1980 Volvo 262C - Our Shed

By: Glenn Torrens

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volvo 262c The 262C was a grand machine when new and still is. Notice the full width headlights volvo 262c
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volvo 262c 5 volvo 262c 5
volvo 262c 6 volvo 262c 6
volvo 262c 4 volvo 262c 4
volvo 262c volvo 262c
volvo 262c 2 volvo 262c 2

Glenn Torrens becomes stuck in a web of indecision with his rare Volvo coupe

Being a car perv – and I’ll have to admit, a bit of a Volvo fan since my grandfather bought one in the 1970s and Unique Cars’ own John Bowe raced one in the 80s - I knew what I’d spotted in the southern NSW town of Cooma: an ultra-rare Volvo 262C Coupe.

It was inspired by the ‘luxury personal coupe’ thing that was all the rage in the 1970s; think Holden LE, Ford Landau and all those ungainly barge-large US pimp mobiles. The Volvo was assembled in Italy by Bertone using the bottom part of Volvo’s conventional 2 Series two-door sedan with a bespoke chop-top turret, upper door frames and glass by Bertone. 

And I wanted one!

volvo-262c-6.jpgThis is the day I shook hands on the Volvo in Cooma, NSW. Yes that is my ‘happy’ face!

Parked-in behind several other cars outside a mechanical workshop, this one seemed to be going no-where. I made enquiries and was eventually able to buy it.

My last girlfriend – an upholsterer/trimmer – and I talked gleefully about giving it a light restoration. Together, we’d freshen the exterior, re-do the disgracefully delightful pleated leather interior and laugh all the way to Cars & Coffee-type events with ABBA blasting from the stereo.

But that girlfriend is gone. And, it seems, so has my enthusiasm for the Volvo.

volvo-262c-7.jpgQuad headlights (shared with US models) give Volvo’s premium coupe a … umm… distinctive appearance

Right now, it’s parked outdoors and the small bubbles of rust apparent on the car when I bought it are slowly growing. I’ve been playing with my brown Commodore wagon lately and I haven’t driven the Volvo in five months.

My street-machiner alter-ego wants to drop in a V8; that was one of my loose ideas when I bought the car. These 2-series Volvos easily swallow a V8 – Chev, Holden or Ford; take your pick – and I’ve converted one before, with a Holden V8-powered MOTOR magazine project Volvo 242GT a decade ago.

volvo-262c-4.jpgSoon after I re-commissioned the Volvo, fellow car-nutter Morley and I road-tripped it to Melbourne over the Snowies

I’m caught in a spider’s web of indecision. Of the 100 sold in Australia, it seems fewer than 12 remain. Do I respect its rarity and heritage and restore it? Do I follow my dream of building an awesome retro-tech V8-powered luxury coupe? Do I put it in a box to Europe where Volvo’s stronger reputation and the 262C’s exclusivity means I’d sell for triple – or more – its value in Oz? For instance, late legendary musician David Bowie’s old 262C sold recently for more than $US200K. Crikey!

| Read next: Roadtrip in the 1980 Volvo 262C

volvo-262c-3.jpgThere have been challenging days… like when it wouldn’t start

What shall I do?

Right now, I dead-set could not be bothered. But for the dollars it owes me – and what I’d receive in its slightly dishevelled condition – it’s not much money to not have in the bank.

So maybe I’ll put it up the back of my garage, ignore it for a year or three and come back to it.


Or maybe I should let it go to another Volvo enthusiast…

Who wants to buy a factory chop-top Volvo Bertone 262C?


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