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Volvo C70 T5 | Shed of the Week

Had your fill of manual, T5 Volvo estates as Sheds? Try the time-honoured recipe as a cabrio...

By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, March 27, 2020

If you're feeling a bit low at the moment, console yourself with the knowledge that there's always somebody worse off than you. Shed, for example. He falls into the worse-off category even when there isn't a global pandemic about, so just try to imagine what being locked down with Mrs Shed must be like.

Still, Shed has spotted some potential pluses with the new arrangements. If anyone knows of masks enormous enough to cover Mrs Shed's face - all of it, ideally - then please send your links to him c/o PH. Thank you.

Meanwhile, life goes on, as does the used car market. At some point you would think that prices might start to reflect the logistical difficulties buyers are going to have in getting to a seller's house/premises. There are no obvious signs of that happening just yet, but it doesn't really matter in Shedland because the rules of our funny little game mean that prices here never go above £1,500 anyway.

Enter, with some degree of Swedish swagger, this rather smart black'n'cream Volvo C70 convertible at £1,490. This is a year-one example of the second-generation (2006-2013) C70, a Volvo/Pininfarina Sweden joint venture that marked the Italian house's first manufacturing effort outside Italy. Unlike the gen-one C70 - also a Volvo JV, this time with Tom Walkinshaw Racing, and which came as either a coupe or a soft top - the Mk 2 car was exclusively a pillarless steel hardtop with global one-press window opening.

That three-section hardtop (the boot lid is aluminium) was built by German outfit Webasto, which is not that big a name now but was pretty much the only name for open-top engineering when Shed was a lad. You can only deploy a C70 roof when the car is stationary, but that's no bad thing in Shed's opinion. He'll never forget the time when Mrs Shed decided to deploy the roof of his Triumph TR6 at 50mph 'to get some air in'. After stopping and walking back down the road for a considerable distance Shed eventually found most of his hood adorning the frame of a local scarecrow, but he never did find all of the pieces.

Anyway, back to the C70, which in this case is a T5 model which means summertime fun. Fun in a Volvo, ye say? Why not? The PH bot has pessimistically got this one down at 220hp, but the reality is better than that. Turbo-assisted, the 2,521cc straight-five motor produced a warblesome 230hp, with 236lb ft of torque across a 3,300rpm spread starting at 1,500rpm. Even with 1,725kg to shift, the six-speed manual's 0-60 time was knocking on the door of six seconds (nearly half a second quicker than the auto). Top whack was 150mph, and the combined fuel economy was just under 32mpg. Not bad stats.

Inside you had all the classic luxury tranklements of a top-spec Volvo, including the neat 'floating' centre console and a hatch in the back of the rear seat to allow the transportation of long things, like Shed's face whenever his mother in law visits. Even the rear passengers were well looked after with well-bolstered squidgy seats, if not that much legroom.

Obviously you'll want to know that the roof works, or else the whole deal is a dud. Annoyingly, the trade vendor has given us no pics of the car with the roof down, which is a pity for two reasons: one, that could well mean it doesn't work; and two, a C70 actually looks rather good topless, <insert your own Mrs Shed joke here>.

While we're on the question of looks, the C70 went through a not massively convincing facelift in 2010, so you could say that our gen-two Shed with the fast T5 engine, the SE Lux spec and the 15 per cent less wobbly tintop chassis (with the top up, anyway) is very much 'on point' or whatever it is they say nowadays to describe the best option available.

If the roof does work then we reckon this is good value. These C70 T5s were a smidge under £40,000 when they came out. This one has plenty of life left in it for £38,500 less than that. Just never change your mind halfway through the opening or lowering the roof if you want to avoid a messy and expensive collision between the three parts. Failing sensors where the roof clicks into the top of the windscreen will result in a not-quite-locked type situation, not good in a winter or high-speed scenario. In general, however, these Webasto roofs were solid units that rarely suffered from the stripped cogs that regularly side-line other cars, or even write them off entirely if they're cheap enough.

You might encounter a bit of rattling and squeaking, especially with the ride-hardening 18-inch wheels that SE Luxes came with, but in that case just follow Shed's example and insert earphones, or leave the missus at home.

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