BACK   ->   MY 264

The history of a VOLVO 264, or better, two.

In autumn 1979 the family was discussing the purchasing of a new car.

The economic situation was not really good, they were expanding the family company, they had just bought the establishment, but the old Lancia Flaminia coupè was giving us problems of reliability.

Required characteristics: 6 cylinders engine for a good car towing capacity and on specific request made by my father, if possible, station wagon version because among the members of our family there was also a German shepherd dog.

I don’t know really well how, but the choice was restricted just between Mercedes and Volvo.

Catalogues ready, I remember that I was asked to say my opinion between a Mercedes 250 T and a

Volvo 265. As a child as I was, once I memorized the catalogues, my choice fell on Volvo, that proposed a more powerful injection engine, full optional equipment, whereas at similar price, Mercedes offered a carburettor engine and no optionals, not even electric mirrors.

We were giving the green light to the body shop Volvo of our area, at that time there was not a real car concessionaire in the city yet, when my father met the previous official vender for Volvo, and he convinced him to give him his used car 264 of 1976, already equipped with towing bracket, at the moment used by his wife as a second car.

In this way, saving approximately ten millions of the old Italian liras, we took home a marvellous 264 DL, injection engine, with 5 speed transmission, with 43 thousand km, without any particular accessories except for the openable roof, but still for that time a really good car.

After a few years, the time finally came to get my driver’s licence and the model 264 was the first car I could use for practising; it wasn’t that bad if we think that at that time they used a Fiat Ritmo , first series car, without even power steering, for the road lessons at the driving school.

Finally, once I had my driver’s licence, I must confess that, more or less secretly, sometimes I used the Volvo also to go to school, approximately eight hundred meters away from home, but going to school by such a car….wow!

Furthermore, in those years the Volvo 240 station burst out in fashion and finally Volvo widespread as it deserves.

I bought my first car, not a Volvo, but after only 4 years I finally succeeded in trading it in with my first Volvo, a second hand 740 GLE diesel.

That’s how we came to have two Volvos in the family.

Years were passing, while the 264 was resting in the garage, my father was using it less and less, it

totalized just a little bit more than 80 thousand km.

In 1997 I was forced, as to say, (I was very happy in fact) to borrow it for a couple of weeks, since I didn’t have any car while I was waiting for the delivery of a brand new V70 T5.

It was still a great car and it was a pleasure to drive it around. So I started to think that the historical, in every respect, 264, would have stayed with our family and one day it would have passed on to me as a collection car; not everyone would have preserved the first car they drove in their own life.

All this until one bad day in November 1998…when the Volvo 264 was truly a victim of a dangerous head-on collision accident.

A car that was risky overtaking hit on my father, who tried to avoid the collision pushing the brake and pulling off of the road onto the soft verge, but the driver of the other car, once he lost the control, ended up to crash into half of the front part of our Volvo.

My father get away with a wrist fracture and a cracked rib (because of the seat belt), whereas the driver of the other car unfortunately survived only a few hours.

It seemed the result of a crash- test but unfortunately it was a real accident and there was no dummy on board.

It must be said that the accident was useful for certifying the robustness of the car and the reliability of the Volvo that declares that its cars are safe in everyday life and not only in the controlled crash-tests.

To give you an idea, the gear lever cut the flatcar moving back a ten centimetres, and the front left corner of the car was pushed inside reaching the level of the wheel hub.

However the passenger area was undamaged and the doors opened without any problem, just the door on the side of the driver slightly “touched” the locking.

We kept it for a few months considering an attempt, which was almost impossible, to repair it, but we opted for the demolition, after having dismantled some pieces here and there for no reason in particular.

In 2001, with the advent of internet technology, for curiosity I started a research to look for a Volvo 264 and I decided to send an e-mail to all the Volvo concessionaires of Northern and Centre Italy, in case they had one.

I received some answers related to the model 262C, and I also went and see a couple of cars, but or

they needed too much work to repair them or the cost they asked for them was too expensive.

Not even the shadow of a sedan.

Some time after, I received a phone call from a concessionaire who, not really clearly to tell you the truth, informed me that he had a 264 of 1976 that they kept for the exhibitions but that they could give it in to make some room… but he didn’t give me any guarantee on the conditions of the vehicle.

Some months had passed, when, due to work reasons, I found myself in advance for a meeting and I was approximately at thirty kilometres from that concessionaire; so I decided to go!

I found myself standing in front of a 264 GL gold, same year of the previous one we had, with the same 5 speed gearshift. It was not in bad conditions, it was marking 43 thousand kilometres and they seemed to be effective, even if there were some things to repair, it seemed a car remained unused for very long years.

I tried to negotiate, the price they asked was a little bit high and they didn’t go down.

However, I could not leave without buying it, therefore I left my documents for the succession with the promise that I would have made a transfer the following day.

Two weeks later I was travelling to take it home, in spite of the (slightly) veiled resistance of my wife.

The first time that I had to accompany my dad, who had stopped driving because of an illness, I rolled up in my 264, much to my dad’s surprise; he was speechless, excited, I think that he was wondering whether I had his Volvo repaired.

After having booked it in the Italian Register of Vintage Volvo, Registro Volvo d’Epoca, and to the Asi, Italian vintage cars and motorbikes, I started to repair some things, especially the mechanical part; then I equipped it with the alloy wheels saved by my dad’s old car, unfortunately I had to change the interiors, because a 10 cm strip of the front backrest was burnt, probably by the sun.

Finally an excellent retouch of the car body to make it perfect again, as I wanted it.

Meanwhile I found some accessories of the time, Volvo original radio, the front spoiler which started to be assembled from the models 79/80, and some other small details that even belonging to the following years, I liked to use (also because at that time they were proposed as accessories also for the models of the previous years).

Later on, I happened to contact the Volvo enthusiast. He found it abandoned in sales account in the basement of a car saloon. So I came to know a part of the history of the “Lingottone”, as he used to call it.

Now it is resting in the box (heated box) that was occupied by my father’s 264, and sometimes it enjoys some deserved tours, when the weather is good, just like a real queen!

Once finished the works, what could be missing if not this on-line tribute.

Internet allowed me to find it and I deemed it right to pay homage to this car with a website dedicated to it.


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