By on June 7, 2013

10 - 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSince we had an extremely rare 1979 Junkyard Find yesterday (a Volkswagen Dasher Diesel), let’s have another today. This is the first time I’ve found a genuine Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe in a wrecking yard (I have seen the occasional Volvo 780 Bertone Coupe), and it happened during the same trip to California that gave us the Dasher Diesel. Let’s admire this fine example of Italo-Swedish design!
151-UG-Loudon_Annoying_2013These cars are out there, and you can get rough ones for nickels and dimes. In fact, we’ve got a 24 Hours of LeMons team— the Bert Ones, get it?— running a very quick, B230-powered 262C Bertone on the East Coast.
04 - 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWith hindsight, we can see that an expensive Volvo 240 2-door with a chopped roof, Bertone badges, and PRV engine was doomed to marketplace failure from the very beginning.
05 - 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, Volvo was willing to take some chances in its pursuit of… well, we can’t quite figure out what demographic was being targeted here. Stodgy, sensible cocaine dealers?
03 - 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin210,268 miles on the clock, which is a bit less than the figure in most junked Volvo bricks that I see.
17 - 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe PRV, which also powered the DeLorean DMC-12 and Eagle Premier, wasn’t in the same reliability league as the good old Volvo four-cylinders.
01 - 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe very luxurious Bertone leather interior has been torn up pretty well, but a few bits remain.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

56 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1979 Volvo 262C Bertone...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    How expensive were these? I’m assuming ridiculous and at the Merc SL level. Love all the detailing on the door panels.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      About $16,000 in 1979, equivalent to about $50,000 today, with inflation. Fairly expensive, but I believe the R107 still cost a good bit more.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Crikey! That’s more than I was expecting. I don’t think Volvo had the repute to carry such an expensive vehicle. Just considering how much a 6-Series or a Mark V would have been.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ‘ Stodgy , sensible cocaine dealers ‘ ~ sounds about right .

    I remember these when new and never could figure out who the hell would pony up for such a turd .

    Then , I got old and these kinda grew on me…..

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen one not pinted silver .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Same with Volvo ragtops. Who would pay that much for so little?

    “Out-classed and over-priced…After spending a few hours in the Volvo C70 hardtop convertible, the car had me scratching my head. After spending a full week with it, it had me wanting to tear my hair out by the roots….
    Every car we test has its good points and bad points, hopefully with the good outweighing the bad. Not so with the C70. This is one of the few cars we just couldn’t wait to get rid of.”
    http://www.autoguide.com/manufacturer/volvo/2168.html

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Not that the C70 is a great car, but that review is one of the laziest pieces of auto writing I’ve ever seen, with myriad errors. It’s not *that* bad, although it’s out of date (and ending production).

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Wow, what a douchey review. I actually know not one but two people with C70′s, and they’re both quite happy with them. One is a second-generation and was, at the time of its purchase, the only manual C70 in North America. I’ve only ridden in it once. The other is a first-gen, and I’ve ridden in it quite a bit. IMO, it’s a good car whose virtues are utterly lost on the typical auto writer. Like the Chrysler 200 convertible, it’s really the only vehicle in its class. It’s downmarket of the E350 and less sporty than the 3-series. I haven’t been in the A5 convertible, but I’d consider it and the 3-series to be the Mustang and Camaro to the C70’s 200, if that analogy makes any sense. When my friend bought his first-gen, the 3-series was the only other car vaguely in the same segment. He readily admitted that the BMW drove better but found the C70 significantly more comfortable. As he had a long commute in heavy traffic at the time, comfort won the day.

        Cons:
        - cowl shake, though I don’t have enough experience with convertibles to peg how bad the C70 is in a relative sense.
        - very slow ingress/egress to the back seat because of a glacially slow power tilt mechanism.

        Bogus con: engine power/speed. The T5, even in low-pressure form, is plenty fast in real-world driving. Auto writers and enthusiasts are incredibly jaded in this regard.

        Pros:
        - no real competitor at its price point, which I consider as a positive.
        - incredible room and comfort for four adults. With the top up, there’s more headroom in the backseat than in the majority of sedans on the market today. Front and back seats live up to the hype of Swedish seat comfort. Faced with an 8-hour road trip, I’d much rather sit in the back seat of a first-gen C70 than of a 4-door 3-series or A4.

  • avatar
    zaxxon25

    What is sitting on the roof? Can’t quite figure it out.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      Good question. Methinks that it’s the interior trim piece that goes aft of the rear seats. – you know the little tray area where the youngest kid got to sleep on roadtrips in the days before safety and carseats.

  • avatar
    Thinkin...

    Huh. Never knew that these has the same PRV 6 as the Delorean. Does that mean that an old, venerable, volvo 4 cylinder could be used as a more-or-less direct bolt in swap in the Delorean? The PRV always seemed like a kludge solution offering no real benefits in the DMC.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    What I find odd about this particular car is,

    A – The condition of the body does not seem to match the mileage on the odometer. It is amazingly free of the dings, scratches, and just general wear you would associate with such a high-mileage car. And don’t tell me “Well, 210,268 miles on a 34-year-old car translates to just 6,184.36 miles per year.” The general condition of the body, the trim, the rubber bits just do not correlate with that kind of mileage.

