available as an option on the 240 DL models. The new B21 engine was a 2127cc, 4-cylinder unit, which had a cast iron block, a five-bearing crankshaft, and a belt-driven overhead camshaft. This engine produced 97bhp (72kW) for the B21A carburettor 242DL, 244DL and 245DL, and 123bhp (92kW) for the B21E fuel-injected 244GL. All 240s were fuel injected in the US market; the carbureted B20 and B21 engines were not available due to emissions regulations.
The 264 models had a completely new V6 B27E engine called the Douvrin engine. This engine was developed jointly by Peugeot, Renault and Volvo, and is therefore generally known as the "PRV engine"). The B27E engine had a displacement of 2664 cc, an aluminium alloy block, and wet cylinder liners. This engine produced 140bhp (100kW) for both the 264DL and 264GL. All models were available with a choice of 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission. Overdrive was also optional on the manual 244GL, while a 5-speed manual gearbox was optional on the 264GL and 265GL.
The front end of the car was also completely restyled – that being the most obvious change of which made the 200 Series distinguishable from the earlier 140 and 160 Series. Other than all the changes mentioned above, the 200 Series was almost identical to the 140 and 160 Series from the bulkhead to the very rear end. Even the dashboard was the same as that fitted to the 1973-74 140 and 160 series.
In the autumn of 1975 (for the 1976 model year), the 265 DL estate became available alongside the existing range, and this was the very first Volvo estate to be powered by a six-cylinder engine (unless one counts the single "165" that Volvo is said[who?] to have made for designer Jan Wilsgaard). Around this time, the existing 200 Series underwent some technical changes. The B20A engine was dropped from certain markets, though it remained available in other markets until 1977. Its replacement, the B21A engine, received a new camshaft which increased the output from 93 to 100bhp (75kW). The two-door 262 DL and GL sedans, the 264DL saloon (sedan) and the new 265DL estate (station wagon) were offered outside North America with the new V6 B27A engine. This engine was almost identical to the fuel-injected V6 B27E engine except it had an SU carburettor instead of fuel injection, and therefore it produced a lower output of 125bhp (93kW). The choice of gearbox was also greatly improved, with overdrive now available as an option in all manual models except the base-model 242L and 245L. As before, the 3-speed automatic was optional in every model.
The first models to reach the US market were 1975 models equipped with the old pushrod B20F engine, with the new OHC B21F motor making its way to America for the 1976 model year. A fuel-injected variant of the V6, the B27F, was introduced to the US in the 1976 260 series. The US and Canadian 200-series ranges were not identical; the B21A carbureted engine was never available in the US, but was the base engine in Canada from 1977 through 1984. 1975-76 Canadian models were identical to their US counterparts. Beginning in 1985, Canadian models received the US model engines, usually in 49-state form, except for the Turbo, which only had California emission controls.
Incremental improvements were made almost every year of the production run. One of the major improvements was the introduction of the oxygen sensor in 1976 (1977 models), which Volvo called Lambda Sond and developed in conjunction with Bosch. It added a feedback loop to the K-Jetronic fuel injection system already in use, which allowed fine-tuning of the air and fuel mixture and therefore produced superior emissions, drivability and fuel economy.
About one-third of all 240s sold were station wagons, which featured very large cargo space of 76cubic feet (2.2m3). They could be outfitted with a rear-facing foldable jumpseat in the passenger area, making the wagon a seven-passenger vehicle. The jumpseat came with three-point seat belts, and wagons were designed to have a reinforced floor section, protecting the occupants of the jumpseat in the event of a rear-end collision.
The last 200 produced was a station wagon, currently displayed at the Volvo World Museum.
The 200 series was offered with three families of engines. Most 240s were equipped with Volvo's own red block, four-cylinder engines. Both overhead valve and overhead cam versions of the red block engines were installed in 240s. V6 engines were also available. Known as the PRV family, they were developed in a three-way partnership among Volvo, Peugeot and Renault, 240 diesel models are powered by diesel engines purchased from Volkswagen.
