Red Stripe – 1980 Volvo 242GT

If you grew up in the 1970s or 1980s, there’s a good chance you have some level of nostalgia (ironic or genuine) for the spoiler & strip performance packages they used to put on cars back then. Thanks to relatively new emissions and fuel economy regulations, manufacturers were likely reluctant to revisit the testing process for a limited-audience high performance models, so performance was in the eye of the beholder. Among its visual upgrades were a flat hood, red striping inside and out, and fog lights in the grill, but it did also get some proper performance features – anti-roll bars and a special grill with integrated fog lights. However, the rest of the world also got an upgraded engine (injected 2.3), where we had to make do with the standard 2.1 found on the regular DL. Anyhow, in the meantime it’s a fun oddity and possibly a good subject for an upgrade to a later Volvo turbo unit or a V8. Wait, did someone say V8? Today’s 242GT is available for $3300 in Arizona.

1980 Volvo 242GT right front

Looks straight from this side. The pictures on this listing will again make you wonder whether the seller buys cars based on two exterior shots that don’t show the entire car. So, what can you deduce from these pictures? Well, it’s straight, the paint seems decent, and the car still has the factory flat hood over which brickheads go nuts. He says it’s rust free, which is not too surprising for an Arizona car – let’s just hope all the plastic bits haven’t melted off!

1980 Volvo 242GT lights

Lights! Well, at least you know they all work. Fogs seem to have a reddish tinge, but this is probably just the camera. By the way, in terms of a V8 upgrade, has anybody dropped in a late Volvo V8? That would be a refreshing change from the standard Ford upgrade, though no doubt more complex, if only for its rarity. All that considered, and in spite of its 274,000 miles, the car has passed smog recently and the seller says it runs great. It’s his daily driver on a 50+ mile commute. Would it survive the cockroach in a nuclear holocaust scenario? Who knows?

1980 Volvo 242GT interior

Cool interior in the spoilers & stripes performance idiom. If you’ve never tried them, Volvo seats are insanely comfortable, and if the interior condition is any indicator, this is a good car. It needs a new steering rack, but a rebuilt one is included, and it needs a driver’s window regulator. Amazingly, the air conditioning and heat both work, so with that and the overdrive, you’ll be extra comfortable on those seats.

1980 Volvo 242GT dash

Nice mini-tachometer. Clearly Volvo thought owners would care less about revving the daylights out of the engine and more about how much fuel is in their tank, and how hot the coolant is. Or maybe the conversation went more like “Hey Sven, let’s put in a center-mounted tach!” “Ja, Bjorn, just like on a Porsche!”

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One Response to “Red Stripe – 1980 Volvo 242GT”

  1. steve in podunk Says:

    I killed one of these years ago, so I know it can be done if you’re determined, young & stupid; which I certainly was!

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