Though I’ve been somewhat avoiding FB these past few weeks, I have successfully tailored the site to mostly car-related stuff and car-related people. I still like checking out Marketplace, even if just for my own amusement. But it has paid off. Back in February, a local lady was selling four 98-02 Lincoln TC Cartier chrome center caps. They were so cheap I couldn’t resist. And recently, when I lost one in traffic, I wasn’t worried about having to go to the dealer and paying $90 for a new one. Yes, they still make them.
Anyway, recently on Marketplace I spied this 1975 Volvo 164E in relatively nearby Macomb, IL. I hadn’t seen one in years, and this one appeared remarkably decent.
The 164E was Volvo’s luxury model. It was based on Volvo’s bread and butter 140 Series, but had a stretched nose, six-cylinder instead of four-cylinder power, a very Britannic-appearing front end, more chrome, and more standard features.
And like Nash in the 50s with its Statesman and flossier Ambassador models, the 164E had a stretched nose to accomodate its longer inline six B30F engine. And like the Nash it did not translate into any extra passenger room, as all the extra inches were contained within the front clip.
In 1974 it received the giant bumpers seen on our featured car, and in its final year, 1975, there were very few changes. I’ve liked them since I was a kid. My parents drove 240s and 740s, and I frequently accompanied my mom when she’d bring the wagon in for service, back in the ’80s.
I remember seeing one or two of these in the service bays at Lundahl Volvo, and was intrigued with their ornate schnoz, leather seats and instrument panel, which were similar yet different to my parents’ ’84 240GL sedan and ’86 240DL wagon.
By ’75, standard equipment included air conditioning, power front windows (yes, you read that right-power front and manual rear windows-those wacky Swedes!), power steering, power brakes, the aforementioned six cylinder engine (with fuel injection, that’s what the ‘E’ in 164E designated), an electric rear window defroster, leather seats and tinted glass.
Anyway, this one is at a used car lot in Macomb, with an ask of $3500. Clearly the owner knows nothing about ’70s Volvos, as most of the inventory is late model Explorers and RAV4s. No description in the ad, which can be seen here, other than 123,000 miles. And it’s listed as a ‘Volvo GLE’, despite the large ‘164 E’ emblem on the back end. Oh well…
Looks very decent, but that cover on the rear seat makes me wonder if perhaps previous owners had large dogs and the cushion is torn to shreds. Why cover it up if it’s five-by? But still, a pretty cool survivor!
Though my favorite color combo on these is the ice-blue metallic with baby blue leather for that full-speed-ahead ’70s vibe!
Interesting how much better remembered the British style, from 10 years before, 164 is when compared to the next years French style 264 which lost the classy nose and subbed in the too small, rough 2.8 V6. Rover did better, replacing their inline six with the light Buick V8, though the modern wedge bodies were still a few years off in 75. Even Wolseley managing to replace the Farina body 6/110 with the FWD transverse OHC inline six, chrome grill, and hydragas suspension version of the Princess wedge before BL took the axe to the upper middle brands the way Wilson was to the upper middle class British citizens.
The Rover SD1 went into production in 1976.
My mom’s neighbors are in their late 80s. The Mr. changes his leased S class every few years while the Mrs. still clings to her beloved 164. I can’t understand how cars like this survived winter road salt.
It is interesting to think how hard it is to imagine however much the first generation Cressida resembles this car, one of them living the life of the 164 you describe.
If you see this note – As a lifelong Volvo enthusiast and collector, I would like you to tell your mother’s neighbor (the Mrs.) that if she ever sells that Volvo 164, I would like first dibs to purchase it and I will be out there immediately with a trailer to pick it up. I love anything and everything about RWD “Bricks,” which is what we Volvophiles call the older models.
I think the first-generation Neons had power windows in the front and manual in the rear in the early 90s. Not sure if they fixed that with the second generation.
My 1984 Audi 4000S quattro had power front windows and cranks in the back.
The 164 was best enjoyed with the Borg-Warner type 35 (I think) auto transmission. The long, whippy gear lever on the earlier models could be tiring to handle in traffic. Of course, the added torque of the B30 engine transformed the car, favorably in my opinion. I drove a number of 164s while working in a Volvo/Fiat/Lancia dealership in the Seventies. They were supremely comfortable, built like ocean liners and very British in their aspect. Thanks for the memory, Tom.
Juan P – so noted