Volvo 242 GT

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Volvo 242 GT

1978 - 1981
4 cylinder
2316 cc
103 kW @ 5750 rpm
4 spd. man / electric overdrive
Top Speed:
180 km/h
Number Built:
n/a (600 sold in Aust)
3 star
By the late 1970’s Volvo were determined to shake the stodgy image of “boxy but safe” once and for all.

The silver limited edition Volvo 242 GT was the first sports orientated Volvo model since the 1800, and promised to be something quite special.

Built to rival such great cars as the BMW 323i, the 242 GT was powered by a variant of the B23E 2.1 liter found in all the other 244 models, however the capacity was increased to 2.3 liters, compression was raised and the car was fitted with an overdrive fourth gear.

Maximum power was 103 kW at 5750 rpm, and torque was 190 Nm at 4500rpm. Fuel injection was by continuous flow and ignition was electric.

All this made the 242 GT a brisk performer. Obviously lacking the outright power of the Aussie V8’s of the day, it still made for an entertaining drive, being able to reach a top speed of 180 km/h and making the 0-100 km/h dash in just on 10 seconds.

Overtaking times were equally as impressive, and the power assisted rack and pinion steering was without peer.

Suspension was by independent MacPherson struts, with live rear axle located by four trailing arms plus Panhard rod. There were gas shock absorbers all round and the spring rates were increased, then to top it off the car was shod with Pirelli P6 tires.

To keep the Volvo firmly planted to the road at high speed, the engineers fitted a fiberglass front spoiler, which did look a little out of place on the car.

Braking was courtesy of 263mm discs at front and 281mm discs at rear, and many motoring journalists of the day noted that, despite plenty of punishment, they resisted fade. The wheelbase was 2640mm, and the car afforded acceptable rear leg room for two adults, while the boot was well sorted, the spare being located on the offside taking up little space and ensuring a large cargo capacity was maintained.

The interior of the 242 GT was indeed very similar to the 244 sedans, with a virtually identical instrument layout. In addition to the reclining backrest and sliding squab, the cloth-trimmed seats had lumbar adjustment in the drivers foot-well

To differentiate the GT’s from the more mundane 244 stable mates, Volvo used accent striping on the sides and boot lid and made the window frames matt black - a feature later applied to all 240s. In Australia approximately 600 242 GT’s were sold, with many undergoing modification over the years, including the fitment of automatic transmissions and two-tone paint jobs (to help cover the fact that the silver paintwork did not weather well under the harsh Australian sun.

The standard features list was long, and included alloy wheels, cassette player, laminated wind screen, halogen headlights, fog lamps, Metallic silver paint, air-conditioning, central locking, remote control rear windows; while you could also option a sun roof and headlamp washer/wipers.

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Volvo History and Heritage
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