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Volvo’s Coupe Before the C70: The Volvo 780

Coupes have come and gone in Volvo’s lineup for years. For example, in 1981, mass production of the Volvo 262C, which is a model of Volvo’s early coupe, was discontinued. After four years without a coupe in their lineup, the Sweden-based car manufacturer unveiled at the 1985 International Auto Show in Geneva, Switzerland their return to the two-door coupe market with the 4-seater Volvo 780.

The then newest coupe in the stable of Volvo was designed by the same designer of the defunct Volvo 262C - the designing house in Turin, Italy which is Carrozzeria Bertone. While the Volvo 262C and the Volvo 780 was designed and built by the same outfit, the Volvo 780 is given its own distinctive shape but is still identifiable as a Volvo.

The design of the car is prominently Volvo. It has a low profile that is common in the 700 series of the Volvo lineup. What separates this though from its cousins are its even lower hood, trunk and roof lines, making it the lowest profile car in the entire Volvo 700 series. But the lower profile of the car does not sacrifice space for the car’s occupants. In fact, the lowering of the roofline increases the headroom of the Volvo 780 over the Volvo 262C. The interior of the coupe rivals those of its toughest competition. Chrome dominates the design of the car in itself, from the bumper to the door handles to the side moldings. The window frames which had a black matte trim were also accented with chrome.

Through the car’s production days, it has undergone improvements to make its performance even better. In the coupe’s first two years in the global market, it came equipped with a B280F V6 engine and a live rear axle. In its third year, the coupe was equipped with improved Volvo 780 parts. This includes an independent rear suspension that gave the car better suspension and improved handling. The upgraded rear suspension system configuration is equipped with self-leveling Nivomat shocks which keeps the ride height of the vehicle at its correct level. The improvements made to the car increased its performance but the company is not done with its improvement to the car, while it uses a V6, power is still not at par with some of its competitors.

The B280F V6 engine employed at that time by the Volvo 780 can only cough out 150 horsepower which, primarily, is not enough to power the car efficiently through more than normal demands. The car, after all, weighs 3400 pounds and to drive something that heavy, a better performing power plant is needed. What the company came up with is the B230FT+, which is essentially a B230FT engine with a boost controller which is the Turbo+ developed by Volvo. The newer engine has a relatively higher output of 175 horsepower. This power is further increased to 188 horsepower the following year. The significant increase in the power output of the engine which the 780 employs made this a serious competitor in its class.

The coupe lasted in the market for five years when production of the coupe was ceased in 1990, through that time - Volvo has produced 8,518 cars although different sources estimated that the number of these cars produced is actually much higher. After the discontinuation of the coupe model of Volvo, the company would be absent again from the said market for another five years. Their absence in the coupe market is once again broken by the release of the Volvo C70 in 1995. Today though, Volvo is concentrating on the coupe market evident in their recent unveiling of the Volvo C30 at the Montreal International Auto Show.

About the Author: Glady Reign is a 32 year old is a consultant for an automotive firm based in Detroit, Mi. she is a native of the motor city and grew up around cars hence her expertise in the automotive field.

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