Now, I have heard conflicting reports about some of the paint options for the 850's. I have heard that the clear coat with certian red colors was an option. Why, I don't know. I have a red 850 as well, it is the bright arrest-me red color. I have waxed it and never had any red come off on my white cloths before. There is another possibility, a previous owner maybe used a dye impregnated wax to hide blemishes. Try waxing the same area several times to see if maybe the red is in fact just left-overs from a dye impregnated wax of sorts. I still can't imagine Volvo using a single-stage laquer / enamel on a car. Good luck... BTW, what wax are you using anyhow? How long has it been since the last hand applied coat of wax?
Yeah, our Project 850R does that too. I just figured there was no clearcoat. TEh red on our R is different than the one on Prospero's car though (at least a different shade). We'll have to compare tomorrow.
I should probably put this down on the detailing forum, but here's a little tidbit that I picked up from a detailing board that I frequent: pigment from the color coat can actually wick up into the clearcoat, thus coloring your polishing cloth slightly.
I too, would be surprised if any of these paints were not clearcoated. Everything seems to be clearcoated these days. The good news is that either way, there is really no reason to worry about a little color transfer.
In my past experience, red, white and black Volvos have not been clearcoated. Oxidized paint will, and should, color your wax pad to match your car. This is removal of the "dead" paint, letting the shine come through. I find that the best system to use on these colors is a 3 step system, like Mothers brand. This has a cleaner, a sealer, and a final coat of pure carnuba wax. Take your time, your effort will be highly rewarded!