By on January 9, 2017

2002 Volvo V70XC Ocean Race in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

I’m always on the lookout for small-production figure, special-edition cars during my junkyard explorations, and we have admired such classics as the Etienne Aigner Volkswagen Golf and the Daytona 500 Pace Car Pontiac Grand Prix in past installments of the Junkyard Find series.

Today, we’re moving into the 21st century, for a genuine, numbers-matching, one-of-650-made 2002 Volvo Ocean Race Edition V70 Cross Country, spotted in that hotbed of nautical action: Denver.
2002 Volvo V70XC Ocean Race in Colorado junkyard, fender emblem - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Ocean Race V70 came with blue paint and these very attractive fender emblems.

2002 Volvo V70XC Ocean Race in Colorado junkyard, blue upholstery stitching - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Volvo Ocean Race was so prestigious in 2002 that buyers of these cars got special blue upholstery stitching.

2002 Volvo V70XC Ocean Race in Colorado junkyard, fender cladding - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The plastic cladding on the Ocean Race V70 was gray instead of the usual black.

2002 Volvo V70XC Ocean Race in Colorado junkyard, tailgate emblem - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

I wouldn’t have noticed this car on my own, but my neighbor and fellow car writer, Andrew Ganz, had joined me for the Half Off Everything New Year’s Day sale at this junkyard. He recognized this rare special edition immediately. We had just seen an amazingly customized Mitsubishi Eclipse in the customer parking lot, so it was a good day for rare cars.

The sportscar.

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49 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2002 Volvo V70 XC Ocean Race Edition...”


  • avatar
    gear-dog

    I really want to love modern Volvos but do we trust them? I am starting to shop for cars for my soon-to-be-road-legal sixteen year old son (who is trying to sell his mother on the practicality of a thirty year old Lancia, bless his oil stained heart) His next choice is long roof Volvo with a stick but the professional mechanics I know are always talking about the random parts bin nature of Ford era Volvos. According to them, Volvos are frustrating to work on because they frequently made in line changes to mechanical and electronic components and as a result, their durability is hit or miss. I like the idea of Volo safety for my son but now that I think of it the Lancia is probably safer. How much trouble could he get into with a car sitting on blocks in my garage?

    • 0 avatar
      scwmcan

      My step mother has a 2005 XC70 that was bought with 160,000km about 6 years ago, it has been good for her ( now has 250,000+km) I think the biggest problem for her has Ben two broken passenger side front springs, the rest have been fine. It seems to cost her about $1000/ year in repairs which isn’t too bad over all, of course there is a good independent mechanic near her. I would avoid the early p2 models (I belive pre 2004 had the worst problems, but if your son wants stick I think the biggest problems were with the auto anyway). I have heard the xc90 had more issues (maybe because it is heavier with the same drive trains? ) in any case I don’t think something around the 2005 area is bad, it had been on the same platform long enough to have the bugs worked out. Also her car has been through 12 Canadian winters now ( lots of salt and brine on the road) and the body and undercarriage have no rust on them, even the bolts look like new, so if you are in an area that rust is a concern (probably not since he is wanting an even older Lancia, that would have returned to the earth long ago up here) the Volvo is a good bet. Getting parts for an old Lancia may bee quite hard and expensive as well. In any case good luck to both you and your son whatever car he winds up with.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      scwman this sounds right on the money compared to my own brief experience with an S60, as well as what I’ve read/heard from other owners.

    • 0 avatar
      bongers

      My parents have gone through three Ford era Volvo’s the first one reached 400,000 KM and went through 12 Canadian winters without any major faults. What did seem to go wrong was electronics ABS sensors, speakers, on a cold day you would need to eject a CD to turn on the stereo all of this started when the car was at least 8 years old. But other than that it was very reliable and they bought two more after they sold it and so far they have been without any faults.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      My wife’s C30 came from this era (late 2000s), it has random Ford and Mazda parts in it. At only 75K it has reached EOL, we have spent way too much keeping it on the road, many very expensive things have broken. It is currently worth less then parts we have put into in during our 6 years of ownership. The Volvo dealership wants insane money to fix anything and parts take weeks to arrive from Sweden. Thus Volvo has now joined the list with VW in my collection “never buy again” bin.

    • 0 avatar
      amoore100

      My dad has an ’01 V70 T5 at 213K miles, I have a ’05 V50 2.4i at 153K miles (my first car at age 17), both auto, both around $1K servicing per year as others have echoed (which is far less than a new car payment as my father cheerfully reminds himself). We have no salt (California Bay Area) but my dad DD’s his V70 20 miles a day in expressway traffic so it’s evidently a good suburban runner. Not sure about traffic or long trips since both our Vo’s are local runabouts as our Odyssey’s massive cabin is more suited for family travel. Definitely find a good independent (like Exclusively Volvo for us! <3) and get on good terms with them, sometimes there are rather subtle niggles that develop and it's always good to have a mechanic who's on your side, so to speak. As far as reliability goes, both my dad's V70 and my V50 are comparable; they also look pretty similar on the outside but their personalities couldn't be more different. The V70 is the high pressure turbo and drives somewhat lazily, wafting on waves of torque as the over-boosted steering gives a vague idea of where the land-barge is headed. The V50 is the N/A and needs to be revved up for some umph; it handles much more directly, befitting a warm hatch if it had more power. So yeah, get a V70 for your son if you want him to perhaps be a bit of a calmer driver; otherwise, the P1 cars handle much better.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    So this wagon was marketed to the impulsive, sloppy, sorta affluent woman-child of indeterminate Westerness.

