Monday 9 May 2016
The Volvo 200 series was a range of executive cars produced by Volvo Cars from 1974 to 1993, with more than 2.8 million units sold worldwide. Like the Volvo 140, it was designed by Jan Wilsgaard. It overlapped production of the Volvo 700 series introduced in 1982. As the 240 remained popular, only the 260 was displaced by the 700 series — which Volvo marketed alongside the 240 for another decade. The 700 series was replaced a year before the 240 was discontinued. Production ended on 14 May 1993 after nearly 20 years.
The Volvo 240 and 260 series was introduced in the autumn of 1974, and was initially available as six variations of the 240 Series (242L, 242DL, 242GT, 244DL, 244GL, 245L and 245DL) and two variations of the 260 Series (264DL and 264GL). The 240 Series was available in sedan (with two or four doors) or station wagon, however the 260 Series was available as a coupé (262C Bertone), four-door sedan, or station wagon. The 200 looked much like the earlier 140 and 164 Series, for they shared the same body shell and were largely the same from the cowl rearward. However, the 200 incorporated many of the features and design elements tried in the Volvo VESC ESV in 1972, which was a prototype experiment in car safety. The overall safety of the driver and passengers in the event of a crash was greatly improved with very large front and rear end crumple zones. Another main change was to the engines, which were now of an overhead-cam design. The 260 series also received a V6 engine in lieu of the 164's inline-six.
The 200 Series had MacPherson strut type front suspension, which increased room around the engine bay, while the rear suspension was a modified version of that fitted to the 140 Series. The steering was greatly improved with the installation of rack-and-pinion steering, with power steering fitted as standard to the 244GL, 264DL and 264GL, and there were some modifications made to the braking system (in particular the master cylinder.
The front end of the car was also completely restyled – that being the most obvious change of which made the 200 Series distinguishable from the earlier 140 and 160 Series. Other than all the changes mentioned above, the 200 Series was almost identical to the 140 and 160 Series from the bulkhead to the very rear end. The dashboard was derived from the safety fascia introduced for the 1973 140-series - but was changed again for the 1981 model year with the instrument pod made considerably larger and the radio repositioned near the top of the dashboard. All models were available with a choice of four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic transmission. Overdrive was also optional on the manual 244GL, while a five-speed manual gearbox was optional on the 264GL and 265GL.
At the 1976 Paris Motor Show Bertone first showed the stretched 264 TE, a seven-seater limousine on a 3,430 mm (135 in) wheelbase, although it had entered production earlier. The raw bodies were sent from Sweden to Grugliasco for lengthening, reinforcing, and finishing. Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden used one, as did much of East Germany's political leadership.
In the autumn of 1975 (for the 1976 model year in America), the 265 DL estate became available alongside the existing range, and this was the first production Volvo estate to be powered by a six-cylinder engine. Around this time, the existing 200 Series underwent some technical changes. The B20A engine was dropped in most markets, although it soldiered on for another two years in some places. The choice of gearbox was also greatly improved, with overdrive now available as an option in all manual models except the base-model 242L and 245L. As before, the 3-speed automatic was optional in every model.
Incremental improvements were made almost every year of the production run. One of the major improvements was the introduction of the oxygen sensor in 1976 (1977 models), which Volvo called Lambda Sond and developed in conjunction with Bosch. It added a feedback loop to the K-Jetronic fuel injection system already in use, which allowed fine-tuning of the air and fuel mixture and therefore produced superior emissions, drivability and fuel economy.
About one-third of all 240s sold were station wagons, which featured very large cargo space of 41 cubic feet (1.2 m3). They could be outfitted with a rear-facing foldable jumpseat in the passenger area, making the wagon a seven-passenger vehicle. The jumpseat came with three-point seat belts, and wagons were designed to have a reinforced floor section, protecting the occupants of the jumpseat in the event of a rear-end collision. Both the 200 series and the 700 series became a status symbol worldwide.
The last 200 produced was a blue station wagon built to the Italian specification and named the "Polar Italia", currently displayed at the Volvo World Museum.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1986 cc
- horsepower: 111 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 166 km/h