My love for Volvos began on March 3rd, 2013 when I watched James may pull up to the Africa special in a Volvo 850R. I liked it 10x more than the WRX and the BMW estate because it didn’t try to be anything more than what it was: a simple, elegant turbo wagon. Years passed, and I went through several different Japanese cars, ranging from a 2003 Nissan Maxima to a 2013 Infiniti G37, with other Japanese sedans in between. I wanted a change. So in June of 2021, I found a 2007 V70R for sale in Washington, and with 10 grand in my hand I flew to Seattle and drove it home. It was a whirlwind romance, and 3 grand later, multiple “strap in buddy” chuckles from other R Owners, several hundred anxious miles, and many visits to my local Indy, I sold it to a neighbor who enjoys it thoroughly with his wife and kids. I loved the R very much, but still being in college and getting married soon, the R just made me too anxious and too jumpy. I still had a yearning for Volvos though. I loved the Indy mechanic, and asked if I could come and “intern” and learn how to work on these machines. They said yes, and since then I have worked there, getting hundreds of hours working on Volvos of all ages, learning their ins and outs. I bought other Volvos, a 760 turbo with a bad head that I sold to another young Volvo enthusiast, and a 240 wagon, but I was still missing something. I missed the whisp of turbo flutter and the sound of a 5 cylinder. It wasn’t until I was driving a customers beaten down 850 R wagon to the dealership for parts that I realized: this is what I’ve been looking for. I want something quick, something utilitarian, and something that was untainted by Ford’s hands.
So my journey began to look for my P80 wagon. And almost as soon as it started, the Facebook listing for a beautiful platinum wagon showed up in the February 2022 unaffiliated thread. I saw that it was listed as being in Hobbs, NM, which is a small town on the border between NM and TX. My father had lived there for several years as a child, his father was the factory manager for Levi’s at the time. I messaged the seller, and through many gaps in him checking his Facebook messages, we finally struck deal. I had to pay a pretty penny for shipping it here to SLC, but when she came, I couldn’t have been happier.
The Platinum’s previous life:
She rolled off the line in March of 1996, and was purchased from the Volvo dealership in Walnut Creek, CA. The owner was a Cuban-American old woman who loved the car greatly. She had the car serviced only by the dealership from that point on, not even an oil change. She passed away in 2016, and the car was kept under a carport for approximately 4 years. The car, never having been tinted, suffered from the heat a bit, drying up and destroying the upper door cards by the windows. The shift knob is also hard and cracked, and the seats have seen better days. The backseats, to the sellers knowledge, had never been sat in, as she (his great aunt) never had children and rarely left the house. This is evident, as she only racked up 100,617 miles (5030 miles per year). The seller only started the car up every week or so and drove it around the block in order to keep everything running correctly. He repaired a few things himself, saying that he replaced the struts, the serpentine belt, and had a replacement heater core ready to be put in. The car seems to be kind of low, I need to put it on the lift, I think he may have cut the springs 🙄.
When it arrived, I was so taken by it. It was absolutely stunning. Not a single scratch on it. There is one tiny flaw, which I will make a post about later, but it should be easily fixable. The paint is in fantastic condition, even after sitting. I would say 8/10. There is a crack in the drivers side headlight, but other than that, it really doesn’t have much wrong with it, besides scrapes under the front fender. The tires were absolutely rotted, completely dried and cracked. I was able to take it to our tire guys and they put a set of all seasons that only had 5k miles on them on the current wheels for only 180 bucks.
The serpentine belt that was put on is the wrong belt, it’s too thin in width and in depth, so I have ordered a new belt to replace it. I will be replacing the heater core, because although it is not leaking, I would rather do it now than later when it starts. Do most people do genuine Volvo? Or is there a good aftermarket alternative people like?
Next, I will be junkyard hunting for new door cards to replace the burnt up ones. I will also replace the shift knob. The rear seats only need to be leatheriqued and brought back to life, they’re very stale as of right now. The front seats I will be replacing
Question: I may be able to get hold of an entire mint interior from an 850R wagon, should I pay up and switch the entire interior out? Let me know what you think.
Once I completely stage 0 the car, I have a couple ideas for what I can do. From the same guy that has the interior I want, he has all the parts for an 850 race car, rip kit, Japanifold, built TD-04 turbo, aluminum intercooler, performance intake, injectors, etc etc. Should I put that in and juice it up? Vast tune? I will never sell any of the original parts, as I want to be able to go back to stock whenever I want.
If I don’t do that, I will at least buy an 850R ECU and have the R tune, I like a bit more spice.
All in all, I am over the moon about my purchase. I love the car, I love its story, and I love where I’m going to go with it. Unfortunately, I do think I will end up parting with my 240, as I don’t have the room for two wagons and my daily reliable little Mazda. But this wagon is so worth it. I would love everyones thoughts and opinions as this car’s story progresses. Let me know what you all think about the performance upgrades and the interior swap. (I will not be doing any performance upgrades until the car is in completely stock, perfectly running condition and I have driven it for a bit that way)