Volvo 200 Series
|1974 to 1994|
|Body and chassis|
|Wheelbase||104.3 in (2,649 mm)|
|Curb weight||1,371–1,421 kg (3,023–3,133 lb)|
The Volvo 200 series is a range of executive cars produced by Volvo from 1974 to 1993, with more than 2.8 million units sold worldwide. The 200 series was essentially an updated version of the 140; both were designed by Jan Wilsgaard. It shared the same body, but included a number of mechanical and safety improvements. The 200 replaced the 140 and the 140-based 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. 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 initially the smaller Volvo 66, then its replacement, the 300 series.
Production ended on 14 May 1993 after nearly 20 years.
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). The 240 Series was available in Sedan or Station Wagon, however the 260 Series was available in Coupe(262C Bertone), Sedan or Station Wagon. The 200 looked much like the earlier 140 and 164 Series, for they shared the same body shell and were largely the same from the cowl rearward. However, the 200 incorporated many of the features and design elements tried 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 (in particular the master cylinder.
The main changes were made to the engine. The 1974 240 series retained the B20A 4-cylinder engine from the 140 Series in certain markets, 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 97 bhp (72 kW) for the B21A carburettor 242DL, 244DL and 245DL, and 123 bhp (92 kW) 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 140 bhp (100 kW) 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. The dashboard was derived from the safety fascia introduced for the 1972 140-series - but was changed again in 1980 with the instrument pod made considerably larger and the radio repositioned near the top of the dashboard.
In the autumn of 1975 (for the 1976 model year in America), the 265 DL estate became available alongside the existing range, and this was the first production Volvo estate to be powered by a six-cylinder engine. 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 100 bhp (75 kW). 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 125 bhp (93 kW). 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 41 cubic feet (1.2 m3). 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. Both the 200 series and the 700 series became a status symbol worldwide.
The last 200 produced was a blue station wagon built to the Italian specification and named the "Polar Italia", 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, 2.0-2.3 litre four-cylinder engines. Both overhead valve and overhead cam versions of the red block engines were installed in 240s. The B20 was used only in the early years and subsequently replace by B19, a smaller version of the B21. V6 engines were also available, first in the 260-models, but also later in the GLE- and GLT-versions of 240. 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. In Greece and Israel the 1.8 liter B17 engine was available (also as a luxurious 260). This hard working little twin-carb engine developed 90 PS (66 kW), and had considerably higher fuel consumption than even the turbocharged top version.
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 25. 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 used that required constant electrical input so that the fuel supply could be cut off when the ignition key was removed. A 2.4-litre inline 6 (the D24) and a 2.0-litre inline 5 (the D20) were available, producing 82 bhp (61 kW) and 69 bhp (51 kW) respectively. The lesser D20 engine was only sold in select markets where it was favored by the tax structures, most cars went to Finland but it was also marketed in Italy between 1979 and 1981. A turbocharged diesel was never sold in the 200 series Volvo.
For the American market:
- 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(only for the 262C. 242 are two-door sedans), 4 for sedans, 5 for station wagons)
- 1980–1985: trim level letters. 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 have six-cylinder engines.
- 1986–1994: 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.
Throughout the 200-series' production, different levels of luxury were available for purchase. The specific trim level designations ranged from L, being the least expensive, to GLT, indicating a sporty 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 (except for during MY1983) and had originally represented the following, although by the 1980s the letter codes had officially lost any underlying meaning:
- L (Luxe)
- DL (de Luxe)
- GL (Grand Luxe)
- GLE (Grand Luxe Executive)
- GLT (Grand Luxe Touring)
- Turbo (Replaced the GT offering in 1981, with GLT trim)
(For example, a 1979 GT 200-series Volvo would be badged a 242 GT, meaning it is a 240-series car with two doors, and GT trim.)
The '4' and '6' codes soon lost their original meaning as signifying the number of cylinders with the introduction of B17-engined four-cylinder Volvo 260s for export to Greece and Israel in the late 70s. There was also a six-cylinder 240 GLT in some markets, as well as both six- and five-cylinder diesels labelled '240'. The second digit now only denoted how luxurious the car was. By June 1982, with the introduction of the model year 1983 Volvos, the third digit too lost its meaning and the 242/244/245 became simply the 240.
Special trim levels
Several trim levels were special offerings only available during certain years or for unique body styles:
- Polar (1992)
- Super Polar
- SE: Special Equipment (1991-94 late runout edition, typically with GL or GLT interior trim but without the performance/ handling modifications.)
