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Saw a Volvo 343

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turbotim2
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Saw a Volvo 343

Post by turbotim2 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:40 pm

Saw one of these the other day, never heard of them before but it looked like a Datsun B210. It was in good shape and had right hand drive so I suspect they never made it to the US for general sales.
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GrumpyOldMan
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Re: Saw a Volvo 343

Post by GrumpyOldMan » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:04 am

They were designed by DAF, just as volvo bought DAF out.
Volvo decided to keep the project going, put in a volvo motor and called it a 3 series.
From what I've heard they are terrible.
I drove a 340 (2 ltr) when they were released in 1984 (Australia).
Didn't think it was to bad myself, huge bottom end torque when everyone else only had 1.4 & 1.6 ltr motors.
I also liked the styling for what it's worth........

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billofdurham
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Re: Saw a Volvo 343

Post by billofdurham » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:34 pm

The first 340 design sketches were produced in 1970 at the Daf works in Holland and it was designated the P900. It was to be a 2 door saloon with coupe and estate variants powered by a 1.1 or 1.3 litre engine. At that time the owners of Daf were looking for a partner to help with production costs so had talks with Volvo, VW, Ford, Peugeot, Nissan, GM (Antwerp) and BMW. Volvo expressed great interest but knew that the US market was out of reach because of safety and emissions regulations. They were also unable to finance the project at that time.

In September 1972 Volvo renewed its interest in Daf and in January 1973 took a 1/3rd share in van Doorne Automobiel Fabriek (note the initials). Over the next three years there was much controversy about the style of the car, engine size and transmission but in 1975 Volvo acquired a majority share holding in the car side of Daf and production went ahead. The first models still had the revolutionary Daf rear mounted 'rubber band' stepless automatic transmission driving the rear wheels and it had become a 3/5 door hatchback.

As with all Volvos important improvements were made mainly related to safety (bumpers, safety-belts, windscreen, etc). Initial sales were not expected to be great and they weren't. Eventually Volvo made the vehicle appeal to more people by adding a manual gearbox, still mounted at the rear, more trim options and more door options. Production increased reaching a maximum of 116,000 in 1986, and still none to the US!

As production progressed more engine options were introduced. From 1975 to 1979 there was only the 1.4 litre but in 1980 a 2.0 litre was added folowed by a 1.6 litre diesel in 1985 and a 1.7 litre petrol in 1986.

In March 1991 production ceased.

Many journalists in motoring magazines sneered at the 340. It was often referred to as "a parts-bin model, driven by ditherers". As the 340 came at or near the top of its class in reliability and safety surveys, these journalists' priorities could be questioned. Owners were wiser. They enjoyed a well-built, highly practical car which was one of the sturdiest in the small-medium class and gave the impression of a much larger car. which was strengthened by the ease of getting into the high-mounted seat, from which the driver enjoyed a commanding view and felt like he was king of the road. He most certainly was king of the car park, as the 9.2m turning circle allowed an easy manoeuvre into the most awkward space. The brakes were featherlight and instant but the steering wasn't light. The car couldn't be thrown around like a sports car and the suspension was harder than average. These were positive and valuable reminders that the driver was in charge of the car on the public road and not in a cocooned dream watching the scenery pass.

There is still a strong support for these "real drivers' cars" today and there is a forum devoted to them at: http://www.volvo300mania.com/forum-uk/. You will find plenty of photographs too.

Bill.
Work was good - retirement is better.

1996 850GLT 2.5 20v Estate Manual.
1995 Peugeot Boxer 2.5Tdi Autosleeper.
Previously:
1984 244DL, Manual, Beige.
1987 744GLE, Manual, Green.
1991 960 3.0 24v, Auto, Silver.
1994 940T Wentworth, Auto, Blue.

turbotim2
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Re: Saw a Volvo 343

Post by turbotim2 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:48 pm

I can see how the driver may feel comfortable in the car but the passengers in the back seat would have to be children or midgets to fit back there. It seemed actually useless to even put seats in back!
2004 XC70

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1996 850 GLT Wagon in Blue (gone)

1996 850 GLT Wagon in Green (gone)

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Re: Saw a Volvo 343

Post by billofdurham » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:42 am

I am in no way defending the Volvo 340 because I didn't particularly like the styling but they were a comfortable 4/5 seater with a not too large luggage space.

Your, and my, 850 estates have an overall length of 185" compared to the 340's 165" and the 850 wheelbase is 105" compared to 94" on the 340. So they are not so small. In fact they would be classed as compact cars in the US.

Bill.
Work was good - retirement is better.

1996 850GLT 2.5 20v Estate Manual.
1995 Peugeot Boxer 2.5Tdi Autosleeper.
Previously:
1984 244DL, Manual, Beige.
1987 744GLE, Manual, Green.
1991 960 3.0 24v, Auto, Silver.
1994 940T Wentworth, Auto, Blue.

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