Blessed by Bertone: 1989 Volvo 780 Turbo – Sold!

Apr 2020 | Classifinds, Free For All Friday

Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330

It’s difficult to find an Italian-built coupe with Swedish levels of safety and restraint, combined with the opulence of a British limousine. Yet here we have the exceedingly rare 1989 Volvo 780 Bertone, listed on Craigslist in Providence, Rhode Island, and described as benefiting from $10,000 in maintenance from 2017 to 2019. It has close to 160,000 miles on the clock and is listed with an asking price of $4,200.  Checking the NADA Classic Car Values guide tells us that this private seller feels like the extensive maintenance this 780 has received pushes it to the top of the heap, as the price exceeds “High” retail of $3,700.  

The whole experiment of using a major styling house to fashion a limited number of vehicles in hopes that they sell on the basis of the associations with luxury and exclusivity has always been a strange one to me. I also don’t think it has ever resulted in major sales successes, as the 780 coupe confirms based on its lackluster attraction among consumers. Think about the work Bertone did to create a custom coupe with Volvo underpinnings: the designer took a 760 sedan, molded the roof line into a coupe-style body, and modified the hood, trunk, and C-pillar, along with equipping it with a highly opulent interior. This was by no means a simple transformation, but despite the extensive cosmetic overhaul, the drivetrains were all fairly underwhelming. U.S.-market models like this later 780 Bertone ended up with the most powerful option offered stateside, with a turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood that doled out 188 horsepower via a four-speed automatic. Manuals were offered, but are exceedingly rare.

All that aside, these were still incredibly handsome cars that oozed opulence, and preserved the tank-like construction Volvos of this era are known for. The seller reports extensive efforts to preserve and maintain this Bertone for the long-haul, from cosmetic repairs like re-spraying the front valence to mechanical repairs including a new timing belt, heater core, engine mounts, control arms, and more. The full list of maintenance receipts seemingly indicates this rare turbocharged Bertone is ready for years of reliable use, even with its mileage on the high side. Good luck with the purchase if a rarity like this 780 coupe has been on your list of must-haves!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“I have the clean Carfax report, and more than 23 pages of service records equaling $9,984+ from 2017-2019.

This 780 has the B230FT; Turbo charged 2.3L, 4 cylinder engine. This car runs fantastic, is very quiet, and is SO comfortable. From 2017 to 2019, the services included- new front under-spoiler & paint, FULL timing belt service, battery, full heater core job, heater control valve, E-Brake shoes and cables, both engine mounts, front brakes, rear brakes, battery, ball joints, control arms, power antenna, sunroof cable replacement, catalytic converter, Nivomat rear shocks, PCV tune up w/spark plugs, cap, rotor, coolant hoses, intake manifold gaskets, valve cover gaskets, crank seal, cam seals, turbo oil seals, transmission output shaft seal and bushing, and more. The sunroof works fantastic, the power seats, antenna, tape player, you name it.

The only cons I can think of are a slow oil drip from the oil adapter (that the oil filter attaches to), and a slightly sagging headliner in the rear. MA title in hand. Text or call with any questions.

Do you have a 780 Bertone story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

4 Comments
  1. Cory

    What an interesting experiment by Volvo. I’d love to drive one of these to see how it compares to my 244. I personally prefer the look of the regular 740 and 240 over this.

    Reply
    • Jeff Lavery

      I just noticed a Bertone sitting behind a local garage, riding on the “Hydra” wheels from a Turbo model. Going to check it out as it looked surprisingly slick.

      Reply
  2. Abe

    I’m reasonably confident that this is the exact car I owned back in college around 2005 – 2010. I’d love to track down its owner to see if that’s the case

    Reply
    • Guys with Rides

      I am the seller of the Eldorado and it’s located in Hunterdon County New Jersey, about halfway between New York City and Philadelphia.

      Reply

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