For some, old Volvo’s represent a bastion safety and security that's unrivalled by other carmakers. Back in the day they were pretty much designed with a right angle, giving rise to some of the most boxy designs ever seen on the road.
Before this box-inspired period Volvo gave the world the seatbelt. Instead of keeping it to themselves, they shared the invention with other carmakers for free to make the world a safer place.
So with all this safety and many right angles in mind, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Volvos are boring, but you’d be wrong. We here at DriveTribe love a fast Volvo, as it’s like being able to drive very quickly while wearing a suit of armour meaning you’ll demolish any lesser mortal of a car that happens get in the way.
Here is our pick of five blazingly quick box shaped legends.
The first square entry is the slightly staid looking 740 Turbo that came as standard with a slightly staid look about it. But don't be fooled, as at the height of its power it boasted a 2.3-litre turbocharged motor with 163bhp. Despite being shaped like a cardboard box, it was pretty quick with a 0-62mph time of 9.0 seconds.
One added bonus was the very un-Volvo like rear-wheel drive set-up. Yes, this meant you could put this slab sided Swede properly sideways if you wanted to.
240 GLT Turbo
This is the truly bombproof 240 GLT Turbo. It may have the aerodynamic properties of a large house, but we think it’s cool. For starters, it sent all of its turbocharged power to the rear wheels which is all again very anti health and safety
Secondly, thanks to being turbocharged (the ‘T’ in the name is the giveaway) it gained some 50 horses over its much slower and less powerful sibling. This all meant 129bhp and a sub 9-second 0-60 mph time which in the 1980’s was on par with some hot hatches. We should also mention the over-engineering that meant in the event of an accident, it would demolish a small village and still be capable getting you home.
Now for what we think is one of the greatest looking Volvo’s of all time, the 480 Turbo. It had pop-up headlights (very cool) and an almost ‘bread van’ style body making it ultra-cool. The 1.7-litre turbo motor was good for a 9.3-second 0-62mph dash with 126mph of top speed.
In turbo form with those chunky five-spoke wheels, and the under-bumper Volvo grille meant it was every-inch a slab of right-angled greatness.
850 T5 R Estate
In the mid-1990’s if you found a pair of blue flashing lights behind you in the UK, then they were attached to a Police spec Volvo 850 T5 R estate. This was the king of performance estates at the time with power coming from a five-pot turbocharged motor pumping out a massive 247bhp.
All of this translates to a rapid 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds making it one of the fastest wagons of the era that scumbags stood no chance of escaping from.
Volvo 850 Racing - Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR)
In 1994 if you heard someone shout the word ‘Rydell’ then chances are it was because of a very fast Volvo. The car was a race-spec Volvo 850 estate from TWR; the driver was the super quick Swede Rickard Rydell.
At the time of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), it was normal to run saloons. TWR shock everything up by racing a fully BTCC spec 850 Estate. Sadly for estate fans, it didn’t exactly set the world on fire results wise with the team switching to the saloon model in 1995.
Are these quick Volvo’s the box shaped cars of your dreams? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.