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