The Volvo 240 can be considered as the vehicle that helped the brand establish its hold on the global automotive market. What began as an updated version of the Volvo 140 has become a global institution that continues to attract fans despite its discontinuation after nearly 20 years of production.
1974-1975: The Volvo 240 enters the market
The Volvo 240, along with its 260 counterpart, was introduced in 1974. It was initially available in six variants: 242 L, 242 DL, 244 DL, 244 GL, 245 L, and 245 DL, and it was sold either as a station wagon or a sedan. The 240 was equipped with a B20A four-cylinder engine and a MacPherson strut assembly. For the 240 DL variant, a B21A engine was an option. The first 240 units for the US market were introduced as 1975 models that were equipped with a B20 F engine. Over the years, several changes and upgrades were made.
Late 1970s and onwards: Incremental changes over the years
In 1976, an oxygen sensor referred by Volvo as a Lambda Sond was introduced. It provided a feedback loop for the K-Jetronic fuel injection system that resulted into a fine-tuned air-and-fuel mix, better drivability, and improved fuel economy and emissions. In 1979, a diesel engine variant was introduced by Volvo. However, units equipped with diesel engines were only sold on select markets.
Throughout its product years, several special packages and trim levels were offered, with some of them released as limited editions: Polar, GTX, Super Polar, SE, Limted, Classic, and Torslanda. Engine configurations offered included turbo, diesel, injection, and Katalysator versions. Other special 240 editions were also released. The list includes the 244 DLS, which was released from 1977 to 1978, the 245 T, which was sold from the early 1970s to the early 1980s, and the 242 GTX, which was released in the early 1980s. Anniversary editions were released in 1977 (244 DL Anniversary version) and in 1987 (240 DL Jubileum).
1980s: The Volvo 240 makes its mark in motorsports
During the 1980s, the Volvo 240 proved to be a strong competitor in racing competitions. To accommodate the demanding requirements of a race track, the turbo-charged 240 was equipped with a bigger engine. Performance upgrades were also done to turn the humble Volvo 240 into a force to be reckoned with at the track. Behind the wheel of a 240, Sportpromotion, a Swedish racing team, won the EG Trophy Race at the 1984 European Touring Car Championship. Another racing team, Eggenberger Motorsport, earned the winning trophy at the 1985 ETCC outright with the help of a Volvo 240. The 240 was also used by race car drivers Michel Delcourt and Robbie Francevic when they were hailed as the winners at the Wellington 500 in New Zealand in 1985.
In 1994, Volvo discontinued the 240 series. Despite this, the model continues to attract hobbyists and collectors. As a matter of fact, the 240 is a popular option in folkrace competitions.