(first posted 10/27/2011) It seems Volvo has always had kind of a thing for Ford, although in the end, it didn’t work out all that well. And given the results of at least one of their flings they had prior to getting hitched, you’d think they’d have gotten the message: they just weren’t meant for each other. It’s clear that in the seventies, they were checking each other out pretty heavily too. I doubt anybody from the Fox-development era at Ford would admit it, but the Fairmont sure has a decidedly Volvo-esqe quality to it. Good call! And the Volvo 700 Series returned the compliment. The problem was when Volvo had the crazy idea to copy a Lincoln.
Looking over at Ford was an old tradition, as Volvo’s PV444 (above),
is commonly considered to be a scaled-down copy of the 1941 Ford. Not exactly the worst sin in the world.
Whether Ford was looking at Volvo’s 140/240 series when it designed the Fairmont is more speculative. But they couldn’t have been totally oblivious to its existence, and its many charms.
Volvo’s 700 series is probably more influenced by the Fairmont, than the Fairmont was by the 140/240. Whatever; so far, these little hook-ups were at least working for everyone involved.
The story about the origin of the Bertone Coupe goes like this, but we’ll probably never know absolutely for sure. In the mid-seventies, Volvo (and Saab) made some revolutionary changes to the assembly of automobiles, creating teams in which the members had a much wider range of responsibilities. It was the biggest change since Henry Ford perfected the assembly line, albeit with mind-numbing consequences. Not surprisingly, Ford executives were interested, and came for a visit.
Supposedly, Henry II and an entourage arrived at the factory in a bunch of big barges, FoMoCo coupes of all sorts, including one or more Mark IVs. And exactly where did these cars come from? Airlifted, like the President’s limo? Or maybe the European ops kept some on hand, and drove/shipped them up to Sweden. Regardless, it makes a good story. Anyway, the Swedes were impressed by the Mark IV, and decided they just had to have one of their own.
This has to be the most Mark IV-ish Volvo ad ever made.
Bertone was called in to do the actual assembly, using 262 body shells and drive trains. The roof was lowered several inches, the windshield splayed back, and the seats lowered, in a vain effort to leave a reasonable degree of headroom. The results speak for themselves, all to clearly. And Volvo Coupe drivers were known for their “laid-back” driving position.
The Coupe arrived for the 1978 model year, and initially was called the 262Coupe, and came only with the un-loved PRV V6. And although it had a nicely trimmed cabin, its price tag was problematic. The 1979 Coupe listed for $15,995; a 1979 Mark V went for $13,067. Well, I’m not going to try to compare their various pros and cons, as different as they were. But let’s just say that the chop-top Volvo didn’t go over very well.
A total of just 6622 coupes were built during its short four-year life span. The name was changed to just Bertone Coupe after 1980, and a peek under this one’s hood explained why. The Volvo four cylinder is under there, which surprised me. I’d just assumed they were all V6s, given their lofty prices. By the last year, 1981, they were listed at $19,950. And the V6 was presumably an option. I know which version I’d take.
Actually, the Volvo Coupe may have lost some of the 240’s airy headroom, but its interior space utilization probably still had the Marks beat. Never has there been a worse ratio of interior room to overall size and mass. And of course, the Volvo had all the usual Volvo goodness, like a super-tight turning circle, good brakes, and a solid foundation. But chopping the top of the boxy Volvo made it the laughingstock of a generation, even if it did presage a coming trend of gun-slit windows. To thine own self stay true.
The car for people who shrink! They really needed to channel it too, as the proportions were awful. Of course then it would have had even less headroom, as apparently they didn’t do anything to compensate for the haircut. The space utilization of the Mark IV may have been worse, but it didn’t need to be as good. Anything short of room for 10 was poor space utilization for something the size of the Lincoln. The Volvo 262 blew it because it went from having just enough space for humans to having not enough. It was Volvo with their pants down, and it exposed them as being overestimated by their fans.
“The car for people who shrink” was actually the sub-title of Car and Driver’s road test of the 262.
I remember that. It was a play on Volvo’s then-current advertising tagline: The Car for People who Think.
