One Owner Turbo: 1987 Volvo 740

Bear with me: a boxy Volvo sedan? Well, when you consider how few of these pop up on eBay – especially with a one-owner history – this is a rare bird indeed. The turbocharged model is the one to buy, and it’s had some money thrown at it to improve the handling and reliability. Despite some recent damage to the ignition, it could be worth a bid. Find it here on eBay with bidding up to $50 and the reserve unmet. 

Now, the exhaust looks terribly out of place, but it is at least a nice Borla system. Someone has raided the IPD suspension catalog, throwing on a lowering and sway bar kit, polyurethan bushings, Bilstein shocks and more to give this 740 much improved handling and a great stance. The body looks quite clean and the color is a bit less common than your usual silvers and blacks. Plastic trim also presents well and it comes with new tires.

Interiors were never particularly interesting on this era of Volvos, but they were functional. The seller acknowledges that the radio was recently stolen and the ignition damaged in the process; why that damage isn’t fixed yet is a good question, but given how many salvage yards are still littered with this era of Volvos, finding a good radio and trim bezel shouldn’t be too hard. Carpets and seat upholstery both look clean, as does the dash.

More work has been done to the turbocharged mill, including a new headgasket, rebuilt turbocharger, water pump, timing belt and more. The amount of work done – provided there are receipts – seems to indicate there was some love poured into this 740 Turbo for a time, and either space or interest waned and now the seller wants it gone. I can relate, given my short-lived love affair with the Subaru XT6. You can find this 740 in Knoxville if you’re considering a bid.


  1. Nathan Avots-Smith Member

    Love these. The turning radius is beyond belief. Needs a third pedal and a fifth door for me, though.

  2. JimmyJ

    I have a 240 wagon and am new to volvo scene.
    Does anyone know if the 240 and 740 motors are the same or an easy swap?
    Plus is there reliability issues with the turbo intercooler?
    Any help would b greatly appreciated

    • Ex Benzo Tech.

      Yes the same and easy swap , at least for me it is.
      Turbo engines need oil changes done on time or they blow.

  3. Dairymen

    Give a welder some angle iron and some sheet metal and you have a Volvo!
    They’re strong beyond believe.

    Volvo in Latin means: I roll.

  4. JimmyJ

    Thanks ex benzo tech 😄
    That’s the news I wanted to hear!

  5. CarNut from Winnipeg Member

    Re the XT6, why did I see it for sale on the “other” site? Would have been a great BF auction vehicle.

  6. Wayne

    I bought one of these with an overheated engine. (heater control valve broke after an under the hood detail) I installed forged (they all came that way) non-turbo pistons and had the head straightened and cut. Car went like mad! Used it as the family car for many, many years. Living at about 5,000 feet. Meant that it would live on mid-grade fuel. If going over the hill to CA. I would have to add octane boost to the fuel. This car rocked! And it looked like a grandmother car. My bin had a year newer twin. With the smaller turbo. (for faster throttle response and quicker acceleration to 60 mph. (As he told it.) It was not even a contest! The car was an automatic. (very rare to find a stick) It would chirp the sticky tires into second with ease. The automatic for the turbo cars is not the same as the standard automatics. I never saw a turbo automatic fail! (I am an ex-Volvo service manager.) We put 186,000 miles on this car. (I got it when it had 92,000 on it.) If the kids had not been showing dogs in 4H. I would still be driving it.(needed a wagon) I saw the car in the junk yard many years later with a blown timing belt. (This is not an interference engine. So no harm no foul.) the odo read 579,000.
    This is also the strongest body that Volvo ever made My ex was rear ended by an F150. (lower 2wd thank god) The F150 was 2 years old and was a total. Our car had $1,500 damage. I used to get customers coming in all the time with war stories of T-bones and roll overs with minor scrapes and bruises. One customer wrote to Volvo thanking them. They had bought the car brand new when they first got married because it was safe. Little did they know that the car would be hit by a cement truck with their teenage daughter driving it. The car was REALLY BAD. The daughter had whip lash and a broker arm.
    I agree with crumple zones and the like to protect the occupants, But I also like a “cast iron” (figuratively) cage around me first. I really believe that you could stack 5 of these on top of each other before the bottom one would start to collapse.

    Like 1
  7. Rolf Poncho 455

    There is only one O and that’s a Volvo

  8. Greg Member

    I’m a huge Volvo fan, having owned two. They’re built like tanks and keep going for decades if properly maintained. My guess on this one is that it belongs to two responsible grownups that took great care of it for years, then gave it to their 16 year old to drive and tinker with. Thus the bolt-on parts. I’d bet it was stolen and driven hard, thus the screwed up ignition and missing stereo. I’d keep looking if I was in the market.

  9. PAR

    Had a manual one of these in 88. Loads of fun and used to leave most contemporaries in its brick like wake. Where it was really fun was wagging its tale on an unsealed road. Remeber these were the days before nanny aids and the old Volvo was better than a barrel of monkeys after a barrel of bourbon! Super reliable as well.

  10. John

    Not bad. Have two of these. An ’89 740 Turbo wagon and an ’87 760 Turbo sedan. Also have two 240 Turbos and a ’92 245 that I’ve retired and am parting out. With respect to killing turbo automatics, it can be done. Usually involves a turbo car without an external oil cooler for the transmission, a trailer hitch, a tow dolly, a ’75 245, and someone who doesn’t know better. Drive the car as if there’s nothing being towed behind it with overdrive engaged. Transmission goes bad. The AW71 automatic in my 245 Turbo failed in that manner when the previous owner did what I described. It’d drive, but you’d have to engage 2nd gear every single time you accelerated from a stop, otherwise, it would just sit there and wind out toward the redline. Last day the automatic was in the car, I did the usual 2nd gear engagement, got up to speed, then engaged D. Went into 3rd, then dropped back to 2nd, and finally to 1st, at which point, it decided to act as if it were in neutral. Once I did the trick a second time, it was fine for the rest of the trip. Car came home with a 3rd pedal under the dash, and a M46 installed where the AW71 was.

    Pic is of the two 700’s we own.

    Like 1
    • BOP Guy Member

      Nice looking Volvo’s !

  11. Dapdap

    Trie to find an car like the 740 or 940 today. You’ll fail – guaranteed…
    These cars were build to last – and they were build to be used (I mean they were more usfull, as the cars your can buy today!).

Leave a Reply to Ex Benzo Tech. Cancel reply

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.