Miniature Curbside Classic: 1983 Volvo 245GLT Promotional By Stahlberg

This week’s miniature CC is a model that is tied very closely to my childhood, the Stahlberg Volvo dealer promotional. As frequent visitors to CC know, I grew up with a number of Volvo 240 sedans and wagons. My parents have owned a number of Volvos since the mid-1970s, and as a result I got a number of these promo cars when I was a kid.

Volvo offered dealer promotionals at least since the mid-1960s. Of course, by the time I came along in the early 1980s the 240 series was their volume model. As related in my 1973 Volvo 1800ES post, my parents were friends with the local Volvo dealer, Mike and Cathy Lundahl. On visits to the dealership for service, or just to shoot the breeze with Mike, my Dad would frequently bring me a 240 model. These 1/20-scale Volvos were very well detailed, and they usually had several hanging on the pegboard behind the service desk.

These models were made in Finland by Stahlberg, and were molded in a rather soft, flexible plastic instead of the usual polystyrene that US promos were molded in. The earliest ones I remember were a copper colored 264GLE and a white 245GLT, identical to our featured wagon except for color.

I was always car-crazy, even at two or three years of age, but I was also a destructive little kid. Many of my original Volvo promos were taken apart, and when my mom found them missing their wheel covers, tail lights, grille etc., they would get tossed. I probably got over a dozen as a kid, either as gifts from my parents or from Mike and Cathy themselves. Of those, I think only two or three remain today, and some are pretty rough. Yes, I was stupid!

By the time I was 10 or so, I knew to hang on to them and not trash them, so my surviving ones are in nice shape: a gunmetal gray ’88 760GLE wagon, a cream yellow ’86 245GL I got from a friend of my mom’s, and a nearly identical yellow 245GL (except for Turbo 5-spoke wheels) that was the last Stahlberg Lundahl’s had in stock in about 1992. That was also the only one I bought “new” with my own money. I also have a really rough ’86 244GL in black with a tan interior. That one would have been really sharp if it wasn’t banged up and missing parts, but at least I still have it!

I thought I would never be able to replace all the models I’d lost, but thanks to a certain ubiquitous auction site, I rapidly acquired many more Stahlbergs between the late ’90s and early ’00s. I even managed to snag a 122/Amazon coupe and red and white 142S coupes, models that will be featured sometime in the future.

As for our featured mustard yellow 245, I probably got it in about 1998-99. It was in near-mint condition when I got it, but unfortunately the plastic body had a couple of weak spots, and the A-pillars separated from the body. These models can be easily disassembled, but they fit together so tightly that after I glued it and reassembled it, they failed yet again. After going through this over and over, I managed to get one to hold, and “Bondoed” the other one from the outside with white glue, as you can see in some of the pictures. Funny that I spent so much time on this one, considering it would have probably gotten “crashed” over and over once the pillars snapped if I had had it as a kid. I know better now!