Survivor Swede: 1986 Volvo 760 Turbo

While it does have some mild paint issues, I am comfortable calling this 1986 Volvo 760 Turbo sedan a survivor because its overall condition is so impressive. The body panels appear to be laster-straight, the polished hubcaps still shine, and the fragile grill and headlight frames are all in excellent shape. The seller notes that the Volvo also drives quite well, and its turbocharged powerplant should prove to be an entertaining choice for a classic daily driver. The Volvo also has no rust, a major win for a car that lives in New England. Find it here on craigslist for $6,500 in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

The Volvo 760 is your classic 1980s European sedan, with boxy styling and huge bumpers designed to provide better crash protection. Mercedes, BMW, Audi – they all followed this recipe for taking their overseas models with pretty chrome appendages and replacing them with these grotesque plastic assembles with unsightly black accordion trim pieces to conceal the gap. In the case of the Volvo, its brick-like appearance helped to downplay some of the visual horrors of these U.S.-market adaptations, and fortunately, the black plastic trim doesn’t appear to be completely sun-faded on this car.

The leather seats are wide and comfortable and are in surprisingly nice condition considering light-colored leather almost always looks like trash in an unrestored car. The seller doesn’t say much about this Volvo’s history but it’s clear that a previous owner loved it, as it’s rarely an accident that leather seats still look this good all these years later. The listing notes the air conditioning still blows cold and that there are no rips or tears anywhere in the leather. Mileage is on the low side at 84K, so that helps explain to some extent why it’s so well-preserved. However, the headliner needs replacing and the radio doesn’t work reliably.

The engine bay is perhaps the most disappointing area of the car from a cosmetic standpoint, as it looks pretty tired. Of course, engine bays from this era were absolutely littered with vacuum lines and hoses so it wasn’t exactly attractive when new, either. The seller doesn’t report any running issues but we also don’t get much of a glimpse into its maintenance history, so you’ll have to get in touch with the seller if you wish to assess what the Volvo’s specific needs are. Still, it looks like it was treated well for much of its life, so fingers crossed any lingering issues are small in stature.


  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    This should be a 740 – 760’s had 6 cylinders in them.

    • alphasud Member

      I think in some years you could opt for a 4cyl. turbo or the V6. At least that’s what I remember anyway.

      Like 1
    • Mark A

      760s came with either a 2.3 turbo (4 cylinder) which this one has or 2.8 V6 (and turbo diesel which was more common in Europe). It wasn’t until they were replaced with the 9 series that 940s were 4 cylinder and the 960 was 6 cylinder. I had a 960.

      • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

        Original 960 came 4 cyl turbo.

    • mercedes600

      I have been driving a 1985 760 turbo intercooler wagon for the past six years’ I bought it from the original owner. It is without a doubt a FOUR banger. Your source is wrong. It is not a six. It is a sleeper. No one expects it. The beast is quite fast.

      Like 4
    • 4spdBernie 4spdBernie

      760 is the model/trim level in Volvo’s line-up of boxy gems, lol.

      Like 3
  2. alphasud Member

    Not too many 700 series Volvos running around. These made for great Ford or Chevy small block engine swaps. I bought a customers 740 GLE wagon turbo diesel with a broken engine. Called the local salvage yard that had a 86 740 GLE wagon that was wrecked. Made a deal to do a powertrain swap giving them the broken diesel in exchange. Pulled it in the shop Friday night and by Saturday night I converted my wagon from a diesel to a gasser. Everything from the evap emissions to all the heat shielding was moved over. Sold it on for a small profit. This one has the desired 4cyl. Turbo over the B280 V6. I think by then the V6 reliability was greatly improved over the early odd-fire 2.7. It’s kind of ironic that Volvo felt they needed to add a V6 to compete with the likes of MB, BMW, and Audi. Saab did the very same thing in 1994. Most of the Saab and Volvo loyalists opted for the 4cyl. And in both cases the V6 was rather lackluster.

    Like 3
  3. CCFisher

    From the movie, “Crazy People”


    “We know they’re not sexy.
    This is not a smart time to be sexy anyway,
    with so many new diseases around.”


    Boxy, but good.”

    Like 4
  4. Slomoogee

    These are often overlooked for the more popular 240s. I’ve been a Volvo guy since 544s were popular and I can say the 760s are nice cars. Owned a 88 760 wagon that I put over 250,000 on. They are extremely nice on the highway being comfortable and easy to do hours in and not feel beat up. The red block is as reliable as anything and easy to work on. Parts aren’t bad if you avoid the dealer, and up grades such as sway bars and the turbo as this has makes them a old school rear drive pleasure in this world of overstuffed SUVs and jacked up bro trucks.

    Like 7
  5. Sebastian X1/9

    Volvos are a torture car. Pathologically boring to drive but also indestructible, which means the torture of driving one is a long one.

    Like 2
  6. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking car! I remember when the Volvo 740/760 series cars were sold. I found them more attractive at the time than the Volvo 240 series. I’d buy one of these any day over what’s being offered today. Given its original survivor condition, and assuming it runs and drives under its own power, I’d be willing to pay around $6,000-$7,000.

