Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe S70 has been lovingly updated with a multitude of minor parts from other Volvos, while still maintaining all its original awesomeness. Let’s see if its price makes it more than just the sum of those parts.
Some of you thought the styling of last Friday’s 1999 Mercedes Benz SL500 doesn’t hold up today, an opinion that I feel is suspect. One thing that 65% of us could agree on was that its price held up, giving it a Nice Price win to finish out the week.
That ‘90s Benz had a factory option—a panoramic roof—that added to its appeal, and altered the cut of its jib. In a similar vein, today’s 1998 Volvo S70 T5 has a lot of factory bits added, however in this case, some of them are from other cars.
Before we get to that aspect however, let’s have a look at the canvas to which they have been added. The S70 was and is the re-named and smoothed over 850, the company’s first FWD car to be sold in the U.S., and basically the last of their uber-boxy designs.
This S70 (S for saloon, 70 for series) comes with the B5234 T3 DHOC five-cylinder. That’s the high-pressure turbo unit that the factory said made 236-bhp at 5,100 rpm and 243 lb-ft of torque at 2,700 rpm. Those numbers place it in the mama bear role between the base GLT’s baby bear and romper stomper R’s papa bear.
This one also has the desirable M56 five-speed manual gearbox so making use of those bears… er, ponies should be a lot of fun, although without an LSD maybe not THAT much. Being a ’98 this one has a cable throttle rather than the later drive by wire connection to get your throttle on. That’s a good thing as the the electronic throttle module on the later cars has a rep for going tits-up.
Along with those attractive factory options, this car has been imbued with a bunch of aftermarket parts as well as kibbles and bits from other Volvos. The ad notes the addition of an autodimming mirror from a C70, a V70R front bumper and door card inserts, and an egg crate grill which I think is from the XC70. Notable non-Volvo parts include Koni adjustable struts and shocks, ipd springs, and a refreshed front suspension chock full of stuff from Meyle.
There’s also a long list of maintenance and wear replacement parts—including the timing belt, heater core, axles, clutch and seals—all said to have been done with OEM bits, and within the past 20K.
Visually, there’s a lot to like here too. Overall the car shows 185,000 miles and looks to be in excellent shape for those miles and the years. It’s black on black and rolls on a set of 17-inch Propus alloys which makes it stately. It’s also blessedly boxy. On the inside things are equally tidy. The seller makes a big deal about all the interior lights being changed out with LED units, and he’s gone so far as to add a bluetooth adapter to the factory SC901 stereo so as not to disturb the OEM aesthetic. The leather looks to be in decent shape and the headliner still appears to be headlining.
The seller says that when new, the T5 was the fastest manual-equipped sedan sold in the U.S.. We’ve come a long way since then, although not all of that progress has been for the better—at least as far as I’m concerned. The current Volvo S60 is a very nice car, don’t get me wrong, but it’s so cat turd-slippery that it looks just like every other mid-size sedan out there. And the back seat on the new car is kind of claustrophobic.
Look at this car, however. The back doors are tall and squared off making entry and exit a breeze. It’s got glass down to here so visibility is excellent all the way around. Plus, it’s a proper stick shift, and it was built in Sweden, yorgdy, vorgdy, vorgdy! For what it’s worth, the new S60 T5 Inscription sold in the U.S. (the long wheelbase model) is built in China.
So, a great Volvo design, lovingly maintained and improved upon by what seems to be a dedicated owner, an engaging drivetrain and a style they just don’t make any more. What’s all that likely worth? Well, the seller is asking $6,500 for this beauty. Now, if you have a look at the classifieds you will see that these cars typically go for lots less. LOTS less. They are also a frequent inhabitant of the junk yard as people tend to give up on them and not want to invest in their continued viability.
This one’s not just viable it’s vital, and that’s got to be worth something. What you need to decide is whether it’s worth $6,500. What do you think, does this boxy Swede seem to merit that amount? Or, is this a Volvo priced to be a no-no?
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