Friday, August 14, 2015

Murdered Out Mustang Motor Mom-Mobile: 1993 Volvo 940 V8

By John Harbinson -- Volvo made THE perfect sleeper platforms with both the 7 and 9 series cars, the wagons in particular. With a garage, some tools, and a spare v8 laying around, they could be absurd pavement pounders. Paul Newman, while probably not the first to look at a Volvo station wagon, and think Hmmm, I'd love to have an engine in this that could put my Labrador through the rear glass, he definitely made the swap more popular, especially with a second car, identical to Newman's Own, being commissioned for David Letterman. Surprisingly though, Jay Leno doesn't have one, and nor do I. My search of the interwebs will continue until I have enough cash to scoop one up. Find this 1993 Volvo 940 sleeper on Craigslist in San Luis Obispo, California, for $3000.

Much like this previously featured Volvo wagon, this car runs the venerable Ford 302 found in literally everything from F-Series trucks, to Explorers, to Broncos, to Mustangs, the latter being where this engine lived its previous life. The conversion that this 1993 Volvo 940 underwent had something to do with Converse engineering, as stated in the ad, but what isn't mentioned is whether or not it was a conversion done by Converse themselves, or a Converse kit done by another shop, or maybe someone was nuts enough to build this Frankenwägen themselves. I know I would, but then again, I am a little "free thinking" when it comes to the realm of automobiles. This, then, is right up my alley.

It features a limited slip diff, older style headlights, a manual, a subwoofer in place of the third row seats -- because practicality, seat covers on the front seats -- because 90's Volvo, and an amplifier, which looks to be installed by Frankenstein himself. Actually, I'm kidding, the install looks really clean. Good, low gauge wiring, a solid mounting place free of heat(?) and what looks to be Dynamat, or some other form of insulation to keep the Volvo from turning into a Fuego.

The rattle can black fits this car's persona, which is cool, because it's a V8 Volvo wagon that isn't totally a sleeper like the last feature, but isn't afraid to say yes, I've had a heart transplant, but I'll still kick your ass. I'm still waiting to see one tubbed, and retaining the rear facing seats.... Someone'll do it, give it time.....

See a better way to cruise Newman style for the price of a bottle of salad dressing?

John Harbinson likes fast wagons, politically incorrect SUVs and American Chop Suey. He once rescued a metal beast from the Isle of Long only to slaughter it, and learned about understeer the hard way. He now writes about fast wagons, politically incorrect SUVs and food, that may include but is not limited to, American Chop Suey. He also totally didn't write this bio himself in the third person.


  1. Replies
    1. Sort of disagreement of the day....the FWD turbo wagons whip the poop out of these conversions, are more modern in every way and have better OEM handling, better brakes and interiors that don't feel ancient. Even the quality and feel of the door cards is noticeably better. I'm not even going to mention how the inner door handles are plastic junk on the older cars and the newer cars have lovely, soft to the touch, long-lasting metal that you interact with. They're a work of art unto themselves, something most folks don't even notice. Plus, they're far cheaper to hot rod.

      If you want to feel like you're in the Flintstones, then by all means buy a 700 or 900 with a V8 stuffed into it. Nothing wrong with that.

      But it's far from the definitive word on these cars, which is of course just opinion. You can declare the 700 and 900 series the perfect sleepers but don't expect me not to pipe up about the P80 (esp the Mk 1s).

  2. I'd say a 200 series V8, like a 1993 245 "Classic" with 14" steelies & plastic wheel covers and a stock ride height would be an even better sleeper than the aforementioned P80 platform T-5's / R's.

    You can make a lot of people look foolish in a stock '98 V70 T-5 manual at the drag strip, and it's much easier to live with I agree with that... but driving a RWD Volvo is a much more "raw" experience that I prefer over the P80 when I'm flogging it.

    You feel, hear, smell, taste more of what's going on around you in a 200/700/900 series car and when pushed (albeit heavily modified), the handling characteristics make it a bit more "fun" to drive at the limit. That said, the limit of my heavily modified 745 turbo is still short of the limit of a stock P80 LPT (light pressure turbo aka S/V70 GLT) car... but I have more fun driving my 700 series cars. But I think we've already established the fact that I don't like nice/fast things, so take that for what you will.

    So for pure performance, drivability, livability and refinement go with the P80. For fun, excitement, ease of maintenance and a healthy dose of pucker factor (especially on mid-corner pavement imperfections at the limit) - go for a modified 200/700/900 with a big ol' honkin, loud, unrefined, leaky, smelly, smokey, 'murican V8. Plus, if you like doing burnouts and donuts, nothing beats RWD. Except AWD, but last time I tried them in an AWD P80 (in the snow) I overheated something called a bevel gear and ended up with a heavy FWD car with an inaccessible fuel pump (but hey, IRS FTW, amirite?).

    /Opinion. From the current owner of a P80 S70 base and an '89 745 turbo both with full IPD / Bilstein HD suspension and swaybars/endlinks.

    FWIW, YMMV, RTFM, etc.

  3. The seller must be the president of the Gino Vanelli fan club.

  4. Just now realized: I think this is the first 700/900 I've seen with a quad round headlight conversion. Doesn't look too bad, really.

    1. I dunno CFlo.. it kinda feels like it's wearing some groucho marx glasses.

  5. I actually bought this car! drove it from san luis obisbo to monterey, ran perfect.

  6. need those headlights !! where do i get those?


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