The 850's classic status has long been assured – now it's time for the V70
By Matt Bird / Tuesday, 3 January 2023 / Loading comments
There’s an easy way to tell which cars are becoming collectible in the UK, and that’s by tracking Japanese imports. Not those from the Japanese manufacturers, of course (there’s always been plenty of those) rather the European cars sold new in Japan and now over here. It usually points to demand from UK-based enthusiasts outstripping supply, meaning the additional cost of bringing a good, salt-free, right-hand drive car is worth it for the increase in value. From Megane 225 to Passat R36, you’d be surprised what turns up – and what can be bought 15 years old without any rust…
There have been plenty of fast Volvos imported from Japan over recent years as a sentimental fondness for the old 850s and V70s has taken hold. Moreover, because they were such great workhorses back in the day, precious few UK cars remained in collectable condition by the time they were becoming valuable, and so more pampered Japanese cars arrived. Even with the BTCC link, it seems unlikely many saw the T5 and its siblings becoming as desirable as they now are. Or owners probably wouldn’t have got rid of Shed money.
This V70 R would be a brilliant example of a Japanese import Volvo. It’s incredibly low mileage for a 2005 car, at 36,000, and as one of the later cars, it also benefits from the chassis changes introduced with the facelift. (Story goes that late Ford chassis guru Richard Parry Jones was going to run a V70 R for six months in the PAG days, only to be so disappointed by it he returned the car and helped Volvo overhaul it for the 2005 update.) It has the manual gearbox instead of the sluggish Geartronic, the Magic Blue paint looks good, the interior is fit for years more mile munching, and the advert is superb – two owners have lavished love on the old Volvo.
So it would be a brilliant import – but the V70 R is even better than that, as it’s an original, UK market car. This means the reams of history – three folders full of receipts, apparently – will be somewhat easier to read, and the provenance simpler to establish. If the choice is there, a good UK car is always going to be preferable to a good Japanese one.
This V70 has seemingly never wanted for anything in its 18-year life, and still doesn’t now. The first 11 services were carried out at the supplying dealer, and the original owner interviewed the second to ensure they were a suitable custodian for their beloved V70. (They were coming from another R, and this was going to be their 13th Volvo, so they passed the test.) The Michelin tyres on the unmarked alloys all have loads of tread, the history includes every MOT certificate as well as tax disc, and a couple of sympathetic upgrades – intercooler and intake pipe – should further enhance the charm of the five-cylinder turbo. There surely can’t be any better examples out there, imported or not. Only the best make it to the cover of Volvo Driver magazine, after all.
A new owner will pay for the privilege, of course. Part of the reason the R was so rare new was its expense; at launch in 2003, it was £38,000 before options. In today’s money, that’s £63,000. So, the advert’s claim of more than £65,000 probably isn’t an exaggeration. Nowadays it’s even rarer, with cars inevitably having fallen by the wayside in 20 years. So although it’s possible to buy a nice, imported car for around £12k, this UK R is more than £20k – £21,990, to be precise. But if ever there was a case where ‘find another’ is appropriate, this must be it. Seldom are Volvos this low mileage and this cherished, and we all know this era has many fans still out there. Only needs one of them to buy this, and with no interview required…
SPECIFICATION | VOLVO V70 R
Engine: 2,521cc, five-cyl turbo
Transmission: 6-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],500rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],950-5,250rpm
Recorded mileage: 36,081
Year registered: 2005
Price new: £37,665 (before options)
Yours for: £21,990
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