PH Service History: Swede dating


Chances are you probably won't need me to remind you of the grand old days when Volvo was a name synonymous with set-square styling, and the idea of a slinky coupe emanating from Gothenburg was about as far-fetched as the idea of a former reality TV presenter becoming the President of the United States.

But the world is a crazy place; so today, we have Trump. Then again, we also have spectacularly pretty Volvo coupes, too, so I suppose you win some, you lose some.


Mind you, as you'll already have read, Volvo's latest two-door effort - effectively an S90 coupe - isn't, in fact, to be called a Volvo at all: it'll be named the Polestar 1.

Volvo, Polestar... what matters is that it's utterly lovely to behold from every angle. Well, almost; I'm not fully sold on the grille yet. What's less enthralling is that you won't actually be able to buy one - and even if you do manage to 'own' one of the 500 being produced each year on a subscription model, it'll be left-hand drive.

Still, it got me to thinking about Volvo's coupe heritage - a phrase that once might have been laughed at, but doesn't seem so daft nowadays. Full disclosure: I have a huge soft spot for these things, having spent a couple of days blatting around in my youth in a borrowed C70 T5. While now I'm sure I'd recognise its dynamic flaws, at the time I'd only ever taken the wheel of a Citroen ZX and a Nissan Micra, so it felt like the fastest thing on earth.


Today, C70s are preposterously cheap, even if you have to scour the ads to find one in T5 form. We couldn't, so here's a less appealing C70 T in convertible form, albeit for quite a steep price. I've recently seen T5 coupes going for less than a grand, so even the very best shouldn't set you back more than two - three at the most.

It's not just the C70 that appeals, though. There's also the C30, an attractive little car in any form, but again it's the T5 version you want, and that's rare. We could only unearth this one in the classifieds - which sounds promising, even if it does lack images.

Other Volvo coupes are tempting, too. Some of you will greet this with a snort of derision, but I'm a fan of the C30's inspiration, the 480; also becoming deeply uncommon, and with prices still at rock-bottom (tidy, low-mileage Turbo for £1,500, anyone?), a wonderful way to get into a modern classic without paying the usual extortionate prices of today.

The 480's bigger brother, the 780, and its predecessor, the 262C, are vanishingly rare on Britain's roads, largely as the former was never sold in the UK, and the latter only as a special order. But there's a 780 for sale right now for under £10,000 in the Netherlands - not cheap, but were I looking for a left-field alternative to a BMW 6 Series or Jaguar XJS, I'd be sorely tempted.


It's the daddy of all Volvo coupes that everyone talks about when you first mention such things, though. No, I'm not talking about the 'flying brick' 240 Turbo, but the P1800; the car that will forever be synonymous with the words 'Volvo' and 'coupe'. Rarely has a Volvo been elevated to such heady desirability that it's been compared to contemporaries as glamorous as the Jaguar E-Type. But that was indeed the case with the P1800 - which is one reason prices are rather serious these days. Still, £25,000 gets you one of the best useable cars, while a little over £50,000 gets you what would appear to be a concours contender direct from the US of A.

All of which is lovely - but I still can't get away from the value offered by one of those C70 T5s. As a smooth, suave barge with globs of power and proper comfort, few cars can match it for the price. And while I'd never go as far as to tout it as an investment opportunity, you never know what that Polestar 1 might do to the desirability of big, fast Volvo coupes - especially ones you can actually buy.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (4) Join the discussion on the forum

  • rix 21 Oct 2017

    Thought that 780 was a typo, til I popped it in google - a car I never knew existed! I really like it.

    You missed the mk2 c70, one of the best styled 'cc' hardtops imo...

    Agree with comments re the grille on the '1 - needs something to break it up.


  • unsprung 21 Oct 2017

    article said:
    I'm not fully sold on the grille yet.
    I adore the unadorned grille. What's more, while it looks simple from a distance, it's a textured space when viewed up close.

    How refreshing that this Polestar 1 is not complicated with chrome strips, logos, labels and so on. Debadged in the womb! A clean design. The sort of thing that your eyes want to linger over.

    The brand name, Polestar, is taking a bit of time to get used to. I mean: I know that I should give it a chance, because it's different and because it has an authentic connection to the geography and history of Sweden.

    But... I just can't unsee the word "Pole" (as in person from Poland) and my mind sometimes stumbles on the pronunciation (my mind thinks POHL-eh-star instead of POHL-star). But, hey, after a couple of months, maybe it could feel just right.

    Below: Everybody's favourite P1800 driver...



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  • irocfan 21 Oct 2017

    rix said:
    Thought that 780 was a typo, til I popped it in google - a car I never knew existed! I really like it.

    You missed the mk2 c70, one of the best styled 'cc' hardtops imo...

    Agree with comments re the grille on the '1 - needs something to break it up.
    can't disagree with much of the above,I differ slightly on the grille where I'm torn between "its looks great!" and "it needs a little badging there to break it up"


    The 780 put me in mind of an 80's Mazzer

  • unsprung 25 Oct 2017

    This in-depth video is longer than you might like. But it reveals much about the engineering and the strategy behind Polestar and its first car.

    If you can't watch it in full, it's worth to "surf" it for any number of juicy bits therein.



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