I hear the complaint all the time: “There are no real cheap cars anymore.” It’s true: a combination of Cash for Clunkers, beater racing, and market dynamics stemming from the general unaffordability of new cars have all but eliminated running, drivable vehicles from the sub-$1k, empty-the-couch-cushions category.
Well, I went on the internet this week, and I found this: a properly cheap 1992 Volvo 740 station wagon. Its seller apparently wants just $900 or best offer, and states that it has a dead battery and a driveline vibration, but that it’ll “probably” start with a jump. The catch? At 737,000 miles, its odometer is more befitting of a passenger airliner than a passenger car.
That level of mileage is unheard of on almost any car, but it seems to happen fairly often with Volvos. There’s the famous story of Irv Gordon, a Long Island schoolteacher who drove his P1800 three million miles over several decades of ownership. In this case, the seller states they bought this wagon from the original owner who put over 700,000 miles on it himself.
The iron-block, truck-derived engines in Volvo 240s, 740s and 940s, among others are notoriously unkillable, and I wouldn’t be shocked if this one is on its original bottom end. Still, 700,000 miles aren’t easy on any car, and the listing leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The seller, whose name is curiously similar to an Italian pasta dish, does mention “a TON of Volvo 740 parts that will be included,” so there’s hope for DIY wrenchers.
Would you take a chance on this 740 wagon that’s been around the Earth approximately 28 times? One the one hand, if it’s come this far, who’s to say it won’t keep going? On the other, there’s nothing quite as expensive as a neglected old car, particularly one with nearly three-quarters of a million miles. The floor is yours.
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