Well, people who think, thought this car not worth thinking about., and didn’t buy. I’d agree with it…I don’t care how luxurious the appointments, neither a lowered roof to hit my head nor an odd profile to suggest dubious taste, make this rig worth what the pricetag suggested its badge-cachet was worth.
Then…or now. Thank God I’m not a college professor or environmental activist, or someone else who has to cultivate the image of self-styled intellectualism; and who has to reflect it by owning a Volvo or Saab…or Prius.
I couldn’t afford it; and I couldn’t live with it.
The book “Crap Cars” referred to this as a Volvo for guys who wear wide white belts and matching shoes.
I had no idea these were so rare. But I can see why, given the price tag.
Is there a theme here? It seems that every time Volvo has tried “putting on the dog”, the episode ends badly. When Volvo remembered who and what it was, it built some great cars that sold well. But when Volvo tried to move uptown, it always lost those Volvo virtues of honest and simple goodness.
What we have here is a car that nobody loves. Volvo people are embarassed by them, and we lovers of luxury land barges see the automotive equivilent of an eleven year old kid who wants to be a real cowboy. Only this car is more pathetic than cute. I can develop at least some enthusiasm for most of the cars that show up here on CC. But not this one.
Its neither large nor luxurious Just an Ovlov with a bad haircut
As a Norwegian it’s easy to feel a bit inferior to swedes, that they are somehow more european and sophisticated…
But then I look at their akwkard attempts at making luxury cars, and I realise how similar we are. A flamboyant luxurious coupe is just fundementally un-scandinavian.
Headroom? Who needs headroom?
Well, I like the look of the (extremely rare) non-vinyl-roof versions. And the interiors are far nicer than the aggressively ugly trim of the standard 240s (and even 260s).
Not saying it’s a great car–I’d prefer a Mercedes 300CD over this–but I can see why it has genuine fans.
Conversely, the 264TE is a car I never could understand. Aside from Swedish high-level bureaucrats, why would anyone spend their money on such a thing?
East German government officials had a thing for stretched and posh Volvos.
I was unaware of the 264 TE. I will need some time to form an opinion. I think I like it but I am not sure.
First one of these I ever saw had a 308 Holden transplant that fixed the mechanical ailments but the gnome style roof still looks wrong even in this era of gunslit windowlets. It looks like it was done on the cheap but they didnt price it that way.
I used to see one of those Volvos driving around near my parents’ house, but I never saw it stopped anywhere to take a closer look. It was black. It certainly stood out on the road.
I never would’ve made a connection between the Fairmont and a Volvo, and we owned a 1981 Fairmont. it was reliable but boring. I’ll always remember that the doors seemed very thin and appeared to weigh almost nothing (much like my VW Rabbits). This reinforced my image of it as a cheap tin box on wheels. Not surprising, considering my dad’s previous daily driver had been a 66 Chrysler.
I think those Mark IV’s look really nice, especially the early ones (1972) before the bumper laws changed.
+1 on the Mark IV and its bumpers. It managed to be clean and baroque at the same time. Not a very efficient, fun or even good car, but I loved them all the same.
Funny, a Continental Mark IV is not the first thing that comes to my mind, when I watch a Volvo Bertone Coupe.
I often parked next to one in a particular parking house in the 1990’s. It was silver, with black vinyl roof and black leather interior. I still think it looks refined and in no way posh. Kind of an old-money-person car for Scandinavia.
I would not trade it for my Continental Mark IV, though, but I would have loved to see my parents drive it.
I first became aware of Volvo and Saab must have been the 1968 model year, Dad was looking for a Small car with a big trunk , preferably manual that got high MPG, he wound up getting his first import The Cheapest Opel Kadett at the Buick Dealer, Under 2100 out the door he was impressed, I noticed the plastic sheet on the floor that was black, similar to my Base Mazda GLC 1981.
But in looking for that, I First became aware of the variety of Makes competing with VW for the Import dollar. I Think Volvo & Saab shared a small dealership in Wayne NJ, near where I lived, I saw the lot of them Old unsold 67’s and NEwER model 1968’s ~ Dad’ dreamed of an 1800, otherwise he’d not consider the premium involved over the basic cars. He Believed cars Were an A TO B solution. The Simplicist that would get the jpob done, in the Size needed, was THE WAY TO GO> Its Not a Toy, luxuries and Power Accesories only complicate it and compromise its engine. Not bad advice, to keep in mind, if not follow outright.
