I have a serious and vaguely irrational affection towards most of the misfit Gothenburg sleds, even the ones whose complexity and unreliability threaten to knock some of the Italian horrorshows off their Mount Olympian throne of awfulness. The Volvo 780 (by Bertone!) actually straddled this divide, rolling out of Bertone’s Turin assembly plant with some of the worst features of both worlds … a dreadful PRV, Bosch electronics, and Italian sheetmetal. You know what’d make it worth the hassle? Five liters of FoMoCo iron. Enter Ross Converse.
Tell me that isn’t pretty cool …
Converse’s creations tend to be converted 700-series wagons and sedans, for the primary reason that they’re cheap, available, and probably traumatized their previous owners into becoming enthusiastic sellers. Nonrunners tend to pile up in sideyards under a healthy and protective layer of lichen and regret. But the 780! That’s a fine collector machine, at least according to Muhammad at Quality Used Auto Sales and Bail Bonds down the street. How a “fine collector machine” came to be wholesaled to the shadiest dealer in a sea of slime is a mystery best left to Agatha Christie – let’s just say that 780s don’t hold value terribly well, and they’re definitely not collectible yet. So why not slap a V8 into one? It’ll look a ton better than a run-of-the-mill 740 of the period, as long as you stay vigilant for the inevitable rust. They handle well, and the V8 makes plenty of power even in California CARB trim. At least one enterprising 780 owner’s already done it! I’m sure you can pull a 5.0L from a junkyard for less than a grand. And tell me it wouldn’t be pretty awesome to shred some teenage punk’s ego in front of his be-noseringed gum-smacking arm candy when you spray molten rubber all over his Civic’s primered fiberglass nonfunctional hoodscoop with your Italian-Swedish-American hybrid!
Now don’t everyone jump up and do this at once …!
Head over to Converse Engineering if you
are batshit mad interested in the Volv8 conversions.