In 1978, my mum and dad bought a brand-new beige Volvo 245DL station wagon. Very basic - AM/FM radio with two speakers, no A/C, vinyl seats. My mum drove that car until it was given to my sister to use for college in 1991. It was still in the family until 1998, when my sister, who was driving it at the time, traded it for a beat-up piece of crap 1980 VW Scirocco which she thought was cute, but blew its engine about a week after she traded the still great Volvo wagon for it. The 245 had over 140,000 miles on it at the time of its sale, with paint still in excellent condition (I kept it detailed from the time I learned to do that sort of work in 1981).
In 1984, my dad bought a new graphite metallic 244DL sedan, which he drove for literally hundreds of thousands of miles. Dad always swore by the comfort of the Volvo's seats - he has a bad hip, which bothers him only in certain sitting positions, and the Volvo's seat turned out to be ideal for him. Today, my sister drives that car, which still performs well and has not had one single major breakdown in almost 20 years, with over 250,000 miles on it. The paint of course went to hell, as is quite common for metallics on the older Volvos. My sister had it re-painted for $300 on special. LOL! Not a bad investment, considering the car still has its original engine and transmission.
In 1987, I purchased a silver 1982 244GL sedan as my first car, and upgraded it considerably with all sorts of Volvo accessories, including rear headrests, new Volvo stereo with equaliser, cruise control and matching headrest pads and front centre armrest. I used it for college, and it performed flawlessly, with no major breakdowns during any of the 2,200 mile treks I made in it from CA to TX twice per year for school. My 244GL had over 130,000 miles on it when I sold it in 1993 to finance a venture I was going to invest in overseas. I still see the car from time to time around the town where my parents live as it was sold to a local resident. It is in much sadder shape than I ever allowed it to fall into, but still running.
My mum now drives a dark metallic blue 1991 744GL, fully loaded with leather and ABS. She complains about the cost of maintaining it, but really, this should be nothing new to her or Dad as they have been driving Volvos since 1978. The 744 has over 135,000 miles on it. Dad drives a yellow 1989 244DL, which he got after he gave his old 244 to my sister. That car is fast approaching 100,000 miles as well. It must be said that the comfort of the 740 series is FAR superior to that of the 240 - Mum often comments that driving Dad's 244 is like driving a tank, compared to her smooth-riding luxury car. And of course, the 740 is much roomier, much more refined and drives much better than the 240.
It is no secret to any Volvo owner that the cars are expensive to maintain. Weak areas on the 240 include brakes, air conditioning and exhaust. I put a few thousand dollars into my 244GL, but all of the parts I had to change were parts that wear out during the normal life of a car. One of the secrets to the 240's reliability is that the engine and transmission are pretty basic - no complex electrical systems, no on-board computers. This changed somewhat when airbags and ABS were introduced on the series in 1990, but the cars still remained very basic and reliable. Rust has always been a major problem on the 240 series, which I think rather odd, considering the cars are designed in Sweden, where the winters are quite harsh. I have hardly seen a single 240 here in Wisconsin which does not have rust around the bottoms of the doors and in the wheel wells.
To sum it up, the 240 was a great design, very tough, and very safe. Although quite boxy and maybe pretty basic, the cars were comfortable and very reliable. I have long been considering purchasing a 260 series Bertone Coupe and restoring it. The only thing I would change if possible would be to install a 2.1 litre turbo four from a 244GLT, rather than the awful, unreliable, high-maintenance 2.7 litre V-6 which was standard on the Coupe.