In hindsight many of tose swedish models are still on the road, few early Opels are.
The Bertone was the Best looking Coupe Edition of the full sized model to date in the US.
I can remember wanting one. I think The 2 door even had rear windows that went down long after American models were doing without.
Always looked good in Gold and Black top. A passenger feels safely cacooned inside this car I imagine.
I only saw one of these in the wild, in about 1989 at Lundahl Volvo in Moline. It was being driven into the service area and was silver with the black top. My folks had an ’86 240DL and ’88 740 Turbo at the time, and the 262C looked so bizarre compared to them. These are interesting, but when it comes to unusual Volvos, I’d rather have a 164E or 1800ES.
I’m so partial to US Makes, I don’t remember realizing that it was more than a Lincoln Mark, which I much preferred anyway.
In 78 My Dream cars were something Like.
Lincoln Mark V
I thought the downsized Tbird was gross looking.
Wondered How AMC Concords could survive…Why was Ford still selling Pintos?
Chrysler was slow to downsize, built cars WAY before they sold.
I’d have to say you summed up the 1970’s quite well. Add “fixed/opera windows” and it’ll be complete!
I saw one of these in traffic months ago, but wasn’t able to get pictures. A pity.
My speculation is that the origins of this car also had something to do with the fact that Volvo never really replaced the 1800E and 1800ES. They considered it — they got Sergio Coggiola to do a concept car around 1971, the 1800ESC Coggiola, or Volvo Viking, which looks a lot like the later VW Scirocco — but the board kept deciding not to do it, probably for cost reasons. I imagine that there were still a lot of Volvo execs and dealers who liked the idea of having some kind of coupe as an image leader, but the sales of the 1800S/1800E/1800ES didn’t make a strong case for an all-new car. I’m guessing that somebody figured the 262C would placate the “why don’t we have a coupe” crowd while sharing enough tooling to make it affordable.
The 262C reminds me of the 1970-1971 Thunderbird, the ones that look like a Grand Prix. That, too, had a cut-down roof, but because the T-Bird had gone back to body-on-frame construction in ’67, the difference came out of headroom. Cars designed for that lucrative Headless Horseman market, I guess…
I read your article on the Volvo 1800 a few days ago, great read! I never thought of the 262C as a replacement for the 1800, but it did fill a ‘specialty car’ slot that they’d been missing since the 1800 was discontinued. In the late ’80s, the 780 did the same thing.
It definitely wasn’t a direct replacement, but I would be surprised if somebody didn’t have the idea that it would fill the niche for a distinctive-looking coupe. It’s not unlike the way the original ’66 Dodge Charger was rushed into production as a response to the Mustang, Obviously, the Charger was not a pony car, nor even a compact, but it was a “specialty car,” and thus assumed to be close enough.
I would never have made any connection between the beautiful 1800 coupe and this botched custom job,
These pop up for sale around here for sale on occasion. They’re a bit homely but in a cool way.
I prefer the 780 Bertone much more. Though I am a bit biased having owned a 740 GLE with the B234F and briefly a 760 GLE with the PRV. Both had well over 200,000 miles on them when I got them and they were just wonderful to drive.
That PRV V6 really deserves a bit more respect than what it gets.
I liked the 780 when they came out, but my folks never got one because they were about $40,000 new. A 740 Turbo was about $25,000, so that was a big difference. Dad did have one of those, bright red with tan interior. My parents were friends with the local Volvo dealer back then, and I remember one summer his wife drove a ruby red 780 Turbo with tan interior as a demo. That was a sharp car, and kind of a switch because she usually had white 740 or 760 wagons.
Hey, Tom. I worked at the Volvo dealership in Peoria, Il., from 1994-2007. I had the opportunity to meet with Mike Lundahl several times over that time period. I truly enjoyed him, and even entertained the thought of moving to Moline to work for him. I knew that he had a bout with cancer, and divorced his wife, eventually selling the franchise to the McLaughlin group. After that transaction, if you called the dealership, and Mike answered, he’d say, “Volvo.” I hope he is doing well after all these years.
