Blockhead – 1972 Volvo 142E

Volvos are not obviously sporty cars, nor are they really oddballs, but there’s something appealing about their spartan, durable design. There are plenty of cars known for a 3-box design, like the 2002, but this car defines the word boxy (too bad about the round headlights). The only thing that comes as close is the Fiat 131. It’s a little bit like driving an old pickup or a Jeep – they’re not sporty by a traditional, handling-numbers-based definition, but the simplicity and unfiltered mechanical-ness of the experience makes it fun in its own way. Check out this 1972 Volvo 142E for sale for $3500 in Portland, OR.

1972 Volvo 142E left front

Yes, in the Pacific Northwest, also the home of ipd, Volvo hot-rodders of some reknown, but don’t forget about V Performance, who seem to be more oriented towards the older cars. This color must have seemed rather quaint in the early 1970s with other manufacturers building cars in bright, bold colors, but it works pretty well. With the bright sun light, it’s hard to tell if the paint is actually in such good condition. The simple, clean design is a bit cluttered by the multiple orange light lenses on the front corners, together with the bump strips on the sides. Widened steel wheels with the stock caps would look cool, and are more unique (if not as good for unsprung weight) as the typical upgrades to Panasports or later factory wheels.

1972 Volvo 142E right rear

The rear looks in nice shape too. With Washington plates and the McMansions in the background, you have to wonder if the seller lives in one of the suburbs across the border. Slightly oversize tires and a chrome tailpipe tip suggest there might be a little bit of upgrading already in place. The car is said to run perfectly, and benefits from various new parts including the starter, brakes, calipers, wheel bearings, fuel injectors, and fuel pump. Tires are also said to be decent, though as with any older car, you’ll want to check the date codes to make sure “good tires” doesn’t mean “made of rock-hard 1980s rubber that has lots of tread on it”.

1972 Volvo 142E interior

The interior appears to be in an original style fabric with no apparent tears. There are no comprehensive shots of the interior, but the detail shots show the upholstery well, together with the single dash crack and a curious little center console with just a clock, ashtray and two switches. The original-looking radio is said to be working properly, together with the rest of the electrical system.

1972 Volvo 142E engine

The intake wears a reusable filter cone, which might add some nice intake noise, but the engine compartment looks otherwise stock. The good news is, there’s plenty of room in there, and while the engine is not outrageously powerful, the published 135hp should move this ~2700 lb. car along pretty nicely. Also, you’ll be one of the few cars on the road sharing a power unit with a howitzer. So, the choice is yours – make it into a sporty sedan, or add a turret and gun to the roof.

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One Response to “Blockhead – 1972 Volvo 142E”

  1. steve in podunk Says:

    love the color; make it easy to find in a big parking lot

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