Super Brick: 1996 Volvo 850R

Volvos have always been a fascinating proposition for me. Their approach to luxury is so similar, yet so different to their German rivals. Volvos are calm, compared to the rowdy, competitive German brands; quite happy to sit in the background, safe in the knowledge that there will always be some people who don’t want that brashness. However, that calmness manifests itself as being dull to others, so, ocassionally, Volvo has to let its hair down. Find this 1996 Volvo 850R for sale in Beechboro, WA for $6,300 AUD ($4,710 USD at the time of writing) via Carsales.

Although it may have been technically surpassed by the Polestar models of late, the 850R was the pinnacle of fast Volvos in the mid-90s. Five cylinders, 2.3L, turbocharged to 250hp, this is still a potent machine. Perhaps not in the league of modern luxury sports sedans, but certainly enough to rival most new hot hatches, and it’s got more space to boot.

This one’s equipped with an optional LSD too, which should keep it even more up to scratch. Even better, this particular example has a five-speed instead of the automatic that was fitted to many. Of course, the 850R was more famous as a ludicrously fast family wagon, rather than in the sedan bodystyle. That’s good for us though, because it keeps sedan prices low, and they’re somewhat of a sleeper.

This car is truly a testament to the owners. It’s done nearly 270,000km (~165,000 miles) and still looks factory fresh. Paint sparkles red, and the black leather looks as if it’s only starting to tire. Best of all, it’s completely stock still – plenty of these suffered low prices and either being wrecked or modified. 

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Michael is a teenager who’s been obsessed with cars since he was able to talk, but has no ability in mechanics whatsoever. His daily driver is a manual transmission Nissan Maxima – the Australian Infiniti I30.