1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turbodiesel Wagon
If you thought old Volvo cars were durable enough already, this ultra-rare diesel version takes that notion to new heights.
After the fuel crises of the 1970s, automakers scrambled to present consumers with fuel-efficient alternatives. One solution European automakers brought to the table was diesel power, which doesn't require spark plugs and lasts longer than gasoline engines thanks to their inherent construction and the nature of diesel fuel.
As the economy stabilized and gas prices came down diesel was no longer all the rage by the mid 80s but some automakers were still making odd contributions, like the BMW 524TD, the Cadillac Seville diesel, and the infamous Lincoln Continental diesel, which used the same engine as the BMW 524.
Volvo chose to briefly put a diesel in their 740 body. The 740, of course, was already well on its way to becoming a middle class yuppie classic of suburban America, a masterstroke of form-over-function utilitarianism that was infinitely usable and strangely stylish in the most muted and anti-stylish way possible.
The diesel engine was actually sourced from Volkswagen and was used primarily in their trucks. Most Volvos were four cylinders, and most diesels were five cylinders, so this relatively large 6-cylinder turbocharged engine must provide a healthy boost. Refined? No. But these rear-wheel drive cars were surprisingly fun already, so the extra torque will go a long way.
The seller says this example runs and drives, and the engine was rebuilt in 2005 and now was about 151k miles, still low for a diesel. They do say the radiator leaks some fluid, however. Cosmetically, it has a bunch of visible damage to the rear, sides and corner. But there's something kind of rugged about it. The flat planes and boxy shape handle dents well, dare I say.
This thing seems ready to go, but I would like to see it end up with a diehard collector who can remedy the cosmetic needs and give it some real love. I have no idea how many were made and sold, but it couldn't have been much.
Available here on ebay in Nashua, New Hampshire with bidding starting at $2,600 and a Buy-It-Now of $2,999.