1973 VOLVO 144 DE LUXE
ENGINE 1986cc/4-cyl/OHV POWER 100bhp@5600rpm TORQUE 112lb ft@3500rpm MAXIMUM SPEED 106mph 0-60MPH 10.1sec FUEL CONSUMPTION 20-24mpg TRANSMISSION RWD, three-speed auto MoT 12 months on sale ODOMETER 236,927 miles
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
This 144 has been around the odometer twice, yet the 1986cc engine starts quietly and with no exhaust smoke before settling down to a healthy idle. Acceleration is smooth and steady and the automatic gearbox changes up and down without hesitation or juddering. The brakes and steering are a little heavy, but the car stops without pulling to either side and tracking is straight and true. The suspension is quiet and compliant, absorbing road imperfections beautifully. This Volvo hasn’t moved in a while, so regular use should loosen it up nicely.
There is no rust in the wheelarches or the sills and the underside is in excellent condition. The cream-white paint is unblemished with just a hint of rust breaking through at the tip of the driver’s side front wing, alongside a small paint chip on the nearside of the boot lid. There’s a slight scratch in the front bumper and minor tarnishing on the exhaust pipe, but the chrome still gleams and is in generally respectable EXTERIOR Good paint Rust-free arches/sills INTERIOR Largely original Mould on sun visors MECHANICALS Strong engine Comprehensive history condition. The Sicursiv glass is unmarked, but the dry and cracked window rubbers could do with replacing.
HOW’S THE INTERIOR?
The black dashboard displays no signs of fade and the textured steering wheel cover is largely intact, with only slight fraying evident upon close inspection. The JVC radio/cassette player functions perfectly, as do the speedometer, clock and water temperature, fuel and oil pressure gauges. The bright blue cloth seat material doesn’t look original, but fits in surprisingly well with the teal leather door cards and carpet. The boot is clean, dry and free from corrosion, as is the windscreen surround. The only real letdowns are the grey mould spots on both sun visors, though this could be easily remedied. The white PVC headlining is clean and complete.
UNDER THE BONNET
Lifting the bonnet reveals an aged, but presentable engine bay, free from evidence of fluid seepage or bodged repairs. There are a few paint chips near the bonnet hinges and minor rusting on some of the pipes, but all fluid levels sit around the maximum mark and the electrics are in good working order. A browse through the history file shows that this Volvo has been regularly serviced and well cared for throughout its life. It also comes with its original owner’s manual, warranty and service booklet.
THE CCW VIEW
This 144 has solid bodywork, a robust engine and strong drivetrain. Given regular care, it should have plenty of life left in it – not bad for a car that’s covered almost enough miles to reach to the moon!
PROS Original, increasingly rare, price CONS Minor cosmetics, engine bay needs tidying
ASKING £3950 PRICE
Characterful interior has stood the test of time.
Engine bay is honest, rather than a show-winner.