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Performance Specialists Since 1963

Volvo 140

1967-1974 - 142, 144, 145

The Volvo 140 series includes a few different body styles, with the number indicating:

  • 1: generation, with the 140 series, successor to the Amazon, being the first generation of Volvos to use their new numeric model scheme
  • 4: number of cylinders 
  • 0: number of doors:
    • 145 for the station wagon
    • 144 for the four-door sedan
    • 142 for the 2-door

Regardless of body style, all 140s set the tone for Volvo's "rectilinear" design that would dominate their lineup to the end of the century: straight lines, flat sides, and the classic boxy shape that has become virtually synonymous with classic Volvos. As Volvo design chief Peter Horbury once noted, "Volvo makes the best boxes on wheels."

The 140 is considered the Amazon's successor, but there is some overlap between the final years of the Amazon (sometimes known internationally as the 120 series) and the beginning of the 140 in 1967. As such, these two cars shared many engines and transmissions, with the 140 initially being powered by the same B18 and (from 1969) B20 engines and 4-speed M40, 4-speed plus overdrive M41 manual, and 3-speed BW35 automatic transmissions.

As with many other Volvos from the late 1950s through the 1970s, "overdrive" in cars with this option was a separate overdrive unit attached to the rear of the transmission, between the transmission and the driveshaft. On pressing the "overdrive" switch on the shifter at cruising speed, the "D-type" (and later "J-type") Laycock de Normanville overdrive assembly would engage a higher gear; effectively, a Laycock overdrive unit is a self-contained 5th gear bolted to the outside of a 4-speed transmission.

For USA market cars, one of the most significant changes came in 1972 with the introduction of the Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection equipped B20F. Despite the lower compression ratio to meet new emissions requirements, the addition of fuel injection kept power roughly in line with that of the older twin-carbureted B18. Initially only on "E" trim cars, by 1973 fuel injection made its way to all 140s.

Despite its aerodynamic qualities being very...well...brick-like, the 140 has had good luck in motorsports. Just a year after the 140's 1966 introduction in Sweden, it began to compete in rallies in Europe, with a 144 taking 4th at the Polish Rally Championship in 1967. In 1969, one of rally legend Hannu Mikkola's first cars was a 142 S in the Swedish Rally.

IPD has a personal racing connection with the 140 through our founder, Richard Gordon, who took a 140 to victory at Laguna Seca in the IMSA Champion Spark Plug Challenge in 1982, Volvo's first racing victory in North America. After Richard Gordon's passing in 2014, IPD friends Vol-Tech restored that famous #79 140, and it sits proudly in our Portland showroom today.

1974 was the last year in the USA for the 140, though the 140-based 164 luxury car carried on for one more year. A significant evolution of the 140, the 240 series, replaced it from 1975 onwards, and would go on to be Volvo's longest-lived and most numerous model.

  • Sold in the USA from 1967 through 1974 model year
  • The 140 was available as:
    • 142 two door sedan
    • 144 four door sedan
    • 145 five door wagon
  • Models with an S suffix were carbureted while models with an E suffix were fuel injected
  • Fuel injection started appearing in 1971, and was standard by 1972
  • Three point seat belts were standard from the beginning on USA models.
  • In 1974, the fuel tank was moved inboard as a safety feature to reduce ruptures during rear-end collisions.
  • Flow-through cabin ventilation system and electric rear window defogger/defroster introduced in 1970
  • Manual transmission cars had a 4-speed M40 or 4-speed with overdrive M41 transmission
    • B18 cars with overdrive used a "D-type" Laycock de Normanville overdrive unit
    • B20 cars with overdrive used a "J-type" Laycock de Normanville overdrive unit
  • Automatic transmission cars had a BorgWarner BW35 3-speed transmission

USA engine variations:

  • B18B - 1.8L dual carbs
  • B20B (from 1969) - 2.0L dual carbs
  • B20E - (E-badged 1971 cars) 2.0L High compression D-Jet fuel injected
  • B20F - 2.0L
    • (1972 and 1973) Fuel Injected, D-Jet
    • (1974) Fuel Injected, K-Jet

Model information is based on the USA vehicle market. Other model variations may exist outside the USA.

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