1974 – 1993 Volvo 240 and 260 Buying Guide

by: Alexandra M.

1975 – 1993 Volvo 240 and 260 Changes over the years

1975 – First year for 240 body style (still B20 motor w/ K-jet) last year for 164 (B-30)
1976 – First year for B21F (US), B27F
1977 – First Lambda-Sond engines (California)
1978 – First year for 242 GT and 260 models. Revised (thicker) front seats
1979 – Body restyled: softer rear tail lights and front grills, trunk lid changed from flat to curved; lock moved from below
to trunk lid. Revised shift linkage M45/M46 transmission. Some models get new rotary-type knob AC temperature control.
1980 – Model designation no longer 240 nor uses last number in 240 (“24X”) (Official model designation now “DL, GL” etc.). First year B21F, B28F, GL models. First year for D24 DIESEL. Last year for 242 GT. Outside mirrors change from chrome to black plastic
1981 – All 240s now with quad square head lights w/ black trim under lights. Revised instrument panel, dash, center console area. New wraparound taillights on 245 appear.
1982 – First year for “240-GLT” and 240-Turbo. Reflector trim under headlights appears; Grille re-styled, now chrome on GL. Revised 1st gear ratio (4.09:1) on M46 transmission; 1st year AW70/AW71 4-speed auto transmission w/ L-Jetronic injection.  Some DL have 3-speed auto and K-Jetronic.) Last year for 260 series V6
1983 – First year for B23F. Group A “Homologated” (Flathood) Turbo model introduced
1984 – Last year for 242. Last year for 240 Diesel. Bumpers streamlined (closer to body, side extensions longer); First year for galvanization; Front air dam now on DL; Black trim pieces under windows on all models.
1984.5- 240-Turbo equipped with intercooler
1985 – First B230F; Last year for 240/245 Turbo (U.S.); Wagon tail lights get rear fogs added (top lens brake lights become fog lights)
1986 – 240 restyled: new lower body plastic guards, fenders, grill. Rear plastic mudflaps now molded into the rear bodywork. Front turnsignals are made smaller. New dish hubcap with fins; “Bustle” trunk lid. New rear lower valance panel (hitch and exhaust area). Solid panel replaces former slotted panel. First rear high-mount stop lamps; Radio moved to upper dash; New black plastic tailgate handle. First year for 240 large “TV screen” composite headlamps.
1987 – 5-speed M47 transmission introduced (avail earlier in Europe)
1989 – Last year for “GL” in 240 model designation.
1990 – 240 equipped with driver’s air bag. “SRS” on steering wheel center hub and SRS test panel port on central switch panel between rear defrost and hazard switch. (also labeled “SRS”); New full plastic wheelcover; 245 tailgate window molding: heavy bright recessed surround molding replaced, enlarged glass panel. Tailgate glass now flush-mounted
with thin black molding. Rear washer nozzle moved to top center of tailgate. Antenna moved from windshield pillar to rear of cars; Roof rack on Wagons changed from 1960’s “chrome-dream” style to more modern design.
1991 – 240-SE limited edition model introduced. “DL” dropped from 240 model designation. 240 windshield bright heavy outside windshield molding replaced with black flush-mount type. AC controls: rotary type control knob replaced with
rocker type switch with illuminated blue “snowflake” symbol. New GM type AC system. Cooling fan in front of radiator for
increased AC efficiency can be seen behind grille. Radio now has anti-theft coding, changes in radio controls and
appearance. 240 auto transmission now has shift interlock. (depress brake to shift from park) Transmission indicator bezel has printed instructions indicating button to defeat interlock; Minor changes in wheel covers. “Volvo” emblem now integral part of wheel cover; not a separate “stick-on” emblem.
1992 – “GL” 240 model resurfaces in 244; grille switched from chrome finish to black finish; door handles, bodyside door moldings now all black finish. GL has heated outside mirror option w/dash switch for same on central console with mirror symbol on switch. Different horns can be seen behind grille; ABS now standard equipment; 244 “GL” model dropped. Radio now has 20W amplifier standard,
1993 – Heated power mirrors now standard on 240; Radio now has 6 speakers, (addition of two small “tweeters” on upper rear doors); New auto trans shift indicator surround/bezel. 240 “Classic” limited edition model introduced.
End of 240 series


