Play the King of Sweden for $7,500S

If you've played the King of Sweden game, you know you can drive the wheels right off that little car. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Volvo will make you feel like a king, and hopefully keep its wheels on.

Lordy pistols, show you all a big ol' honkin' pair of thanks for the mammaries and even a cheap but nice Ferrari can't peel your eyeballs away. Despite that, a possibly gay 57% of you were down with the brown and sent Ferrari the Pooh on its way with a Nice Price victory. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Today we have a car at a fraction of that Ferrari's price, half the number of that Ferrari's cylinders, and with not a Weber in sight!

Volvos. It used to be that only tweedy college professors and Birkenstock-wearing Earth mothers - all hairy armpits and tie-dyed hemp muumuus - drove them. Then one day, young, urban professionals, or "Yuppies" to coin a phrase, anointed the brand as Rey de Burguesía. Suddenly Volvos were seen carting home cases of Evian and Chardonnay to be consumed along with stone-ground crackers and organic brie. Upon those crackers, these new Volvo owners applied a spread made from the livers of force-fed geese, probably because the texture of this gritty paste reminded them of their kindergarten days. It was the halcyon era for the car maker, and they hoped it would never end.

Many kings are usurped however, and eventually the Yuppies moved on to "Sport Utilities" and pilates. Volvo tried to stay in with the popular crowd, jacking up their wagons as was the fashion of the moment, and wrapping them in aggressive plastic cladding. But it wasn't enough. In the end, the yuppies died out, and the people that replaced them - poor urban scroungers, or "Pussies," couldn't afford Volvos and eventually the whole company was sold to the Chinese.

But way before that, the Volvo folks in Sweden got a chance to drive a Lincoln MKIV, and in an inexorable decision to create a carfor kings they declared Yumpin' yiminy, we gotta' build us one a doze! Hence was created today's subject -the Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe. Unlike the later 780 Bertone Coupe, which was designed as well as built by Carrozzeria Bertone, the 262C was penned in Sweden. It was due to Volvo's inability to add a low-production model to their lines that they brought the Italian design house in to do the assembly. Only the roof and interior differ from the standard two-door body, and the vinyl-clad roof on this silver '78 does provide it with the same visual opulence typically reserved for Lincoln's massive schooners. Under that chopped roof is a quartet of leather-clad thrones fit for King Gustaf himself and three members of his royal entourage. If there's one thing the Italians know how to do best it's political unity, but they also know how to stitch-up a right luxurious interior, and here Bertone chose to coat almost everything in either elm veneer or a broad layer of supple cow hide. And while the juxtaposition of swarthy Italian on the inside, cool Scandinavian on the outside, all capped by a faux American luxo-barge roof may send you into xenophobic spams of jingoism, Volvo seems to pull it all together in the unique 262C.

Also pulling the 262C is the B27 2,664-cc PRV V6. Well, pushing it actually, as the Volvo's a rear-driver. The SOHC V6 is an odd duck of an engine, having a 90° angle between the banks - like a V8 - rather than the more common 60°. That resulted in another nod to an American luxo-brand- as just like the old Buick V6s the early PRVs had uneven ignition timing.

Well, uneven or not, the fuel-injected SOHC six, as applied to this Volvo, put out 140-bhp. That's absorbed by the standard Aisin-Warner 3-speed autobox that then converts those ponies into forward momentum. That's not a lot of hutzpah for the ton and a half coupe, but then the 262C is built for comfort, not speed.

But what about that $7,500 asking price? Is that built for you speeding to your bank for a withdrawal? Or, would you be more comfortable letting this king's conveyance pass you by?

You decide!


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