I agree on the 780. That was actually a good looking car. But the price was downright ridiculous.
The Swedish car mag Bilsport had a feature with a dark blue and a bright red modified 780. Those made my head spin as a kid.
I thought that PRV V6 was fussy and required a lot of maintenance using expensive parts? Am I wrong? Was it as reliable as my Ford 200 six? I am a fan of basic and simple as I never have much money. Its why I drive a 79 ‘Bird every day I’ve had for 14 years and paid $900 for.
The early PRV’s were quite flawed, with a very checkered reputation for reliability. Among other problems, the oiling passages were too narrow. It’s one of the reasons you almost never see the 260-series Volvos in general; no, they didn’t sell well compared to the bread-and-butter 240, but the survival rate is also fairly low as it just wasn’t a good motor.
The PRV was, however, substantially redesigned in 1984. Changed from odd-fire to even-fire among other major changes. And the later PRV motors were much, much better. They still are a little quirky about maintenance (calls for valve adjustments on a fairly frequent schedule, not common for a modern-era engine), but if maintained properly they can achieve reliability and longevity appropriate to a Volvo.
Theres a really nice black one of these running around Portland with a 5.0L Ford swapped in….sounds SWEET! But the exhaust note doesn’t match the car. Was sitting at a light looking down at my phone when I heard what I thought was a built 5.0 Mustang pull up next to me. I looked up to see…A 262C Volvo??? I think the dude works at IPD
The 1980 Volvo I had was the complete opposite of this car — it was the base model 2-door DL, 4-cylinder, 4-speed manual (no electric O/D), no power steering, and no a/c (although the latter was added later after one particularly nasty summer in northern Virginia). Until the 1985 model year, all 240DLs came from the factory without air; the dealer would have to add a Volvo-specific kit.
I bought the car used in 1982 with about 31K miles on the odo and kept it until 2003, when electrical issues and the advancing tin worm induced me to sell it. It had about 245K miles by then (estimated, because the odometer would quit intermittently, especially in warmer weather).
That’s another car I had completely forgotten about.
Now stop teasing and do a story on a PV444/544! Then I will have another goofy story to tell from back in the day!
I remember when these came out and I liked it then, and I still like the looks of it today, vinyl top and all. I’d definitely drive one with a 5.0 swap, you know to up the Ford content. .
With the 700 Series, I never connected the Fairmont, but I did always see a bit of the GM fwd A-bodies from 1982 on. The slightly wedged shape, the similar roofline, and the character line that appeared just under the top of the fender and ran across to the back, again under the top of the trunk line, with the side windows dropped down to just about reach it.
There was one of these 262C’s in my neighborhood when I was a kid. I knew it seemed “wrong”, but I kind of liked it.
Don’t you, dear car nerd, have to love this car, if just for its blatant nerdiness and its over-confident ignorance of proportions?
No. I’m intriged by it as a curiosity, but at the same time repulsed by its goofy awkwardness. As a lawn ornament, which this appears to be, I’d rather have yesterday’s Citroen Bijou.
Almost all of Volvo’s model lines since the 1970s – 200, 700/900, 850, and S40/V50 – have had some type of coupe variant. It seems as though Volvo learned step-by-step how to design an attractive coupe: this Bertone was not a looker, but the 780 was much more attractive, almost reminiscent of the BMW 6 Series. The ’97 C70 elicited lots of “wows” – it was one of my favorite cars when I was in elementary school. The second generation C70 is quite an attractive car, too, especially for a hardtop convertible, and even more so after the “facelift”. Unfortunately, it looks like it will be gone within a few years, with no replacement planned. Then again, Volvo always took a few years off between coupe production – they probably want to attract as much attention as possible.
call me crazy but i always really liked the bertone coupes. swedish reliability with italian luxury. the quality of the original leather was nothing short of spectacular. i admit the chopped top was too much. to my way of thinking, the version that came with volvo’s manual transmission would almost qualify as a grand tourer.
btw, if it was such a failure why did volvo do it again with the 780 bertone?
Because this time they got the styling right?
