Home » Someone Turned A Volvo 240 Into A Weird Camper By Putting A Saab On Top Of It

Someone Turned A Volvo 240 Into A Weird Camper By Putting A Saab On Top Of It

Volvaab Ts
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One of the downsides of camping out of a car is the fact that you have limited headroom. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve started a day at a Gambler 500 or HooptieX with a thump followed by “ow!” It seems I’m not the only person who isn’t a fan of a car’s short roof. Someone sought to solve this problem by taking a legendary Volvo 240 wagon and perching a 1972 Saab onto its roof, creating the Internet-famous Volvaab. Nobody could complain about the headroom in this ride!

This wonderful creation has come to my attention first through Facebook Marketplace, and then again more than once through the fine folks of Opposite-Lock. As it turns out, a nearly double-decker Volvo gets people talking! If you do an Internet search for Volvaab you’ll find sightings from confused people and even a piece by Curbside Classic. I can’t blame these people. This is similar to what I’ve seen people do with custom vans and buses, but with a humble family wagon.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Oh, and did I say you can own this masterpiece of backyard engineering for just $5,500. If I didn’t already have some irons in a few fires I’d be telling Sheryl we’re headed to Oregon.

The Legend

The Volvo 240 is an automotive icon. I’m sure if you just bring up an old Volvo, the other person will imagine a 240 even if they don’t know the vehicle’s model name. This is in part because the Volvo 240 and its variants were a runaway success. Volvo introduced the rolling brick in 1974 and managed to sell over 2.8 million copies over the course of 19 years. That’s a production run so long that multiple generations were able to buy these cars new. Volvo today says that the 240 remains the company’s most-produced vehicle in its history. For many, the 240 is Volvo!

Volvaab Girl Thanos Snap

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Volvo’s retelling of the 240 story isn’t much different than that of any other car:

On 21 August the media got to see and drive the new car for the first time. The journalists were flown by chartered plane from Volvo’s head office at Torslanda to the little town Borlänge, where a row of Volvo 244 GLs were waiting for them. Each and every one had an orange paint job very typical of the time – with orange interiors to boot.

The Volvo 240 was a development of the 140 series, but a lot had changed. The innovations were primarily at the front, its appearance was greatly inspired by the VESC safety car that had been presented two years earlier. Most prominent of all were the large bumpers – the car was a total of 13 cm longer than the 140 series. The characteristic lattice headrests were among the new additions to the interior.

The newly developed B21 engine came in a 97 hp carburettor version and a 123 hp fuel injection version. The front of the car was a new design using MacPherson struts and rack and pinion steering.

1993 Volvo Motors 240 Classic St
Volvo

Volvo goes on to talk up the 240’s variety of engine options, which included a six cylinder diesel developed in a partnership with Volkswagen. Then there was the 244 turbo and the fabled Volvo 245 turbo wagon. Volvo also points out that the 200 series won awards for its safety to how the California version scrubbed emissions with three-way catalytic converters and Lambda sensors. By all accounts, the Volvo 240 was basically bank vault safe and just an all-round solid family hauler. But that’s not all of why it’s a legend. I mean, according to the U.S. Highway Loss Data Institute, the Volvo 240 was the safest car in its class for four years in a row.

As contributor Brett Berk wrote earlier this month, the Volvo 240 is a car that transcends class. Volvo 240 owners are everyone from the poor person in a trailer park to the person sitting on old money. Volvo 240s are first cars, restoration projects, battle cars, campers, hot rods, really anything you want that block of car to be.

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Here’s a bit from Berk’s piece:

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“I think, in part, it is the anti-design that it really stands for,” says Hans Hedberg, a lifelong Volvo fanatic and veteran Swedish automotive journalist who now manages the brand’s heritage cars and activities. “It’s about functionality, or transport. It was never done to be fancy. And in that way, it’s very authentic, and people are attracted to that.” Hagerty echoes this, stating that “Square is now cool, and über-utility holds as much appeal to younger buyers as sexy lines and sporty handling had for Boomers.” Of course, I already knew this, having owned a battered manual Volvo 265 wagon back in the 90s.

I’ve witnessed this for myself, including a 240 that was lovingly restored to a beater 240 shod in all terrain tires and hitting more airtime from dirt jumps than most Jeeps ever will. Here’s another wild 240, and this one is so neat.