- Limited (1993; very similar to Classic, but not numbered edition with brass plaque instead of the numbering)
- Classic (1994; numbered version of the last 1600 200-series Volvos produced for North American market)
- Torslanda (1992-94 Europe-only special edition. A Base-model 2.0 engine car with side decals, alloy wheels and painted black exterior trim rather than chrome. It was designed as a way to sell off the last of the line base models by adding a few cosmetic touch ups and was not a special "winter" version as some believe)
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 - 1981-83 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 (K-Jetronic) in certain markets)
- Katalysator (Indicating a catalytic converter in Scandinavia and the German market)
200 Series specifications
- Produced 1974–94
- 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 ambulance, 3-door hearse
- Engines: See the engine sectionfor more detail. Engine configurations included:
- B20 4-cylinder inline OHV
- B17, B19, B21, B23, B200, B230 4-cylinder inline OHC
- B21ET, B21FT 4-cylinder inline OHC turbo (intercooled with factory installed IBS - Intercooler Boost System kit or Volvo R-Sport dealer retrofitting kit for 1981-83 models starting in mid-1983.)
- B27, B28 V6 OHC
- D20 5-cylinder inline OHC diesel
- D24 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 with 3 direct + OD)
- 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 1992-94 Cdn)
- Anti-lock braking system (ABS) (from 1991)
- Wheelbase: 264 cm/104 in
- Length (Europe):
- 1975–1980: 490 cm/193 in
- 1981–1994: 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
- 1986–1994 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, 1974–1994
- Fender-mounted side turn signal repeaters introduced various years in different European markets per local regulations; worldwide except North America starting in 1984. Australia starting in 1989.
- 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.
- White parking lamps (with white front turning signals for Italian market until 1977)
- Aspheric sideview mirrors
- Diesel engine available (except Australia) from 1979 to 1994.
North American market
- Exterior lighting system compliant with US federal standards
- Sealed-beam headlamps 1975-85
- Speedometer in miles per hour with inner scale in kilometres per hour; odometer in miles (US market)
- Plastic-lens replaceable-bulb headlamps 1986-94
- 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.
- In Canada, various market-specific parts such as block heaters were also added at the Volvo Halifax Assembly.
- 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 hood and grille from 264DL. Total amount exported approx. 1000. The cars was only sold to residents of East Berlin.
- 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, is nicknamed Volvograd.
- 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. These cars had the same wheelbase as the 264 Top Executive.
- 262C/Coupé by Bertone (1978–81): This had custom body work and interior from Bertone. The exterior coachbuilding of these two-door saloons consisted of a chopped roof (2.25in shorter than 242) and a more raked windscreen. The 1980 & 1981 models were badged Coupé instead of 262C. These cars were further characterised by additional Bertone badges on the front wings. Mostly built in left hand drive form, right hand drive vehicles are very rare.
- 242 GTX (Early 1980s) : A special model released in Sweden. Featured U.S quad sealed beam headlamps, turbo rims, and other minor cosmetic trim (mainly USA spec). Powered by a special 16-valve, dual carburetor engine, it developed 170 kW (231 PS; 228 hp) at 7500 rpm and was coupled with an M46 Manual transmission.
- 242 GT (1978–80): Sport model with race suspension and a high-compression engine. 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.
- GLT-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. Came with new black trimming as opposed to the popular chrome trimming found on the GLs (Grill, door trim, door handles, tail light sills & lens dividers). All came factory stock with 15" Virgo alloy wheels.
- GLT (1981–82): Standing for "Grand Luxe Touring," these models shared the uprated suspension, blacked-out exterior trim, and 15" Virgo alloy wheels of the GLT-Turbo model, but with a naturally aspirated powertrain.
- 244/240 GLE (1981–85) Australian market: Due to the problems with fitting a turbocharger to a RHD vehicle the Turbo model was rebadged a GLE and retained all the backed-out trim and high-end interior fittings of the turbo models but were equipped with the B23E then B230E engines most frequently mated to the BW55 until 1983 then trh AW71 for 1984–1985.
- 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 (Super) Polar (1991–1992): European markets only; commonly found in Italy.
- 240 Classic (1992–94): European markets from the 1992 model year. For the North American market, only 1,600 were produced in April and May 1994, 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 from the early 1975–1989 GL model, more like the 1993 Classic and the 1991 SE model. Only available in 244 sedan bodystyle.
- 240 Torslanda (1992–94) These cars can be identified by Torslanda badging, tinted windows, plastic exterior trim, multi-spoke 15" alloy wheels, and full-length body striping above the rocker panels. the only features were heated front seats, power steering and the standard heating systems. The Torslanda was sold outside of Sweden as a limited run special edition to mark the rundown of 240 production.
