The Cult of Cars, Racing and Everything That Moves You.
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For $5,500, Be Not So Mellow Yellow

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Sweden and speedin' go together like girls and dragon tattoos, and today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Volvo 850 is a velocity-empathizing example of that company's Stockholm Syndrome. But while it's built to go fast is it priced to be passed?

While applaudable in the audacity of its execution - tailgate-applied faux bullet holes in exception - yesterday's pre-stage Rampage pulled more than one page from the big book of Crack Pipe. Sure it was as subtle as a toothache, but for 62% of you, its price was equally painful.


Volvo's 850 had some big shoes to fill when it debuted in 1992, big, boxy shoes - the kind worn by Earth mothers and hemp-smoking college professors who think they're a lot hipper than the really are. That's all because the 850 was the titular replacement for the Swedish company's long-serving 200-series, a car designed to efficiently transport liberal treehuggers. . . forever.


Like I said, big damn shoes.

Since its introduction the 850 has proven both less everlasting and with a couple of exceptions generally less beloved by its owners. One of those exceptions is the rabid moose of an 850, the T-5R, as exemplified by today's cream yellow-hued ‘95. Co-developed with Porsche the T-5R was motivated by Volvo's 2,319-cc B5234T3, which due to its unique ECU pumped out 240-bhp. This is one of 185 T-5Rs exported to the U.S., and as such, those ponies are routed through a 4-speed automatic gearbox, albeit one with an electronically switchable Sport-mode. About the only options when new were a trunk-mounted CD changer for your all-ABBA-all-the-time needs, and a set of 16-inch rims to keep your kidneys from looking like they went 10 rounds with Ingemar Johansson.

This bad boy lacks those so more tired alloys, and in fact doesn't even rock the grey 5-spoke Titans that came on the car as standard. Instead it has a set of 18 inch Mirzams off a more recent C70. Painted bright silver they look. . . okay I guess, but a priority for the next owner should be obtaining a set of righteous dark-side wheels.


Other changes from stock on this one are numerous so anyone seeking a factory flyer should probably just keep walking, nothing to see here. If aftermarket is what you're in the after market for, then you may approve of this car's 850R seats and spoilers and whatnot, as well as the various carbon fibery and projector lampery that has been perpetrated on it. You'd surely appreciate the UPsolute ECU and 17-lb pop-off which are like a couple of cans of Redbull for the already burly B5. And then there's this: Ultra rare Volvo OEM carbon fiber spark plug cover. If that doesn't give you a piss shiver then I don't know what will.


With 190,000 miles on the clock, it's not unexpected that a car may not have all the same bits it did when it left the factory, and while it's been modded over the years and miles, the seller claims this T-5R remains true to its school. Not only that but with the exception of some faded paint on the rockers, he says it's blemish-free, having religiously gotten Mr. Miyagi on it every two weeks. And while the ensuing 850R may be the same thing but in name and limited color selection, it's the T-5R that everyone remembers, even more so when painted an aggressive shade of buttercup.

As far as Volvo fanatics go, there's a schism between those whose cars have COEXIST bumper stickers and the remnants of a few spliffs in the ashtray, and those who like their cars to go like a flaming moose. This 850 appeals to that latter group. The question is, will this Swede's $5,500 price also make a sale go fast? Or, is this an eight fifty with a price that's not spiffy?

You decide!


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