The Volvo 760, the first totally new ‘Ovlov’ in years, came on the scene in the early ’80s to replace the then-current top of the line sedan, the 264 GLE. While the 760 GLE and its less expensive sibling the 740 were meant to replace the 240/260 series, both would be built concurrently for several years. Accounting for all redesigns and name changes, this car lasted all the way to 1998, as the straight six-powered S90/V90.
The 760 had a unitized body and was powered by the 2.8L B28 PRV V6, a joint-venture engine used by Peugeot, Renault and Volvo, not to mention the star-crossed DeLorean. It produced 130 hp @ 5500 rpm and 153 lb-ft of torque. It was not a particularly sturdy engine. In 1984, the 760 Turbo was introduced. Instead of the V6, it had the turbocharged and intercooled B230FT ‘redblock’ engine-a most robust powerplant-producing 160 hp @ 2900 rpm and 187 lb-ft.
With this new turbo four, the 760 Turbo was a pretty speedy car in its day. Contrary to Volvo’s usual practice of the second digit of the model name corresponding to the number of cylinders, the 760 Turbo had an inline four-cylinder. Other than more exterior chrome, different alloy wheels and a fancier interior with automatic climate control, it was much like the 740 Turbo, also introduced in 1984.
In 1986, wagons were added to the 740 and 760 line, and that included a 760 Turbo and 740 Turbo wagon. By 1986, standard features on the boosted 760s included an electric sunroof, AM/FM stereo cassette with a five-band graphic equalizer and heated seats. 760s also had a unique Nivomat automatic leveling system. These cars were fully loaded right off the assembly line; you really didn’t need to add anything.
I found this gray 760 Turbo in Coralville, IA about eight years ago, while visiting the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. It looked to be in fair shape. This particular car has the 1986-89 740 Turbo alloy wheels, as the 760s used a more flat style of wheel with a wide chrome center cap, as seen in the brochure pictures of the dark blue sedan and light green wagon.
It reminded me of the ’88 740 Turbo my dad had. Probably my favorite car that he owned. It was special-ordered at Lundahl Volvo in Moline in bright red with tan leather and the accessory wood dash and door panel trim. It was the first car we had with an airbag. Dad traded in a silver ’84 240 GL sedan (previously discussed here on RG) for this car, and needless to say it was a lot faster. The alloys on these 740 Turbos are my favorite style of Volvo wheel.
I remember this car well, as Dad took me to school in it every morning between 2nd and 5th grades. It was boxy but sharp, and I loved the color. It was hard for him to balance his morning coffee in the years before cupholders, though.
The 740 Turbo lasted in this form through 1989, while the 760 lasted through ’87. In 1988 the 760 GLE and Turbo received a new nose and instrument panel, and the last ones were built in 1990. These were solid, well built cars, and I really liked them. Dudley Moore probably said it best in Crazy People: “They’re boxy but they’re good.”