Volvo 200 Series

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Volvo 200 Series


Volvo 200 Series

1974 - 1993
L4 and V6
2127 to 2664cc
97 -125 bhp
4 spd. man / 3 spd auto
Top Speed:
Number Built:
1 star
Volvo 200 Series
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1


Volvo was to release the venerable 200 series in 1974, and such was the popularity of the car that it would enjoy an amazing production run of nearly 20 years. The replacement was supposed to be the 700 series, released in 1982, however such was the popularity of the “boxy but safe” 200 series that Volvo were reluctant to cease production.

A good thing too, with both the 200 and 700 series being sold side-by-side for the next 10 years. The 700 series was replaced by the 900 series in 1992, however the 200 hung in for another year, finally disappearing from the showroom in 1993. Initially released as the 240 and 260 series, there were six 240 model variations available, including the 242L, 242DL, 244DL, 244GL, 245L and 245DL. The 260 came as either the 264DL or 264GL.

Both were derived from the prototype experimental safety car that was developed in 1972, where the notion of improved (and considerably larger) front and rear crumple zones had proved a life-saver in continued crash testing. Other mechanical improvements were made over the outgoing 140 and 164 series cars, such as the introduction of McPherson strut type front suspension, rack and pinion steering (power assisted in the 244GL and both 264 models) and improvements to the braking system.

However the most significant changes were to the engine itself. When first released in 1974, the 240 series carried over the B20A 4 cylinder engine from the 140 series, however an all-new B21A engine was available as an option on the 240DL models. The 2127cc B21 engine incorporated a five-bearing crankshaft and belt driven camshaft, increasing power to 97bhp for the normally aspirated 242, 244 and 245DL’s, and an impressive 123bhp for the B21E fuel injected 244GL model.

The 264 models used a completely new V6 B27E engine, dubbed the “Douvrin”. Devoped in partnership with French manufacturers Peugeot and Renault, the engine was soon given the acronym PRV. The 2664cc alloy block engine was good for 140bhp, and was mated to a 4 speed manual gearbox or optional 3 speed automatic unit. Overdrive was also optional on the manual 244GL, while a 5-speed manual gearbox was optional on the 264GL. The front end came in for a significant re-style too, cosmetically this being the biggest difference over the outgoing 140 and 160 series vehicles.

In most other ways however the 200 series was nearly identical to the outgoing models, and even the dash was carried over from that fitted to the 140 and 160 series cars between 1973 and 1974. In 1975 the 265DL estate was added to the range, the first ever Volvo estate to have a six-cylinder engine. In 1976 the 200 Series underwent some technical changes, most notable was Volvo’s dropping of the trusty B20A engine – necessitated due to tougher emission regulations.

The B21A engine became the standard fitment across the 240 range, and in the process underwent some minor technical improvements including the fitment of a revised camshaft, the power output in turn being increased from 93 to 100bhp. Both the 264DL saloon and the new 265DL estate were fitted with the new B27A V6 engine, almost identical to the fuel-injected B27E V6  engine, but fitted with an SU carburettor instead of EFI and subsequently having a power output penalty, even though it was a still respectable 125bhp. overdrive was made available as an option on all manual models, with the exception of the entry-level 242L and 245L, while the 3-speed automatic gearbox remained an option on every model.

Incremental improvements were made almost every year of the production run, such as the introcution of an oxygen sensor in 1977 (seen in 1978 model cars). The Lambda Sond system was a joint initiative between Volvo and Bosch, and provided a feedback loop to the K-Jetronic fuel injection system allowing more advanced fine tuning of the air to fuel mixture.

The new system offered many advantages, including lower exhaust emissions and fuel consumption, while providing better more tractable power.  Like the Mercedes wagons of the day, the Volvo wagons also doubled as people movers, and particularly in the US market became increasingly popular. When fitted with a rear-facing foldable jump-seat, the wagon could carry 7 passengers, Volvo doing its best to ensure the safety of any rear seat passengers by reinforcing the floor section and installing three-point seat belts. The last ever 200 manufactured was a station-wagon, and is on display in the Volvo World Museum.

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Also See:

Volvo Brochures
The History of Volvo (USA Edition)
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