Friday 6 September 2013
The Volvo 700 series was a range of mid-size car manufactured by Volvo Cars in the 1980s and 1990s. The 700 series was introduced in 1982 with the luxurious 760, followed two years later by the more reasonably priced 740 which capitalized on the prestige attained by the very similar 760. The 700-series was then gradually replaced, beginning in 1990, by the 900 series. The 700, designed by Jan Wilsgaard, was originally to have been a replacement for the 200 series, but production of that model continued until the early nineties. The expensive 780, a Bertone-designed coupé version, entered production in 1986 and departed without a direct successor only four years later.
The most visible differences between the 700 and the 900 series were the more rounded corners on the body of the latter, and a somewhat better-appointed interior. The 700 series came to an end in late 1992 when the last 740s were built (although they were considered to be of model year 1993). The range was then augmented and finally supplanted by the Volvo 850 in 1993, with the last of the 900s being sold in 1998.
The Volvo 780 Coupé debuted at the International Auto Show in Geneva, Switzerland in 1985, marking Volvo's return to the two-door coupé market following the departure of the 262C in 1981. The 780 became available in Europe in 1986 and in United States a year later.
Like its predecessor, the 780 was designed and built by Carrozzeria Bertone in Turin, Italy. The hood, trunk, and roof lines were all slightly lower than the standard 700 series profile, and the C-pillar was wider and had a more gradual slope down to the trunk. Headroom was improved over the 262C because of Bertone’s mere 1 cm lowering of the roofline. Window frames all had black matte trim, and were accented with chrome. Chrome also highlighted the door handles, bumpers, and side mouldings. Originally, it had been planned to use a smaller 2,458 cc turbocharged version of the PRV V6 (as seen in the Renault 25 and Alpine), which had been successfully tested in 740s and 760s. In the smaller engine room of the 780, however, the engine overheated and the PRV V6 Turbo never appeared in a Volvo.
In the first two years the 780 was available worldwide ('86 and '87) the 780 was available with the B280F V6 engine and a solid (live) rear axle. In the Italian market, originally only the Volkswagen built D24TIC was to be offered, with 129 PS (95 kW), but soon the V6 also became available and a 155 PS (114 kW) 2.0-litre turbo (B200ET) Italian tax special was also added in 1986. In the following year, the 780 came equipped with Volvo's independent rear suspension, which used self-leveling Nivomat shocks, to keep ride height correct.
The B280F at this point had roughly 150 hp (110 kW), but the car itself was nearly 3,400 lb (1,500 kg). To address concerns over performance, Volvo introduced the B230FT+; a B230FT with Volvo's boost controller, Turbo+, increasing the engine output to 175 hp (130 kW). The following model year saw it increase to 188 hp (140 kW). In Italy, late 780s were available with the B204GT. This was a 16 Valve Turbo motor producing 200 hp (150 kW). In the car's final year, 1991, it was rebadged simply as "Coupé". At this point, the car came only in turbo guise.
Volvo's official production total for the 780 is 8,518 cars built between 1986 and 1991. From 1986 to 1995, Volvo offered a small, sporty coupé, the front-wheel drive Volvo 480, but a successor to the 780 would only be introduced in 1997 when the C70 became available.
- engine: V6
- capacity: 2800 cc
- horsepower: 150 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 180 km/h