    But what did the tidy lady with the refugee Iranian caddy drive? Interesting social messages in this furrin ad.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    The one thing this era of Volvo really has going for it is fantastic rust proofing, comfortable seats, and sturdy engines, and of course the safety factor. Temptingly priced used, especially for the utility of a roomy true wagon form with optional AWD, more or less a more comfortable Subaru that doesn’t rust. But there is more than one fly in the ointment. Transmission problems and throttle body issues on earlier cars, less than long lived front ends, electrical glitches, poor-wearing interior plastics. If one is a reasonably apt DIYer or has an honest indie mechanic (and finds a well taken care of example top buy), they’re not horrible to own IMO, but there’s a reason for the poor resale.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      This one was well taken care of right until the end, when you check the interior. The dash buttons aren’t all worn.

    • 0 avatar
      blizzardNW

      Volvo guy here, and I completely agree. The whiteblock 5-cylinder engines are very sturdy and will easily do 2-300k (miles) with regular maintenance, which really just comes down to doing regular oil changes with quality (read Mann or Volvo) oil filters and changing the timing belt at the specified intervals. Keeping on top of oil changes will help keep the PCV system clear and clean.

      The Macpherson strut front end is admittedly not the longest lived, but parts are relatively cheap and if you have any sense of how to turn a wrench, refreshing everything from struts to ball joints and control arms is very easy. As a bonus, these cars just refuse to rust, and that applies to the fasteners as well. The most common failure points in the front end are, in my experience, the front strut mounts and control arm bushings.

      My experience with the P2 cars is largely with a friend’s 2006 XC70 that has a BadSwede lift and larger than factory tires and it made it to about 195k miles before the original front end components started to show their age (excepting the struts, which had been replaced once). This car sees regular off road use. New control arms, struts, strut mounts, and ball joints and it’s solid. Current mileage is around 220k.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Friends of mine had one of these that they bought CPO from the local Volvo dealer, and was it an unmitigated disaster. The dealer claimed that it was the owner’s wife’s demo, but in the time my friends own it, it spent so much time in the shop. I can’t remember all of the issues, but they included bad cats, various and sundry electrical gremlins, a nav system that never operated properly. These cars have those diagnostics systems that display any system faults on the instrument cluster, and that display was never not showing something.

    I do remember clearly welding together some scraps of metal in my garage together to make an exhaust hanger on a Sunday night because my friend’s wife needed to go somewhere, the exhaust system was dragging, and the parts stores were 1) closed, and 2) not going to have Volvo exhaust parts in stock.

    Expensive, fancy, garbage.

    • 0 avatar
      Lightspeed

      Would agree. I bought a used, low-mileage 850 GLT wagon for my wife and in 10 months of owning it, there was never not something wrong. Nice chassis, good power, smooth brakes, but hopeless HVAC system, terrible PCV system, never could get it to idle right. exhaust smell in the cabin, windows and locks breaking down, comically bad build and materials quality, driver’s seat rocking in its track – unfixable according to the Volvo specialist in town. Pretty much completely counter to Volvo’s reputation for quality. I see the new ones on the road and wonder if they ever got their act together.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        The problem with the 850 was it was supposed to be cheaper to make vs the 740, which was a cheaper 240, and yet the 850 was much more complex than either one.

        So what you ended up with was a car with a frankly garbage interior, the usual Volvo electronics, usual Volvo PCV system, and safety that didn’t quite match other cars of the time (iirc the Ford Taurus was safer, maybe even a Camry).

        It was like a Saab but without the endearing “quirky ness”.

      • 0 avatar
        amoore100

        Terrifying. Based on mine and my father’s Ford-era Vo’s, I’d say they eventually tamed the FWD beast. Makes me want to avoid 850’s now, though. Luckily we jumped straight from the 740 to the V70.

    • 0 avatar
      Lightspeed

      Absolutely. The 850 I bought had a fault code indicator on the HVAC controls – even Volvo didn’t trust the thing to work!

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      Another ex-850 GLT owner here. It was my first Euro car.

      Used with just under 100k miles, I had a bunch of issues – steering pump went out, unless it rained (!) and then it would come back to life. An oil pump issue. The transmission finally died. I did, however, like the 5-cyl engine with the small turbo. It got good mileage and had enough power to be interesting.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    I’ve seen an example of this special edition for sale previously. The French stitching in contrast blue was a nice touch, and as Murilee mentioned the badges were very fancy – I like the shade of blue on the exterior as well.