The B27 was a 90-degree V6 produced by Peugeot, Renault, and Volvo in collaboration and is often referred to as the "PRV." This engine was unusual at the time, being composed of many small parts in a modular design (as opposed to a monolithic engine block and head). Volvo increased the displacement to 2.8 litres in 1980 with the introduction of the B28E and B28F engines, which were prone to top-end oiling troubles and premature camshaft wear. Nevertheless, Volvo continued to use the B28 V6 in their new 760 model. DeLorean Motor Company went on to use the PRV B28F in their DMC-12 vehicle, and a 3 litre version was used in the 1987-1992 Eagle Premier, Dodge Monaco, and Renault 21. The updated B280 engine used in the final years of the 760 and 780 models did not suffer from the same premature camshaft wear as the earlier PRV engines.
In 1979 Volvo introduced a diesel engine that was purchased from Volkswagen, similar in design to that used in diesel Volkswagen and Audi vehicles at the time. These engines were all liquid-cooled pre-combustion chamber diesel engines with non-sleeved iron blocks and aluminum heads. A Bosch mechanical injection system was utilized, but requires constant electrical input so that the fuel can be cut off when the ignition key is removed. A 2.4 litre inline 6 (the D24) and a 2.0 litre inline 5 (the D20) were available, producing 82bhp (61kW) and 69bhp (51kW) respectively. A turbocharged diesel was never sold in the 200 series volvo.
The 200-series cars were identified initially by badges on their trunk lid or rear hatch in a manner similar to the system used for previous models.
- 1975-1979: trim level letters preceded by three digits (in the format 2XY, where X usually represented the number of cylinders and Y represented the doors: 2 for coupés, 4 for sedans, 5 for station wagons)
- 1980-1985: trim level letters (the three digits were omitted)
- 1986-1993: 240 followed by trim level letters (third digit no longer reflected body style), although it is reflected in the engine compartment label, as well as on the label in the trunk on sedans or under the main cargo compartment storage lid on wagons.
Note: A small number of 4-cylinder 260s were produced, namely the 1980-1981 GL sedan, which could either be a 240 or a 260. Additionally, diesel 240s exist, despite having 6-cylinder engines.
Throughout the 200-series' production, different levels of luxury were available for purchase. Each Volvo had a specific trim level designation, with L being the least expensive and GLT usually indicating the most premium offering. The actual equipment and availability of a particular trim level varied depending on the market. The letters normally appeared on the trunk lid or rear hatch of the car and represented the following:
- L: Luxe
- DL: De Luxe
- GL: Grand Luxe
- GLE: Grand Luxe Executive
- GLT: Grand Luxe Touring
- GT: Grand Touring
(For example, a 1979 Grand Touring 200-series Volvo would be badged a 242 GT, meaning it is a 200-series car with a 4-cylinder engine, two doors, and GT trim.)
Special trim levels
Several trim levels were special offerings only available during certain years or for unique body styles:
- Transport (lengthened version of wagon; contained extra seats)
- Polar (1991)
- Super Polar
- SE: Special Equipment (1991)
- Classic (1993; last 1600 200-series Volvos produced)
- Limited (1992; very similar to Classic, but not numbered edition with brass plaquete instead of the numbering)
Sometimes, the engine type of a car was also designated by badging. In some instances, these badges were omitted, replaced trim level badges, or even used in combination with them:
- Turbo (was its own trim level - 1981-82 models also had GLT Turbo models)
- Diesel (like the Turbo, was its own trim level - had most GL features, but some omissions)
- Injection (Indicating fuel injection in certain Asian markets)
- Katalysator (Indicating a catalytic converter in the German market)
- Production volume: 2,862,053
- Body style: 4-door sedan (1974-1993), 2-door sedan (1975-1984), 5-door station wagon (1975-1993), 3-door hearse
- Engines: See the engine section for more detail. Engine configurations included:
- 4-cylinder inline OHV
- 4-cylinder inline OHC
- 4-cylinder inline OHC turbo
- 4-cylinder inline OHC intercooled turbo
- V6 OHC
- 5-cylinder inline OHC diesel
- 6-cylinder inline OHC diesel
- Transmissions: Volvo offered various transmissions depending on the year/model/market/engine combinations including the:
- M40 (4-speed manual, 1975 only)
- M41 (4-speed manual with electrical overdrive, 1975 only, coupe and sedan only)
- M45 (4-speed manual)
- M46 (4-speed manual with electrical overdrive)
- M47 (5-speed manual)
- BW35, BW55 or AW55 (3-speed automatic)
- AW70 or AW71 (4-speed automatic)
- Brakes: Hydraulic, disc brakes on all four wheels.
