April 29, 2014

Two Volvo 850 Race Wagons, Both Alike In Hoonity

Volvo_850_turbo_wagon_BTCC-style.jpg

Today on Bring A Trailer, someone turned up this rather amazing rebuild: a 1995 Volvo 850 Turbo Wagon transformed into a British Touring Car Championship-style racer. It's currently for sale on craigslist in Bainbridge Island, WA for like nothing. $7000. [UPDATE: just read through the build thread on VolvoSpeed; this thing is a project, not a car. And right now it sounds like kind of a basketcase. In the quest for an ultralight 850, they've stripped it to like $1.99. Caveat emptor.]

Volvo_850_turbo_wagon_BTCC-int.jpg

It's still purportedly street legal, and looks totally stealth from the outside; on the inside, it's been stripped with a very competent-looking roll cage installed. As one BaT commenter suggested, you could "bolt a childs recaro car seat to the floor to complete the package." I'm game.

volvo_855_supertouring_1.jpg

But wait, there's more. Because as I'm reading along in this bemused history of Volvo's short-lived but impressive 850 station wagon racing program, in the BTCC and later [still, even] in the Dutch Supercar Challenge, I see that the SAM ur-850 Supertouring still exists, and is for sale?? Can this still be true?

volvo_855_supertouring_int.jpg

Volvo approached Steffansson Automotive (SAM) in 1993 about racing the 850, and when the only bodyshells available in time for the season were estates, SAM went with it. This 1994 Volvo 855 was the prototype. It had a normally aspirated 2.0L 5-cylinder with 280hp, FWD, and an X-Trac six-speed transmission.

Now, according to the Swedish sale listing, it has a new turbo engine. Is it a 2.3L 5-cyl? A 2.0? Google translates puffra as a "six-shooter," so I'm only more confused. Anyway, whatever it is, it is, or was, for sale for SEK299,000, about $US45,000. I'd say buy both, and have one for the street, and one for the track.

volvo_740_scca_ad_hemmings.jpg

UPDATE IN LIEU OF COMMENTS: DT racing guru DT reminds us all that Volvo NA's Bob Austin and Fred Hammond were integral to getting the Volvo 745T into SCCA racing in the mid-80s, years before the BTCC. For bonus points, here's Marc McCourt's 2011 Hemming's story about Volvo's racy 80s and the magazine ads [above] they burned into my teen brain.

The "Until Ferrari Builds A Station Wagon, This Is It." one was my favorite, even though the TV version of it is total cheese. It did lead me to this video of these chuckleheads in a 740 towing a 940 passing a Ferrari, though, so it nets out:

BTCC For The Road: 1995 Volvo 850 Turbo Wagon [bringatrailer.com]
RACE WAGON 1995 Volvo 850 turbo wagon - $7000 "to many parts to list" [seattle.craigslist.org]
UPDATE: Here's the build thread at Volvo Speed, a very much not completed project [volvospeed.com]

Volvo 850 BTCC [volvotips]
Volvo 855 Supertouring Racingbil -94, SEK 299 000 ? [blocket.se, says Apr 4, but what year?]

Previously, related: "All I smell is raw power and speed." David Letterman and Paul Newman's Volvo 960 racing wagons, with puffers.

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