At $1,700, Could This Somewhat Rough 1998 Volvo V70 Still Make A Good ‘R’-gument?

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

When it comes to cars, you don’t have to be pretty if you’re pretty damn quick. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe V70R is aesthetically challenged but still looks like it’s got some get up and go left in it. Let’s see if this sporty wagon’s price ensures it will sell fast too.

Canada has given the world many great things. Without the ten-province nation, we likely wouldn’t have Poutine, a workable model for national health care, or those wacky kids from Degrassi Street.


Canada is also home to the custom 1985 Chevy S10 we looked at on Friday, and like many things Canuck, it was an attempt at politeness, sporting not just its home nation’s colors, but also the American Stars and Stripes. What an egalitarian effort! Unfortunately, many of you were none too happy about this pick up-based panacea for our currently tense cross-border relations. With that, fully 54 percent of you said we’re so sorry Uncle Alberta to its $5,000 Canadian price.

Canada’s a cold place, but with few exceptions, not one well known for a homegrown auto industry. Sweden, on the other hand, is both cold and the home to one of the most venerated automotive brands on the planet, Volvo.

These days, Volvo Personvagnar AB remains headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, but is majoritively owned by the Chinese industrial consortium, Geely. Before Geely, Volvo was owned by Ford and one year before the Blue Oval took over the company’s reins, Volvo built this 1998 V70 R hot-shoe wagon.


One of the great losses with SUVs and Crossovers taking over of the automotive landscape has been the abandonment of the sport wagon segment. Oh sure, Audi is bringing its amazing new RS6 Avant to market, but at over $110,000 that thing’s shit-balls expensive. Plus, to be honest, with its aggressively sloping rear glass and somewhat tight back seat, it’s not the most utilitarian wagon there is.


This old school Volvo, on the other hand, shows how it’s done. This V70 R sits well within the dimensions of the new Audi but offers seven-passenger seating with a fold-up third row for the kidney beans. It also offers AWD and a 237 horsepower (manuals had 247) inline-five that eats its air through a turbocharged and intercooled intake. That’s a spicy Swedish Meatball.


The seller claims the car to be “in a good mechanical condition, no codes.” and that it “drives well.” Maintenance records going back to 2007 are included in the sale and there’s been some major refreshment undertaken recently that includes some new front suspension pieces and a rebuilt driveshaft. Two sets of wheels come with the car, although the secondary steelies are noted to run Blizzak snow tires that are no good.

There are a few other things that are no good on this 258,000-mile Volvo, starting with the Silver Metallic paint. That’s lost most of its clear coat pretty much everywhere. That gives the car a patina that projects an aesthetic that could be construed as either rugged or leprous. All the wear seems to be no more than skin (paint) deep, as there’s no evident body damage or road rot.


The interior has fared much better, which is a good thing since the R sports unique leather and Alcantara upholstery with diamond stitching on the seating surfaces. The interior here is somewhat grungy but appears all intact. There doesn’t seem to be any aftermarket tomfoolery here, just late ‘90s Volvo pastiche, which still resonates today.


The title is clear and the car carries current California tags so it must still make its smog numbers every four years. A Yakima rack is shown in the ad’s pictures, but the seller doesn’t say whether that’s included or not.


Honestly, the only thing that seems questionable on this V70 is that paint. The interior can be tidied up and mechanically there doesn’t seem to be any red flags. The only obvious issue here is that paint, and that won’t affect the car’s usage, only other people’s opinion of you when you drive it.

Do you know what I say? Screw the haters. I would drive this Volvo as-is and would tell everybody that if your car doesn’t look like this you’re just not trying hard enough. At $1,700, you wouldn’t have to try too hard to buy this Volvo either.


The question right now, however, is whether or not anyone should try at all. Along with the aesthetic issues, this Volvo rocks some serious miles and is an old Volvo which, let’s be honest, aren’t the cheapest things to keep on the road.

Still, could this one be worth $1,700 to do just that?

You decide!


San Francisco Bay Area, CA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to EdHelmsBakery for the hookup!

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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.