COAL #42 1975 Volvo 164E – The Movie Car

You are probably thinking “Another 164 post? Why bother?” Well, this one has a story! (Last 164 post I promise.) I had found a Craigslist ad on the 164 forum for a car in the Chicago area. Naturally what caught my eye was the seller had a picture of the car’s original Monroney sticker. For those that don’t know, I am a big collector of Monroney stickers. I have amassed a large collection over the years. You can actually see a post I made about the car’s sticker a few months back. Anyway, the car was advertised for $500, and I immediately jumped on it.

I knew there was some rust with the car, but even if it was too far gone, I could make my money back in parts. I spoke to the seller who had told me that he had owned the car since 2001, and actually chased the owner down the road when he saw the “for sale” sign in the rear window. He informed me that he was living out of state and the car was at his friend’s garage, but his friend was moving and needed the car gone. It had been off the road since 2015 at least, and needed to be towed. I told him that all sounded good, and that I would be up there the following weekend. He said that would be fine, and his friend would help facilitate the process for him. He then in the same breath said “Oh yeah, this car was in a movie”.  Wait, what? That’s right a Hollywood movie.

You can see the car in the background here. Again, sorry for the phone screenshot, not many photos of the car in the movie.

A little more prying I found out it was in Stolen Summer in 2002. I had never heard of it, but it has some decent actors like Bonnie Hunt, and Kevin Pollak (I know him from Grumpy Old Men). The movie was not really a hit so to speak, very much like the Volvo 164. The seller did not have much background on the movie, and how it got assigned the role was a little murky, but he had a stack of records to go with it. I was really excited to get the car, and that is probably the entire reason the 10 hour drive up to Chicago went by so fast.

Once my wife and I had arrived, I realized that the garage was going to be in a back alley and loading the car might be a challenge. The seller’s friend was there as promised, and showed us the car. The car was nose first in the garage, so we would have to back it out and use the winch on the trailer to load it up. He had his few month old daughter on his hip, and threw her to my wife, Anna (I told her to not get any ideas), and started to help me push the car out into the alley. Luckily the car’s brakes were not locked up and rolled just fine. The loading process went quick and easy like the transaction. The hard part was making the 90 degree turn to get out of the alley, but as it turns out Anna is excellent at guiding me.

The trip home was uneventful for the most part, besides Anna asking how much longer. Once I got the car home, it was going to have to be stored in Anna’s spot in the garage until my shop was finished a few weeks later. A fact I forgot to mention to her. I then started to look through all the car’s service records and was taken away. There was a folder about 5 inches high full of all types of documentation. I was able to find old Polaroids of the car when it was originally white, before it was painted for its movie debut. I even found a ledger the previous owner had kept and added up what was spent on the car since the 1980s. (You will have to excuse the photos of the photos, my scanner was not working.)

I still have this interior in my shop

From what I could conclude from the hundreds of documents was the car was bought in Savannah, Ga. at Victory Motors, and stayed in Savannah until 1995 when it was then moved up to Chicago. That is when it was bought by its new owner who kept it for a few years, and then the owner I bought it from got it in 2001. That is presumably when it entered into the movie somehow. The history behind it after that gets a little murky as I never met the seller, but he knew someone who knew someone that was looking for a car for a movie. The service records show the car was maintained by various Volvo dealers in the Chicago area up until the mid 2000s, when it was then serviced by an independent Volvo shop. According to the ledger that one of the owners kept, $16,715.70 was spent on it since 1988 to keep it on the road. That is quite the amount!

Once my shop was done, and I was able to move the car in and take a good look at it, the frame was probably one of the rustiest cars I have seen. The frame and floor boards had holes in them to the point the driver’s seat just about fell through to the ground. I was completely defeated. I knew the car was probably not worth saving. Had the frame been untouched I would have tried, but the rust had compromised vital parts in the frame to where the car would not be safe to drive. Regrettably, I started picked parts off, and selling what I could.


As with the other parts cars that I had, it’s important not to get caught up in the fact that I am taking away another great classic Volvo to the crusher. It’s important to see that the car will give up its parts to service other Volvos around the world. Since this car is feasibly no longer able to be resurrected doesn’t mean it should just sit in a garage for the next 20 years wasting away. The parts can be used to get other cars back on the road. After all, it is a Volvo 164, not a rare Ferrari.

I sold what I could, and the car went to be recycled. I made my money back on the car just about, and was able to make some more connections with Volvo enthusiasts. I am glad that I was able to save this car in a way and own it for the time I did. Chances are this car would have been crushed with all the parts on it had I not come in to save it. This was by far the most unique car I have owned.