The 780 was much more than a chopped roof variant of an existing body, like the 262c was. It was an entirely different body. Though the family resemblance is quite intentional, it actually shares no body panels with the 740/760 sedans. The interior does have some commonality with the 760, but more luxurious.
Mechanically, it was basically a 760, but that’s not a bad thing. Premiered with the revised PRV engine, then got the turbo “redblock” 4 as an option a couple years into the model run.
A much more appropriate “halo car” than the 262c for a variety of reasons.
Lol, I’m loving the licence plate of the featured 262: BOX283. Box! Maybe the owner had a fine sense of irony!
Seriously though, my grandparents drove Volvos while I was growing up (a magnificent manual transmission with a/c and sunroof 164E and a less-than-magnificent PRV 264GLE) so I was aware of the 262 from a young age, and although I think the top is slightly over-squashed, I’m still strangely attracted to them. Mind you, if I was going to have one, it’d have to be matte black, no vinyl top, bigger wheels and a V8 transplant. Or maybe a Mazda rotary engine to complete the weirdness factor?
The design might have worked with a more rakish C-pillar.
Back in 1981 I read an article in Road and Track about a Bertone coupe that their people customized by bolting a turbo onto the VW-sourced in-line six diesel that was optional in some Volvos of that era. It had considerably more power than the non-turbo engine, and better performance than the PRV gas V6. Too bad something like that never made it beyond the project car stage.
I have a 1980 bertone. Black w/4 speed
I have had it for 25 years. Doesn’t run and it has been in storage for the last 12.
I don’t know why most of you are bashing this car.
I always liked the look of it and think it looks much better than all those
boxy tall roofed volvos.
I just dragged it out today and put a battery in it and it turned over !
Needs a bit of care, but I plan to get it back in shape.
My ex loved that car and wanted to take it, but I kept it.
I will probably sell it when I’m done.
Nice to see a positive note here! I had one of these years ago (4spd + OD).
LOVED IT! Great ride for long distance as I lived in Denver with family in Calgary. Made several trips stopping only for gas & eats. Solid, comfortable and definitely unique! I really miss it.
I got a 122s, why would you want that? Light it on fire, and celebrate something volvo, that doesn’t need a boring romantic story to make it special.
I’d rally race that any day.
I’m a huge RWD Volvo fanatic, and finally purchased a 1987 Volvo 244 DL in July. I’m absolutely in love with the car, and think it looks fantastic.. along with the rest of the 200 series.. EXCEPT FOR THESE. I just.. can’t.. with these. nooooooo. lolol. I remember seeing a sprinkling of them when I was a kid, and they looked like the local customize-for-dealer window tinter/laundau top installer got their hands on them, and made a Volvo for the local Swedish pimp. Ughh. Heinous. Just heinous.
well ya can bash the hell outa those volvos but you’ll never ever get yer hands on one of my bertones much less get inside one
That *is* a nice car. It’s 100% special. You can spend 20 times as much on an exotic and still find another passing you on the highway. That never happens with a 780.
Can you post some photos, please?
Our family has owned a 1981 Bertone coupe since 1983 , black in color with the camel color leather interior. This vehicle has been a good family car and for the most part been fairly easy to maintain. I will post a picture of my car with the 1986 volvo turbo wide aluminum mag design with of course the Goodyear larger tires. Other than a few IPD suspension parts, the car is stock. I live in Vallejo ,California and the car was purchased for 13,500 in San Bruno, ca.
I am the proud owner of 2 Bertones a 1980 black v6 AT and a 1989 tan 230 turbo AT/OD
I drove a 1979 264 v6 MT/OD for 13 years
I don’t think it looks too bad at all. The lowered roof/raked windshield is what the 240 coupe needed all along. The coupe was so similar to the sedan, that’s why it doesn’t end up looking near sporty enough. That said, the 780 Bertone absolutely NAILS the right look!
This model as a sedan is one of the few cars I believe to be ugly. And the coupe roof just makes it even more awkward.
I bought one of these bertones last year. I think it has originally sold to Switzerland in 1981 and been used there for 2011 or so (the last register plate was from Switzerland). It has vinyl top, golden coloured chassis and beige interior. Surprisingly it is really a nice car to drive and still operates very well after proper service. I succeeded in reparing the electronically operated windows, central locking and interior lightning. Even the air conditioning started working perfectly after having filled in the new liquids. Next I shall try to repair the cruise control subsystem.
