Introduced by the Swedish carmaker in 1978 as a rival to BMW's 323i, Volvo's GT version of the two-door 242 was the company's first offering with any real sporting pretensions since the P1800 model of the 1960s. The 242 GT was derived from the hugely successful and highly regarded 240/242 series, a model that enhanced Volvo's reputation for building high quality, dependable and - above all - safe motor cars. First seen in 1974, the 240/242 Volvos were beautifully engineered with a typically advanced specification, with disc brakes all round, rack and pinion steering and a sophisticated suspension set-up with MacPherson struts, coils springs and anti-roll bar at the front and a live axle with Panhard rod, coil springs and anti-roll bar at the rear. The 240 range underwent numerous modification over the years and later cars benefited from a larger, fuel-injected version of the rugged four-cylinder engine. In an effort to inject some excitement into the range, Volvo increased capacity to 2316cc for the GT, raised the compression ratio and fitted electric overdrive to on fourth gear. With 103 kW on tap, the Volvo was certainly a lively performer and had a top speed of 180 km/h, quite impressive for the day. Bigger disc brakes were added, along with stiffer suspension, alloy wheels and Pirelli P6 tyres and the styling was enhanced with quartz halogen headlamps, fog lamps, a front spoiler and unique side stripes plus matt black window frames. Based on the already well equipped 244, the Volvo's interior came with a long list of luxury features, including air conditioning, central locking and optional sunroof and headlamp washer/wipers. Around 600 were sold in Australia and today the Volvo 242 GT is recognised as a future collectible, with few good, unmodified examples left on the road.