Mark by a Different Marque: 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone

By Nathan Avots-Smith

When you think of 1980s Volvo competitors, you probably don’t usually think of Eldorados or Lincoln Marks, but those are exactly the cars that the Volvo 262C was aimed at during its 1978-81 production run. Built and trimmed by Bertone in Italy with a 10-centimeter chop to the roof, its wide C-pillar design was reportedly even inspired by a fleet of Lincoln Mark IVs imported to Sweden for use by American car executives touring Volvo’s factory in Kalmar in the mid-’70s. Of the 6,622 Bertone coupes built over four years, this is one of just about 10% of that total equipped with a manual transmission, so if you’re a sucker for unusual Volvos—like me—this one is rare on top of rare, and looks to be in great condition to boot. Even so, it’s still reasonably priced at $6,000; find it here on craigslist in Orland, California, and thanks to the indefatigable Rocco B. for finding it for us!

As you can see, the 262C has a pretty opulent cabin, the better to take on the American personal luxury coupes. While this one looks like it’s in great shape, there are a couple of curiosities. The first is the sun- or moonroof, barely visible in this and one other photo; I don’t think this was a factory option, so a buyer will want to closely inspect the quality of this installation and any associated drainage. The other are the seats, which appear to have been reupholstered in the simpler style of the later 700-series cars. The 262C had thick, embossed “straps” across the horizontal pleats of its seats, which are missing here. The rear seat has at least been done to match, but that’s one unique feature of this coachbuilt Volvo that’s been stripped away.

If there are some cosmetic quibbles—the bumpers are also off of a later 200-series Volvo, although I think they look pretty good here; I don’t believe the vinyl roof delete was available until 1981, and I think the black roof would look pretty sharp against the gold paint, but I understand vinyl roofs aren’t for everyone—mechanically the car seems very well maintained. Recent work includes a new water pump, starter, exhaust, brakes, shocks, struts, clutch, and much more, so this definitely sounds like a car that’s ready for a new owner to hop in and drive. The 262C has the 2.7-liter V6 that was jointly developed by Peugeot, Renault, and Volvo (and which famously powered the DeLorean). There are also an older Volvo (looks like a 164) and a newer 700- or 900-series wagon visible in some of the photos, so I’d be pretty reassured that the seller knows Volvos.

The Swedish gangster choptop look may not be for everyone, but isn’t that the definition of personal luxury? For just a little bit more than the cost of a well-maintained 240, this 262C is a great, unique find with an extra dose of fun—and rarity—thanks to the stickshift.

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Comments

  1. Had Two

    This model of Volvo is cheap because the V-6 Peugeot engines were crap.
    Not only crap but expensive to repair. Buyer beware.

    6+
  2. Rx7turboII

    Nice car, but what I really want to know Nathan , is wtf does indefatigable mean?? Lol

    2+
    • Don H

      Incapable of being tired,not having any fatigue .

      4+
  3. Chebby

    Always thought these Bertones looked ridiculous, but how funny would it be to do a 240 wagon with that chopped roofline?

    Anyway, if there was ever a Volvo made for a V8 swap, this is it.

    3+
    • Mr. TKD

      A chopped 240 wagon?

      You have my attention.

      1+
  4. Paul R.

    It will need camshafts sooner or later. Big job.

    2+
  5. Sam

    Don’t scoff….the Volvo Bertone could be a sub-category at Pebble Beach Concours 2050 along with last gen Mazda RX 8 rotary, mid-2000’s Japanese sedans restored to spec with defective Takata airbags, etc….you get the idea.

    2+
  6. Dave Wright

    Another better idea from the French……..the Peugeot/Volvo V6…. ….. the Bain of Volvo and Delorean……

    6+
  7. King Al

    Already deleted.

    0
  8. Rodney

    The Original Swedish Meatball.

    3+
    • memikeyounot

      I remember reading about it, when it was new, and someone gave it the name “The Swedish Toonderbird”. Kind of fitting.

      0
  9. Had Two

    Haaaaaaaaa

    0
  10. Oldog4tz

    That chop will definitely put a crick in your neck. I’m 5’11” and found it supremely uncomfortable

    0
  11. hans grafftenberg

    Chopped 245 wagon

    5+
  12. Benjamin

    I had that same powerplant in my first car, a 88 premier. It was quite adept to move that hunk of amc’s finest crap down the road… But reliable is was not.

    0
  13. Eric

    I collect vintage Volvo’s and have to agree that a heads up is warranted on the engines in these cars for reliability and parts sourcing- I believe they are the exact same engines DeLoreans had

    0
  14. Greg

    I’m with you Nathan, I always wanted one of these. My second car in 1985 yuppie-years was a 1978 242 GT. Loved that car! While my rich high school friends got new BMW’s, I worked weekends at Burger King to buy the Volvo. And no one had one like it! The engine in the 262C sucks, so I would do a v8 or Volvo four cylinder intercooled turbo trade out. And I noticed that upholstery being wrong right off the bat. But reasonable price for a good car that could be great with a few changes.

    0
  15. Jubjub

    Remember looking at one of these new with my dad displayed at the mall circa 1978. Silver with the black top and the funky five slot ATS or Cromadora wheels. Still as strange after all these years but I’ve always liked them. Too bad the PRV6 was so flawed. I’d say go 5.0 or Turbo 4.

    Funny, probably the same 262C I saw new in the mall, was probably the same one I saw looking sad and sold for a few hundred bucks at an impound auction.

    0
  16. Rustytech

    The chopped roof was a little strange, but gave the car an aggressive look. I think they look much better with black interior though. There were plenty of problems with these engines, and I have seen many converted to SBC’s over the years. All in all I like these cars.

    0
  17. W9BAG

    The sunroof is factory.

    0
  18. Doug Bohm

    It’s really ugly. The ultimate afterthought. And your first service will probably be more that the cost of the car.

    0
  19. Hans

    About as rare back home in Sweden as in the US, one of the most seldom seen Volvos today.

    The roof design was originally made for a never-to-be Volvo 162 coupe based on the 164 four-door sedan (well, there was one built as a concept car) and at least the proportions and shapes made better sence there especially with the smaller euro-spec bumpers, the whole package looking much leaner. I´ve seen a home built 162 here in Sweden with the 262C roof and doors and have to admit that as for looks it worked out much better.

    Imagine though, that Volvo had actual plans for a 242C with the flat hood and flat nose of the 242GT and the single headlights swapped for the unique square ones otherwise only used for the entry level (DL) of the euro spec 240 line circa 1978-1980. You propably need to have been on the design team to fully appreciate that except for the more reliable straight-4 engine.

    As for the PRV V6:s i´ve come across a few that held up fairly well over time, but then mainly the slightly reworked ones used in the Renault 30 (and the Delorean) and later on the succeeding 25 model.

    0

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