By on June 10, 2013

08 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSince I’ve built (and daily-driven) what I consider to be an art car, I’m not against the concept of an art car. The problem is that you get 100 random-beater-with-army-men-hot-glued-all-over art cars for every brilliant Sashimi Tabernacle Choir. Because affixing random crap all over a cheap car is an accepted route to a certain segment of San Francisco Bay Area artistic circles, I’ve found a fair number of these things in Northern California wrecking yards. Here’s the first turbocharged art car I’ve seen in my travels.
25 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the same Oakland yard in which we saw the 1985 Toyota Master Ace art car last year, and today’s Volvo is the latest in a series of forlorn-looking art cars that broke something expensive and/or racked up too many parking tickets in revenue-crazed cities such as Berkeley or San Francisco. There was the semi-famous Groovalicious Purple Princess of Peace Ford Taurus wagon and the skull-bedecked ’69 Mustang before that car, and I’m sure that a fair number wash up at junkyards on the route between San Francisco and a popular art-car destination in Black Rock Desert.
29 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinStrangely, no effort was made to incorporate the TURBO INTERCOOLER emblems into the decor.
13 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinLots of beads, lots of feel-good messages (why don’t any art cars have big Nietzsche Family Circus graphics?), the usual stuff.
30 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car will be getting crushed soon, but— even as I write this— somebody is gluing 10,000 mirror fragments on a Mercury Topaz, continuing the infinite spiral of art-car life.

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9 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1987 Volvo 740 Turbo Art Car...”


  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    Your Impala series inspired me to do my own “art” car in a way. I had a 78′ Chevy Malibu sedan I bought as a daily beater to keep miles off the nicer cars. 99k original miles, little old lady car. In was in decent shape, but worn and faded, and I wanted something more sinister looking. Something that looked like those sedans the bad guys always used on TV in the late 70′s/80′s.

    So a few years after I had it I got side swiped by a Honda CRV, and figured it was now or never. So I got a (free) paint job out of it; Really dark metallic green. Then I re-did the interior in black; with some early 80′s Regal sedans sitting in junk yards donating bits and pieces. I pulled out the old rotted head liner and replaced it with a Tommy Bahama floral piece. Painted the grill black, and put on a set of plain black steel wheels.

    Doesn’t look like too bad of a car now, and I got the look I was going for. Plus, people tend to give you room on the road and stay out of the streets.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    That must have been some good s**t.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    The local iteration is the Holy Roller. Until about a year ago it was an Isuzu i Mark. (Still one one the road.) It’s reappeared as a Ford Tempo. In both cases, I assume the same owner, they were white and covered with scriptural/theological/philosophical quotes. Bumper to bumper. It looks like a drivable version of a bottle of Dr Bronner’s castile soap.

  • avatar
    Wscott97

    Here in Orange County (Irvine to be specific), The land of new born Mercedes, Lexus and octuplets of BMW’s in every parking lot. There’s a 2000 Burgundy Toyota Camry with over a hundred 2″ gold polka-dots from head to toe. I thought it would be some young art major driving the car but turns out it’s her grandfather in a suit. I see him every day driving to and from work.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I think this car had the largest factory standard font emblems I’ve ever seen. I can think of none larger.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Theres a local 700 like this one out at a local junkyard, it hasn’t been arted up but it still has the turbo in it, are old turbos worth saving or best they be left where they are?

    These 7900′s never got the following that the 200 series does.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    I knew a guy in the early 70′s who had a hand-me-down art car before they were art cars. It was a VW beetle that had been repainted and had the words “The best of all possible things in the best of all possible worlds” painted on it (Candide).

    Turns out the owner was a very straight executive guy who had bought the car for his teenage children. He took the car to the shop to be painted as it was being handed down to a younger child. One of the man’s associates called the body shop and using his best official tone of voice convinced them he was the owner and that’s what he wanted. The executive guy decided to keep it that way.


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