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.
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 Gothenburg, Sweden.
240 in motorsport
Despite its non-sporting image the Volvo 240 was a successful competitor in touring car racing in the 1980s. In 1983 Volvo produced an evolution version of the 240 Turbo with a larger turbocharger and other performance modifications. All of these special cars were reputedly exported to the United States. Most of them were subsequently stripped of their racing equipment and sold as standard road cars, which later led Volvo into difficulties with the sport's governing body, the FIA, which questioned whether the necessary 500 cars had in fact been built. Debate continues to this day among enthusiasts about how many of the special-edition cars were built and what happened to them.
Nevertheless, the 240 Turbo proved a successful competitor. In Group A racing form, the 240T weighed 1,065 kg (2,348 lb), and its turbocharged 2.1-litre engine produced approximately 350 bhp (261 kW; 355 PS). Although it was a big car and lacked the agility of some of its competitors, mostly due to its skinny tyres compared to its opposition, it was fast in a straight line (approximately 270 km/h (168 mph) on faster circuits such as Monza, Hockenheim and Bathurst) and proved to be very reliable. Volvo did not run the cars directly, instead engaging the services of established teams to prepare and manage them.
The Eggenberger Motorsport team was the most successful of these. Late in the 1984 European Touring Car Championship, Swedish team Sportpromotion won the EG Trophy race at Zolder circuit and followed that with second in the 500 km del Mugello. In 1985, Volvo signed Swiss engine guru Reudi Eggenberger to run its works team. Eggenberger Motorsport, with team drivers Gianfranco Brancatelli and Thomas Lindström, won the 1985 ETCC outright, seeing off challenges from BMW (Schnitzer), and defending ETCC champions TWR who were running the V8 engined Rover Vitesse rather than the V12 Jaguar XJS' that had dominated 1984 after Jaguar had decided to concentrate on Sports Car racing.
Eggengerger moved to race Ford Sierra's in 1986 and Volvo contraced Belgian based team RAS Sport to be its works team in the ETCC, with defending champion Lindström being joined by ex-Formula One and Grand Prix motorcycle racer Johnny Cecotto, as well as Ulf Granberg and Anders Olofsson. The team was competitive in 1986, taking wins at Hockenheim, Anderstorp, Brno, Österreichring and Zolder. Unfortunately however, the wins at Anderstorp and the Österreichring were taken away from the team due to illegal fuel. The disqualifications would see Lindström unable to defend his title.
Around the world, other teams were also running the Volvo 240T with a fair degree of success. New Zealander Mark Petch had purchased a 240T from the Magnum team in Sweden (and claimed to run the only privateer Volvo 240T outside of Europe), and drivers Robbie Francevic and Michel Delcourt won the Wellington 500 street race in New Zealand in January 1985 after starting from the rear of the grid due to the car not arriving in time to qualify. Francevic then went on to finish 5th in the 1985 Australian Touring Car Championship (the first ATCC to be run under Group A rules), taking wins at Symmons Plains and Oran Park. Thomas Lindström joined Francevic to win the 1986 Wellington 500 and brought with him from Europe the latest engine and suspension upgrades for the car. The Petch team would become the "Volvo Dealer Team" in 1986 and expand to two cars with the other being for John Bowe who had driven the Volvo with Francevic at the 1985 Bathurst 1000. Francevic won the 1986 Australian Touring Car Championship, giving Volvo their first and only Australian Touring Car Championship win, and also giving the 240T the distinction of being the first turbo powered car to win the championship since its inception in 1960. The car also won the Guia Race in Macau consecutively in 1985 and 1986.
Volvo withdrew from the sport at the end of the 1986 season, partly because of the controversy over its adherence to the FIA's homologation rules, but also because the 240T had achieved what it set out to do. Volvo did not return to touring car racing until the advent of Super Touring racing in the early 1990's, with the 850 model.
The 240 also enjoyed some success in other branches of motorsport. Although Volvo had pulled out of rallying in the early 1970's, the 240 Turbo did see action as a Group A rally car in the mid-1980s, but without works backing it met with only limited success. The normally aspirated version remained eligible for international competition until 1996, and to this day the 240 remains a popular clubman's rally car in Scandinavia. Its popularity has in recent years been boosted with the establishment of the Volvo Original Cup, or VOC. This is a championship for amateur rally drivers using Volvo 240s, 740s and 940s. In the interests of cost control, only very limited modifications are allowed to the cars. The series attracts large numbers of competitors, attracted by its low cost and by the Volvo's rear-drive handling and reliability.