Had an 86 Wagon... sold it in '04 because of engine wire issue, and Volvos weak a/c units... another trouble spot, as with most European cars at the time. I would own another. Easy to work on, very practical. They are transitioning from used cars to vintage. I'm my opinion, the last good Volvo made. Gas economy in the 20's. The "chopped top" coupes were rare when new. The diesel was not a good motor, there's a reason it was dropped.
In 1974 I was a college boy living in Copenhagen Denmark. At the time, there was an organization that used volunteer drivers to deliver new cars from Denmark to other cities in Europe. Sounds hard to believe today and I don't know if it still exists all these years later. But I applied and was allowed to drive a beautiful P145 wagon to Luxembourg. I was given just enough money for gas and tolls and was given (as I recall) two or three days to deliver the car. The trip involved a ferry ride and a drive down the famous Autobahn along the Rhine valley.
As an American kid, I had never been very interested in Swedish or German cars, but the Volvo's quality, performance, handling and comfort was impressive. That Volvo was far and away the superior car to anything made in America during that time. From that point, I had a passion for European cars that still has a firm grip on me today.
We just replaced my wife's '92 245 after 14 years and 9 months, due to floor and rocker rust seeping into the front lower suspension. Over 400 K and still running strong. We bought her a new car - a '93 245 with only 145 K. To make things fair, I bought myself a new car as well - a '90 245 with only 240 K. I think we're set for now.
No mention of the 260s, even though they were the same body as the 240s. The 264 GLE was the top trim, adding a few features on top of everything that came with the GL. Leather seating and padded headrests are a few features that come to mind. The stereo (not sure if it was standard or an option) even had a microphone that would allow an executive to record dictation. We still have some fun cassette tapes of making family recordings on the road to grandmother's house.
The GLE also swapped the 4-cylinder for the infamous PRV 2.8 V6, which some may recognize as the same motor that ended up in the DeLorean DMC12.
We had two in our family: a 1980 and 1982. The 1980 GLE was the first to get the dual square headlights on each side, which really made the older round headlight cars seem dated until they were replaced by the European headlights.
I had a 1980 240 GL my senior year in high school 1991. I Paid $800 for it and spent $900 on a paint job. It was painfully slow but still faster than my buddy's Subaru Brat. If it wouldn't have had a tach, it might still be running today. Too many trips to 7300 rpm! It was built like a tank and pretty decent offroad. As reported the ac sucked. The heater could make toast. It was very comfortable but 5200 rpm at 85 mph made for a buzzy ride. If it had OD it didn't work. My favorite feature was the hidden compartment under the trunk floor. Great for Icing down beer. The sun roof leaked and the hard liner would hold water as a girlfriend found out on a winter day. I put it in reverse and dumped about 3 gallons of cold water on her head. She laughed after she caught her breath. I miss that car.
I worked with a guy who bought one of these new, I think a 1990 or 1991. Last I saw it, the car had over 300,000 miles, and was still going. The wagon versions would be my preference, as is true with most European cars of that era.
I guess my Mom got interested in Volvos, because of my experience with my new 1970 142. Of my beloved 142, I'll always remember the 4 whl. disc brakes, that I had it for a very reliable 11 yrs., and for the seats - seats that were both comfortable and actually had functional protective, headrests (unlike Detroit's neck breakers). Mom got a ('75 or 76) 244. What I most remember - while she was driving in dwntown Philly, she got broadsided in the driver's door by a car "flying out" of a parking garage. Luckily, she escaped injury. The story goes, the cops told her, they thought she'd be dead, if she'd not been driving her 244. What's another 31 yrs of a long, well-lived, life worth on the sticker price?
I love the Brick Volvos. My father's last car was a '95 940, which I wish I'd kept after he died. Beautiful car, not much power, but a silky smooth engine.
But I didn't appreciate these cars nearly as much in late summer, 1973 as I do now. Back then, I drove a 140 wagon Boston to Palo Alto for a Stanford professor (don't remember the year). The car was loaded to the gills with possessions that were fitted inside like the pieces of a 3D puzzle. In late Nebraska or early Wyoming, I noticed that one of the rear tires had begun to leak air. I put some more in and tried to tell myself it was my imagination, but several hours later, it was obvious. I stopped at a gas station in Rawlins to get the tire fixed, as I had no desire to mess with the luggage. The guy who owned the place made some comments about German cars, and after correcting him several times I gave up. Not having a Volvo jack, he went through contortions to jack the thing without inflicting damage. Once the tire was fixed, he admonished me that next time I crossed the country, I should be driving a Cadillac, and stop in his gas station to get the gas tank filled.
But that was the last time I drove across the country (the next year I took the train, and the year after that I rode my bicycle).
I'm hoping to drive cross-country again next year, in my Civic, but I plan to be taking the back roads.