It’s really an excellent car. An ex neighbor had one, it was the same, the 240 but 4 door sedan. Great quality, good sound. I remember the car as the ship.
I was a 240/260 nut for many years. I’ll need some convincing that they ever came from the factory with a 4-cylinder. I’ve seen a lot of swaps done after the PRV crapped out, but there is no evidence of a factory 4.
Are you perhaps confused with the 780? For the first few years they were PRV-only, but later on the turbo-4 was an option.
(LOL, after typing my response, I just realized that I’ve agreed with *myself* on a post I made 1.5 years ago!)
Agree. According to any and all sources, the 262 cars…
(there was also a regular-roof 262 2-door sedan for ’76-’77)
All came with sixes. No such thing as a 4-cylinder 262.
The “6” in the middle position indicates the number of cylinders… or was supposed to.
That having been said, there were some number of 4-cylinder sedans for the 1981 model year that bore “264” chassis codes. As far as I know, they were all GLE-spec top luxe sedans.
The theory is, since the 264 sedans weren’t selling all that well, Volvo took some of those chassis (which had already received chassis code 264), and fitted them with B21F 4-cylinder engines instead of the B28 V-6.
Volvo used to be so logical with the middle number, starting with the 140-series. Middle number was the number of cylinders, like you noted. End of story.
Then, it all went wrong with the 700-series. There never was a V6 740, but there were certainly 4-cylinder 760s. Turbos, mind you, but still. And the 780 never offered a V8, but could have the V6 or the turbo 4.
The 850 returned to numeric sanity, as they only offered the I5. Just long enough for the number convention to change entirely.
It’s funny to me to read that this car was somewhat inspired by the Lincoln Marks. When these were new I always thought the roof sort of resembled a 1966 through 73 Chevrolet Caprice Custom Coupe….particularly the 66-68’s. Wasn’t a bad thing in my book as I always loved those and grew up with my Dad’s 68 impala custom coupe, which he bought new.
It wasn’t just Ford influence: From the back, a Volvo 122 is pretty much a dead ringer for an early ’50’s Chevy.
It’s a fabulous automobile. I love it
I’d often wondered who copied who with these cars, only ever seen a couple in the UK in the 80s. The roof chop looks out of proportion to the rest of the car, a common fault with chopped cars. I’d take a Vauxhall Royale coupe or it’s Opel relative over the Volvo if I’d had the money in 1980
Good call. The Monza was an excellent car; Car magazine’s Georg Kacher considered a fast and roadworthy car of considerable capability. It had a nice straight six engine of 2.5 or eventually 3.0 litres. The related Senator was very plush indeed. The first series rivalled or exceeded Benz for interior comfiness. I think Jamie Kitman asked why Cadillac never learned anything from Opel during the 70s. If they’d Cadillacked the Senator or Monza they’d have done better than with the dire Cimarron.
Nice to see another Monza fan
I’ve tested a Senator 2.5. It was rather enjoyable. These cars feel really solid. I’d have to have an early one with all the chrome. Alas, they are hard to find. The W-123 Mercedes is still around in large numbers for a reason. They might a horrible thing to drive but, goodness, the build-quality is stellar. There are two on my street and from 40 metres you can see they stand shoulders above the flimsy, superficial cars surrounding them.
They finally did Cadillac an Opel in the mid 90’s with the Catera, which was an Omega with a thin veneer of Cadillac cues. However, they didn’t Cadillac it enough, and therefore it was not a success. It probably drove better than anything else they were offering at the time (though considerably slower than the Northstar Seville) but it just didn’t look like a Caddy.
Not a bad car,the Vauxhall version was used by many UK Police forces.
In a perfect world, I’d get a 780, but either a 262C or 780 would be a great addition to my driveway. I do wonder if these “coachbuilt” cars are more rust-prone than normal 240-series cars.
Only 6622 in four model years? That is pathetic. But I had no idea the sales were that poor; it struck me at the time that more were sold than that. Maybe there was a surfeit of buyers near where I lived at the time? Maybe I kept on seeing the same ones repeatedly? Maybe the grotesquely misproportioned greenhouse made such a lasting “impression” that it seemed like there were more than there really were?
