1997 Volvo V70R – Classified of the Week

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By Chris Pollitt

The 1990s were an interesting time for Volvo. Prior to this important decade, Volvo had built a reputation for being safe, being steady and being reliable. Nothing wrong with any of that, of course. But it was hardly a brand that had an exciting image, and it certainly didn’t have much in the way of performance going for it. Yes, it has tried with cars like the 480 Turbo, but that was so far removed from the Volvo norms that nobody bought it. Nobody really knew what it was. No, if Volvo was going to build its reputation to include excitement, it would have to work with what it had. 

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This of course came in 1994 when, in partnership with Tom Walkinshaw Racing, Volvo entered an 850 estate into the British Touring Car Championship. And why not? There was nothing in the rulebook to say it couldn’t. 

The 850 estate in BTCC spec only lasted for one year, and the highest it ever came was third, but it didn’t matter. It was enough. Volvo was on the minds of everyone. It was suddenly an exciting, brash, in your face brand that spoke of speed and performance. And it wasn’t just on the track. Volvo of course backed it all up with the mighty T5, a performance road version that us mere mortals could buy. And with it, so started a line of hot Volvos with serious street cred. 

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Eventually, the 850 was replaced by the V70, which in essence was just an 850 with some added curves. But hey, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it, right? And of course, there was a performance version, which is what we have for sale here. Namely the Volvo V70R

Painted in a stunning Saffron Gold metallic, this V70R is the spec to have. It’s the right colour, for starters. But more than that, it’s also a manual transmission car, which pushes it further up the scale of desirability. The automatic is still a decent steed, but if you want to enjoy the fruits of that five-cylinder, turbocharged, 250bhp engine to their fullest, you need to swap cogs yourself. 

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It has 134,000 miles on the clock, which is nothing for this trusty old Swede, and it’s just been serviced, which should offer extra peace of mind. In terms of things to be aware of, this was an AWD car, but has been converted to run front wheel-drive only as the all wheel-drive system can be a little temperamental. You could seek to have that function restored, or you could use it as is. It’s just as much fun with front wheel-drive. 

These cars are getting rare now, and as such this is one you should pounce on. It’s the right car in the right colour with the right spec.

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