If someone were to claim, that no Volvo based on the overly square-cut three-box 140-series could ever be sexy, then they would quite frankly be wrong! Yes, today’s Prime Find is a Volvo totally devoid of sensual curves, but to me it oozes sex-appeal nonetheless. Sometimes, it would appear that all that shines truly is gold…
From a design perspective, the new 140-series was something remarkably different from the shapely Amazon which it was eventually to fully replace. Many mechanical components had been carried over, but in many other ways there was a lot of innovation in the new Swede. It was safe, practical and well-built. It was Swedish!
But what the 140-series didn’t quite manage, was to re-introduce Volvo to the luxury saloon market which they had effectively left behind them as far back as 1950 when the PV60 ceased production. For this, the 144 was re-thought and re-engineered to accept Volvo’s newly developed 3.0-litre straight-6 B30 engine, which was effectively based on their strong and trusty 4-cylinder B20 engine, but with two more cylinders grafted on to it. To accept this bigger engine, the wheelbase was stretched by more than 10cm while the overall length of the luxury Volvo only grew by 6cm over the 140 it was based upon. And thus – two years after the world had been introduced to the new Volvo-defining 140-series – we were in late 1968 given the luxo-barge Volvo 164. Incidentally, this was the same year that Mercedes-Benz launched their Strich 8, BMW launched their advanced new E3 luxury saloon, and Jaguar severely upped their game with their glorious XJ6. Yes, 1968 was indeed a fine vintage for luxury saloons…
Besides making the new 164 longer in order to create space for the big straight-6, Volvo also redesigned everything from the A-pillars forward, giving the big luxury Volvo an identity of its own. While it’s of course quite obvious that the 144 and the 164 share the same glasshouse, the bigger brother does no doubt manage to exude significantly more presence with its bold new design of the front. There were upmarket improvements to be found on the inside as well, where the facia was treated to faux woodgrain while the seats were covered in real leather.
Utilising the Bosch D-jetronic system as an alternative to the previous dual Zenith carburettors, Volvo introduced fuel injection as an option for the 164 in 1972. This new 164E gained both in power and fuel economy over its carbureted sibling. Then the following year, the 164 received a facelift giving it a new grill, new bumpers, new rear lights and also a totally revised dashboard. I’m sure these were seen as improvements in the day, but as is so often the case when viewed as a classic car, it is most certainly the original incarnation of the 164 which is the purest and prettiest. Then in 1975 it was all over for the 164 as the new PRV-engined 264 took over – with the exception of America where the 164 soldiered on for an extra year while Volvo came to terms with Stateside emission requirements for the new PRV engine. A total of 46,000 of these charming late-sixties / early-seventies luxo-barges were manufactured during that time.
But arguably all of that doesn’t really matter at all. The only thing I needed to fall head over heals for this beautiful top-of-the-range Volvo, was to look at the pictures! Yes it’s big and square – but it’s gorgeous. Presented in its factory golden bronze metallic, this is one Volvo which isn’t shy to announce its arrival – maybe with you sat in its very unmolested interior sporting tan leather seats, power steering and even a factory sunroof just to hammer home the perception of luxury. Start looking at the details and it gets even better as this is effectively a one-year-only specification in that it is a 1972 Volvo 164E – the first year of fuel injection, but also the last year before that ungainly facelift. If you’re in the market for a 164, this is the year and engine to have! Oh, and it’s a manual as well. Sure some people might feel that a barge like this deserves an automatic transmission, but I beg to differ. I’ll have my golden 164E with a manual ‘box thank you very much… Here are some pictures we’ve borrowed from the advert:
The Volvo is for sale with a classic car dealer in Norfolk a couple of hours north of London. They explain that it’s only a three owner car with the first owner keeping the 164E for an impressive 31 years. The Volvo is claimed to have covered only 42,000 miles and comes complete with the original owner’s manual, service book, original sales brochure, various old MOT’s and other documents. It has been treated to several new parts such as a stainless steel exhaust, a new clutch, brake callipers, fuel tank and radiator, while the cylinder head has been converted for use of unleaded fuel. They continue to explain that the 164E has just completed a 200 mile drive on which it ran beautifully, and that it is now available for any inspection. To see the full advert, simply follow this link: 1972 Volvo 164E
At £ 8,595 – currently equating to Euro 9,850 – it sure does look tasty! To be honest, I don’t recall having ever seen another post-Amazon Volvo which I’ve had such a profound urge to own, drive and enjoy. If it checks out to be as presented in the advert, I frankly wouldn’t change a single thing. But what say you dear ViaRETRO reader? Is this big Swedish landyacht a true contender in the category of luxury saloons, or am I merely blinded by all its goldness?
With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to email@example.com