1993 Volvo 850 GLT – Brick, Red

Hey, look; it’s a first-year 850. And it’s eligible for those collector licence plates on it because that first year was three decades ago, and 30 is more than 25.

The paint’s a bit chalky, as is the black plastic trim, but the rain was busily hiding that. Besides, the chalkiness (this car is much too young for patina, no matter how many decades ago 1993 was) really added finishing touches to the brick look.

This is how I picked the car as a ’93: the full-height single-H4-bulb Valeo headlamps. Starting in ’94, Volvo phased in a shorter Hella headlamp, seen here on a ’95, with separate low and high beam bulbs and a fill plate below to take up the space. Makes the car look squinty and bodged.

Short headlamps kludged into tall space. Ack. Ptewph. No. Thpth.


Ahhh, much better. These early lamps make the car look as was intended. And they contain a weird front-to-back structure of some kind on the floor of the reflector:

It’s that tan thing you can see here through the lens. There’s a similar structure in the technically identical ’94-up Saab 900/9-3 headlamp. I’ve been meaning for a few decades to take one apart and figure out just what it is; haven’t got around to it. The headlamp wipers might work or not, but at least they’re parked properly; as these cars aged, the wipers tended to get stuck in a random position.

I think GLT means this car has the turbocharged engine. The amber turn signal lenses are another ’93-’94 tell, and I like them better; the ’95-up cars had clear lenses with amber bulbs. I’m not so keen on that white strip somebody added across the licence plate cove. There might’ve been a ‘decor panel’ available for these, like this 240 item…

…but I’m not so hot on those, either; if y’want the car to look like a Dodge Spirit, just go get a Dodge Spirit. This car would look fine as-was, with just body paint there in the cove.

I like boxes on wheels. They don’t make them any more.

Heyyyyy, that looks like a larger-than-stock tailpipe! Quick, somebody ring the BC Collector Licence Plate Criterion Enforcement Brigade!

They’d probably also have words to say about prising off the silly VOLVO callouts—we can still see traces—and replacing them with these ’97-up turn signal repeaters; year-correct ones would have amber lenses (okeh, now I’m done babbling about the lights).

But the period-correct window decals are a nice touch.