It’s pretty safe to say that in this day and age, we can all agree that station wagons rule. And it’s also pretty safe to say that two door station wagons rule harder. With that said, V8 powered, manual transmission-equipped, rear wheel drive two-door wagons rule the hardest of all (yes, even harder than brown, manual transmission equipped diesel wagons). Out of all the wagon builders over the years, the famed Swedish automaker Volvo has built some really cool ones.
Yeah, I said Volvo.
They weren’t shy about their intentions, either.
Before their 1980’s heyday of turbocharging all the things, Volvo built some nice looking wagons, especially the Amazon and the 140 variants. They weren’t barn burners by any stretch with their reliable-but-pokey four cylinder engines, but they were compact and propelled by the rear wheels. Later down the line, when they became affordable second hand cars (or when parents handed them down to their hot rodder kids), someone got the idea that they would be way cooler with double the cylinders under the hood. They weren’t wrong. V8 swaps of all kinds started to happen, but mostly limited to Chevy and Ford small block V8’s into the 80’s 240 and 740 models. You usually don’t see V8’s under the hood of the older ones, especially the early 70’s 140 models.
I’ve always found the Volvo 140-series a pretty clean looking car. They offered three variants: the 142 (2-door coupe), 144 (4-door sedan), and the 145 (5-door estate/wagon). All of them look like sleepers waiting to be built. No word on if that pony in the picture fits in the rear of the wagon, though.
What we have here is something that slots right into the “dare to be different” category: a 1972 Volvo 145 Wagon, modified to have two less doors than usual, and with a Buick/Rover 3.5L aluminum V8 backed by a 5-speed manual transmission. And this one’s for sale, too. Let’s have a closer look!
Now THAT looks a lot better. The body colored headlight buckets, bumper, and grille look a lot less stodgy than the as-delivered factory bits. The aggressive chin spoiler really works here as well.
Here’s part of what makes this particular 145 so different: it only has two side doors. These wagons never came in a three-door variant; they still had the also-cool Volvo P1800 ES to scratch that itch back then. Does that make it a 143? The body colored rally wheels and chrome trim rings never look bad on anything, and they round out the visual package perfectly.
The modifications they made to remove the two rear doors appear to be done well. A lot of the time, people just weld the rear doors shut and slather on some body filler. It appears that a pair of longer 142 Coupe doors were modified to work here, and it looks great. Also noticeable is a small bump in the hood, which is an indicator that something might be up under there.
Out back, it appears that the tailgate’s licence plate mounting area has been filled in, which is a curious modification. It doesn’t ruin the car by any means, but it does look a bit strange at first glance. If you squint, you cam see the exhaust outlets, which have been tucked nicely under the car. Sleepy!
Popping the domed hood reveals the 3.5L Buick/Rover aluminum V8 that takes residence in the place of the old 2.0L four. If there was a perfect application for the little V8, it’s right here. As most of you know, these engines started off as a Buick design, and later were licensed for use by Rover as well as other British-based manufacturers. Way back when they were introduced, they made roughly 155hp, but they gained some horses over the years, and have become a popular platform for modifications in some enthusiast circles. There’s no word where (or when) this one came from, or what has been done to it, but I spy with my little eye a Buick HEI distributor up front. Hopefully, there’s at least a more aggressive camshaft in there. The install is pretty clean, and dig that paint matched air cleaner. It looks like it came that way from the factory, and we love that!
This is the only picture of the interior, but it tells you all you need to know. Three pedals, a sporty steering wheel, a stick coming out of the floor, and and multiple shades of tan, brown, and woodgrain cover the interior. On the right side of the dash is a very 1980’s appearing Ford cassette radio, but I’d elect to listen to the Rich Sounds of V8 Pleasure ™ over any tunes coming out of that thing!
The ad up on Craigslist is a little sparse:
1972 Volvo 2dr Custom Wagon with a 3.5 Aluminum V8 with 5 speed manual trans. Body and paint excellent condition , too much to list here, $6900
That’s all you get for info unfortunately. No word on if anything has been done to the engine, what transmission (or rear end) is behind the V8, suspension mods, or anything else. As long as the drivetrain is in good working order, the asking price of $6900 is priced right. This thing appears to be ultra clean, very different, and definitely BangShift Approved. It would rule as a cool cruiser or grocery getter, or to take it to the next level with some serious suspension and engine upgrades to transform it into a autocross mule/track terror.
What do you think of this sweet Swedish wagon? Let us know below!
Not an LS in sight!
A beautiful car made even better by the fact that the builder has a fully functioning brain with an attached imagination…..
I know, 215CI of awesomeness! Not!
I do say that is the cleanest looking Volvo wagon with the black out treatment.
Price is reasonable too.
I like it . I’d like it better with a 350 or if your the Chevy hatin’ mad Geordie a 351 . I can appreciate the 215 being aluminum or al-u-mimium but if you put aluminum heads on a 350 or 351 , your close and more that a hundred mor cubes .
there is one like this with a ford 5.0 and if I remember correctly a supercharger. It was built for and owned by the US Actor Paul Newman. It was featured on the TC show “Chasing Classic Cars. He was impressed it went so good.