    B – Assuming the mileage is right, and perhaps catastrophic engine or transmission failure, why then, in light of the aparently excellent condition of this vehicle, would you not replace said powertrain with a more mundane 240′s one and keep it rolling?

    I’m not a Volvo freak by any means, but it just seems wasteful to have junked an older car in this kind of condition…

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      My guess is estate sale. Grandpa bought this car new, kept in in a garage and treated it kindly for it’s lifetime. Then when grandpa’s health started to slide the car was left neglected in the garage for many years. After he passed away, a well-intentioned son-in-law who by virtue of reading jalopnik was the “car guy” in the family came over, turned the key, and tried his damnedest to get it running, via a jumper pack and liberal use of the gas pedal. Car was then hastily put on craigslist with no photos and a description of “used vovleo, not-running but good conditins.” They got no takers, and before they knew it it was closing day for Grandpa’s house. The attorney said the car had to go, and offered to call a friend-of-a-friend in the towing biz who would take it off their hands for free. They considered it a deal, and now it’s been picked over in the junkyard, donating a few nice parts to Volvo-enthusiasts in need, before becoming my next dishwasher.

      And all along, each time Grandpa turned the key, he fancied himself driving a Delorean. Kids these days.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        I agree. Lots of old people around these parts, what you describe is all too common. Clean old car no one wants; the majority probably end up in the crusher.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      A – I’ve seen several rwd 300k Volvos in person and rarely could I tell without looking at the odometer, they’re really just that tough I think.

      B – Outside of air-cooled VWs, engine swaps are not an easy task and even then once fixed theres no telling if something else was wrong with the car.

      Unless if it was wrecked or rusted beyond repair its wasteful to junk any car in my book, we’re better off keeping beaters going than scrapping them for hybrids.

    • 0 avatar

      My guess is that it was babied for much of its life, then got into the hands of someone who was going to restore it… and then spent many years awaiting that restoration, which never happened.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      While agreeing with the opinions that this car was babied, I’d also point out that cars of this era had (gasp) functional bumpers and rub strips. Today’s cars pick up damage far, far more easily than cars of the ’80s and late ’70s.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I figure the Bertone people went up to Sweden to discuss the design and brought along a big sheaf of drawings for some beautiful cars…

    “Zis one?”

    “No, too expensiff to do.”

    “Zis one?”

    “No, too expensiff to do.”

    … for a while and then somebody from Bertone finally grabbed a paper napkin and scrawled what became the 262.

    “Ya. Ve chop de rooff and all iss goot.”

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      On the other hand, the 780 from the linked articles… that’s a nice looking coupe in a thoroughly Volvo way, althought the interior may be a bit over-wrought.

      • 0 avatar

        True. The 780 is a cool looking Volvo, and is best seen in person. I’ve seen the Bertone 282 in town, and I never saw the appeal. A regular 240 Coupe may not have the… um… prestige of Italian styling, but it would be my preferred route of the two.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    In 1981 my family came so close to buying one of these. The dealership had a demo that had been driven by the owner…. Anyway came in second, they ended up buying a Buick Electra Park Ave. I remember shopping with them, I was 9 at the time and thought that the Volvo was so good looking. Don’t know what I was thinking. Of course even at 9 I was smart enough not to buy the Buick with a 6 cyl. engine. Wish my parents were too.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Ugh, my first car was an 81 Regal coupe with the V6. A dog of a car(though fine for my 16 year old leadfoot in hindsight). Couldn’t imagine that motor saddled with the extra weight of the Electra.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Well, your Regal would have had the 231 V6, while an ’81 Electra would have had the 252 V6. So they would probably be about the same performance-wise.

        • 0 avatar
          cgjeep

          Not only that but it had CA emissions on it. Car only ran right for 2 years and then parents dumped it. My dad kicked himself about not getting the V8 like the 78 LeSabre they traded in for it.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            A ’78 Lesabre could have a Chevy 305, a Buick 350, or the Olds 403.

            An ’81 Electra V8 options were only the Olds 307 and the Diesel 350.

            Unless his ’78 was the 305, I doubt he would have been very happy with the 307. Although it would probably be better than the V6.

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          Thanks, I forgot about the 252. Ah, the good old GM. 12 engines for the same car!

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Now its 12 cars with the same engine!

            (I am looking at you, 3.6L V6)

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            And they often had the same displacement with no compatibility!

            The BOP 455s are all completely different and incompatible with each other or the Chevy 454. Not sure about the 350s though.

            At least by the late 70s/early 80s, GM wasn’t making 12 different V8s with similar displacements any more.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Oh, I forgot the early 70s Chevy 307 that’s 100 percent different from the later Olds 307.

