In 1956 Volvo launched its first commercially successful range in the UK the 121 or Amazon range of saloons and estates. Whilst they sold relatively well, in 1966 the Amazon was replaced by the Volvo 100 series of saloons and estates. The 144 and 145 were totally new and redesigned cars with safety features that gave Volvo the reputation that it has to this day. They incorporated features that we take for granted today such as inertial reel 3-point seatbelts, collapsible steering columns, seat belt warning lights, lumbar adjustment on seats, all round disc brakes, crumple zones and safety testing that set the standard for cars to this day. They became the archetype for middle class motoring, and, with the 145 estate, the ultimate transport or families with 2.4 children and a Labrador. Remember, Gerry Ledbetter drove a 145 in The Good Life – Margo would not have been seen in anything else! Alongside the 144 and 145 range, (144 for 4 door Saloons, and 145 for 5 door estates), Volvo also produced the (rare) 164 Saloon with a 6 cylinder engine. (There are no 100 series 6 cylinder estates commercially produced, although a very few 165s do exist as factory test cars)
And so, In 1974 Volvo (finally) updated their range of Saloons and Estates. The 200 range consisted of the 244 Saloon, the 245 Estate and the 264 Saloon and range topping 265 Estate. As before, the 244/5 designation meant 4 cylinder engines, with the 264/5 having the 6 cylinder engine but now redesigned as a 2.7 litre V6 made in conjunction with Peugeot and Renault, and known as the PRV engine. It is an all alloy V6 with wet liners. Originally with carburettors, by 1978 it had Fuel Injection to improve fuel economy. (Well, 19 to the Gallon is an improvement I suppose).
The bodywork of the 200 series was really little changed from the 100 series, many details but overall the same look. It is true, think of a Volvo you think of a massive estate with huge bumpers – well here it is! However the interior and fittings were completely new as were the engines, and Volvo now started adding extras as standard to appeal to a wider, (and more affluent) market in the UK.
You had to be affluent to purchase this car in 1978 the list price was £7477 on the road. The average house price in 1978 was around £13,500, the average wage around £5,400 per year. This model is Volvo’s attempt at breaking the UK Luxury Estate Car Market.
The 265 GLE was the range topper, having, in 1978, as standard:
- Air Conditioning (Yes in 1978! – it still works by the way!)
- Electric Windows front and rear
- Leather seats with Lumbar support adjustable setting
- Electrically adjustable wing mirrors
- FM/LW/MW Radio/Cassette player
- Automatic transmission
- Heated rear windscreen with wash/wipe
- Headlamp wipers
- Metallic Paint as standard
As well as all the safety features that we now take for granted – rear seat belts for example!
This car – BURT (if you see it at a show you will understand why it is called that) has now had only 4 owners from new, (including me earlier this year). In addition to the above, this car had a dealer fitted tow bar (or rear parking sensor as I call it), and the front and rear fog lamps, which were dealer fitted from new options.
It has never been restored and now has a genuine mileage of just 69,000. (ish – I use it regularly!) According to the DVLA website, there are now only 7 of this model on the road in the UK from about 40,000 produced worldwide from 1974 to 1982.