5k: 1986 Volvo 740 Wagon with LT1/T56; Thorsday Ultimate Sleeper

Thorsday is back with a bang!!  We’ve seen so many Volvo wagons with V8 swaps recently that they almost don’t qualify as a sleeper anymore..almost, except for the fact that when we see a clean 740 on the road we instantly assume its family oriented driver will stay within the speed limit and only pass people in VW Beetles.  That isn’t the case with this 1986 Volvo 740 Wagon that has a Chevy LT1 V8 swap with T56 6 speed manual transmission, for sale in Atlanta, GA for the bargain price of $5900 via craigslist.  $5900 will barely cover parts for a budget V8 swap, so we expect that this is a screaming deal unless the head gasket blows and the chassis rusts into 2 pieces the day after the new owner picks it up.

This Volvo is certainly an interesting color – it looks somewhere between the stock ‘dark blue’ code 204 and ‘medium blue’ code 213 – and given the painted black rubber bumper parts & roof rack, we assume its a respray of some kind (E46 M3 Laguna Seca blue?).  Its riding on Bilstein HD struts and some aftermarket wheels that actually match the look of the Volvo quite well (they look like Borbets, but perhaps some informed wheel expert can enlighten us in the comments).

Getting right down to business – this Volvo is no longer powered by some gutless tractor engine, it’s now got proper C4 Corvette power from a 5.7 liter Chevy LT1.  The LT1 was a simple fuel injected V8 that had a strange reverse flow cooling setup (coolant flowed into the heads first and then down into the block – the reverse of just about every other engine) and in this configuration puts 290 horsepower to the rear wheels (figure  about 330 hp at the flywheel).  It is mated to the superbly reliable Borg-Warner T56 6-speed transmission (OE equipment on Vettes, Vipers, Vanquish etc) and power gets delivered to both rear wheels via a factory Volvo G80 locker – which isn’t technically a limited slip diff – its actually a locker that only works when one wheel slips below 25 mph and then disengages once the vehicle speed exceeds 26 mph. However these lockers can easily be modified to stay locked to much higher speeds by lightening the internal counterweights.

The inside of this Volvo isn’t in perfect shape, in fact it is missing quite a few trim panels – but the seller states that he is including many extra interior pieces; perhaps some of the missing stuff just needs to be installed.  The aftermarket Momo steering wheel is a welcome replacement for the stock hula hoop sized wheel from the Volvo Truck parts bin.

Inside the back of this Volvo are several car seats — seats the hold what will soon be the coolest kids ever…or at least the kids who won’t complain when they are 16 and their lunatic friends drive like…well 16 year olds each and every chance they get.  Or are kids too busy instagramming, texting, facebooking and sexting to drive like teenagers anymore?

This Volvo packs a huge amount of potential hoonage into an ultra sleeper package – and the asking price is well below any of the recent V8 Volvo’s we featured.  The only reason we haven’t contacted a car hauler and wired the owner money is the dubious nature of engine swap emissions compliance in our home police state of CARBifornia.

See a better V8lvo?  email us here:  tips@dailyturismo.com