Sunday, December 7, 2014

3k: Waste Not: 1985 Volvo 760, D24T swap

On paper, a rear-wheel drive diesel Volvo wagon with a 5-speed sounds like an ideal formula for a daily hauler. But "even communism works on paper," as any smug Huffington Post reader will tell you. The problem wasn't necessarily the slower-than-walking D24 diesel engine or its 75-horsepower output, but the 3,200-lb weight they were saddled with. Both problems have been fixed in this lightened, stiffened, turbocharged wagon that redefines what a daily driver vehicle should offer. Find this 1985 Volvo 760 wagon with turbo-diesel swap in San Antonio, TX for $2,950 via craigslist.

The D24 2.4-liter inline-6 engine comes from a time in the 1980s when Volvo outsourced its diesel engine production to Volkswagen. A turbocharged version, like the one swapped into this silvery brick, granted 110 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. A Mustang SVO turbo and MkIII Supra intercooler should allow for much more push through a Volvo 240-sourced M47 5-speed manual transmission, on its way to the rear wheels via shorter Dana 3.31 locking differential.

At 2,760, this is a nearly 16-foot wagon with a weight that would shame a base Cayman. It's been shorn of anything non-essential for forward (or sideways) propulsion: seats, carpet, headliner, dashboard, sunroof. Just a pair of seats with an attractive plush:bolstering ratio, a five-speed manual in your right hand, and a flat dashboard on which simple gauges can be seen through the Grant steering wheel, which the seller says makes Scandinavian flicks easier. This guy gets it.

A claimed 52/48 weight distribution is remarkably balanced, thanks in part to an aluminum hood, and of course rear-drive architecture. That hood is pretty well corroded, as are the floor boards, but the fenders and doors seem untouched. One look at the stabilizer bar welded to the strut towers shows the commitment to stiffness that went into this build, while the cavernous rear space is teeming with potential.

See a quicker wagon for cheap? Email us at

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.


  1. I've seen this before, recently, on another site... can't recall which.

    Only thing I'd watch out for is that M47. While not "fragile" per-se, they were initially designed to be behind a ~100bhp 4 cyl with much less torque than that diesel is likely pumping out. YMMV.

  2. Function before Form on this one for sure.

  3. Looks like a grade A death trap.

  4. Someone's already done the hard work, now if you can just figure out how to get $1500 out of selling the seats, glass, and trim you'll have the fastest Class C car in Lemons...


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.