Thursday, June 26, 2014

10k: Looked Up Sleeper In Dictionary: 1991 Volvo 740 LT1 V8

Another week half in the bag, which means it is Thorsday and time to bring out the best junk we could find that originally hails from the Scandinavian Peninsula.  This next feature started life as a simple Volvo sedan, probably purchased new by an insurance salesman named Steven as a practical car for his wife Beth to take the kids to soccer practice.  As the kids grew up, Steven and his wife grew apart and Steven got the car back in the lightly contested divorce.  Steven hated the way the car reminded him of Beth and the slow and cautious way in which she approached life, from the way she approached eating chicken wings with a fork to the carefully folded sleeves on her favorite reindeer Christmas sweater. Even the kids had adopted Beth's watered down community college aspirations and the Volvo...that slow and plodding 4-cylinder powered pile of safety was a constant oozing scab in Steven's new apartment driveway.  Steven needed a change, so he grew a mullet, joined a cross-fit club, and shoved a fire-breathing V8 mated to a 6-speed manual into front of the Volvo.  At least, that is what could have happened...who really knows the truth?  Find this 1991 Volvo 740 LT1 V8 offered for $8,500 in Moraga, CA via craigslist.  Tip from Andrey S.

The sedan version of Volvo's 740 series is the least sporty or interesting of the '90s Volvo lineup, but at least it retained rear-wheel-drive, which was lost in the subsequent 850 series.  However, if you wanted to build an unassuming sleeper, the sedan is even more sleepy and less cool than the wagon, so therefore it is cooler.  Does that make sense?  Cause the new rule of cool is difficult to explain, but one of the founding principles is that the less cool something is when new the cooler it becomes when it is a classic.

Under the hood of this stock looking (aside from some aftermarket wheels and a heavy dose of window tint) sedan is a 5.7 liter LT1 V8 equipped with unidentified aluminum heads and from an unspecified donor car.  It probably came from an F-body Camaro/Firebird and was rated at 275 horsepower and 325 ft-lbs of torque stock, but could be good for a few more with the previously mentioned mods.  The biggest thing to get you excited about this swap however is the California BAR sticker meaning this beast is street legal and smogs like any other car.  Fan-freakin-tastic!

A boring dark grey cloth set of seats and an over-sized stock airbag equipped Volvo steering wheel do nothing to betray the menace living between the shock towers.  Only the peculiar looking shift knob and fancy-pants aluminum pedal covers hint that something is awry. 

See a sleepier burn-out machine?


  1. Oh Bard, thou art my muse.

    I've been snubbed on my last two attempts at procuring a DT V8lvo and this one is a bridge too far. Pity...

  2. Fleetwood T. BroughamJune 26, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    Love this, although if one was already willing to forego the utility of the wagon, this swap would have been especially awesome in a 780.

  3. I see this as a low-stress, high-enjoyment commuter vehicle. Drive it to work every day with plenty of room for your crap in the big square trunk. Being a 4-door sedan it's easy to take groups of coworkers on lunchtime thrill rides. Not worth as much as an equivalent wagon would be, and lighter/stiffer too.

    Once you get bored with it as a DD, gut the interior and turn it into a weekend track-day car that's still legal to drive to & from the road course of your choice. If you wad it up, just go buy another 744 and swap everything over.

    1. ~ First dibs on those seats, okay Chris?

  4. This is being flipped. This car was just for sale for about 2 weeks in SF Bay CL for $6700. I talked to the guy selling it at that time and it seems pretty good except for some clearcoat issues and needing a new clutch.

  5. I checked out this car when it was for sale on craigslist last week. The owner was very honest on it's history and what was needed. It needs a paint job, clutch, and wheels, since it has a bad wobble at 60+ MPH due to a bent rim. I would say 5K is a fair price for this car, but $8500 is over the top. I decided on planning to buy a 960 wagon and install the LS1 and swap kit.

  6. A tad late on this one but I had to say something... I like this and the only thing I would do is add some titans or hydra stock Volvo wheels. And maybe a Volvo shift knob. Then I'd practice keeping this thing between the ditches and maybe some cones.
    My ultimate v8lvo is a late 90's s90 sedan with a lsx and a tko 5 speed. Someday I'll find just the right one and make it happen.


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