The Volvaab

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One of the cheapest ways to go camping with hard walls is to just sleep in your car. You don’t need to set up a tent, have better security from jerks, and have better protection from wildlife. Plus, your car probably already feels like home.

However, cars are just terrible for space. Wagons give you enough room to stretch out, but not enough headroom. I suppose you could buy a minivan, but now you’re getting into a vehicle form factor that you may not want. And even then, the roof might not be how you’d really want it to be.

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That’s where the Volvaab comes in. The vehicle’s owner and seller, Amos, has been the custodian of the vehicle for more than 15 years. Back then, the 240 was just your typical Volvo wagon. Then about 9 years ago, Amos decided to turn his wagon into the ultimate Swedish camper. The roof of the 1992 Volvo 240’s was chopped off and then everything from the beltline and up from a 1972 Saab 96 was welded on. The result is a vehicle with a surprisingly roomy interior.

I especially love how the Saab still has interior trim, so the Volvaab almost looks like it came from a factory that way. Though, I cannot speak of how useful that rearview mirror is. However, add in enough space for a 6’1″ person to stretch out and that fantastic greenhouse and you have a great camper. Toss in a few creature comforts and you can make anywhere a nice place to set down for the night.

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Aside from the nice hat that’s welded on you get a 2.3-liter inline four with 114 HP and 136 lb-ft of torque to its name. There aren’t a lot of ponies in the stable, but at least they reach the rear wheels through a five-speed manual. Amos has attached a rather long list of repairs and maintenance ranging from a new cylinder head and seals, new belts and gaskets, plus bushings and a fuel pump. That’s about as I’d expect from a car of its age with roughly 325,000 miles. It’s definitely not a perfect car, but one that seems like it’s ready for more.

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Thankfully I’m not in the market for a vehicle like this or else I’d be on my way to Portland, Oregon right now and ready to part with $5,500. One of you should bring this masterpiece home. There isn’t anything like it out there and it might be the ultimate in car camping.

(Images: Amos C, unless otherwise noted)

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Ben
Ben
27 days ago

For the person who wants a van, but absolutely refuses to buy the damn van.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
27 days ago
Reply to  Ben

True, but this is massively easier to work on than a van. Also might have a lower center of gravity. Also also might outlive most/all vans just by being a naturally aspirated Redblock.

Buddy Repperton's Sideburns
Buddy Repperton's Sideburns
27 days ago

I came across this on my own, as I, too share in the FBMP sickness. Now, the first thing I thought of was the PopeMobile, which is crazy to compare a road-going car to, but with more scrutiny, I love how this is not just random shit glued onto random shit. I mean, the sweep angle of the a-pillar AND c-pillar are matched nearly perfectly to the a and b pillars of the Saab. There was some serious thought and intention behind it. For the low price of, I think it was $5,500 I doubt there is anything you could ever buy that would rank this high on the scale of unique for this low of an investment. AND it’s practical! Bravo.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
27 days ago

While the outside is awkward to me, those interior shots sell me instantly.

Erik W
Erik W
27 days ago

Why do I like this so much? I’m just a camper geek, I guess.

Lankyloon
Lankyloon
27 days ago

The way the pillars line up works shockingly well! I dig it.

Drew
Drew
27 days ago

“Yo, dawg, I heard you liked cars, so I put a car on your car.”

Leandro Pertusati
Leandro Pertusati
27 days ago

Is a Double decker car escaped from the alternate universe from Fringe

WR250R
WR250R
27 days ago

“On tonight’s program…”

Frank Wrench
Frank Wrench
27 days ago

Mixed feeling about hacking up a decent 240 wagon. I like it from the inside, not the outside. Instead of a hardtop I’d rather see it with one of those ASI straight up and down pop tops on some VW vans. This way it folds flat with the roofline when you’re not using it.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
27 days ago
Reply to  Frank Wrench

I don’t know the vehicle’s history, but I like to think something happened to the Volvo’s roof – leaking/broken sunroof, hail damage, an elephant stepped on it, whatever – and the owner also had an old saab that was no longer mechanically sound (very plausible). A bottle of Brännvin and several herring later, and voila.

