COAL: #9 2000 Volvo C70 – Drop the Top

In the beginning of 2014, I had just sold my 240, and was on the hunt for something else. I knew that I wanted something a bit newer, and different. At this point I was already on the hook with Volvo. I was becoming what you might call, obsessed. I had fallen under the mindset that, if you like something why change it? I may not have been following this rule with cars, but certainly car brands.

I had come to the realization that spring was around the corner, and I had never really been in a convertible. My mom owned two, but they were short lived as she came to the realization that she never used the car as designed. So I began my search for a Volvo C70 convertible. These C70’s are not that hard to find, it’s the C70 coupes that are the true gems. I found a few near me and went and looked at them.

One of them the seller claimed he was a jeweler, and kept eyeing my watch. I got out of there fast, as the car was lacking a lot of things. Finally after a long search, and not finding a decent car, I gave up. Then one day in March, I was driving home, and passed a used car lot. Tucked in the corner of the lot was a bright red Volvo C70. It was snowing outside, and the office was not open, but I pulled in and had a glance at it. It seemed pretty nice from what I could see looking at it. The next day I stopped by, and actually drove the car. The salesmen said it had 164,000 miles, and was priced at $2500. I was a little hesitant about the miles at first, but then I drove the car. It was very smooth, and cruised down the road very quietly for a convertible.

I was able to get the price down to $2200, but before I had done anything, I took it to my Volvo mechanic in Fayetteville, and had him to a pre-buy inspection. Being a master tech for Volvo, he knew more than I could ever know about Volvo mechanics. He went over the car very well, and told me nothing really stood out to him, as the top worked, and the problem prone window regulators didn’t seem to have issues. He gave it his stamp of approval, and off to the dealer with the cash I went.

Now, I had some ulterior motives for this car. You see my grandfather who I am very close to is a car nut like me. We often travel together to car shows. or club events. I had been bugging him to get back into Volvos after his dabble in Mercedes. He still had his 1983 280SL. Kind of a weird car as it was imported via armed services, over here I believe it would be a 560SL. His had a straight six cylinder engine instead of the common V8. It was a great car, and I hated to see that car go, but it was getting driven less and less because of its age. I wanted to get this car so that he would eventually buy it from me, and get back in the Volvo game.

A few days after I bought the C70 I made the trek to Eureka Springs, where they lived on the lake, and pulled up in the driveway. Immediately my grandfather knew what I was doing. He just smiled, until my grandmother looked us and said “what is wrong with you two?” She had no idea that the car was for them, but since it was coming from me (and I am their favorite grandson) she gave the green light to my grandfather.

We all three jumped in the car, and took it for a spin around the lake, and I couldn’t get my grandmother out of the driver seat. She is a comical character, in her 80’s she still wears a full face of makeup everyday, and to this day I have yet to see her with no makeup on. She refuses to let my grandfather drive anywhere when they are together.  My grandfather was a B-52 pilot during Vietnam, and somehow my grandmother does not think he can handle a Honda Odyssey. My grandmother is the one who always handled the cars when my grandfather was away. She was a strong Buick driver, and would often trade Electras every few years. Then later she became a Honda only driver, and has had 7 Hondas since.

Anyway, my grandfather was so excited to get the Volvo he decided he wanted it now. With little enjoyment for me, he gave me the task to sell his old Mercedes. I had listed it one weekend for the price he wanted, and had it sold in a day. Looking back, we should have kept the car as values have gone through the roof on them.

The C70 was bright red with a tan top and tan interior. For this platform of Volvos (P80) the tan interiors don’t seem to hold up well at all. In this case the seats had been redone, but tastefully to where you could not tell with an untrained eye. Packing the punch on this was an inline 5 cylinder turbo. It was a really good and reliable engine for Volvo. My grandfather absolutely loved that motor, and still talks about it to this day.

I really only had a few days with the C70, but visited it often, and sometimes even for a drive. My grandfather kept it for a few years driving it more than he did his Mercedes. He never had one issue with it, except for a gas cap, and fan relay. Down the road he wanted a newer Volvo, and bought a 2012 C70 hardtop. I was then given the task to sell the 2000 C70 again. Surprisingly I found a home for it very quickly, and close to his asking price. It went to another Volvo enthusiast who was making an addition to her fleet.

For the short time that I had the car, it was great! For the time my grandfather had the car, it was great. He almost likes his 2000 over his 2012, and now 2013 C70. Knowing more about that platform this first generation of C70 was really the worst generation. It was not all that reliable, and the types of materials that were used failed often. These dashes rattle like you have never seen, and the switches were often caked in a gummy like material. I nor my grandfather had this issue, and always had luck with this car. It was a good cruiser, and second car for them. I was not particularly sad to see this car go, as I knew my intentions with the car, so I did not become attached.  All in all, it was a good car that never really complained or asked for anything. On to the next one.