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Volvo 164. Noble six-cylinder, flagship from Sweden.

The first Volvo 164 runs off the belt. The return to the six-cylinder class is a fact. Image: Volvo

In 1958 Volvo said goodbye to the six-cylinder era in the passenger car division for a period of 10 years. The 'PV 831-PV 834' series was then taken out of production. It then took a decade for the Swedes to put a new six-cylinder model into production. Volvo returned to the ranks of the European large motorized cars. And launched the Volvo 164 in August.

Outwardly, the new flagship from Gothenburg had many similarities with the 144, which saw the light of day two years earlier. However, the newcomer had a wheelbase that had grown by 10 centimeters. Nevertheless, the new 164 was mainly recognizable by a distinctively designed front, in which two large headlamps and two smaller lighting units hugged a large square grille with rounded corners. That grille also determined the shape of the hood, which had an elevation that "fanned out" from the grille to the windscreen.

The first Volvo 164 runs off the belt. The return to the six-cylinder class is a fact. Image: Volvo

Impressive engine, adjusted transmission

In that prow was the six in-line B 30 A engine with a displacement of 2979 cc, which was breathed by 2 Stromberg 175 CD 2 SE carburettors. In order to be able to serve that heavier engine well, the transmission was especially made heavier. In addition, the buyer had the choice of a synchronized four-speed gearbox with or without overdrive. And for those with an even greater appetite for convenience, a three-stage Borg Warner Automatic was available. From 1972, its shift lever moves to the floor.

Injection accompanies carburation engine

Meanwhile, the Volvo 164 was modified. From the early 164s, power steering was standard equipment, the Volvo was fitted with leather and the wheelbase of the top Swedish range grew by another two centimetres. The 1971 also received larger footwear. The most important addition, however, came in the name of… the power source. From 30 – in addition to the original power source – the B160 engine was equipped with the electronic Bosch D-Jetronic injection system. For some markets the power for that engine was 145 HP, for other countries the power was limited to XNUMX HP from an environmental point of view – partly due to a lower compression. In any case, the injection addition led to a number of changes, such as the use of ventilated brake discs.

Unnoticed, the Volvo 164 underwent a solid transformation in seven years. This is the 164 from one of the last years of construction. Image: Volvo
Unnoticed, the Volvo 164 underwent a major makeover in seven years. This is the 164 from one of the last years of construction. Image: Volvo

Even more attention to safety and luxury

In 1973 the carbureted engine – the B 30 A – disappeared from the scene. At the same time, the 164 evolved. For example, recessed door handles (from 1972) and new square rear light units made their appearance. A new safety steering wheel and dashboard find their way into the Swede's interior, the grille has become smaller and the front bumper has been straightened out. The doors were fitted with beams for extra protection in the event of a collision. Volvo also installed air conditioning preparation in its top model. And for the 1974 model year, new front and rear safety bumpers were fitted to the top model from Sweden. In the run-up to 1974, the front ventilation windows also disappeared. In addition, the Swedes built in additional crumple zones and continued to live up to their name in the field of safety through some other adjustments (for example, the relocation of the fuel tank). A luxurious addition was the installation of electrically heated front seats.

Also changes for the last model year

For example, the perfected 164 slowly moved towards the last model year, for which some changes (seats, handbrake placement, improved suspension) were also planned. In that last model year - 1975 - the Volvo, which was responsible for the return to the six-cylinder class - made way for the 264, which saw the light of day a year earlier. The 164 was produced a total of 153.179 times and was sold in both Europe and the United States of America. Anyway, it was a noble, respectable and impressive car.


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  1. That "Old - Loyal" Renault V-6 is NOW 40 years after Dato still used in the Nissan Murano -en0 Infinti FX 35, and with a modified exhaust system "Grandma" roars like a modern one!!! …

    • The 164 actually had a 6 in-line engine, not a V6. That came much later in the S/V90 series towards the end of the last century.

  2. Good light is of course a basic requirement for safety in a country where it is dark for most of the year. (I have never seen so many big spotlights on cars as in Sweden). And attention to crash safety. If you encounter a moose in the middle of the road, you will see the evasive and crash test in front of you. Climate: reliable motor and sturdy heater. Culture: socialist, simplicity in design and no frills.
    In short and summarized (I think from Jeremy): It looks like a tank, it drives like a tank. In fact… it's a tank.

  3. The B30 is actually a Volvo B18 4-burner, from the Amazon, to which 2 cylinders have been 'glued' and also for the automotive (truck, passenger car and sports car) as well as in shipping (inboard): Penta. Here the block was tilted even more and provided with downdraft strombergs and dry sump lubrication.

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