- Front: four opposed piston calipers with either solid or (later) vented rotors
- Rear: twin piston calipers utilizing solid rotors and integral parking brake drums.
- Triangulated braking circuits on non-ABS cars with both front calipers and one rear caliper per circuit. ABS cars used normal diagonal split braking system.
- Standard safety features
- Driver airbag (from 1990 - US only; optional 1990-91 Cdn models, standard 1992-93 Cdn)
- Anti-lock braking system (ABS) (from 1991)
- Wheelbase: 264 cm/104 in
- Length (Europe):
- 1975–1980: 490 cm/193 in
- 1981–1993: 479 cm/189 in
- Length (US/Canada):
- 1975-1982: 490 cm/192.5 in - 1975-1985 Cdn 240)
- 1983-1985 US: 479 cm/189.4 in
- 1986-1993 US/Cdn: 4?? cm/190.? in
- Weight: 2,840 lb (1,290 kg) (1989 US spec 240, fully fueled, no driver)
- Glass-lens headlamps compliant with international ECE headlighting standards, 1975-1993
- Fender-mounted side turn signal repeaters introduced various years in different European markets per local regulations; worldwide except North America starting in 1984.
- Daytime running lamps implemented by a second, bright filament in the parking lamp bulbs, introduced mid-1970s in Scandinavia and the UK, and in other markets outside North America in the early 1980s.
- Aspheric sideview mirrors
- Metric instrument cluster readouts (though speedometers and odometers display miles on UK models)
- Diesel engine availability until 1993
North American market
- Exterior lighting system compliant with US Federal standards
- Sealed-beam headlamps 1975-85
- Speedometer in miles per hour with smaller scale in kilometres per hour; odometer in miles (US market)
- Plastic-lens replaceable-bulb headlamps 1986-93
- Headlamp wipers not available; wiper shaft hole below headlamps blanked with rubber plug
- Front and rear side markers and reflectors incorporated into front parking and rear tail lights
- Rear fog lamps added in the 1985 model year
- Daytime Running Lights, using low beams and taillamps introduced in 1990 in Canada
- Diesel engine discontinued in 1984, but sold in 1985 model year with a 1984 VIN and 1985 specs.
- Turbo model discontinued early 1985
- 244 DLS (1977-78): Export model to the former German Democratic Republic with 264 grille. Total amount exported approx. 1000.
- 264 Top Executive (1975-81): A limousine version of the 264; many now reside in Germany as they were exported to the former German Democratic Republic for use by the government (which would neither use the small Trabant or Wartburg models nor import "Western" autos like BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes). As a result, the population called Wandlitz, the preferred home town of politicians, Volvograd.
- 262 Coupé by Bertone (1978-81): Custom body work and interior from the Italian coachbuilder. The custom body work of these two-doors consisted of a chopped roof and a more raked windshield. 1978-1979 models marked 262C, 1980-1981 models marked Coupé. Additional Bertone badges on fenders.
- 245 T (Transfer) (1977-early 1980s): An un-proportionately styled extended wheelbase station wagon designed to have additional rows of seats for use as taxi or rural school bus
- 242 GT (1978-80): Sporty model with tighter suspension and a high-performance motor, although only the former made it to the US market. All US models were Mystic Silver Metallic with black and red racing stripes going from the hood to the side to the trunk. Special black corduroy interior with red stripes. Canadian models were available in black with red pinstripes along the side of the car, in addition to the US model silver.
- 240 Turbo (1981-85): Replaced the GT as the sporty model, equipped with a turbocharged engine, with an intercooler from mid-84. 2-door model available 1981-1984; sedans available late 1981-early 1985 and wagons available 1982-early 1985.
