Burgundy Car Appreciation Society – 1989 Volvo 780 Bertone Coupé


Returning to the forecourt where the Buick Roadmaster, my first Hooniverse sighting was parked, I shot this ’89 Volvo 780 Bertone. Like the Buick before it, the 780 bears scars from years of use, and is also an American import. And it has tan leather that looks very worn, echoing the chairs on the Roadmaster.

The paint has faded, there are dents and dings, the interior is partially sun-wrecked and the car in general looks world-weary after its trip to the Old West. But still, there’s something about the 780 that stands cool. It’s an Italian realization of a quality Swedish automobile, and I cherish the fact the engine is the same as in the DeLorean. No word on whether that’s a good thing.


The work Bertone did on the basic 700-series sheetmetal works. It’s Volvo, but not the way it’s become familiar to us. In a way, it looks better than the latter C70, even if that car still looks amazing in the right colours.


Tough guy. The ravaged grin makes the 780 here look somewhat menacing, and the headlights have the lifeless look of a shark.




Basketweaves will work on almost anything.


While the rear seats are in clean and tidy shape, the front seats are wrecked.



A little bit of bodywork missing here. How easy or how hard can it be to source?



While the paint, albeit faded, would probably still respond well to a good buffing, the dent on the side would need some bodywork magic to make disappear. It’s annoyingly visible. The tints, too, would have to go.


But still, my heart warms to the 780. While I wouldn’t take this one under my wing, a cleaner and more complete one would be welcome. It’s never been a common sight, and a clean one would be that much rarer. They’re asking 2900 eur for this, and while shipping it here hasn’t probably been cheap, the price is steep in my opinion.

[Images: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

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18 responses to “Burgundy Car Appreciation Society – 1989 Volvo 780 Bertone Coupé”

  1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
    Dean Bigglesworth

    I'd drive that. After a thorough cleaing and swapping out the explosive diarrhoea edition seat.
    I would expect that bit of missing trim to be pretty hard to find.. Tried finding a front valance with fog lights for my much more common pre-facelift 740 a couple of years ago, no luck. The ones available were more or less broken or otherwise in bad shape, and none had the fog lights.

  2. PushrodRWD Avatar

    You could make the automotive equivalent of an F-4 out of it.
    <img src="http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/1516/v878022zs.jpg"&gt;
    <img src="http://img274.imageshack.us/img274/6817/v8780.jpg"&gt;

    1. julkinen Avatar


    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      Doesn't the 780 have IRS? How would it stand up to an LS motor? I guess neutral slams would be out of the question.

      1. Deception Avatar

        I think earlier pre-update (1987-1988?) models had live axles, which was replaced for the final model years.

  3. lilpoindexter Avatar

    I always thought these were beautiful. i had dreams of buying one and swapping in a 5 speed…But I did a tranny swap in an E28, and I have no desire to ever do that again.

  4. Devin Avatar

    A battered old battleship of a Buick, this beat up 780, a Town Car with pimp chrome wheel arches…
    This is the weirdest dealership I've ever seen.

  5. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Sure, it looks amazing – for a Volvo. But if you like that, what you really want is an overstuffed Monte Carlo.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        1 HP per CI is an impressive engineering feat for the time, but it doesn't make a 53 HP car any more desirable.

        1. nanoop Avatar

          Neither does adjusting three carbs… those were not tricky divas, though.

          1. dukeisduke Avatar

            A Trabant on steroids.
            /i'm looking at you, a-rod

      2. Van_Sarockin Avatar

        Not quite the Monte Carlo I had in mind, but much more desirable than a Beta Monte Carlo.

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          Not quite the one you had in mind? Well, I do agree the earlier GT 750 is cooler than the GT 850.
          <img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8327/8080093801_4d3b62285c.jpg&quot; width="450">

  6. Sjalabais Avatar

    I always wonder how a car that really is designed to become a collectible ends up like that. The 780 was quite expensive to begin with, and who buys a used 780 by accident? So with some basic logic I'd expect this to be owned and driven by a car enthusiast, the strange kind. Seeing a car like that I thus wonder about death and sickness related to some guy with good taste…

  7. TurboBrick Avatar

    In Finland, these were half a million marks (FIM) when new, or about $100K in USD. Not that they were particularly cheap in the US either. Collectible? Well… in a historical preservation sense, yes, but these will never be valued beyond several thousands of dollars.
    The bodywork and interior are unique to the 780. That's going to hurt in the wallet.

  8. Bsphillips Avatar

    I'll happily take the LS-1 version. Please.
    I cannot imagine any other conceivable reason to own one… Unless it's a 5.0 Coyote, or possibly a 5.7 ( not for real) Hemi.

  9. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    the word on whether the engine shared with the delorean is a good thing: no

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