    But why the heck do a nautical edition without wood trim? Woven, silver effect plastic instead? No.

    Also I speculate the transmission was the death of this vehicle, as it ends up being with all early V70XC models.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      “But why the heck do a nautical edition without wood trim? Woven, silver effect plastic instead? No.”

      Brilliant observation. Heck of a faux pas.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “But why the heck do a nautical edition without wood trim?”

      Because the “nautical” was limited to the badges.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      There would be no wood on any of the boats in that race. Carbon fiber would be more appropriate than wood.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        But instead, we got the plastic trim from someone’s lunchbox.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          This is a Nautical Edition!

          http://tinyurl.com/zyk2sld

          Leave it to AMC to put a model with an eye-patch in an advertisement.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Ha, that’s great. Not one I’ve ever heard of or seen. I’m sure that white paneling aged very gracefully though.

            The eye patch kills me. So sexy. Many appeals.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I just know that’s going to be a Mercury Villager.

            EDIT: No, you got me.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Brougham, blue and white, nautical, embroidery, white alloys. Truly, there’s nothing wrong with the Nautica Villager.

            http://hooniverse.com/2011/12/03/hooniverse-designer-edition-weekend-the-nautica-mercury-villager/

          • 0 avatar

            A coworker of mine evidently had one before he worked here, restored by his grandfather. He parked it on a city street at his previous job and it got sideswiped by a truck and totaled.

            A hot chick with an eyepatch? That’s my dream girl. She wouldn’t be able to see well enough to realize how ugly I am!

    • 0 avatar
      MAGICGTI

      Plastic dash trim? You’re kidding! That’s aluminum. Worth $$$ too.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Am I the only one who noticed that Volvos were driven by Every Moderately Affluent Suburban Family in 2000’s-era movies?

  • avatar
    MAGICGTI

    Guessing that dent in the L/R door took this one off the road. They’re good cars, very durable but you have to stay on top of certain seals and the timing belt.

    There were electrical gremlins in this year but in 2017, there are rebuilders for the DEM, ETM, and other modules. They got better in the 2005 facelift.

    There was a 2006 VOR XC70 but had the Oak interior, love the Charcoal with blue stitching in this 2002.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    I am driving one of these right now. Audi is in the shop for serpentine belt and a leaking radiator hose, and our “independent” shop in town has 15 of these as loaners. It has near identical mileage to the audi (140k) but my wife and i chuckled stepping in and driving it. Feels like a much older trucky vehicle with a much harsher life. So hard to turn the steering, steers right, transmission is clunky and you got to be nice and careful to it. But i happened to have to move some stuff, and found it positively gigantic in the back. And we had to squeeze in a 500-mile trip to Toronto in it, and when all was said and done, it did the job.

    The seats are crazy good… you guys have been so right all along!!!

  • avatar
    DenverInfidel

    We owned an 02 XC70 for several years and had very few problems with it. It only had around 70k when we sold it so that is not a great indicator, but I had heard so many horror stories I felt like it was a ticking bomb.

    Hands down the most comfortable seats I’ve ever had in a car. It also felt like a tank and did great in the snow. Back seats were tight but the wagon portion was huge when you folded the seats down. Very practical shape.

  • avatar
    MeaMaximaCulpa

    That 650 number can’t possibly be right. In the 100k people town I grew up in there where at least 50 Volvo XC 70 VOR-editions driving around.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    I briefly owned an ’01 V70 T5 after a long successful run with my ’97 850. That marriage lasted about 7 months before I threw in the towel.

    When it was actually running on all 5 cylinders, it was sublime. Fast, smooth, responsive, and one of the nicest interiors in any car I’ve seen.

    Almost immediately, the wheel bearing went. Then it started blowing through ignition coils about twice a month. Neither me nor my mechanic could ever figure out why. Then there was the constant light bulb replacements. Gawd!

    I sold it to a guy who’d thought he’d found his dream car and bought a minivan instead. Never looked back.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    What an unholy mess. A filthy and unceremonious ending to a once highly prestige ride. According to Google images, there’s at least five others which met the same fate.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    I currently own a ’02 V70XC. About to turn 213K miles. It’s been quite reliable. Contrary to popular belief, these P2 Volvo’s will go the distance if maintenance is kept up properly. My only “gremlin” is the on board computer display that works intermittently. I can live without knowing my actual instant MPG. No biggie.
    The AWD system needs regular fluid changes, just like a regular 4WD. As well as the transmission needing regular fluid changes.
    If these items are ignored, you can forget long term ownership, as they will definitely fail.
    These are great cars. However, they ARE NOT Toyota’s. The maintenance is more like Mercedes-Benz.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Yes, and the price difference between this clapped out monstrosity and a perfect one with 45,000 miles which was stored in a climate controlled garage its whole life is about $550, meaning you can just replace ’em if they need a major repair!

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Sweet…When/if this one dies at, or over, 300K miles… I’ll have a cheap replacement for my dog car. Yes, my dogs love the emmense space.


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