Some of you may recall my friend David in Clinton, Arkansas. Ever since I have known him, he has had this low mileage 142. I have always admired it since I laid eyes on it. I even asked several times what he would take for the car, and he just was not too excited about selling it. I came to respect that, and just appreciated the car for what it is. Well, David decided that he needed to get rid of some cars, and the 142 was moving along. I was his first call when he made this decision. We actually did a little horse trading on it, so no cash technically changed hands, but the car was mine.
David bought his car around the mid 2000’s from an eBay auction. The car had been sitting for a bit, and did not run right. David paid $700 for the car, and brought it back to Arkansas from Oklahoma City. His plans were to use the B20 motor for his 1800, but once he got the car home, he realized that it was too nice to just strip the car down. So he fixed the problem with the fuel distributor, and kept the car. He has never really driven the car much; he just keeps it running.
Before David bought the car, it was bought new at Leveridge Imports in Oklahoma. According to an old article from The Journal Record Lloyd Leveridge and his father began selling Volvos in 1956, becoming one of the first dealers in the US to sell Volvos. It was eventually bought out by Jerry Bugg, who brought VW into the OKC scene majorly. The location is now a bar and body shop, what a great idea!
After the car was sold, it was likely towed behind an RV most of its life. There is an old 5 round pin plug in the front of the car for trailer lights, and a very cool collar sleeve to disengage the drive shaft. Basically you would pull a cable under the driver’s seat that would pull this collar back from the drive shaft and disengage it completely. If you pushed the cable it would slide the sleeve back over the drive shaft to engage it. This took some skill to do, and likely an old way of doing RV flat tows for automatics.
I have not done too much to the car. I have a set of GT rims that I will throw on there, and plan to leave it the way it is. I will probably polish it up, and fix some minor things on it. The car sits inside my shop next to the 444.
Since this is a 74 like my other 142, it carries the same fuel distributor system. Volvo had gotten away from the D-Jet fuel injection system, and moved to a more complicated K-Jet system. I could not tell you the first thing about how a K-Jet works other than fuel is somehow magically distributed through a mushroom looking distributor, and fed through individual cylinder lines. This car came very well equipped with AC and power steering, which for 74 they had to cram it all under the hood. Whoever bought this new, did not spare much ticking all the boxes just about. They could have gotten a sunroof and leather, but it’s an RV toad, who cares!
I doubt that I will get rid of this car at least anytime soon. I really have admired this car for many years, and some day when I win the lottery, I will tear it all apart and redo the motor. Until then I will just drive it, repair as needed, and enjoy it!
A manual would been more practical as a RV tow car but you were stuck with the automatic. Volvo must have been the first ‘affordable” import with standard automatic, Including Jags n the Like?.
No standard automatic on 4 cylinder Volvos for at least 15 years after this one. The actual model, as shown on the sticker, is a 142 Automatic, hence its standard equipment on that specific model.
Connor, maybe I missed something, but do you still have the 1800? It’s hard to keep track! 🙂
We found out years later that the stack-of-Volvoes ad touting their safety was faked.
Safe in the lips of a vulva.
No, the stack-of-Volvos wasn’t faked; rather it was the ad depicting the aftermath of a row of cars that had been run over by a monster truck. Only the Volvo’s roof had held up, but it turned out that some extra reinforcments were added to the roof pillars.
That’s a nice car, with a nice story. I’m glad you didn’t strip it for parts. My father-in-law had an orange Volvo wagon when we met, with what I remember to be a similar front end as the subject car. Vintage Volvo wagons were very common around here back then (1993), though I seem to recall many of them being brown or some other subdued color, which made the orange ones stand out. The car was a secondary vehicle for him by that time, and he sold it soon afterward.
I think the original Volvo 140, especially in 2 door form, is one of the most perfect automotive sedan shapes of all time, perhaps the best of its era, along with the Fiat 124. (I’d argue that the XJ6 isn’t quite a sedan, and it came along a few years later). And even the detailing of the original was pretty nice too. But whoever was responsible for the refresh in the early seventies just ruined it. The horizontal taillights where obviously vertical ones belonged (later fixed with another refresh) and that ridiculous piece of trim at the top of the C pillar. Ughh!! Sorry Connor, no offense, but if it were mine I’d try to take care of those along with the wheels and bumpers. But I LOVE the color!
I know what you mean! It’s funny because my 1980 2-door looked just like this from the firewall back (except for the revised rear end and taillights) and included that C-pillar trim to cover up the seam. 1980 was the last year for the shiny window surrounds; after that they were blacked out.
Very nice, Connor! I always enjoy reading your pieces each Saturday morning. Keep them coming!
It’s interesting that you say K Jetronic is more complicated than D Jetronic. K Jetronic has no computer or timed injectors. It’s in fact simpler than a carburetor when one takes the time to learn how it works.
I was gonna say the same thing but you beat me to it. K-Jet is much simpler. Both my ’75 Audi Fox and my ’75 245 had it.
Me three. K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection is much simpler than the D-Jetronic analogue electronic. Of course, anything I don’t know or understand is naturally going to seem opaque and infinitely complex, even stuff that’s objectively pretty simple.
I had (I think?) the L Jetronic on my ’75 Opel Manta.
In spite of being 8 years old and 90,000 hard miles accumulated on it; it worked flawlessly the entire time I owned the car.
Me four, I used to work on VWs and K-Jetronic is actually very simple. The fuel distributor has a control rod in the middle attached to a pivoting bar with a plate on the other end set between the air filter and throttle body. The whole lash up acts as a mechanical mass airflow sensor. incoming air lifts the plate, which pulls down the metering rod which increases fuel flow. The other significant pieces are the control pressure regulator and the idle air valve. The whole system can be tested and diagnosed with a multimeter, a pressure gauge and a jumper for the fuel pump relay. The John Muir book for the VW Rabbit has an excellent intro and explanation.
The C-pillar trim covered a seam.
There’s no visible seam on older 140’s. Either they revised the body (perhaps to support that stack of cars in the roof) or had previously filled and ground a seam that was cheaper to cover with the little piece of stamped aluminum. Either way, a visible seam or more discreet trim would have shown that they still cared about clean design.
Like on the facelifted Alfasud.
How many states’ antique plates have an antique car on them?
I hadn’t seen one from Arkansas until now, so I know of two.
Georgia has an antique plate with something very old on it
Here’s one from CT, pulled from eBay because my old truck is behind a mound of snow.
Though the economy of the state has long since moved on, Connecticut was a hotbed of brass-era automobile manufacturing and innovation.
The vehicle depicted on the plate looks like a 1900 steam-powered Locomobile, made in CT during those glory days.
Here’s a real 1900 Locomobile, from Wikimedia.
I suspect that the Volvo enamel paint started to dull down and chalk up 10 minutes after the car came off the assembly line.
I cannot ever recall seeing a smooth and shiny orange, yellow or baby blue 142/144 Volvo…..even when they were nearly new cars.
They had an optional Ming coat finish for the paint. Mine is shiny, still. This was an Arizona thing, along with optional air-conditioning, most sold here had it.
My Dad and I have this 72. Manual w/overdrive. It drives, with years of upkeep, part rebuilds, finds, a 144 tear down car. Still, some things have been circumvented and parts don’t work on dash. It has working air conditioning. I’d love to find proper working gauge parts for dash and original seats (has 240 seats in ot that fit but are not true to the car. Other than those things it’s complete. Has 2 different set of rims from 142 and 1800.