- 242 Group A Homologated Turbo (1983): 500 models built to satisfy production requirements to qualify for Group-A sedan class racing in Europe; all were sold to Volvo of North America and approximately 30 were returned to Europe for racing; all of these cars had flat hoods not otherwise seen on North American 240s, as well as numerous and substantial performance and suspension upgrades ranging from larger radiators and intercoolers to water injection and large rear spoilers
- 240 SE (1991): Special alloy wheels, all-black grille and trim. Roof rails on wagon model.
- 240 Polar (1992): European markets only; commonly found in Italy.
- 240 Classic (1992-93): European markets from the 1992 model year. For the North American market, only 1,600 were produced in April and May 1993, half wagons and half sedans. European Classics have fully equipped interior with wood dash trim and "Classic" badges on hatch/decklid. In addition to the European equipment, the 1,600 North American Classics have body-matched painted grilles and side mirrors, special 14" alloy wheels, production-number plaque in dash, and special paint colors — ruby red or metallic dark teal green.
- 240 GL (1992): North American market. Slightly different than the early 1975-1989 GL model, more like the 1993 Classic and the 1991 SE model. Only available in 244 sedan bodystyle.
- 240 Torslanda (1993): Very few of this special model were made. They were made primarily for use in Sweden, as they were specially equipped for surviving snow and ice in freezing winters. These cars can be identified by Torslanda badging, tinted windows, plastic exterior trim (as opposed to chrome, which will rust in snowy conditions), multi-spoke 15" alloy wheels, and full-length body striping above the rocker panels. The interior featured only the bare minimum of extras with no electric mirrors, windows, cruise control, air conditioning nor leather upholstery. Because the freezing temperatures could cause luxurious accessories to break down more often than usual, the only features were heated front seats, power steering and the standard heating systems.
Anniversary special editions
- 244 DL Anniversary (1977): Volvo released this model to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. Based on the 244DL, the Anniversary Car was finished in Metallic silver with a black and gold band around the waistline. Around 50 were sold in ten different countries, taking the total number produced up to 500.
- 240 DL Jubileum (1987): Volvo released this model to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary. Like the fiftieth anniversary edition, it was based on the 240 DL series, only this time it was available as both a saloon and an estate.
In Sweden the 240 was popular as a service vehicle among many companies and government agencies. It was also popular as base for ambulances, hearses, limousines and as police cars. Many 240s were used by the former state owned monopolies such as the electric company Vattenfall, telecom company Televerket and the postal service Posten. Televerket had their vehicles ordered in a special orange paint. They also used the four speed M45 transmission well after it was discontinued on 240s offered to the public, and a Limited-slip differential. The latter option was also installed in 240s ordered by the Swedish armed forces. Posten had their cars in yellow and they were equipped with automatic transmission. On the contrary to normal vehicles in Sweden these were right-hand drive. Still 15 years after the production ended, the 240 is popular among various handymen such as carpenters and electricians.
Volvo produced a prototype for a hatchback version, badged the Volvo 263 GL, but it was not chosen for mass production and is now on display in the Volvo World Museum in Arendal, north of Goteborg, Sweden.
Volvo campaigned the 240 saloon in the European Touring car championship in the 1980s. The 240 had reasonable success securing a number of wins including the winning the ETCC, beating the Rover SD1, BMW 3-Series and Jaguar XJS-R Touring cars. At the hands of kiwi Robbie Francevic, the Volvo 240 also won the 1986 Australian Touring Car Championship and the Wellington 500 street race in New Zealand.
The car also successfully won the Guia Race in Macau consecutively in 1985 and 1986.
Because it is cheap and robust, the 240 has also become very common in folkrace competitions and the VOC (Volvo Original Cup).
The Volvo 240 is also popular in the UK for banger racing due to the strong build of Volvo cars, and the Volvo 240 is now a common choice alongside Ford Granadas and Jags for using at 2.0 litre + banger meetings.
One of the most reliable and durable cars of its era. Most 244/5s would easily outlast all the failing, rusting competition.
Volvo 262or Volvo 264