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Volvo 164


In the late 1960s, facing competition from European rivals like the Mercedes W108 S-class, BMW "New Six", and the Jaguar XJ6, Volvo responded with a luxury derivative of their 144 sedan: the 164

A plusher sedan demanded a smoother, torquier engine, so Volvo developed a larger variant of their B20 engine, the B30. The engine bay needed to be lengthed to accommodate this new inline six, so a new hood and new fenders were used, topped off with a new front fascia holding quad lamps and a big grille.

The B30, despite being an oddball engine that never reappeared after the 164, remains easy enough to work on: it's essentially just a B20 with two extra cylinders, so most of the internal components (save for the crankshaft and oil pan, exhaust, and certain gaskets) are the same as in the B18 and B20.

As with other contemporary Volvos, the B30 received a USA emissions compliant B30F variant in 1972, gaining Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection at the same time.

Inside, the 164 continued the upscale theme with a woodgrain dash and leather seats. Most American 164 models were equipped with a BW35 three-speed automatic transmission, though a few examples exist with strengthened variants of the M40 4-speed manual: the M400 or the M410 with overdrive.

The final year of the 164 in the USA was 1975. Volvo repeated the same upscale version tactic with the 164's successor, with the "base" 240 series getting an upscale 6-cylinder variant, the 264, in 1976.

  • Four door sedan only
  • Sold in the USA from 1969 through 1975 model year
  • All 164 models have B30 inline six gasoline engines and either manual or automatic transmissions:
    • M400 4-speed manual
    • M410 4-speed manual with Laycock overdrive
    • BW35 3-speed automatic
  • Dual S.U. carbs were standard up to 1971 when Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection became an option.

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

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