At $1,500, Could This Manual-Equipped 1998 Volvo V70 Mean it’s Time to Get Busy?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

With its five-speed stick and a kids seat in back, today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe V70 is attractively kitted. Let’s see if its age and high miles dim the attractiveness of its otherwise seemingly low asking price.

Some of you aver that any running vehicle asking under $3,000 is automatically a good deal. Well, allow me to retort. Nothing is ever as it seems. Any car, truck, bike, and most certainly boat that seems like a no brainer deal very likely appears that way because it’s masking some sort of critical, soul-crushing flaw. As piratical lore has stated, ‘here treacherous waters there be; ’tis best to open your sails with great heed less a mortiferous fate befall ye.’ Pirates say things like ‘yo-ho-ho’ and ‘booty’ too, which is just as fun.


I’m not saying that yesterday’s $2,600 1994 Jeep Cherokee Sport was hiding a deal-killing foible, I’m just admonishing that a bit of caution should be maintained no matter what the price range. Of course that advice is probably too little too late as fully 86 percent of you voted that five-speed equipped Jeep a Nice Price win at its pocket lint price. Half of you probably looked up how much a one-way ticket to the truck’s current home in Seattle would add to the bill.

Hey, have you ever felt lucky? You know, like all of a sudden you’re hitting each and every one of life’s metaphorical traffic signals on green? I’ve felt that way this week as I’ve had tips on a series of cars that all have one very cool thing in common; something that you typically never find in any of these models.

I’m referring of course to a five-speed manual transmission.


Yesterday’s Cherokee Sport sported one, as did Tuesdays’ VW Van. Even the Prelude we eyeballed to kick the week off would let you count to five with its gear shift. Well guess what, today’s 1998 Volvo V70 carries that exact same compliment of cogs and in its wagon form represents a vehicle rarer than a chicken needing Fixodent. Add to that coolness the desirable kiddie seat in the back, and you’ve got yourself one heck of an interesting and very boxy Volvo.

Of course the V70 represents the last of Volvo’s cars that was truly boxy, a feature that appeals to utilitarian OCD’ers like me. I used to have a V90 of this year and in this same color and that thing was like Dr. Who’s Tardis in its remarkable interior to exterior space ratio. It’s a phenomenon that is attributable to the car’s right angle corners and dress uniform straight sides.


This Emerald Green over charcoal V70 wears its boxiness with aplomb. You still see a lot of these cars kicking around—a testament to their reliability and endearing functionality—but most often than not, they show their age in the form of battle scars. This one seems applaudably tidy and free of any bodywork boogers. Yes, the rear bumper is scraped up from loads being shuttled in and out, but that’s seemingly the only real egregious flaw. Factory five spokes underpin and look just as serviceable.


The interior is where you start to see the car’s yin and yang. On the plus side it comes with the aforementioned fold-out third seat. This is handy should you have a couple of extra tweens that need transport to wherever it is that tweens congregate these days. When not in use, that disappears into the floor, leaving a flat load space that can be extended by also dropping the middle row down.


On the down side, it’s pretty dirty in here. The seller offers a number of detail shots of the seat, center console and dash, and while I don’t feel like I’ll lose my breakfast looking at them, I would want to get the car scrubbed out at the earliest opportunity should I be buying it. There are split seams in the leather of the driver’s seat and some staining in the floor mats, but that’s not too terrible.

I do note that the picture of the driver’s door has the seller holding it open by wedging his flip-flopped foot in the gap between door and jam. That indicates that the U-shaped spring that does that job has likely broken, a pretty common occurrence in these cars and also a fairly easy fix if you have a junkyard handy.


There are 202,000 miles on the car and the declaration from the seller that despite that sizable number the five-pot engine and its five-speed mate are ‘perfect.’ He even avers that another 100K+ is left in the car’s reserves.


That all being said, and I know you’re champing at the bit over this one, there’s also some undisclosed issues that are likely driving the car’s appreciably low $1,500 asking price. The seller makes the somewhat cryptic and disquieting statement in the ad that “As with most older Volvo’s, there are lots of idiosyncrasies…”

Idiosyncrasies? First of all, that’s exactly how I would expect a Volvo owner to describe their car. Secondarily, just what the hell does that mean? Do you have to bang the starter with a hammer before the engine will fire? Is there a squad of Swedish squatters living in the middle row? I don’t know what idiosyncrasies means when it comes to old Volvos, and hell, I even owned one! Whatever it is, it’s kept this Volvo on Craigslist and out of a new owner’s driveway for almost two weeks now.


Whatever it is, we’re not here to soothsay the meaning of that cryptic characterization, we’re just here to vote! As such, what’s your take on this five-speed, three-row V70 and that $1,500 price? Does that seem fair enough to roll the dice? Or, is even that low price too much for a car with ‘idiosyncrasies?’


You decide!


York, PA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to EdHelmsBakery for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.