VOLVO 850 REVIEW

volvo850.jpg

Understated yet radical, the Volvo 850 provided buyers with a chance to drive 150mph, with their dog in the back. The big Swedish car maker made an absolute brute of a machine that came in both saloon and estate forms. Not only did the five-cylinder lump have a brilliant bark, it could back it up thanks to its racing pedigree. Tom Walkinshaw Racing infamously prepared an estate version for the 1944 BTCC season. 

VITAL STATISTICS

Volvo 850 T5

Engine           2319cc, 5-cyl, OHC

Power            225bhp @ 5200rpm

Torque          221lb.ft @ 2000rpm

Top speed   149mph

0-60mph        7.2sec

Economy      29mpg

Gearbox        5spd manual

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

BODYWORK

Stone chips are a major concern, as it is wide and low, with hard suspension. The T5R had even lower suspension, and a front splitter to scrape along speed bumps. Generally the Swedish barge doesn’t suffer from rust, although one major rot point are the exhaust rear hangers, which are an easy fix. Estates are obviously very practical, which means some may have been used as a make-shift van. Check the roof linings to see if they’ve been abused. Tow bars are another tell-tale sign it might have been worked hard.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX

Turbos are a very prominent feature of the Volvo, and is an important part of what makes it so quick. It’s important that there’s no blue smoke when the turbo is on boost, as this can indicate a worn turbo, turbo oil seals or worn piston rings. The turbo should begin working at about 2500rpm and reach maximum boost at 3000rpm. The boost gauge (if it has one, non standard feature) should reach approximately three-quarters of the way. If it doesn’t, there could be a problem with the turbo. The Electronic Throttle Module failing is a common fault, and easily identifiable by a stuttering engine and a lack of power. One way to check this is to rev the car to about 4000rpm and take your foot off the accelerator; it should fall smoothly back to idle. Timing belts need changing every 5-8 years depending upon use, it’s well worth checking when this was last done.

RUNNING GEAR

The R suspension is lower than the stock T5 by about 30mm, which is important to remember for people with bad backs or people who like any sort of travel in their suspension. Some will be equipped with a self-leveling system for the rear suspension, most commonly found on estates. If it looks suspiciously low at the back then this may have failed. Suspension parts are often modified, so ask the owner about any they may have made. Brake components are also rife for change, with owners often upgrading to a 302mm disc to aid braking performance. Make sure if they’ve been upgraded in size, the hoses have been upgraded as well. These Volvos are notorious for their front tyre wear, mainly due to it being front-wheel-drive. Significantly more worn tyres at the front than rear can also be a sign of hoonery.

INTERIOR

Air conditioning units were known to fail within their first two to four years. If this is the case it requires taking the whole dash out, meaning costs of up to £1000 to put right. Heater matrixes have also been known to fail.

There was a recall on heated seats effecting 1996 models. Although it is most likely they have been replaced, it’s still important to ask. Some models came with electronically controlled seats which can fail over time. Expensive to put right, but can be used as a bargaining tool when trying to get money off.

ELECTRICS

T5s and T5Rs are usually specced to within an inch of their lives, meaning there are more electrical items, and more to go wrong. Most have climate control and CD multichangers, which add to the expense when they go wrong. It’s important to check that the warning lights are working, especially as the ABS light is known to fail, which can be a wider sign of ECU trouble.

VERDICT

Why do you want one? 

There’s something oddly irresistible about a large saloon or estate that will do 150mph. You don’t really need to transport a large quantity of flat pack furniture from IKEA, but you want to. With prices starting from £1600 for useable versions, it’s also a performance bargain, and the engines can easily get 200,000 miles plus if well maintained. If you’re after something left field, Swedish and fiery, you’ve found it. 

 

Recently Added

L1130701Sponsored Ad
1966
£Auction
1200 Super
  • 54,600
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1106036
1966 Ford Anglia 1200 Super Registration Number: FRU 823D Chassis Number: BB26FS58250 Transmissio...
10
+44(0)1963 363353
View details
1Sponsored Ad
1971
€6,000
LB 110 Coupe
  • 62,137
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: DIY1107529
all car its original Japan
12
+306977276929
View details
1tSponsored Ad
1965
€26,950
D Multipla 1965 6 seat version
  • 37,302
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1107675
This is a very rare 1965 Fiat Multipla 600D. This 6 seat version was new delivered in Bologna-Ita...
20
+31 416 751393
View details
1973 elan s ta 014Sponsored Ad
1973
£55,995
Sprint
  • 33,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1107673
1973 Lotus Elan Sprint. Red over White, Black interior. Minilite wheels.Black Leather interior. 3...
12
01200 469 179
View details
Image (68)Sponsored Ad
1968
£4,250
  • 47,924
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: DIY1021737
Project & spares classic/collector, hotrod, ratrod, 3 workshop manuals, 2 prev owners, completely...
13
07778313021
View details
Placeholder cbe6c9521c21456cf9170dc847e3e1de3931371c967e81955c16862b992b5364Sponsored Ad
1971
£2,995
  • 78,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: DIY1107667
Major restoration in 2012. Solid in all the places that usually lead to the floor dropping out. P...
0
01962862845
View details
Xlb3Sponsored Ad
1994
£5,000
British 1800
  • 57,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: DIY1107664
Lovely 1800 mk1 British car without the rust. Power windows and steering. Mohair hood. Excellent ...
5
07766 253689
View details
Kgs1Sponsored Ad
2001
£6,000
'Platinum' Jasper Conran (49/100)
  • 79,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: DIY1107668
Rare as hens teeth.... A Platinum Jasper Conran. Only 1 of 100 made. Red leather. Wilton carpets....
8
07766 253689
View details
1tSponsored Ad
1973
€20,950
first paint
  • 27,268
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1107666
1973 Datsun 240 Z. The car has for 95% original paint. Imported from California and in very origi...
8
+31 416 751393
View details
1tSponsored Ad
1964
€27,950
cabriolet chrome wire wheels
  • 66,114
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1107665
This is a 1964 MGB cabriolet with the beautiful classic steel dashboard. This MGB is in very beau...
8
+31 416 751393
View details
See All Classic Cars for Sale