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Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday – Volvo 900-series Hearse

With this morbid, Nordic sighting we’re back for another Wagon Wednesday posting. I’m fairly certain a large amount of Finns making their last journey make it in a lengthened, dark-coloured Volvo; Mercedes W210 E-Classes are another favourites for memorial service vehicles, but I do find the Volvo slightly more suitable. A large number of my friends would probably disagree, some of them have declared they wouldn’t be caught dead in a Volvo if it was up to them…

Click for a couple more photos of the Volvo.

The Volvo is most likely a Nilsson-built conversion of the V90. At first, I marked it down in my mind as a 960, but some Googling suggests it’s the final iteration of the series instead, called the S90/V90 in some markets. There were so few changes it would take a serious Volvo nerd to know them by heart. To be honest, it could be either.

There are flag holders up front, as is expected.

I believe the Volvo is a recent import, as noted by the temporary test-drive plates. Those are also the reason it gets a free pass of my recent self-inflicted, commenter-recommended plate-blur-from-now-on policy; it’s likely the Volvo doesn’t wear those plates any more. There is a hearse specialist in town, which explains the car’s presence. As photographed, it probably waited for a service after being brought into the country.

Most likely there’s the 204-horse 3.0-litre six under the hood, which should make for graceful walking speed progress.

The Volvo is an impressive sight. The wheelspan has been lengthened by at least a third, and the vehicle is also significantly taller.

Here’s also the point where I reveal a significant hole in my knowledge; I do not know if these tall-longroof conversions utilize glass reinforced plastic or actually have all-steel roofs – or aluminium. Can somebody back me up?

It also looks like the Volvo can be run on natural gas, as notified by the cap under the gasoline tank flap.

The rear gate is fairly interesting. The conversion does away with the slim, vertical taillight clusters of the wagon, and has sedan lights instead that lift away with the tailgate.

There is a partition behind the front seats and the customer section. While one expects the rear cargo section to be closed off for various reasons, I suspect the conversion company has paid extra attention for the vehicle’s crash safety. I believe whatever is transported back there is secured down very tightly, but a sturdy partition makes for a convincing case as well.

Would you find a Volvo hearse to be fitting for a Hooniverse-style sendoff? I imagine large enough Hooniverse stickers for the rear glass could be arranged…


[Images: Copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

  • Scandinavian Flick

    I'm not sure that there were any changes between the 960 and the S90, at least not stateside. The S90 only ran for the '98 model year. From what I have seen/heard, some of the S90s even had parts that were still labeled 960, such as the door sills. My 960 was a '97… Great car, but seriously lacking in any significant feeling of pull for an inline 6, and it had the somewhat sloppy automatic with no manual option in the states.

    The sedan tail lights look really awkward on this conversion…

  • Van_Sarockin

    Funny, you never hear anyone complain that caskets all look like the boxes they were delivered in.

  • [insert box joke]

    /lazy commenting.

    • Scandinavian Flick

      [insert witty reply incorporating additional box pun]

      /lazy replying.

  • TurboBrick

    They only changed the name to have uniforming naming convention across the lineup as they were gearing up for the S80 launch. Quite annoying really, because now I have to do separate searches for 960/S90/V90 on the Pick and Pull website ( I'd love a set of better seats, and these bolt straight in to a 760).

    Sturdy partition, hell yeah! This vehicle is ready for the zombie apocalypse.

    EDIT: and what is up with that license plate??? I thought that was an Alaska plate at first.
    EDIT mk2.: Reading comprehension fail.

    • VolvoNut

      what pick and pull website are you referring to? I am in desparate need of a blue cloth drivers seat for my 240…unfortunately, so are a lot of other folks.

      • TurboBrick

        Picknpull.com… When you do an inventory check for a specific yard you have to specify make and model. I always check the inventory before making the 25 mile drive to the other side of the city. They don't give you any other specifics, sorry.

  • Marcal

    Without being too morbid, can you imagine what an epic mini-RV this would make? Couple of nice seats in the back, fold-down table, maybe a tiny wet bar . . .

    • Van_Sarockin

      It's halfway to a camper van already. A little taller on the cap, then let the Westphalia guys loose on it…

    • Sjalabais

      In Scandinavia, Volvo 900 ambulances are popular for that purpose. No windows or small windows in the back (reduces danger of being fried and zombified® while sleeping during a midnight-sunny night, as possible in the hearse), excellent technical maintenance, always the 204hp-engine and – important – usually supercheap. The 900-series is quite expensive in Norway for instance. Too large a part of the population thinks this was the last proper car ever made. Ambulances are cheap because of high mileages – though well-served and not-so-relevant for a non-dd – and because of the rather small market and still good supply.

  • skitter

    I just had a thought:
    Instead of blurring the plates in future photos, perhaps you could discreetly photoshop over them with the parts of humans that are normally blurred. Especially if we can make sure those become the defining image search results for Asconas.

    • Van_Sarockin


    • Perc

      I still think he should photoshop the plates from a certain blue Ascona GT onto every car he posts.

      <img src="http://i.imgur.com/j7ewh.jpg"&gt;

  • Volvo is a miraculous choice for a hearse. For decades their primary mission was to get the occupants there alive.

    • The alive stay alive, the dead stay dead.

  • Are there any foreign hearses in America? Because I don't want to be transported in a mundane Cadillac or Lincoln.

    • Scandinavian Flick

      There's Lancias.

      <img src="http://oi49.tinypic.com/15hc1ls.jpg&quot; width="500"/>

      • Van_Sarockin

        Can't… Die… Yet…

        Needz… Bigger… Rimz…

      • HSA

        You're killing me. Lancia in memoriam.

  • RegalRegalia

    Now I'm imagining a bad hearse wreck. How annoying would it be for your corpse to get mangled after you're already dead and headed to the ground/oven. Something like this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-Vf0B-kqFE&fe
    I'm not smart enough to know how to upload it like a photo.

  • Savant_Idiot
    • Charles_Barrett

      Psychiatrist: Tell me, Harold, how many of these, eh, *suicides* have you performed?
      Harold: An accurate number would be difficult to gauge.
      Psychiatrist: Well, just give me a rough estimate.
      Harold: A rough estimate? I'd say
      [savoring the thought]
      Harold: fifteen.
      Psychiatrist: Fifteen?
      Harold: That's a rough estimate.
      Psychiatrist: Were they all done for your mother's benefit?
      Harold: No. No, I would not say "benefit."

  • HSA

    Some years ago I was looking for a reasonably priced large wagon. Then I realized that the road insurance for a Volvo 850 hearse is well below that of the 850 wagon or sedan. Now we are up to something: huge cargo space, low insurance rates and probably not so much in demand and therefore commanding reasonable prices. The fact it was a two-seater was not a problem. Unfortunately I didn't find one for sale back then. The 850 hearse is actually quite sleek compared to this behemot.


    Sorry, but I don't think "coachwork" when I see this thing. It looks like a bunch of ham-fisted Coddington-wannabes glued a bunch of folded cardboard to a Volvo. Hoon it up! Paint flames on the front, tint the windows and put about 40 antennas on it. Then bounce it off every curb and park it crooked everywhere.

  • dukeisduke

    The Volvo 900s bore me to death already, so being a hearse fits.

  • Here is what I assume to be a British transplant that I spotted here in Olympia WA U.S.A

    [youtube pgwuzQbz3dM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgwuzQbz3dM youtube]