Volvo 240 Headlights style over the years

2-round headlight: 1975-77 244 DL/GL, 245 DL; 1975-80 242 DL/GT
4-round headlight: 1976-77 264 DL/GL, 262 GL, 265 DL/GL; 1978-80 244/245 DL
4-square headlight: 1978 264/265 GL, 262C; 1979-82 260; 1980 240 GL; 1981-85 240
Latest composites: 1986-on


Volvo 240 Tailights style over the years

2  – 4 Doors

1975-78 early narrow square pod tail lights – 240 series (common with 73 164, 73-74 140)
1976-78 early extended square tail lights – 260 series (common with 75 164E)
1975-80 early wagon strip tail lights – 240/260
1979-83 later smooth tail lights – 240 series (DL)
1979-82 later increased area taillights (no rear fog) – 260 series,
1980-84 later increased area taillights GL
1984 later increased area taillights DL


1981 New wagon wraparound tailights (no rear fog)
1985 later wide tail lights (w/ rear fog in upper lens)
1985 new wagon taillights w/rear fog in upper lens (previously, these upper lenses were the brake lamps. When the fogs were added, the lower lenses became the brake lamps shared with the taillights)


Volvo 240 Grp.A Homologation Specials

by Tim Takahashi

For many forms of “showroom stock” racing, there are production limits used to define what is and isn’t a mass produced car. Typically, you need to make 500 cars in a calendar year to qualify as mass produced. Recent factory homologation special cars are things like the “king of the road” Corvette, or the 1989 LE1 Camaro IROC 350 (I know this guy who has one).

Prior to its late 1980’s denial of motorsports, Volvo was reasonably serious about factory racing. There have been several factory runs of “homologated” cars, each subtly different.

In my 1982 dealer brouchure, it states that “select” 1982 242GLT-turbo’s were available minus the sunroof, power windows, power door locks, automatic transmission, heated seats, power mirrors, etc. The dealers at the time called this a “low-line” turbo. Basically, this appears to have been a factory homologation run – bare-bones car, hot motor. You never hear about these cars.

In 1981 there was a european factory homologation run. Dan Theil, of Kurt’s Garage, owns a group-A pro-rallye car built off of this platform. His car is true european spec – for 1981 this means, front fenders typically seen on 1986-> US cars, big composite lights simlar in style to the 86-> US model, but an early style flat hood (typical of 1975-80 2-door 240’s). This style was the norm in europe during the mid 1980’s.

There are a number of folk here who own what they claim to be “Factory Homologated 242 Turbos” built in 1983. These are strange cars, but the “homologation” purpose is not clear. These are loaded 240 turbos, replete with power everything, sunroof and automatic – but have the european style flat hood, a unique grille, and the 4-rectangular headlamp front fascia. I saw one at the Canadian meet. Didn’t look special…

From 1981-1985 Volvo styling in North America differed from European Spec. The hood with the centre bulge is, in reality, a 260-series hood – not a 240-series hood. The front fender style changed in europe in 1981 and in north america in 1986. 1983-85 US cars shared the 1981-85 european spec bumpers, while 1983-85 Canadian spec cars use the bumpers found on 1975-82 US spec and 1975-80 european spec cars. The soft “bug-eye” composite headlamps were used beginning in 1981 in europe. The flat composite headlamps seen ocassionally on 75-85 Canadian cars was used in 1975-80 260 series cars in europe (these are the dual H-1 filament Cibie’s, euro 240’s used single H-4 Hella’s).