Sleeper Brick: 1990 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon

We don’t normally feature modern modified vehicles, but this 1990 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon is worth a closer look given some of the names that have graced its build. The founder of the website Turbo Bricks, one of the predominant Volvo websites, built this turbocharged wagon piece by piece to build the ultimate sleeper, and the level of detail is said to be quite high despite the rough cosmetics. Find it here on craigslist with a $3,950 asking price, and thanks to Barn Finds reader Ikey for the find. 

The 740 is equipped with a desirable Volvo mill, known as a “Redblock” that’s been balanced and blueprinted and built by legendary engine builder Frank Fahey. That last part stung a little, as my departed 1995 BMW M3, that I sold quickly the day after the head gasket failed, had an engine that was largely rebuilt by Fahey and ran like a damn freight train. I’m sure it had some of his magic worked on the internals, and I wish I had taken a deep breath and held onto it.

Anyway, back to the Volvo: although you may be inclined to judge it by its tired paint, taking a look at the interior confirms this was built to a fairly high level. Those gorgeous Recaro buckets have either been re-trimmed to match or are a shockingly good fit for the interior, and the rest of the 740 cockpit appears OEM correct. There do appear to be some dash cracks, but that’s not why you’re buying a modified 740 like this. The attention has been spent on making this heavily modified 740 run as reliably as possible, and the seller notes it’s particularly hilarious to use for daycare drop-offs.

The suspension has also been modified with the likes of B&G lowering springs, IPD sway bars, and Bilstein shocks. It will need new tires, and the seller mentions he’s used the 740 for everything from drifting to daily driving. The other needs include repairing or replacing a leaking wastegate, replacing the front brake pads, and fixing some bodywork issues caused by an inattentive driver by the left-side taillight. This is one of those cars you likely couldn’t replicate for the asking price, so it’s worth a look.

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  1. Superdessucke

    Selling a Volvo is rather difficult, to put it very gently, given the nature of their fan base. So if you like it, you better plan to put a ring on it, unless you want to trade it for a case of Mariestads when you want to get rid of it. But this is still really tempting!

  2. dgrass

    This car does not come with the Recaros. The seats and mounting hardware will cost you an additional 2 grand.

  3. James Sterrey

    Very cool. Needs a FMIC, painted black of course. A electronic exhaust cutout would be great, you could punt around town with a quiet tone before spitting fire at the lights. Widened factory wheels at the rear, semi slicks and an LSD are essential to this build.

  4. PDXBryan

    A beautiful ’76 242 just went for stupid low no reserve $ on BaT. You’re right, Volvo folks are an odd lot. Just spend a minute on TurboBricks – you’ll see sublime to ridiculous in 6 seconds!
    I have a 245 with these exact same suspension upgrades. I mostly like it except that the Bilsteins feel like they could be revalved for better rebound damping. Unfortunately the counter guys at IPD don’t seem to understand what I’m talking about.
    Hope this Brick finds a good home. I just saw the old white (500hp?) RSI 245 drive by the other day and I’m sure the current owner is having a blast!

    • Superdessucke

      I had a Volvo 850R wagon that I put a lot of time and money into. Selling it was an absolute nightmare. They’re not only an odd lot, they’re a very very cheap lot, and they know a lot more than you, they think, lol! Never again.

      This could be a fun car if you go into it with that in mind. But I definitely wouldn’t put a lot of money into it and I sure as heck wouldn’t pay him two extra grand for the Recaros. That’s money you would never see again. Get familiar with your local Pick-n-Pull and have at it!

  5. mikestuff

    (Not related to the Volvo in this post).

    Did anyone see the PBS show last week, the annual Mark Twain Prize for Humor, presented by the Kennedy Center each year? This year’s recipient is Julia Louis-Dreyfus from Seinfeld and lots of other stuff. The show opened with two people knocking at the door of roadside office building, not a fancy one . They kept knocking and after a bit, Dave Letterman answered them, saying “I’m not here”. The two people were supposed to be representing the Kennedy Center and they were there to collect the Mark Twain Prize which was given to Dave last year, which is a bust of Mark Twain about 12 inches high. (I think the recipient actually gets to keep it but that wouldn’t have a made a good joke.) Dave went away and came back with a couple of others things instead of the prize, wanting them to take it. They said “No, we need the actual prize”
    He finally came back with the bust in his hands and ran out the door to the parking lot and there was the “hotrod” Volvo with the Ford V8 that Dave got from Paul Newman, I think in the late 90’s. And Dave just took off, smoking the tires. That was the end, and its just typical Letterman stuff, although it was funny and it’s always great to see that Volvo.

  6. Peter K

    Take that engine anchor out and replace it with either a 5 liter 302 or a Chevy 350 depending on your budget. After that I would go so far as to punch the hole cut outs and install a Tremec 5 speed and change the rear ended ratio. Now you’ll haves real sleeper.

  7. JimmyJ

    I picked up a 91 240 wagon with a 5 speed for my kid we rebuilt the motor and put a 50mm Garrett turbo on it and it rips along pretty good! He’s got the only Volvo wagon in school and the surprising thing is he actually wanted it. He told me ‘dad it’s rear wheel drive ,stick shift and lots of room in the back’ I guess I raised him right!
    If I did I’d again I’d put a coyote 5.0 in it and keep it for myself!

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