Dorothy had only to click her heels together to get back her to Kansas home. That probably wasn't as much fun as driving today's Lawrence-based Nice Price or Crack Pipe Volvo, as I don't think Dot's shoes had a V8.
A V8 engine will make anything better. Top Gear (the real one) put one on a blender, and it was a massive improvement. Strap a V8 to that special someone's sex toys and you won't see ‘em for a week. Hell, if they'd announced that the most prominent part of health care reform was that it was now V8-powered nobody would have been against it. That's change we can put premium in. Yesterday's 1969 GTO had a humming V8 and it came away with 54% Nice Price win because of it. Well, that and the hood tach.
One place that you could stick a V8 (aside from that lawn edger you've been eyeing in the Sears ads) is under the vast expanse of hood that fronts a Volvo 245 wagon. Everybody loves Volvo wagons, from soccer moms to tweedy professors to hemp-smoking vegan macramérs, they all give it a thumbs up. The 245 is solidly built, roomy and is as comforting as a martini and steak dinner and getting a BJ for dessert. But the 245 has never been known as being in possession of an under-hood powerhouse. Oh sure, the turbo editions can get up and dance, but if you really want your Volvo laying the rubber like a nympho, your best bet is to transplant into it the aforementioned V8.
That's exactly what today's 1980 Volvo 245 has behind grille number one. Taking up the space previously occupied by a VW-sourced diesel is a four-bolt main equipped Chevy 350. The seller claims the switcheroo was done over twenty years ago by a pro-shop, and not by a pair of 16-year olds who thought welded engine mounts would rock because they wouldn't rock. While no horsepower is stated, nor is the Chevy's origin made clear, but he does say that it has benefited from the inclusion of both an Edelbrock intake and a Holley carb. He also says it's a non-smoker and unlike Dorthy's Tin Woodsman friend, he claims it doesn't require frequent applications of the oil can. Being a little bit less forthcoming on the mileage, he thinks it has between 30 and 40K on it.
Mated to the small block is a Turbo Hydra-matic 350 which should pair up nicely with the torquey 350. If you can't live with a slushbox, switching out to a T5 or something should be an easy job.
Inside, the instrument binnacle is dominated by a huge add-on tach but the rest of the dash is pure ‘80s Volvo plastic fantastic. Getting inside the commodious interior is a little bit of a challenge as the seller claims the rear hatch won't open. The hood release cable is also busted, but a replacement cable will come with the car. Now, here's a little tip to all you car sellers out there, if there's something simple that wrong with the car - like a broken hood release - and you've actually got the part for it, don't say that in the ad, just fix the damn thing. That's like going to a restaurant where the waiter brings you your food and the tells you you have to cook it yourself. Wait a minute, that's Korean BBQ. Never mind. Along with those issues he says it could stand an alignment (again, would it have killed you to take it to Midas or someplace?) and it's got some rust here and there, but it doesn't look like you can see through it or anything.
All this could be yours for the non-princely sum of $2,250. Add to that fixing the hood and the hatch and making sure it can walk the line like Johnny Cash and you'd still be shy of three large so it seems like deal. But is it? This is after all a 30-year old car that comes with bags full of unknown. While the seller claims it to be "awesome" he is still selling it, and he doesn't come across in that ad as particularly knowledgeable about the car's history. Sure, the 245 is pretty rock solid, and the Chevy 350 is so simple and sturdy it can be worked on by drunken lemurs, so what possibly could go wrong?
Well, plenty could go wrong, and now it's time for you to give your take on whether the price for this Volvo with a V8 is right or wrong. Does that $2,250 make you want to click your heels together while repeating there's no face like chrome, there's no face like chrome? Or, would you only pay that much when fez-topped monkeys fly out of your butt?
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