COAL: #26 1974 Volvo 142 – Disco Fever

I was longing for a Volvo at this point. I had a 4Runner, and a Subaru that I daily drove, and for the first time ever did not have a Volvo to daily drive. Even though I was not needing a daily driver, I still was longing for a Volvo. This car however, found me. I was on social media, and happened to stumble onto an ad for a 142 for sale. Obviously the color caught my eye, but also the fact it was a one owner.

I reached out to the seller, and he had an interesting story to go with this car. He said that he bought the car brand new when he was 23. He went to the Volvo dealer in Louisville, Kentucky and picked out a cheap Volvo. He said he had originally wanted a blue 142, but the only blue ones they had on the lot were with power steering, and he could not afford that. He went with this stripped down orange one. He said he drove the car for years all throughout his 20’s but eventually sold it to his cousin who kept it for a few years, but let it get repossessed for not making payments. The seller said he never thought of the car again for 30 years. Until one day he was driving around downtown Louisville, and a glimpse of orange caught his eye. He said it was sitting in a lot with a bunch of other random cars. He stopped and thought there was no way that it was his old Volvo. He said he looked inside, and the thing that gave it away was the driver seat had a burn from a certain type of cigarette that was popular back then, if you know what I mean. He also looked at the faded front fender that he had to repaint in the 70’s from when someone hit him in a parking lot. He went home and found the old VIN to verify it was his, and it was. He talked to the owner who said it had been in storage for a long time from a bank auction. After looking at the miles it is about what would have been on it from when his cousin drove it.

After the seller I bought it from bought the car, he had to do extensive work for it to be roadworthy. All the fuel injection system had to be gone through. If I thought D-jet was hard to work on, you can just forget the one year only for 140 series, K-jet. It has a constant injection pump that works in mysterious ways. To this day I don’t really understand how it works, and honestly I don’t care to. All I know is that other Volvo guys hate K-Jet more than D-jet. Once the car had been gone through completely, the seller had lost interest. It could also be the fact that his wife did not know that he had the car, and kept it parked at his mother’s.

The car presented well. The seller had the fender repainted to match the rest of the car, and he also did some modifications to it. The exhaust was larger, and gave it a bit of a rumble. He added wider Volvo turbo wheels, as well as a bunch of IPD suspension goodies. The thing that made me fall in love with the car was that interior! Would doesn’t love some orange stripe goodness. That was an original option back in 1974, and I think one of the best interior options Volvo has yet to offer. The car does not have a lot of options as I said before. He was going for cheap, so it has a 4 speed no overdrive, no power steering, but it does have power brakes which I think were standard at the time. It also had AC, which I don’t I think at the time was common in the 140 series.

I bought the car for $2500, but had to drive to Kentucky to get it. That was a long day driving to Louisville, and back in one day. The 140 series was Volvo’s entry level car, replacing the 120 series. As people scooped up all the 1800’s and 122’s, the 142’s are increasing in value quite a bit. Once I got the car back, I had noticed something that was a little concerning, a tick. Now, Volvos, especially B20’s, are known to have a tick because of the way the engine is made. This however sounded almost like a knock. I had David check it out, as well as numerous mechanics, and no one could figure it out. Even the previous owner had it taken to mechanics and they all said the same thing, it’s not a knock, but it is something. The headers were wrapped by the previous owner to cut down on the sound, but you could still hear it a little. It could have been a slow developing knock, but it went on like this for years.

The only issue that I had with it was a weird charging issue. At some point in time there was an electric fan added to help with the cooling, and somewhere in that wiring it caused some weird things to happen. David and I took out the electric fan, and replaced the alternator and voltage regulator for good measure. After that there were no more issues with a dead battery.

I only kept the car for a few months, because I traded it with a fellow Volvo enthusiast for something he had. Plus at this time, I had way too many cars in my parents’ driveway. Since I traded it on something, the amount I sold it for gets a little hairy, but it was somewhere near $3500. The seller I sold it to liked the interior as much as me, but did not keep it long either. Last I knew he sold it to someone in North Carolina, and I hope it is being loved. This was truly a one of a kind Volvo, as you don’t see many with this interior. I would love the chance to own it again if it came back up for sale. I do miss it, but the car I traded it for was very special too.