I guarantee these were “coastal” cars. East, West, Gold. I remember seeing a handful of them back home in Connecticut. Personally I think they’re distinctive.
Gosh, to be influenced by 1970s Lincoln and to hire an Italian design house to bring it to fruition. Talking about playing with fire for both companies.
The attitude of many prospective Volvo buyers will be that the only unique presence of a Mark Lincoln is that of being in the presence of fools. Shame on Volvo for having it’s head turned. Not allowed.
I can’t agree about the Fairmont/740 similarity. The way to look at these cars is the proportions and angles. The Fairmont is much less upright than the Volvo. Its glasshouse is more symmetrical. The wheelarch lips are different. Pretty much the only feature in common is the third side glass. If you think these are similar your level of comparison is not precise enough. They are similar in generic ways. With the 262 you are on firmer ground.
I visited the Volvo museum in Gothenburg, Sweden, to see the 262 in reality and I visited the Ole Summer car museum in Sweden to see the 780 coupe and other Volvos. I can recommend both wholeheartedly.
In both museums the 780 is hard to view properly but I got to sit in the 780 in Copenhagen. It felt nicely spacious and must be a rather cool car to drive around in.
If they had been able to squash down the body as well, they’d have ended up with a decent looking car.
Something of a Mercedes look in those proportions.
Yes! Particularly aft of the B-pillar.
This was just a weird car and one that I don’t particularly care for. I thought buying a Volvo back then meant you were above the stupid Americans buying the big domestic cars in droves so you bought something more intelligent (Read: Expensive) to convince yourself that you were above the common proletariat.
Then Volvo makes this car that has….a vinyl roof, the number one common trapping of the brougham crowd that Volvo’s clientle were never fans of. Yeah, I don’t know what they were smoking over in Gothenburg but suffice to say, not an intelligent decision. Really not intelligent to convince yourselves that this dinky little 6 cylinder engine powered brick would be worth more than a Lincoln Mark V. Volvo may have been enamored with Ford’s big Mark series, but they needed to understand that the person who would’ve bought a Mark IV and the person who would buy their products were two different people and you couldn’t make a compromise as half-assed as this expecting to appeal to both.
It was a bad project, and it remains a black spot on the company’s track record. I think the 780 Bertone that they did later was essentially this concept done right.
Also, that roof is just a really bad decision, they should’ve understood that not everyone in America is 5’10 or shorter right? Maybe its the forbearer of the ridiculously low rooflines we have now.
Eh, in those times it wouldn’t be about pose or pretense to avoid American cars, (Especially in 1978 if you didn’t *want* either a boat or a shrunken boat. ) Also a lot of people had stuck with Volvo since the early Seventies and wouldn’t be inclined to change to like some broughamey thing, so people with that kind of brand loyalty would be choosing from “What kind of Volvo would I like?” 🙂
Which probably makes the vinyl roof part of why it missed, but at the time it would not have stood out so much as to today’s eyes. Why, people were even *adding* them to some vehicles, ( or …fake convertible tops, for that matter, go figure why that was appealing.) Agreed that any such attempt to straddle those markets would appeal to neither, really.
Still, not everyone’s anywhere near 5’10 either: obviously if you were taller you wouldn’t want that excessively-chopped roof. 🙂
While slightly off topic, was at a car show last summer and saw a PV444 with a fuel injected, dual spark plug 2.3L Ford 4 banger and 5 speed out of a Ranger. It was cool, in the think outside of the box kind of way. Plenty of power and good fuel mileage according to the owner.
Wow, I had no idea these cost more than a Lincoln Mark when new. What was it, about TWICE as expensive as a 142 DL?
Like most folks here, I prefer the “other” Bertone coupe, but didn’t realize how expensive they were when new, either.
BTW, I always assumed the water-cooled VWs and Audis of the early to mid 70s were the main influence on Ford designers styling the Fairmont. It is called a Fox-body, after all, as in Audi Fox.
Subsequent Volvos borrowed the styling of the 1994-6 Honda Accord.
Possibly the inspiration for the current Camaro.