    Like 3
  7. dave Graham

    4 cyl models were 740’s and the 760 had the Peugeot V6 engine.

    • FireAxeGXP

      Dead wrong Dave. Already covered above. Unlike BMW and Benz Volvo trim numbers were NOT determined by engine.

    • FireAxeGXP

      Dead Wrong Dave. Already covered above. Unlike BMW and Benz, Volvo did NOT base their trim designations on engine size.

  8. Lloyd Kurtz

    I had a 760T. It was a 4 cylinder turbo bought from the original owner. Awesome running car. I also had a 740 with the Peugeot 6. It was horrible. The 760T was heads and shoulders a better car. You just have to get used to the brick design. Super safe.

  9. Carbuzzard Member

    Be sure to check out the floor pan. Some Volvos had a double floor with sound insulation in between. Water would get in and do bad things to the metal. I went to see a Volvo for sale and as I walked up, I could see the insulation hanging down.

    The owner, when I pointed it out, said “It’s not fhat bad.”

    Like 1
  10. Christopher Gentry

    I think 4/6 debate depends on the era Volvo. I had two 245 s. Both with 4 speeds (Which by the way we’re actually pretty fun , not a sports car fun but …. ) Anywho I know durring the 200 series run 40 was the 4 cylnder and the 60 was a 6 cylinder. But next Volvo was a much newer S80 T5. Sure wasn’t a v8. At that point the S80 was Volvo’s “big” car. Several engine options. Mine was a 5 cylinder turbo (hence the T5 ) Not sure when Volvo changed it. Maybe the same time they stoped being 242 (2 door) 244 (four door) and 245 (5 door or estate/wagon) and they ALL became 240 regardless. Any who I think your both right. Just depends on the era

  11. Donny

    I put 300k on a Volvo 940 turbo wagon, and literally loved it to death. Now I’ve gone high-tech with a 96′ Volvo 850GLE. I love these cars. I know, boring and boxy, but I just it love them. My dad drove a read 740 turbo, and I suppose that has a lot to do with it.

  12. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    The initial 760 came with turbo charged 4 cyl. The engine block was of special design. All subsequent 700 models in turbo form were rapid mile eaters with highly competitive performance. The seats in this car are amazing for long drives. Volvo makes the best seats in the business. Regular consistent maintenance with a tank full of high test & you are loving life.

  13. Wayne

    Once the new body style came out the number designation went out the window as far as the 4,6 debate. The 6s had such a bad reputation that once a few years went by, the 6 was valued by Blue Book has being worth 1/2! (And by the way a 780 Volvo is a 2 door and would fit the Grand Touring designation! Very nice car!) I was a Volvo service manager at a Volvo store at the time and one of these came in on the hook that had blown a heater control valve dumping all it’s coolant while climbing Donner Pass. (It had just been purchased from a dealer in Santa Cruz and I suspect when prepping the car for sale and cleaning the engine bay someone leaned on the heater hose and cracked the valve. Because I had never seen one fail before, leak yes, crack, no.) The “new owner” drove it until it had no compression. (the car now had 86,000 miles and looked like brand new inside and out) I bought the car for $800, installed “non-turbo” pistons, (all Volvo’s of this vintage have forged pistons turbo or not) and had the head straighten and then cut. We figured that the car now had about 10 to one compression and then I cranked up the boost a little more. Since I lived at 4,500 feet I figured I could get away with medium grade fuel and it lived quite happily drinking the mid-grade. However, when going over the mountain into California, I needed to add octane boost to the fuel. Again, it was very happy there. The car was a blast to drive. (Thanks to some IPD suspension bits and Bilstein shocks.) At approximately 186,000 miles the ex-wife, slid off the road in the winter time which scarred up the left side of the car and killed the left front fender. The insurance company totaled the car and gave us about $2,800. I kept the car, replaced the fender and had the body shop make it pretty again for about $1,200 and drove the car another approximate 80,000 miles when the wife wanted a wagon. Sold I sold the car for $2,500 and still wish I had the car today. I saw the car in the local pick-n-pull a few years ago. The body was still very nice, as was the interior and the odo was over 500,000 miles. I pulled the timing belt cover and all that appeared to happen was that the timing belt let go. All the fluids looked clean, so I suspect that it would still be running with a timing belt change.

  14. Wayne

    Oh, also forgot, the ex-got rear ended by an S10 Chev. pick-up somewhere a log the way. The car had a minor scratch on the bumper that was easily repaired. The S10 was a total. Everyone talks about how strong the 240 series cars were. (a Volvo rep. once showed me a picture of a 245 with 4 more stacked on top of it and showed a man opening and closing one of the doors) But the 7 series cars were the strongest by far. The front may crumple a little bit, but the rest of the car is like a rock. Our dealership also had a body shop and we saw many a Volvo come in on the hook after an accident. NONE WERE EVER TOTALED!

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