The Bertone-built Volvo coupe is now more than 40 years old – and looking better than ever
By Matt Bird / Wednesday, January 13, 2021 / Loading comments
There are rare cars for sale, and then there are cars like the Volvo 262C. Though it was never destined to be a big seller – the more glamorous Volvos seldom are – the UK is down to the very last few now. Between 1977 and 1981 Volvo and Bertone (more on that in a sec) made 6,622 of the 262 Coupes; now it's believed that just nine are registered on UK roads. Nine! As an automatic, that makes this 262 one of seven; if a manual can be found, that's one of two. And cars that look this good deserve to be saved, don't they?
The 262's history is intriguing. Story goes that an American group of execs led by Henry Ford II visited Volvo in the mid-1970s, bringing with them Lincoln Continental Mk IVs to travel around in. Because of course they did. Apparently the locals and Volvo employees were so taken by these four-wheeled hunks of Americana that they embarked on their own coupe project. There was added impetus given the 1800ES had been discontinued, leaving Volvo without a two-door to market in the increasingly lucrative United States. Only problem was Volvo didn't have the resources for a low volume build, and that's where Bertone came in…
Not only was the Turin coachbuilder given responsibility for certain body parts, it was tasked with assembling entire 262C kits. Bodies were sent from Sweden to Italy where they were modified (the roof is 60mm lower than the saloon, for starters), painted and made into complete 262s; the little badge behind the front wheels shows this isn't a conventional Volvo product. Power came from the PRV 2.7 V6, as developed with Peugeot and Citroen; later cars used a 2.8-litre variant.
The majority of the few thousand 262s built went to the US, as intended, but this 1979 2.7 is an original UK market example. Amazingly, the 262 was only offered only in silver with a black vinyl roof originally. By the time our spotted arrived the roof wasn't mandatory, but silver was still the only colour option. Eventually gold was introduced as well – probably for the best that this is an early car.
What didn't change throughout the 262's life was the interior, and quite the spectacle it is four decades on. Let's just say it's clear this was aimed at the United States, with acres of ruched black leather and dark wood wherever the you look. Which might not be to every taste, sure, but the quality appears beyond much doubt given 41 years and 90,000 miles of use. Good for 82 years and 180,000 miles, surely.
This particular car has been sourced from "a small private collection of unusual cars" and is described as being in "superb order". Certainly, it's hard to find much fault with it from the advert – the interior switches look like they've hardly been used. It's on offer at £23,000; appropriately enough, the Mercedes CE against which the Volvo competed now costs the same sort of money. This 1977 car, also powered by a 2.7-litre, six-cylinder engine, is £22,995 – it's lower mileage than the Volvo, but surely nowhere near as rare.
Demand will likely be the same as it was 40 years ago, the Volvo never considered ahead of more obvious British or German rivals. But for those who've been after a 262 – they can't come up for sale too often – or who don't want one of the obvious choices, there can't be any better than this.
SPECIFICATION | VOLVO 262C
Engine: 2,664cc, V6
Transmission: 3-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 150@5,700rpm
Torque (lb ft): 160@5,700rpm
First registered: 1979
Recorded mileage: 89,876
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £23,000
See the original advert here
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