Volvo is one of those brands that have a solid following all around the world. However, it’s not the new cars that most enthusiasts dream about. It’s the old Volvo cars with their raw performance and utilitarian design that still capture our imagination.
Here’s a brief overview of some of the most iconic classics this brand has given us over the years and why they’ve reached such a glorious status.
Bricks that Went Fast
Volvo’s heritage is deeply rooted in innovation. This is a brand that brought us all kinds of technologies that are still in use today. The only reason why you have 3 point seat belts in your car is because of Volvo. Not only did they invent this life-saving technology, but they’ve decided to make it entirely free for everyone to use.
The modern seatbelt is just the most popular and well-known instance of Volvo permanently changing the way we drive. Many other safety features were first introduced in these hunks of premium Swedish steel.
However, all of those innovative safety features are what ordinary people remember OG Volvos for. The not so normal folks who measure blood pressure in PSI of boost remember vintage Volvos for a whole different reason – the fun of driving one.
From P1800 to Turbo Bricks
The word ‘vintage’ has a different meaning for different people regarding old Volvo cars. A 2000 C70 coupe is a vintage car; for others, it’s the legendary Volvo 240 estate. That being said, it’s probably the best to start the Volvo story from P1800 at the very least.
This legendary coupe was Volvo’s answer to the Jaguar E-type and other coupes of the era. It was every man’s sports car. More importantly, it was Roger Moore’s ride in The Saint. Interestingly enough, Volvo has decided to bring back the P1800 in what appears to be a 1:1 revamp.
There were some indications that this latest iteration of the P1800 might be an EV rest mod, but those rumors were quickly squashed. So far, it looks like the new P1800 is going to use a gasoline-powered four-banger, just like the original.
The Boxy Era
Volvo’s 200 series is arguably among the best this brand has ever produced. It is this era of Volvo cars that has introduced the idea of a utilitarian Swedish wagon. The 240 was an especially interesting model. Volvo has used the 200 platforms to showcase a design trend that would later become their trademark.
In many ways, the 240 and the rest of the 200 series were the first ‘bricks’ in Volvo’s catalog. Even though the boxy design was anything but sporty in its appearance, the 200 series cars, even wagons, were nothing to joke about.
This era of Volvo has brought the joys of turbocharged engines to the fans across North America. It’s precisely this platform that gave us the legendary Redblock engine, which would go on to become the go-to choice for all kinds of crazy swaps.
Turbobricks aside, the 200 series also gave birth to a few interesting models. Cars such as the 242 coupe and the rare Volvo 262c are considered to be true classics today.
Bringing the Brick Into the ’90s
By the times the ’90s came about, Volvo had already embraced the whole boxy design. Not only that, but they’ve also kept the tradition of offering fun turbocharged engines to propel these bricks up to speed.
Many remember the legendary C70 – an attractive coupe that came with a soft top as well. Although the C70 was supposed to become the epitome of sportiness, Volvo has had more success with another model – the 850.
The 850 was an excellent example of the ’90s automotive design. Volvo, much like the other brand at the time, went with a wedge design. That simple move has allowed them to make their trademark boxy design somewhat aerodynamic.
The 850 sedan was hot merch when released, but the wagon version of this car stole the show. Those who weren’t satisfied with the regular T5 version of this car were treated to a special edition limited series – the Volvo 850 T-5R.
850 T-5R and 850R
The T-5R was a real gem. Only 2,500 of these cars were ever made. Although both the regular T-5 and the T-5R were shared the same 2.5-liter B5234T5 engine, the one in T-5R was tangibly more powerful.
Volvo’s stock T5 produced 222 horsepower, which was plenty compared to other cars of the era. However, they felt that they could squeeze more out of the B5234T5 engine. And so they did.
The T-5R produced a whopping 240 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. Volvo had improved the power output by working on the engine and introducing a new ECU unit that added more boost to the turbo as stock.
Considering the success of T-5R and the fact that all 2,500 were sold in a relatively short amount of time, Volvo had decided to go a step further with the revamped 850R. This wasn’t a rebadged T-5R either. The 850R was a new project that was meant to go past its predecessor’s performance.
Volvo had basically introduced more power and torque, resulting in a car that produced 250 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque, and was capable of reaching 60mph in 6.7 seconds. The 850R was a proper turbo brick if there ever was one.
The Nostalgia of Old Volvo Cars
If you’re a fan of Volvo, you probably know that this brand is no longer Swedish and is no longer interested in ICE cars. The new owners from China have decided to ditch the internal combustion engines early and try to switch to EVs as soon as possible.
Although there’s nothing wrong with moving forward and developing future technologies, anyone who says they don’t miss the old turbo bricks is lying. Old Volvos, especially the 242, then 240, and the rest of the 200 series, is getting harder and harder to find.
The more recent models are still available. If you’re lucky enough, you might even find a low mileage specimen that hasn’t been abused. Despite being many decades old by now, these old Volvo cars are still every bit as fun to drive and not so expensive to keep on the road. There’s plenty of genuine parts in stock, as well as various OEM and aftermarket options.
Find Genuine Volvo Parts for your Vintage Volvo
Speaking of keeping old Volvos on the road, we’re proud to offer one of the most extensive catalogs of Genuine, OEM, and aftermarket parts for Volvo cars. To determine which products match your particular vehicle, all you have to do is head over to our online store and choose your car’s make and model from the drop-down menu.
Once our system crutches your data, you’ll be presented with a list of parts and accessories that match your vehicle. In case you’ve got any questions regarding our offer, you can always get in touch with our customer support service. We’re available via email or by phone, and our reps are standing by to offer any assistance you might need.