Volvo 244 DL
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1
Today we all understand the difference between active
and passive safety, but in the late 1970’s
there were in actuality only a few car manufacturers
putting it into practice. Volvo were one such company,
aiming to build cars that the driver could control
in most emergency situations, rather than the car
controlling the driver.
This had led to two things
- while Volvo's safety features and marketing were
so good that many believed them to be the safest
car then on the market, they had also developed a
reputation for dullness.
Marketers knew that the
fitment of a cassette player, or indeed other cosmetic
options, would help sales much more than never seen
and easily forgotten safety items. Nevertheless the
244 line of four-door sedans had the full range of
safety features. As always, the 244’s were reliable performers, despite being
But with the turn away from V8’s
during the 1970’s the 244 would flourish, steadily
increasing sales and building upon their already
stellar reputation for strength, quality and durability.
All three models were powered by the same 2.1
litre in-line four cylinder engine.
The base model
engine was fed via a traditional carburettor, but
the best unit was found in the top-of-the-line automatic-only
244 GLE, the same engine being fitted with fuel injection
allowing it to develop its maximum torque 1000 rpm
higher. The GLE developed 90 kW at 5500 rpm with
torque of 170 Nm at 3500 rpm.
Suspension was by front-spring
struts and shock absorbers, the rear live axle was
carried in longitudinal rubber mounted control arms,
and there were two torque rods and a track rod -
plus stabiliser bars front and rear. The ride was
comfortable and reasonably compliant, with some body
roll when cornering.
One of the core values in the
Volvo design was to ensure the car behaved as the
driver would expect them to. The steering
only 3.5 turns lock to lock and had a very tight
turning circle of 9.8 metres. Under-steer was built-in,
but so was responsiveness. Braking on all models
was by discs all round, the front discs being ventilated.
body was quite large but the relatively short wheelbase
limited internal space. The twin front bucket seats
were adjustable for height, length, rake, and lumbar
support, while the wide rear bench offered generous
leg room for up to five adults. Head room was good
throughout. The car was well finished and clean looking
inside, and standard equipment on the GLE made it one
of the most luxurious four-cylinder cars then on the
Major styling changes were never that noticeable
on the 244 range, however there were occasional grille
and rear end treatments implemented to keep the look
fresh. However, it was the continuous mechanical
improvement that has gained Volvo its reputation.
The 244 range is no exception.