Car Show And Parking Lot Outtakes: Three Generations Of Two-Door Volvo Sedans


Early October I came across three subsequent generations of Volvo sedans. And all three of them happened to have two doors. Volvo, Latin for I roll. Make that I keep on rolling in this case, as this trio of classic Swedish automobiles stands for durability and longevity. And safety, but that speaks for itself.


We start with the oldest, a 1966 Volvo 121. This generation of Volvos, introduced in 1956, is commonly known as the Amazon.


The 121 was the base model of the series, this one is powered by Volvo’s 1,780 cc single carb B18A engine.


The Amazon was also available as a four-door sedan and as a wagon. Throughout its production run, which ended in 1970, the engine options were the single or dual carb B16 (1,580 cc), B18 (1,780 cc) and B20 (1,986 cc) engines, up to 100 DIN-hp. In 1961 the B18 engine replaced the B16, and in 1968 the B20 superseded the B18.


Then, parked next to the Amazon, a 1970 Volvo 142 S.


Volvo’s transition from round to brick.


The letter S, as in 142 S, means that there’s a dual carb engine under the hood, more specifically a 100 DIN-hp B20B engine. Note the period-correct Volvo mud flaps, just like on the Amazon. Ah yes, mud flaps. A common item on any car back then.


Volvo’s 140-series was introduced in 1966 and like the Amazon it was offered as a two-door, four-door and wagon.


The transmission is a four-speed manual with overdrive. That’s the M41 transmission, in Volvo-jargon.


Now then, this is it. The ultimate brick, the civilian tank, the Volvo-est of all Volvos, the I Roll Final Boss: the 1974-1993 240-series. The car that outlived anything else on the road, often its driver included. That is, with the exception of certain contemporary Mercedes-Benz models.


The 1975 Volvo 242 DL in our national color was in the parking lot of the DAF factory. And an LDV Maxus is photobombing. Inbetween the Volvo and the LDV panel van is a 1992-1997 Renault 19 five-door hatchback (same segment as the VW Golf).


You got a light ? This duo would look completely ridiculous on anything but a civilian tank.


According to its registration this 242 DL has a 60 kW engine. That’s 82 DIN-hp, which means the power comes from the “old” single carb B20A engine, instead of a -then new- Redblock SOHC engine. Initially the Redblock was an option, it became standard by model year 1976.

By the way, did you also spot the German interpretations of longevity in some of the 242 pictures ? In the background, on the right.


Curbside Classic Volvo 122 S

Curbside Classic 1972 Volvo 144 E

Curbside Classic 1982 Volvo 244 DL