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Performance Specialists Since 1963

A Volvo Story - Duncans 1976 Volvo 265

2020-01-16 - Megan Russell

From barn find to car show, this is the story of Duncan's 1976 Volvo 265GL.

A friend was planning to visit Australia in November, we realized it was during the national meet so it could be a good opportunity to get there, which meant deciding which of my too Volvos to take, then I remembered I owned a '76 Volvo 265 that would be perfect.

The plan was to tow it to my place in Melbourne and restore it, just before that happened my landlord decided to sell my place and I had to leave quickly, leaving about 2.5 weeks to restore the Volvo 265.

In the '90s my parents had a light green '77 Volvo 265GL which started a long line of Volvos since, I had always wanted a Volvo 265 since my parents ones are long gone, But finding an early one in good condition was almost impossible. Then I got a offered a '76 model, it was sight unseen, I didn't know any details apart from the year. it was just outside Avoca, which was pretty strange since it was only a short drive from my family's property. My dad went and picked it up, I was in an exam all day so I had to wait to get home and see what it was like, I was pretty surprised by it.

The Volvo 265DL was sold in a few markets, almost all versions were different for each market and very few were made. The Australian Volvo 265DL was the same spec as a Volvo 265GL, the only reason for the DL badging was too differentiate it from the 264GL, since it was the flagship sedan at the time. They were assemblied in Melbourne unlike later 265s sold here, we don't know how many were bulit, in the late 90s my parnets bought a crame coloured one for parts, it got parted out and until this one came up I've never come across another one.

It was new at Mantons in Melbourne, where it had a few owners until 1993 when the owner I got it from bought it, they had looked after it very well, a few years ago when they had some problems with it and replaced it with something newer. It had a Holden roof rack, a fan in the rear pillar and some other basic mods but it was mostly original in very good condition for it's age and Ks.

It sat in the yard here for 6 months until I pulled it out and got it running, it had a blown head gasket but driving it around on some private property it felt pretty good.

I wanted to keep it looking original but the Volvo B27 was pretty tired and the 3sp autos aren’t great, I had an exchange Volvo B28 laying around, and John Johnson supplied a 760 AW71 to run with it. I did a lot of other changes while fitting the new engine, I fitted the CIS idle system from a 760 which uses a small computer and a idle valve to control the idle more accurately than the aux air valve, an external trans cooler, electric fan, etc.

Fitted the B28 into the 265.

The AW71 conversion was pretty straight forward, @Angus242164 Supplied a 164 tail shaft which happens to be the right length, @carnut222 supplied a late 240 OD shifter, I fitted an early tail housing with speedo drive, a Volvo 240 AW71 mount in a V6 crossmember all fits perfectly. The shifter linkage was shortened, an external cooler meant I didn’t need to modify the hard lines to fit the radiator.the engine pipe needs to be modified slightly to clean the AW71, I took the opportunity to weld on the main section of a 240 engine pipe which doesn’t have a 3rd muffler where the 260s do.

Swapping over the early tail housing with a new bush and seals.

OD shifter fitted.

The distributor and coolant return pipe had to be swapped to the B27 to allow the early manifold to fit.

Thermostat housing drilled and tapped for CIS temp sensor.

Kings/DVS springs (-45mm/-30mm f:r), new KYBs, reinforced control arms, 21mm/19mm sway bars(originally 17mm/nothing) new strut tops and new brake hoses. @AshDVS supplied DVS special front springs


The seats, carpet, boot lining etc were removed and cleaned, wiring and OD shiftier added, non faded carpet fitted, some later front seats fitted while the brown leather ones are being restored. Rear power windows fitted. Genuine coin tray, R-sport cluster, purple switch, dash mat and door pockets fitted.

I didn't get many good pics of the interior becouse it didn't get fully finished, I left theoriginal steering wheel in and borrowed the seats from my 264. I'll get some better ones once the seats are back in.

The R-sport cluster required a huge amount of work, it was bulit out of a few of them and some nos parts. A new light strip was made and the tach was converted to 6cyl.

All of this had to be done in two and a half weeks, with no garage or suitable work space and lots of rain. We had it driving on Tuesday, Wednesday morning we drove it to the roadworthy center as soon as they opened, it passed with no issues, we then drove it 4 hours to get the club rego paperwork signed off, and made it to vicroads 20 mins before closing and got the number plates. We spent all of Thrusdsy going all the final work, Friday morning we fitted the seats and head unit, and left for Bathurst. We had it to the Friday night dinner.

The morning we left and some interior goodies for the trip!


After the meet we decided to go home via Canberra, Bright, Geelong and the great ocean road.

We did about 5000Ks all up, the car was great, it sat at 2200rpm and used 9.5L/100Ks.

Feature plans include respray, tint, fitting the brown leather seats, GT steering wheel, cargo barrier and fixing the AC.


Check out more photo's below!

Thank you Duncan, we appreciate the support and love from our loyal customers! We look forward to see what you do next to your Volvo 265!