Ladies and gentlemen, today we are looking at one of my favorite classic Volvos. The 164E was the luxury Volvo from 1969 through 1975, and a long line of luxury models succeeded the classic 140-based six-cylinder sedan, from the grand (Volvo 940SE, 960, S90) through the not-so-grand (264GL with questionable PRV V6 motivation). Why is this one my favorite? Well, growing up in the ’80s, these cars were uncommon, and so it was always cool to see one on the road or sitting in the service bay at Lundahl Motors, way back when, when they were still in downtown Moline, IL.
There was just something about that grille and that beautiful leather trim. As a fourth grader in about 1989, I knew nor cared one whit about British styling influences on the plushest Volvo. I just knew I liked them!
Mike Lundahl and his wife Cathy were long-time friends of my parents, and Mike took over the Volvo dealer when his dad retired. So I was down at Lundahl’s frequently with my dad, and not just when the 240GL or DL wagon needed an oil change or tire rotation. While Dad sat in the showroom and shot the bull with Mike, I’d wander around the service area or the lot. It didn’t hurt that my folks were friends with the owners; I pretty much could wander around at will, provided I didn’t irritate the mechanics or go near the cars being serviced. I always steered well clear of those areas.
Sometimes there were interesting old Volvos sitting about. I remember one decommissioned 164E sitting at the furthest corner of the service area. As I recall it was blue and had a blue interior. I actually got in and sat in it (not a customer’s car, I think it might have been a trade-in awaiting refurbishment or replacement oily bits). Or awaiting the wreckers; it had a thin coat of dust on it.
How well I remember that interior! It was very similar, of course, to my folks’ Volvo 240s, but at the same time those seats and the instrument panel were different, being the earlier pre-1975 panel with round HVAC vents and clock instead of the rectangular ones in the 240. I was intrigued with the door lock buttons, as they were chrome in the flossier 164E instead of interior color on Mom and Dad’s 240s. I actually unscrewed one and was going to take it with me until Mom saw it! “You go put that back on that car right now!!”
So yes, I must admit I got a thrill when I saw this super nice ’74 164E on eBay last year. It was luxurious, but also practical at the same time–as Volvo played up in its advertising.
The deep aquamarine blue paint and saddle tan interior is beautiful on this car. When combined with the (factory) blue carpeting, it was suitably clubby as befitting its status in the Volvo hierarchy. So, what is this particular 164E’s story? It is quite the time capsule, that is for certain.
Well, this auction has long since passed, but fortunately, I saved the description in the seller’s own words:
This Nebraska Native has Fuel Injected Engine, Automatic Transmission, Power Brakes, Leather seats, Manual windows, Manual door locks, CD / AM / FM, Factory Air Conditioning. Engine is in Good Shape, does not smoke, does not leak, nice and quiet. Transmission feels Perfect, shifts without any problems, without delay and without noise. Suspension is in Excellent shape, Car tracks nice and straight. There is No Evidence of any Electrical problems. The exterior is in Excellent shape for a 1974. There is absolutely no rust any where on the car. Leather Seats, Carpet Floor and Glass are all in Great shape ( !!! Check out the pictures !!! ) Interior of this car is Nice and Clean. This 164 has 4 matching Brand NEW Tires that are mounted on Good straight rims.
Clearly, someone loved this car and took excellent care of it, for it to have survived the harsh Nebraska winters. I suspect it was never driven in the salt.
Though a three-speed automatic transmission was standard equipment, those who wanted to row their own gears could select a four-speed synchronized manual unit with electronic overdrive.
Here is the B30F inline six, looking just as tidy as the rest of the car. In 1974 North American-bound models, it was good for 138 hp @ 5500 rpm and 154 lb-ft at 3500. An 8.7:1 compression ratio, seven-main-bearing crankshaft, four-wheel disc brakes, 21.5 cu. ft. of trunk space and turning circle of 34 feet are just some of the generous specifications listed in the sales brochure.
A car complete, and who wouldn’t want to have a plush, comfy sedan with a straight six, good handling and–best of all–those most excellent bucket seats? And for those who were more concerned over the luxury aspects, that so-veddy-British grille-and-foglights treatment, the longer hood and ample chrome trim was more than enough for folks to know you weren’t in your Uncle Sven’s 145!
All in all, just a gorgeous, classic Volvo sedan. Hope she found a caring owner!