The Volvo 960, like many classic Volvo’s, can trace back its direct ancestry to previous decades. While it owes much of its design cues and heritage to the 7 Series models, it successfully combined the original battlecruiser like image with a new generation of refined 24-valve straight-six engines.
As the last of the RWD Volvos, the 960 models were the flagship offerings by the brand and as expected, well furnished. These post-95 facelift models benefited from a chassis overhaul, side airbags and ABS which went some way into making it a far nicer and even safer car to drive.
The leather interior in this attractive 960 estate signifies this 1995 version as a GLE 2.5-litre petrol model with standard alloys, coloured coded bumper and special paint. With one careful owner since new, full service history and just 80K on the clock, this well looked after example is a superb example of the archetypical load carrier .
Bought by its first and only owner at Ivan Kessell Volvo in Cornwall, the car remained in that area throughout its life. Sympathetically driven and maintained by its retired owner, the car's excellent service, paperwork and MOT history verifies its low mileage.
In addition, its yearly mileage has been substantially reduced over the last 15 years, yet the owner has continued to ensure that the car runs as well as possible, with all issues addressed quickly on the rare occasion of failure. With no suggestions that the car was used for towing, hauling goods or pets, this example has to be in the minority of surviving 960 estates.
Is there anything better than a one-owner Volvo with almost up to date service history, a stack of paperwork including its original bill of sales? The owner continued to keep up the spending, with servicing needs and general maintenance with stamps up to 2018 (with just 2,000 miles added to the mileage since then)
The car has not needed any significant work done to it according to the paperwork, with attention mainly consisting of consumables and service items. The main items noted are the new silencer in 2009, a clutch in 2010 with two new clutch kits fitted since then.
The most recent bill covers work to weld repair the front lower cross member, renew a front roll bar link and a front brake caliper. The car will be sold with a new MOT.
The ruched light beige leather has lasted well, particularly when one considers the potential abuse that a large estate car has to go through. The seats do show some signs of wear, with the driver's seat suffering from a worn right-hand side bolster. All of the seats will retain their famous reputation for comfort, and aesthetics asides have plenty of life in them and display no significant rips or tears.
The dashboard is in good condition, with minor age-related wear but no significant damage or cracks observed, it's worth pointing out that the dashboard top padding is intact and has not been subject to overexposure to the sun. The wood veneer still holds up well, with all of the dials, controls and switches in good visual condition. All are said to be functional, including the electric windows and sunroof. There is minor wear on the steering wheel but the gear stick and gaiter look good.
The door cards are all decent with some blemishes observed, notably on the top of the driver's item where the leather has come slightly loose but all are generally free from scuffs and significant damage. The interior plastics have lasted well, with no notable damage, although both the front seat lower fittings are loose. The carpets are good and despite their light colour only the driver's footwell shows any significant signs of grubbiness but has been largely protected by the Volvo woollen mat.
The headlining is good, with no significant damage in the passenger cabin. The boot is clean and looks like it has been spared heavy use or canine company. The luggage cover is in good and functional condition, with the boot carpet and boot lip not showing much wear and like the rest of the interior, is damp-free with no evidence of water ingress.
The car’s presentation is positive, with the exterior metalwork not showing any significant evidence of age. Any of the body blemishes are largely confined to the small occasional dent, all of which can easily be remedied.
In addition, the Volvo doesn’t show much in terms of exterior corrosion issues, with the arches, inner wings, floor pan, chassis legs, boot (including the storage bin sections) and engine bay also looking solid, although there are a few minor suggestions of the car age in regards of the suspension and jacking point areas.
The panels fit flush throughout, with even panel gaps. The doors open and close well although the boot needs a little effort to lift up, suggesting a possible need for new struts although they do hold the tailgate up. The bumpers are good and free from damage with just a slight suggestion of wear, although the front off-side section is somewhat loose.
The dark olive pearlescent metallic paint does a good job modernising the angular lines but also adds an element of class to the car. The finish is good with a deep glossy lustre and shine throughout, although there are minor signs of paint run on the near side doors - not significant enough to distract as the paint has been well applied. The overall coverage of the clearcoat is good, with no major issues with the laminate observed.
The trim finishing, such as the lower side skirts and body sections are good, with the odd loose glass rubber trim and a missing drivers door trim being the most notable aspect. The passenger side front door handle shows a little wear too. The glass is good, with no cracks or chips, although the front screen shows the smallest of signs of laminate damage on the lower edges.
The car has been subject to regular tyres changes over its life with a pair of recently fitted front tyres. Along with the 2017 rear items, the car's grip should continue to instil confidence. The alloys are clean with a little wear but free from kerb damage. The door and glass rubbers are generally intact, with the exception of the lower section of the driver's door well rubber showing minor damage.
The front underside plastic tray is loose but is still held in place, the rest of the exterior plastics are in good condition with no immediate signs of cracks or fading. The front headlamps are good, with some evidence of condensation forming in the inside of the off-side item. Some of the plastic light lenses could do with some elbow grease or possibly replacement due to their age but are still functional and fit for purpose.
Mechanically the car runs well, starting up straight away. The engine sounds strong and smooth and reaches temperature without any issues. There are no noises coming from the steering or suspension when the car is in motion, with the brakes all functioning well with no suggestions of vibrations or imbalance.
The manual gearbox changes with minimal obstruction, the clutch feels well-weighted with a good biting point. The engine presentation is tidy, with the ancillaries and hoses looking in good condition, supporting the good routine of maintenance. The exhaust is in good condition with no suggestions of leaks or damage, the smoke was grey and minimal as the engine idled.
It's not uncommon for these cars to be still running well with over a quarter of a million miles on the clock, so the opportunity to obtain a low-mileage one-owner example with a fraction of that mileage can’t be ignored.
As the natural evolution of the RWD Volvo estate, the plush and regal 960 is a mature and comfortable cruiser with ample space for the whole family or needs be, a grandfather clock.
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