MY LEG!
MY LEG!
27 days ago

Plot twist, it’s the spare car for Portland’s Darth Vader Incendiary Bagpiping Unicyclist who practices in the back when out camping

Last edited 27 days ago by MY LEG!
EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
27 days ago

Hi, it’s me a Swedish lawyer, known as a Skarsgård here in Sweden, where I practice law. This is actually a very serious crime here, called Smorgasburg. Please send me the location of this offender, so they may be punished with state-recommended banishment to Finland.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
27 days ago

Bork Bork!

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
27 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

Bork Bork was my father, please just call me Bork, esquire.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
27 days ago

At least it’s all Swedish.

CRG
CRG
27 days ago

I was ready to hate but came away nodding in agreement at… something. It is Interesting!

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
27 days ago

Volvaab is so lazy. Should be Saalvo.

I know it’s not the only example of this, but it’s always triggered me how the wagon used the sedan windows and trim for the rear passenger doors. For such a long production run, you’d think they could have fixed that tooling.

HiwattScott
HiwattScott
26 days ago

Or better yet, Salvo, which is an actual word…and a badass one at that.

Matt Gasper
Matt Gasper
27 days ago

Imagine if this…were…a Saab 956…with a Volvo 240’s roof welded on.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
27 days ago
Reply to  Matt Gasper

Or a P1800 bodied Imprezza!

JKcycletramp
JKcycletramp
27 days ago

I’ve met that car! It’s great!

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
27 days ago

This makes me sad.
Two awesome Swedes were sacrificed for this bit of silliness.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
27 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Or maybe two Swedes were saved that otherwise might have been scrapped?

Imagine the Volvo had roof damage, and the saab had bad running gear and/or rusted-out floorpan. One Frankenswede later, here ya go.

I do wish it were a better paint color, though.

Soso Tsundere
Soso Tsundere
27 days ago

I love it, it’s a car for some super tall Swedish Mad Max villain!

Cayde-6
Cayde-6
27 days ago
Reply to  Soso Tsundere

I was very disappointed to discover that “Max” in Swedish is just “Max”

Or, more specifically, that “Maximilian” is still spelled “Maximilian”.

Last edited 27 days ago by Cayde-6
Cayde-6
Cayde-6
27 days ago
Reply to  Soso Tsundere

Also: A Møøse once bit Furiosa… No realli!

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
27 days ago
Reply to  Cayde-6

THAT’S what happened to her arm. It all makes sense now.

Also explains why she changed her name from Fjordiosa.

CUlater
CUlater
26 days ago
Reply to  Cayde-6

Python is always appropriate. Monty Python all the things!

V10omous
V10omous
27 days ago
Reply to  Soso Tsundere

Ride eternal to the gates of Vahalla!

Don Kasak
Don Kasak
28 days ago

I have photos of this car from my visit to Portland in 2022! I don’t have them online; otherwise I’d share them.

Last edited 28 days ago by Don Kasak
Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
28 days ago

Wow, you got me excited, but I’m on the east coast, and he wants to keep it in Portland. It’s understandable, and I actually appreciate that, but damn I wish I had a chance to own that.

Cayde-6
Cayde-6
27 days ago

Quick! Just trick him into driving to Maine!

The Dude
The Dude
28 days ago

This is a very Portland vehicle.

Gubbin
Gubbin
27 days ago
Reply to  The Dude

Came here to say the same. Portland still has an active SAAB dealer!

Lori Hille
Lori Hille
27 days ago
Reply to  Gubbin
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
27 days ago
Reply to  Lori Hille

I checked their inventory. Those prices are on crack.

Gubbin
Gubbin
27 days ago

Where else ya gonna go?

Luca
Luca
28 days ago

The Volvaab!!!! I used to see it all around town, then moved around the corner from it. Put a smile on my face every time, got lots of pics of it.

I hadn’t seen it for quite a while, granted I moved. Glad to see it’s still kicking though I hope it stays local to PDX.

Swing_Axle
Swing_Axle
28 days ago

This Volvaab missed an opportunity to add a little bit of VAG in there, because reasons.

Last edited 28 days ago by Swing_Axle
Church
Church
28 days ago
Reply to  Swing_Axle

I was trying to get to some joke along these lines. You got closer than me, but I think we still need to workshop it.

Swing_Axle
Swing_Axle
27 days ago
Reply to  Church

*handshake emoji over neon text reading ‘5th grader sense of humor’*

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
27 days ago
Reply to  Swing_Axle

A pair of Swedish supermodels and a German factory manager meet each other in a biergarten…

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