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Matchbox Superking Volvo (Image courtesy of Vectis Auctions Ltd.)

The Iconic Volvo 240

You’ve got 10 seconds to draw a car that someone will recognize, what are you going to do?

Maybe a semi-circle with a smaller semi-circle at each end then give it some wheels and then someone will shout ‘Beetle!’ That’s the obvious one so what if I exclude the Bug?

Now your options now are seriously limited.

If you drew a short boxy vehicle with big wheels someone might shout ‘Land Rover’ but if you were playing this game outside of the UK they would probably shout ‘Jeep’ at that same drawing so that’s no good.

What simple car shape is known around the world?

Well I think if you did a two-box estate car shape then added a slight wedge profile to the front then surely someone would shout ‘Volvo!’ And despite their extensive resume of estate cars it would be the 240 series they had in mind.

"Dinky's effort looked more impressive than Matchbox's similar sized Super Kings offering but the Dinky had a fragile plastic base"

I say 240 for simplicity but that simple shape of Volvo estate ran from 1968 as the 145, becoming the 245 in 1974 and continued to be tweaked and improved but never radically changed until it bowed out in 1993 as the simplified 240 range.

That’s an impressive career and it has made its mark in popular culture by being in pretty much every American film ever made, seriously even if it’s not a main character’s car then there will be one in a street scene, check it out.

Over on our little rock it got off to a flying start by being featured in ‘The Good Life’ 1975-78 Margo and Jerry Leadbetter had all the posh things that we aspired to including a yellow 145 estate for trips to the pony club or a weekend in the country. 

That ubiquitous status has of course attracted the model makers with Corgi, Matchbox, Majorette, Dinky, Minichamps, Oxford Diecast, Premium X, Whitebox, Atlas, Stahlberg and Emek to name a few.

If you want to go big then the Minichamps 1:18 scale looks like one of their best in this scale and comes in a choice of colours. Bigger still are the plastic versions by Emek and Stahlberg which although simpler and more toy than model they still have a very good level of detail and the Stahlberg models come in a great range of period hues.

Dinky’s effort looked more impressive than Matchbox’s similar sized Super Kings offering but the Dinky had a fragile plastic base that did not stand up to much play wear and the flimsy tailgate was easily snapped off too whereas the Matchbox has proved to be as sturdy as the real thing.

My personal favourite is the Majorette which apart from its overly wide wheels is a good representation and again is very tough and able to survive generations of children, it makes Corgi’s offering in the same size look rather too basic.

So, channel your inner Margo and equip yourself with a durable stylish motoring icon that’s fit for any occasion.

Leave a reply in the box at the bottom of the page and tell us what you think about the Volvo 240. We’d love to hear from you!

(Thanks to our friends at Vectis Auctions Ltd for allowing us to use some of their images on our post)


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