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Volvo 242 GT

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Volvo 242 GT

1978 - 1981
4 cylinder
2316 cc
103 kW @ 5750 rpm
4 spd. man / electric overdrive
Top Speed:
180 km/h
Number Built:
n/a (600 sold in Aust)
3 star
Volvo 242 GT
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3


By the late 1970’s Volvo were determined to shake the stodgy image of “boxy but safe” once and for all. The silver limited edition Volvo 242 GT was the first sports orientated Volvo model since the 1800, and promised to be something quite special.

Built to rival such great cars as the BMW 323i, the 242 GT was powered by a variant of the B23E 2.1 litre found in all the other 244 models, however the capacity was increased to 2.3 litres, compression was raised and the car was fitted with an overdrive fourth gear.

Maximum power was 103 kW at 5750 rpm, and torque was 190 Nm at 4500rpm. fuel injection was by continuous flow and ignition was electric. All this made the 242 GT a brisk performer. Obviously lacking the outright power of the Aussie V8’s of the day, it still made for an entertaining drive, being able to reach a top speed of 180 km/h and making the 0-100 km/h dash in just on 10 seconds.

Overtaking times were equally as impressive, and the power assisted rack and pinion steering was without peer. Suspension was by independent MacPherson struts, with live rear axle located by four trailing arms plus Panhard rod. There were gas shock absorbers all round and the spring rates were increased, then to top it off the car was shod with Pirelli P6 tyres.

To keep the Volvo firmly planted to the road at high speed, the engineers fitted a fibreglass front spoiler, which did look a little out of place on the car. Braking was courtesy of 263mm discs at front and 281mm discs at rear, and many motoring journalists of the day noted that, despite plenty of punishment, they resisted fade.

The wheelbase was 2640mm, and the car afforded acceptable rear leg room for two adults, while the boot was well sorted, the spare being located on the offside taking up little space and ensuring a large cargo capacity was maintained.

The interior of the 242 GT was indeed very similar to the 244 sedans, with a virtually identical instrument layout. In addition to the reclining backrest and sliding squab, the cloth-trimmed seats had lumbar adjustment in the drivers foot-well

To differentiate the GT’s from the more mundane 244 stable mates, Volvo used accent striping on the sides and boot lid and made the window frames matt black - a feature later applied to all 240s. In Australia approximately 600 242 GT’s were sold, with many undergoing modification over the years, including the fitment of automatic transmissions and two-tone paint jobs (to help cover the fact that the silver paintwork did not weather well under the harsh Australian sun.

The standard features list was long, and included alloy wheels, cassette player, laminated wind screen, halogen headlights, fog lamps, Metallic silver paint, air-conditioning, central locking, remote control rear windows; while you could also option a sun roof and headlamp washer/wipers.
Volvo 242 GT

Visitor Rating:

Also See:

