Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Danville Street Sighting - 1989 Volvo 780 Bertone

The Volvo 780 by Bertone is quite possibly in my top three favorite Volvo models, or at least top five. The 780 is an interesting creature, a Swedish sport coupe designed and built by Italians and powered (in some models) by the PRV corporate V6 engineered with Peugeot and Renault. The 780 was a loaded flagship with real wood, quality leather and a host of conveniences and features from a power moonroof to automatic climate control. It was produced from 1986 to 1991 in limited numbers, with only 8,518 rolling off the assembly line during that period (Some sources say it's more like 9,521, but Volvo themselves claim the smaller number). The US market received 5,695 of those.

I like the Volvo 700 series. The sedans and wagons are boxy, so very boxy; even more so than the ubiquitous 200 series. My favorite "regular" 700s are the US-spec 760 turbo wagons. But then there's the 780, a second attempt at the sport-luxury coupe by Bertone after the disastrous 262C. The chop-top, vinyl-roofed 262 was trying to be a Swedish Lincoln Continental when buyers probably wanted something more akin to a BMW. That said, I'd love to find a 262C and feature it sometime.

The 780 has just enough Italian in it to make it look sporty. Bertone's nip/tuck of the Volvo 740/760 produces a handsome coupe with a lower profile than the blocky, upright sedan. The Volvo hallmarks are still there: the big black rubber bumpers with resilient collapsible side trim pieces, diagonal grille bar, and crisp edges and body lines; but the body is totally unique and shares nothing with the sedan. The ads proclaimed, this is "the kind of Volvo you design when you've been designing Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Maseratis all your life". Considering what a Volvo was to most people back then, that description seems apt.
Speaking of the body, the condition of this car is great. Everything's intact and I love the BBS-style mesh wheels. All it needs is a good wax job to breathe some life back into the black paint, and it's perfect.

1 comment:

  1. I'd love to own a 780, never sold in the UK except through the diplomats outlet, I've drove one when it came in for a minor repair it drove like almost any other 700 but sitting in that two door body felt anything but ordinary. The BBS style wheels were Volvo options.