Afternoon all, welcome back to my kitchen table, and to the return of Crock Or Classic, where I take a look at various cars on the second hand market and determine whether they are destined for classic status or destined for the scrapyard. And on this occasion, we're going to be taking a look at the Volvo C70, a car that despite boasting great looks and great image, was ultimately swept away in the tsunami that was the 90s coupé craze.
By the time the C70 was introduced to the general public at the Paris Motor Show in 1996, Volvo had already built themselves a reputation for cooking up a fine performance model that could humiliate high-powered rivals on the track at the weekend, before squealing around the kerb on the school run the next morning. Naturally, for Volvo's foray into the then-saturated coupé sector, they went to the very best in the business to tune their new car to dizzying heights- Tom Walkinshaw Racing. Known for their work with touring cars for the likes of Jaguar and Rover, TWR and Volvo jointly designed the car itself (based on a Volvo 850 platform) along with the suspension, until the two had a tiff and fell out, and TWR's name did not appear on future generations of the C70.
However, when the car is sitting in front of me, it's hard to see any suggestions of a dispute. The body is simply gobsmacking, more befitting of an Italian design house than a Swedish manufacturer and tuning house. The car still possesses the distinctive nose of Volvos from the 1990s and early 2000s, however instead of spilling into a round yet chunky saloon or estate body, it now flows into a flank and rear end that'd turn most supermodels green with envy. A deep line running up the side gives the impression that the car is flowing upwards, and it gives it a wide, spread stance, before being halted by a fearsome looking exhaust, the only hint that this car might have a bit more power than your average suburban shed.
Inside, it's your typical high-end Volvo fare. Lashings of wood and leather adorn the steering wheel and centre console, accompanied by a set of speakers that wouldn't look out of place on most Max Power cover cars. While the various dials and controls are a tad cluttered for my taste (seeming to congregate way too close to the steering wheel instead of being spread out evenly), what the C70 nails is style. The wood and leather are classy without being gaudy, which is a common pitfall when using the materials (Daewoo fell particularly badly into that one), but in here it's a perfect balance and sport and style, combined with comedy when you see the cassette player, which was out of place even in 1998.
Once you turn the key in the ignition though, you're greeted with a growl from the 2.3 litre five cylinder engine, before settling into a low grumble while idle. Play with the accelerator while stationary though, and the C70 begins to reciprocate, and you can eventually coax some more aggressive noises from under the bonnet. It's a good start, and I'm feeling sharp as I shift into first and pull out onto the road. Driving through city streets, however, is an altogether distracting experience. While the ride at low speeds is great- smooth, swift and rapid- I find that I'm straining to catch the car's reflection in office windows. If there's one factor that makes this car a classic, it's that they instill a great sense of pride, though it could get dangerous at times.
However, after a bit of city driving, I finally managed to get the car onto open roads, to test the performance. Running over the figures for this car, they certainly look impressive- close to 240 bhp being sent through the front wheels, with the Volvo going from a standstill to 60 in just over 6 seconds. Now, you and I may have thought that with that much power going directly to the front wheels, you'd be sent careening into the weeds at every corner that came your way, as the evil that is understeer took control. However, you'd be quite wrong, as the C70 tackles each corner with gusto. The steering is airy, yet completely precise and sharp. The only downsides to the driving experience would be this: turbo lag. It's all too easy to overcompensate with the throttle before the turbo kicks in, and the amount of times I almost drove the C70 into a hedge due to this annoying issue was countless. Onwards..
Volvo C70- the verdict
When this car was released, Volvo made quite a few bold claims about the C70 being a competitor to machines such as the BMW M3, but looking at it now, I'm not so sure about that. This car is definitely more geared towards low speeds and cruising through cities. In that essence, it's more of a style coupé than a performance one, and it's an image it backs up extremely well. The advice I would give is that you should buy this car now for the comfort and the looks, because you'll almost certainly get your money's worth. And due to its uniqueness, you'll be able to watch the value increase as the years go by. That's all I'll say on the matter. If you want style and class in a car, look no further.
And that's a wrap! Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it. Cheers, and I'll see you in the net article!