Junkyard Find: 1995 Volvo 850 Turbo Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1995 volvo 850 turbo wagon

When I’m strolling through my favorite junkyards and looking for significant bits of discarded automotive history, I’m always on the lookout for interesting Volvos. Thing is, my definition of interesting has long spanned the PV544/Amazon Era through the Late Rear-Wheel-Drive Brick Era, meaning that the universe of front- and all-wheel-drive Volvos beginning with the 1993 850 has been neglected in this series.

Lately, I’ve been making an effort to fill in some of those blank spots in the junkyard record, and so I went out and found a ’97 850R sedan and today’s find: this 1995 850 Turbo Wagon.

Volvo wagon owners tend to hang onto their cars for decades, come depreciation or expensive repairs, and this car stayed in action until nearly a quarter-million miles had passed beneath its tires.

This DOHC, 2.3-liter five-cylinder engine made 222 horsepower when new, making this 3,287-pound wagon good and quick.

American Volvo shoppers couldn’t get a manual transmission in the 850 Turbo Wagon in 1995, though the factory-hot-rod T-5R version could be had with three pedals, one year later.

Remember when factory cassette decks use to be targeted by thieves, and some cars had these maddening radios that required you to input a security code after disconnecting the battery? When I had my last junkyard-parts boombox-building party, we ran into this problem with a Volvo radio from this era. Fortunately, a previous owner had written down the code on the radio’s case.

The MSRP on this car came to $32,345, or about $55,700 in 2020 dollars. The Audi A6 wagon sold for $35,550 that year, the Mercedes-Benz E320 wagon went for $47,500, and the Passat wagon cost $21,320; all of those European competitors had less power than the 850 Turbo Wagon. Meanwhile, the enormous 1995 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon cost just $27,070 and had an underworked V8 generating 260 horsepower. If you wanted to stand out from the rest of the wagon crowd that year, however, you went for the Mitsubishi Diamante wagon, priced at $28,250 and getting 177 horses from its 6G72 V6 engine.

This commercial is for the 850 Turbo sedan, but you get the idea.

The little red sports car has finally grown up.

For links to 2,000+ more of these Junkyard Finds, head to The Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

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2 of 15 comments
  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Mar 31, 2020

    Single worst car I ever owned, and I owned a Malibu Maxx and a Sunbird. Every single system on these was crap, from the HVAC to the PCV. I bought it used for $3,200, spent $2,000 on repairs, sold it 10-months later for $1,100, one of the best days of my life.

  • Sikbrik Sikbrik on Mar 08, 2022

    If I had the room, I'd save every one of these. Yes more complex than my 245s, 745s, 965s but definitely a nice comfortable and capable car and, if you gather the necessary items for DIY, they're pretty easy to keep together well past 250k miles.

  • Kcflyer on one hand it at least wont have dirty intake valves like Honda's entire lineup of direct injection ice vehicles. on the other hand a CRV offers more room, more range, faster fueling and lower price, hmm
  • Tassos BTW I thought this silly thing was always called the "Wienermobile".
  • Tassos I have a first cousin with same first and last name as my own, 17 years my junior even tho he is the son of my father's older brother, who has a summer home in the same country I do, and has bought a local A3 5-door hatch kinds thing, quite old by now.Last year he told me the thing broke down and he had to do major major repairs, replace the whole engine and other stuff, and had to rent a car for two weeks in a touristy location, and amazingly he paid more for the rental ( Euro1,500, or $1,650-$1,700) than for all the repairs, which of course were not done at the dealer (I doubt there was a dealer there anyway)
  • Tassos VW's EV program losses have already been horrific, and with (guess, Caveman!) the Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory growing by leaps and bounds, the future was already quite grim for VW and the VW Group.THis shutdown will not be so temporary.The German Government may have to reach in its deep pockets, no matter how much it hates to spend $, and bail it out."too big to fail"?
  • Billccm I had a 1980 TC3 Horizon and that car was as reliable as the sun. Underappreciated for sure.