The Volvo 240 Series Story
The History of Volvo (USA Edition)
Reader Reviews page 1 of 1
Click here to add your review
Steve Blake
Posted 38 days ago
I had one of these beards. Put 300,000 miles on it damn near flawless running. One timing belt.
My most memorable moment was driving across the Nevada desert taking a wrong turn any ending up 100 miles off track. I turned around but my pedal to the metal and just said the hell with it. A green youth don't you know.
A few mioments later the needle was pegged at 145mph, the tack was hitting 600rpm.
A pair of F14s out of the Tonopah test range came down out of the sky and blew my doors off.. I took my foot out of here and it took 5 sec for the speedometer to start registering again. 158mph top speed with over 175,000 miles on her at the time. Out of a Four banger!
Awesome .
Kerry Lawrence
Posted 105 days ago
I owned one of the, if not the, first 242 GT's. My ex wife still owns it.
Can anyone help me. I wish to build my own GT from a 4 door. I require a wreck or rusted out car with side window glass (door and rear flip out) still in tact. HELP
Kerry Lawrence kerryjlawrence@gmail ***
Posted 1060 days ago
Currently between myself, my father, cousin and uncle we have 3 79 242GT's. One is a bit of a wreck right now but we can see it potential. One in currently stripped down to bare metal as its in the middle of a compleat baremetal rebuild and the other (currently changing owners hands from my cousins to mine) is completely original, untouched paint and strip work, and still running and registered!! In the last few months the words "Damn Swedes!" but we would not be and couldn't be more proud to be Volvo 242 GT owners!!!
Patrick Condon
Posted 1321 days ago
We have a very original 242 GT auto. 1979 2.3.
Original upholstery in good condition and restored paintwork and vinyl stripes. Bodywok never been crumpled or damaged.
Great car.
Shannons value it at $8000
patrick.condon1@gmail ***
Posted 1767 days ago
I just found a '79 242 GT 2.1 for $1000 on Craigslist here in Vancouver. The guy bought it off a gentleman who was the original owner, bought new, but ordered it with out the stripes. back bottom panels are rotted out, but the rest is rocking! I'm looking forward to ripping it up!
Posted 1933 days ago
silver red and black or silver orange and black were the colors of the 242 gt
Robert E
Posted 2114 days ago
Hi All,
I have a Volvo 242 GT 1980 as well, in full running condition. Turn the key & drive away.
I jam ust reading & notice only 600 come into Aust & only about 20 in NZ. Does anyone have an idea of how many would be left in Aust. A few years ago i heard there was only about 58 left.
Can anyone please help with the answer. If you can help, please email me on airdry55@hotmail *** .
I still have a 1979 264 GL, 1984 760 GLE & 1991 940 GL. Do you think I will change? hahha
PS: Is anyone looking to buy the 264 GL. in complete order. (Jimboomba Qld)
Many Thanks & Kind Regards
Posted 2163 days ago
Well I've had my 242 for 23 years and last year my husband let the rego lapse. I've still got. It needed a new backend when we bought it and now it still does, plus a new gear box. She sits in the chook shed, I love her and they'll probably use a front end loader to bury me in it! I still drive a Volvo buy an XC90
Posted 2182 days ago
I've had a 242GT for over 10 years. Love it . Next month it gets a motor from a 1988 740 Turbo. Watch me fly!!!
Eilert Johansson
Posted 2199 days ago
I had a 242GT for almost 12 years. It was a great car, and it was very funny to drive fast on small roads. Very good handling and stiff suspension.
Posted 2310 days ago
I have just realised my dream of owning a 242 GT.
I believe that not all had air conditioning, mine doesn't and has no switch or brackets for it.
They also had a 3.91 rear axle ratio standard and different springs, shocks and swaybars.
The ride and handling is up there with many modern cars and I am losing count of the number of people who have told me that they don't like Volvos, but mine is cool!
Posted 2371 days ago
Some of the GTs were originally autos -- not many, but some. There were rumours that they were converted by dealers, but this was incorrect. The GT I have was an auto when I bought it, complete with intact firewall and sound deadening under the carpet.
Posted 2371 days ago
"Remote control rear windows"? I wish!!! The rear windows don't wind up and down, they just pop out a couple of inches. Having said that, the GT really is a greatly underrated car. In 1979 a standard road-going GT finished about 20th outright at Bathurst, beating nearly every Falcon home. Yep, I've got one........
Posted 2385 days ago
i have one without an engine, it blows the doors off falcons
Posted 2429 days ago
Highly undervalued sports coupe - far better built than the so called muscle cars of the day. I have 2 :)
Posted 2576 days ago
If it was Holden or Ford with its history at Bathurst or on the Touring Car Championship - it would cost $60k + .
You'd be lucky to pay a tenth of that for a sporting big coupe...
I think I might buy one....
Posted 2576 days ago
If it was Holden or Ford with its history at Bathurst or on the Touring Car Championship - it would cost $60k + .
You'd be lucky to pay a tenth of that for a sporting big coupe...
I think I might buy one....
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