Junkyard Find: 2005 Volvo S60 With Five-speed Manual Transmission

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
I’ve documented 60 discarded Volvos since I started my junkyard history project, but 58 of those Swedes were born in the 20th century, and 44 of those rolled off the assembly line before 1990. Just as I’ve done with BMWs in recent years, I’m going to try to document some of Göteborg’s (and maybe Hangzhou’s) newer products in my favorite kind of car museum.Here’s a Ghent-built S60 with a super-rare three-pedal setup, found in a Denver self-service yard.
The slushboxification of the American Volvo buyer really got rolling when the cars’ image shifted from “safe and sensible” to “stylish and European” during the 1980s and 1990s. I’m always interested in finding those edge-case manual-transmission cars when I explore junkyards, be they Mercury Mystiques, Dodge Calibers, Toyota Previa All-Tracs, or BMW 7 Series.
I’d been keeping my weather eye open for a 21st-century Volvo with a manual transmission for quite a while, and that search had been nearly as difficult as the (ongoing) one for a junked Suzuki Equator.
These cars, like all technologically-advanced upscale European vehicles, need regular maintenance and repairs can cost plenty. That means the third or fourth owner of a somewhat battered S60 often lives on a Pontiac G3 budget and won’t spend more than the car is worth to get some fearfully expensive component replaced; a transmission that 90 percent of potential non-brick Volvo drivers can’t operate makes these cars worth even less. I’ve been seeing S60s in Denver self-service yards for at least a decade now.
The HU-650 makes a lot of watts but has no cassette player, though you can see the blank area where it once lived in previous incarnations of the HU audio system. 2005 falls into that awkward period between the death of cassette and the rise of the AUX jack, so owners of cars like this must use staticky FM wireless transmitters or dive into the wiring harness if they want to listen to tunes coming from smartphones while driving.
This car had a nest full of angry wasps under the hood, so I didn’t photograph the engine. Instead, enjoy this pitch for the “German” S60.
Here’s Volvo repudiating the very brickness that established the Volvo legend outside of Sweden, from the 140 through the 960. That’s almost as disappointing as making a Caddy zig. Still, the first-generation S60 looked good.
At least Gustaf Larson gets a shout-out in this owner’s-manual video.For links to better than 2,000 additional Junkyard Finds, Junkyard Gems, and Junkyard Treasures, featuring everything from a BMW 700 to a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith to a Saturn Ion Redline, head over to the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.
Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Adventure One Adventure One on Aug 03, 2020

    "These cars, like all technologically-advanced upscale European vehicles, need regular maintenance and repairs can cost plenty." This just doesn't make any sense. None. Why do we spend a load of money buying upscale cars? Because we want performance and RELIABILITY. If we wanted pretty, unreliable cars we would've bought a Daewoo for half of the money. These vehicles are NOT high tech. They are like eating a poop cake. Below all that pretty icing is just...poop. I own 2 Volvo's, a C30 & XC70. I've been eating rice and macaroni for months to save up for a new vehicle. ANY vehicle besides a Volvo. When I'm finally able to buy said vehicle, nobody will end up buying my worthless Volvos. I intend to set them on fire. The reason you don't see a lot of Volvos in the junkyard is because enraged and disillusioned owners who fell for those trumped up reliability ratings prefer to destroy the object of their hate rather than get a few dollars of their investment back. It's more satisfying to set them on fire, push them off cliffs and sink them in lakes. Maybe by the time I get my next vehicle I'll have gotten over my anger enough to simply drive them into the metal recycler and walk away without a backwards look. And maybe not. Probably not...

  • DeClercq DeClercq on Aug 10, 2020

    My dad had the T5 version of this car so it had the pretty cool "spaceball" shifter. I would have inherited it when he was ready to move on from it but an early morning encounter with Bambi dashed those plans. He would have bought another Volvo, but by that time they no longer offered any manual cars in the US. So he settled for a 2015 WRX. My parents have actually had pretty good luck with Volvo's. Their first was an '81 240 wagon (4-spd with push button OD on top of the shifter - what I learned to drive on), '89 740 (5-spd manual), then his S60 T5 (manual, of course). My mother also drove a S60 but it was a base model with an auto since she commuted to D.C. and she didn't want to drive a manual in that traffic. Now she has a C70 (relegated to back-up car since she just bought a RAV4). The 240 had over 200k (odo stopped working at 188k) when suspension rust doomed it. The 740 and both S60's were totaled in only minor collisions. All had well over 100k miles on them with no major issues.

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.