Volvo 343 / 345

Body shapes:

Volvo 343 DL - Folder foto (voorkant)   Volvo 343 DL - Folder foto (achterkant)  

"Aerodynamic design / Multifunctional / Safe in all ways"

This is the car that should have entered the market as a Daf 77. The Volvo 300 series, consisting of the 343 (3-door) and 345 (5-door, from 1979) was largely developed by DAF in the P900 project, and only modified by Volvo on points. The P900 project, which started in the late 1960s, involved the development of a mid-sized hatchback with 1300/1400 cc engine, designed for all types of transmissions.

A lot of aerodynamic research was done during the design, not common at the time. As the design, which was internally referred to as 'model S' at DAF, was further improved, rumors spread that Volvo could become a potential DAF partner. The design team took this new insight and brought the front in line with the style of larger Volvos.

Thus, in 1976, a new Volvo was presented at the bottom of the model range that had recognizable style elements of DAF passenger cars and above all had the unique Variomatic gearbox (which was called CVT): the Volvo 343. At first, the press was very enthusiastic about this new Volvo descendant with DAF genes: a nice driving, good car with a high price tag. But it gradually became apparent that the model had teething problems and did not radiate Volvo's build quality everywhere. These issues were addressed in subsequent years and with the advent of the manual transmission in 1979 the 343/345 became cheaper and more competitive. In 1981, the 300 series got a new front which resulted in lower air resistance and therefore more economical consumption. With the appearance of the 360 GLT in 1982, Volvo started calling the models 340 and 360.

Volvo 343 (3-door) and 345 (5-door) hatchback

Volvo 343 (3-deurs) About 163
remaining in the Netherlands
source: RDW (2023)

Version:   L, DL and GL
Years of construction:    1976 - 1982 (345: 1979 - 1982)
Produced:    373.824 (of which about 235.000 equiped with CVT)

From its introduction in 1976, the Volvo 343, the 3-door version, was initially available with only one engine type (the 1400 cc engine known as B14) and was only available with the CVT in 2 luxury levels and 10 body colours. Later there was more choice and eventually the desired manual 4-speed gearbox could also be delivered. The model was also available with 4 doors from 1979: the Volvo 345. In 1982, the range was expanded with the van version with blinded rear side windows and a flat loading floor: 345 VAN.

Compared to the L, the DL has side moldings, a folding rear seat with parcel shelf, carpet on the floor, fabric upholstery, a clock in the dashboard and a center console. The Special was a version for Volvo's 50th anniversary, with metallic paint, decorative strips, tinted glass, wider tires (175/70 SR 13) and a black dashboard. Another exclusive action model is the 343 Black Beauty, with a deep black exterior color with red trim and GT alloy wheels and glass tinted in the red interior, a black dashboard and GT steering wheel. From the introduction of the 345 (the five-door) in 1979, there will be a more luxurious GL trim level, which bystanders can see with an indication in the grille that it is the most luxurious Volvo 343 or 345. A new version follows in 1982, namely the 343 Winner; a spectacularly low-priced version of the 343 that Volvo uses to get rid of the 'too expensive' image that clings to the 400 series once and for all.



Total length

Total width

Total height


4-cylinder 4-stroke in-line (B14)

1397 cm3

Max speed
71 hp at 5500 rotations/min.

Compression ratio 


Maximum speed
153 km/hour

Fuel consumption
9 - 10 liter / 100 km

Capacity fuel tank
45 liter

<< Previous model

Volvo 66

Next model >>

Volvo 340 / 360