I hatehatehate gun-slit windows. If I wanted to ride in a tank I’d join the army.
A couple of days ago I was visiting my mechanic when I noticed a 262C in the shop next door. Since these are fairly rare I had to go over and get a closer look. When I got a look at the license plates I was even more surprised. Oregon plates in Houston, TX. I guess the CC effect really exists.
Got mine about a month ago and I’m liking it. A California car that ended up in Georgia. Inside looks new and the mechanicals are in great shape. Needs paint, which I will do next week but other than that, the body is fine. I have read all of the comments about the engines in these cars. This car came to me with (what appears to be) a factory installed 4 cylinder engine. Of course this is my first 1980 Bertone so I am not familiar with these cars. So if the “four” is a transplant, it looks “real” factory to me.
Have driven my -81 copy for over 5 years now. The rubberband-like 3-gear BorgWarner had to be serviced several years ago, but otherwise the car has been running quite well.
David Bowie had one, and it was sold in an auction for $216 000. The general price level in the market is still quite low considering the rarity of this car. At the same time the prices for the more usual 200 series cars have been climbing up recently.
It goes a long way toward predicting the 1983 Mercury Cougar……
When this car was unveiled, only the marketing department cheered. Everyone else shielded their eyes and groaned.
This is the Volvo version of if Karen Carpenter performed a cover version of “Disco Duck”.
It is like discovering that Julia Child did a cooking show on how to make Dinty Moore stew.
Please Volvo, find every copy of these vehicles, crush them and claim they never happened.
For all his immense talents,, David Bowie should have know better…
These things do have a following among a fringe group of the old Volvo community. In interacting with them, you sort of get the idea that even they are embarrassed by the objects of their obsession. I once knew a guy – come to think of it, he was kind of short… – who had 3 of these. I bought a set of wheels from him, which I suspect look a whole lot better on my 245 than they did on his Bertone.
And yeah, Bowie.
The interior height was less than the standard Volvo and the rear seat was short on leg room – and I am a short man!
Saw one of these fairly often in the mid to late 80’s when Lexington, KY was crawling with what felt like hundreds of Volvo 240 sedans then being driven by insufferable yuppies. I was driving a ’67 Sport Fury fast top at the time and when I encountered the Bertone, it struck me that while my ’67 had a couple of notable blind spots, at least I had head room. The Bertone foreshadows the one thing I didn’t like about the 2005 and up Chrysler 300s which are the gun slit windows.
To this very day in 2022, anywhere in a 75 mile radius of the aforementioned Lexington, KY, you cannot be on the road for very long without encountering an 80’s Volvo 240. After the yuppies were done with them, they seemed to have become the official car of librarians for a long time. The librarians then replaced them with Saturns only to replace the Saturns with Suburu wagons. (In reality, what staff drove to work wasn’t that monolithic, enough of them were piloting 240’s that it was noticeable and sometimes subject to amusement)
A librarian friend asked me to fix her ’88 240 sedan where she’d hit a large rock that come off an dump truck she was behind which trashed the pan on her automatic transmission. I replaced the pan and while going over the rest of the car began to think of the 240 as the Swedish equivalent of the 67-75 Plymouth Valiant.
Yuppies drove me nuts in the 80’s, but I have to respect the Volvo 240’s they were driving, and remain bewildered by the Bertone.
Compared to what was on the market in Oz at the time these were flash looking. I recall the sand colour looking particularly nice. I had a 264 GL at the time, the 262C listed at around $37000 AUD if I remember correctly.
I think proves the old adage that every car looks better with lowered suspension and a three inch roof chop.
On a more serious note, the cars I find mirror the Ford products of the early 1950’s, specifically the Ford sedan and the first generation Thunderbird are the 1970’s Mercedes Benz sedan and the SL. The Sports Light like the first generation Thunderbird looks a lot like the sedan and has similar proportions, and the first generation Cortina shares a number of styling cues with the FlairBird of the 1960’s, roof line and C pillar, grill and headlight treatment, the circular taillights are more first generation, the more I look the more I see. A little off topic there, thanks for posting, I’ve always been interested in this car since seeing one at the Melissa Motor Show in the late ‘70’s early ‘80’s