CC Outtake: 1978-1980 Volvo 242 GT – A Faster Brick?

As you well know by know, Eugene is crawling with 2oo-Series Volvos (there was a blue wagon just in front of this one). But its been a while since I’ve seen one of these, a 242 GT, which was only offered in 1978 – 1980 before it was replaced by the Turbo (we’ll save that for another day).  The GT had a unique front fascia, lowered suspension, bigger alloy wheels, and of course the obligatory racing stripes. But the question is: Was it really any faster?

Wiki says that these had a “high compression” engine. In some markets, that was a 140-hp engine with a different camshaft, but in the US? Not likely at a time when engines had to run on regular unleaded, and didn’t have today’s sophisticated electronics to compensate for it. Or am I wrong?