SOTW: Volvo 480 Turbo


You may recall us blithering on last week about how a decent advert can turn your head. Well, Shed has fallen for it again. This time the key to our metaphorical hearts has been humour, and the star of the show - and thus today's SOTW - an admittedly moderately baggy but ever-so-cheap Volvo 480 Turbo.


"Car of the future -today!!!!" proclaims the advert headline, tongue firmly in cheek, before going on to state that "whilst it was originally registered in 1996, it is clear to see that the rest of the car manufacturing world is yet to catch up."

The seller cites, among the car's good points, "pop-up headlights - officially the coolest feature ever to be installed on any car," and the fact that it's "Just completed its 155,000-mile running-in period, so engine is ready to go". On the downside, says our seller, "only three other people can enjoy the experience of it as well as you at any one time."

But among the jokey stuff is some genuinely useful info - this car has had a recent suspension and brake refresh, tax and test, and a relatively new head gasket and water pump. All of which is good stuff and, along with the price, mitigates against the fact that there are a few issues - the worrying-sounding random engine revving and rust spots being just two of them.


The point is, though, that the ad gets across some good reasons why you might want to buy this car - its turbocharged 110hp gives it reasonable poke, the styling lends it a curious air of sci-fi chic, and it's generally an appealingly left-field alternative to your average shed-spec hot hatch or luxobarge.

We won't pretend that this slightly wobbly Volvo isn't a bit of a punt, but at £650 quid with tax and ticket, you'd not be staking all that much on it...

Advert is reproduced below

CAR OF THE FUTURE -TODAY!!!!! (1996)
156,000 miles £650

An oppurtunity has arisen to buy this fantastical car of the future. Whilst it was originally registered in 1996, it is clear to see that the rest of the car manufacturing world is yet to catch up. I am selling it to make way for a Renaultsport Clio of some description. 

THE GOOD:
-Pop-up headlights- officially the coolest feature ever to be installed on any car.
-8 months tax 3 months mot.
-completely standard.
-Good mechanical working order- being used daily with no problems.
-Just completed it's 155000 mile running in period so engine is ready to go.
-It has a turbo- almost as cool as pop-up headlights.
-70% of the time, the 'infocentre' works 100% of the time ( i suspect a loose connection but have not investigated this).
-Half leather interior.
-Recent full rebuild of suspension, new rear dampers, discs and pads. 
-head gasket and watter pump done by volvo 2 years ago.
-Its from the furture.

THE BAD
-intermittent problem with engine revving spontaneously at idle- not always and not affecting running of car.
-sunroof is stubborn and wont open
-2 small rust spots on nearside wheelarches (see pics)
-radio antenna doesnt retract.
-only 3 other people can enjoy the experience of it as well as you at any one time.
-incomplete service history but have receipts for recent things including suspension and water pump etc.

THE UGLY
-some might say the way it looks. I would say to them - please leave.

Feel free to email with questions. I am open to sensiible offers on the price.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (125) Join the discussion on the forum

  • morgrp 25 Mar 2014

    400 series was easily the worst Volvo made to date and the 480 was no exception. Crap electrics, all them ended up needing a head gasket and they rust like a good-un.
    The 480 turbo wasn't really much more powerful than the standard 1.7 and realistically if you absolutely had to have one, the one to have was the 2.0 - quirky and a great looking car in many ways but as a Volvo fan I can categorically state that these are a pile of cack. If I wanted to spend a grand on a Volvo coupe I would (and did as a matter of fact) go out and buy a C70 T5 GT which is far more reliable, faster, more comfortable, better looking and above all else, a proper Volvo

  • RoverP6B 25 Mar 2014

    This came up in the suggested articles at the bottom of the page, for some reason!

    A neighbour of mine had one of these 15-20 years ago or so, long time ago. Thought they were really cool then, looked so much more modern than my E30 3-series. Oddly, while I think the E30 has only got better with age, the 480 seems to have done the opposite. It looks so ungainly, a weird mix of bits of different cars, none of them hanging together convincingly. It's like someone's welded the front end of a Rover 800 (plus pop-ups) onto the body of some obscure Jap hatch of that era. The original C70, on the other hand, is very nice. Mind you, I haven't seen a C70 of either generation in almost as long as I haven't seen a 480!

    I did briefly run a DAF-built Volvo, an inherited 340. Tough, strong, quite economical but really seriously underpowered. Ended up breaking a half-shaft on it and got rid of it at that point, bought the E30.

  • Ftumpch 01 May 2012

    I had one of these as a matchbox car back in my days as an impressionable little tacker. In comparison to my other contemporary favourites (a Model T Ford and a Camaro Nascar) it seemed to come from a superior intelligence.

    And actually yes, I'd have this car! if only there was space in the garage...

    Failing that, I hope there's a decent one in a museum somewhere. My mum gave away all my old toys when I moved out cry

  • AW8 01 May 2012

    I oddly considered buying one of these many moons ago............& then I drove it - not a very pleasant experience....so bad I even laughed !

  • IceBoy 01 May 2012

    Yes I had one!

    Before the T5's came on the scence, this was a left field choice.

    I was lucky, I had a mint low mileage example in bright red. Bit of a head turner back in the day, nobody really knew what it was!

    A fairly swift motor for its day. If you got a bad one, the electrics would go crazy.

    Still miss mine.
    Iceboy

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