Wednesday, September 7, 2016

No Puffer: 1997 Volvo V90 LS1 swap

What is it exactly that makes a slab sided Volvo wagon with an American V8 so cool? Try to explain to a non-car enthusiast what exactly is so special about a Volvo wagon and you will get a puzzled look or get your sanity questioned. The now famous Paul Newman and David Letterman stories have undoubtedly added to the appeal of this engine swap. Find this very well executed 1997 Volvo V90 with a LS1/T56 swap for sale in Farmington Hills, MI for $11,400. Sellers take note, this is how to write a proper car advertisement.

This car has arguably the most desirable American V8 drivetrain combo installed into it. The engine came from a 2004 Pontiac GTO LS1 which was good for 350 hp in stock and is mated to the equally desirable 6 T56 speed manual gear box. The ability to raise the power level on the LS1 engine is limited only by deepness of ones wallet. The seller details how much care has been given to performance, reliability, quality of components, and luxury feel.

This Volvo is not just a straight line machine. It can keep up on the curvy roads with the custom (expensive) Kaplhenke Racing coilover struts with Koni adjustables 2" x 2.5" 275lb springs and adjustable camber plates. Konis are installed in the rear as well. Body control is claimed to be transformed over stock and has none of the floating with only a slightly stiffer ride.

With double the stock power, a limited slip rear end is a must have. The owner did some very trick engineering a Eaton True Trac torsen LSD unit to play nice in the stock housing. This all entailed fitting custom axle flanges from Sweden, shortening the V90 drive shaft, turning the diff carrier on a lathe, and installing 940 axle shafts. All of this work resulted in 1900 rpm at 70 mph and the ability to roast both rear tires.

See a faster car with rear facing third row seats, email

Cory is trying to finish off his project 1995 Mercedes E36 wagon and figure out what to do with his hoard of rare w124 parts.


  1. Bargain considering all the parts and labor.

  2. Sale pending per swedespeed. Its a shame because I feel that I close to obtaining authorization from my wife. At least she's primed for the next one.

  3. I love it, all the fun of a GTO sans the mullet

    The A/C fix will really finish this off

  4. Man, I'd like to drive this car, I bet it's every bit the hoot he claims it is. I'm curious about the Corvette valve covers, they weren't like that in the GTO, I assume. Guess it looks better, lets people know where the engine could have come from. Nice build.

  5. A bucket list car for me and this one looks particularly well put together. Btw, that deep metallic purple is STUNNING on the S and V90 series. What a great car.

  6. This is how an engine swap is done, very clean, well designed and high quality components. Those must be the beefiest engine mounts I've ever seen!


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