Grey Market Rocket: 1995 Volvo T-5R Wagon – Sold?
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April 20, 2022, Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
How do you spell “badass” on Wagon Wednesday? You’re looking at it. Make it yellow, low, and boxy-as-all-get-out and you have the cocktail for a longroof that makes owning a two-door seem like a questionable decision. This 1995 Volvo T5-R estate represents a few different high watermarks, from the golden years of Volvo embracing both safety and speed with equal vigor and the middle-90s car scene when every manufacturer was eager to build factory hot rods. The T5-R originally listed in March 2022 on Craigslist in Maine (but apparently residing in Florida) is an overseas import, as it retains right-hand-drive steering and comes with the desirable manual gearbox that wasn’t offered stateside in the wagon. The asking price is $32,000, which is quite high when compared to the NADA Price Guide that shows “High” retail as being $5,400, but that’s hardly a fair comparison against a grey-market car in excellent condition.
It’s easy to get nostalgic as a car enthusiast, especially given the migration away from traditional features like the manual gearbox and wagons with turbocharged engines and three pedals. We just don’t do those things here anymore, and as the last hold-outs from the wagon wars like BMW and Mercedes-Benz increasingly pivot to crossovers and abandon the stick shift, enthusiasts that miss the days of handsome estate bodies with the row-it-yourself option can look overseas for salvation. Volvo actually has an upper hand on the wagon stalwarts, as BMW never offered its longroof in a performance trim in the USA, and it took Mercedes quite a few years to give its E-Class the AMG treatment. The T5-R was a shock heard ’round the world, giving the humble Volvo wagon a lowered suspension, larger wheels, Alcantara/leather interior, unique body kit, and a very aggressive stance.
The MotorWeek Retro Review YouTube Channel provides this vintage test drive of the U.S. version of this very special Volvo 850 Station Wagon:
The T5-R was offered in both sedan and wagon configurations, with the latter a darling of the gearhead world. If you want to create fans for life, offer a high-performance wagon with all the trimmings and watch enthusiasts go on to tell their grandchildren about the epic estate they once owned. The T5-R wasn’t just a turbocharged road rocket, however, as Volvo went all the way in building the boldest 850 they could, offering it in loud colors like the yellow seen here and offset by gunmetal wheels. The seller doesn’t elaborate as to which overseas market his wagon came from, but if I had to guess, I’d pick Japan, even if the manual transmission wasn’t a popular choice there. Japan seems to have a love affair with limited-edition performance models, with plenty of low-mileage Alpina and AMG cars emerging from private collections there over the years. This is all the money for a T5-R wagon, but it’s also one of the most desirable Volvos made in the last 30 years (in my humble opinion – does anyone else agree?)
Here’s the seller’s description:
“This amazing Volvo 850 (855) European 5 speed T-5R is in incredible condition with a newer battery, new AC system, new Bilstein shocks, etc.
Please email this add to contact the owner.
See add on Hemmings as well.
Shipping is about $1500 door to door through King of the Road, or drive it up yourself, etc.”
Hot rod wagon: would you fork over the cash for a Volvo like this T5-R or hold out for a modern AMG model?