            GM was wacky back then.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The BOP 455s were not all actually 455s they all had different displacements but corporate had mandated a truce so they all had to call them 455s for 1 more than Chevy. The Buick and Pontiacs were really 456 while the Olds was really a 454. The BOP 350s were even worse with the Buick at 349 Olds at a true 350 and the Pontiac a 355. The Chevys were true to their advertised displacement.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ Scoutdude – Don’t forget that the Chevy 396 was bored out to 402 in 1970 but still marketed as the 396.

            @ Yeahright (below) – LOL

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        I’m fine with one engine for many vehicles. Less opportunity to mess up, less manufacturing,

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    A Volvo with a vinyl roof. God bless the ’70s.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    I like the way the yard’s razor wire faces inward instead of outward. Is that to prevent you from throwing parts over the fence, or to give the junkyard dogs better odds of catching a midnight snack?

  • avatar

    That is the most likely to end as a pile of rust Volvo ever made.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Here are my guesses as to why this model was made:

    1. A tribute to detroits 2-door small roof “Landau” boats of the 70′s, its fairly apparent that back then Volvo admired American car styling. even having a New Yorker stylize most of their successful cars.

    2. To keep people from cutting up coupes from the 50′s and provide a safer alternative.

    3. To attract older customers.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Henry Ford II and his entourage traveled to Sweden in the ’70s to check out a concept in assembly line design and management that Volvo was trying. With them, they brought a number of Lincoln MKIVs to be driven around in. The Volvo executives were smitten with the pimp mobiles, or at least CEO, Pehr Gyllenhammar was. It was decided that Volvo must have their own MKIV, and so they took their dream to Bertone.

      Who bought it? I think Car and Driver called it, “the car for people who shrink,” a play on “The Car for People Who Think,” which was an old Volvo advertising campaign.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Hardly a “marketplace failure” – Volvo sold every single one they bothered to make, and at VERY high prices. And even with the early B27 (which certainly had issues, mostly with camshaft lubrication), it STILL went 210K miles!

    Also note that neither the DMC-12 nor the Eagle used THIS version of the PRV. The Delorean did use a Volvo version, but it was the later B28 which had most of the issues of the B27 fixed. The Eagle used the Renault version of the engine, which like the even more different Peugeot version, never had the issues to begin with. In particular, the Peugeot version with balance shafts in the heads is a really sweet motor, and quite bulletproof.

  • avatar

    I wonder who snagged the crowns from the C-pillars….

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    I remember when I worked for Volvo, a replacement door panel for one of these was $1100… in 2009. I had a customer purchase both sides at once. I nearly died.

  • avatar
    Wscott97

    My parents neighbor had this car, also in silver with the black top. As a kid, I always thought it was a funny looking car. As I got older, the shape and looks really grew on me. I’m sure if one was in decent shape and still on the road, It would turn some heads.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Waiting patiently for a CrabSpirits story…

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      That thingy on the back of the motor is the CPI fuel manifold.

      If you’re ever stuck in 1885 Hill Valley before gas is available, and the bartender tries to convince you his “strong stuff” will make her run, don’t fall for it.

      It’ll blow that sucker right off.

  • avatar
    Joss

    I remember back in the 70′s the trumpeted triad of PRV 6 with loud fanfare. Renault 30, Volvo 260 and Peugeot 604. Citroen CX? Wow with hindsight – merde.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    When these came out , they listed for over 15k . At the time , even in the mediocre malaise era , there were a lot of questions about this car, which was considered a lousy value in the enthusiast magazines , though the luxurious interior was always praised . Frequently referred to as an overpriced Swedish Thunderbird . Back in the day when they were new , there were seldom seen, and there was a lot of questioning about what demographic the Bertone coupe was aimed at .IIRC , after they had been out nearly a year ,maybe more , they finally came out with the gold version . I don’t recall seeing one in the last 5 years , maybe longer .

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      It was the late ’70s, every automaker felt like a personal luxury coupe was just something they “had” to do, a bit like crossovers today.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I always thought were classy and cool. What do I know….

  • avatar
    SixDucks

    Wow. I knew someone back in the day that had one of these. Silver and black, same wrinkled door trim panels. Took a trip up the California coast in it. Nice car, actually.

  • avatar
    Fritz

    I ran across one of these in a wrecking yard in Austin in 2001. The interior and exterior were in remarkably good shape. I’m very tall so the roof-line was too low on entry and egress. My guess is that the engine had gone out. That or the wires had gone bad. But once parked in the seat it was luxurious! In a Super Fly kind of a way :). No one seemed to want parts off of it. Had it been running I would have picked it up. I even thought of putting a 4 cylinder into it. I’ve seen a 262c converted into a turbo with engine and ignition from a 740. It resides in a Volvo Saab shop in Dallas yet. A project of the owner.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    These are a few of these floating around on e-bay. Every time I have seen one of these I think of someone at Volvo was influenced by American rod culture. “Sven vat do you think? We take the 242 2dr and chop the roof like a 34 deuce coupe?”

    Given my affection for coupes, I still like these. I could see someone taking a decent one after the PRV gives up the ghost and installing a turbo 4 out of a 240 or 740 turbo. Or a 16 valve out of a later 740.

  • avatar
    mikemeade

    What yard is this car in? I may well need some parts off of this car if it is still available.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States