Paul Newman's 1988 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon Has A Buick GNX Engine And A Massive Price Tag
Paul Newman was an American actor, film director, and race car driver that loved a fast car, loved a Volvo wagon, and liked to turn the latter into the former. He bought this Volvo 740 Turbo wagon new in 1988 and promptly swapped the turbocharged four-cylinder out and replaced it with the turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 from a Buick Regal GNX. The turbo being stamped as a "Volvo V6 Turbo" is a lovely touch.
For good measure, Newman also swapped the original transmission for a Borg-Warner five-speed manual gearbox and added a Volvo Aero-style body kit to the car. Now, 35 years and another owner later, it has sold on Bring A Trailer for a nicely reflective $80,740.
Newman would have been 63 years old when he bought and had the Volvo converted from a sluggish 154-horsepower family hauler into a 300-ish hp sleeper. Official specs back in the day for the later Buick Grand National models were 276 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque, but it was a badly kept secret that GM didn't want its Corvette customers' feelings to be hurt and sandbagged the jacked-up coupes numbers. Those are numbers modern Volvos are now eclipsing, though. For example, the Volvo V60 Recharge puts down 415 hp and 494 lb-ft - however, it needs a supercharger, a turbocharger, and hybrid assist to get there.
The proof this Volvo was the one Newman bought is a photocopy of the original Connecticut title in Paul Newman's name. The owner who just sold the car is based in Illinois and added a Centerforce Performance clutch assembly, hydraulic throw-out bearing, and a new limited-slip differential.
Finished in dark grey metallic paint, fitted with 16-inch tall five-spoke Gemini wheels, and what looks like a good condition black leather interior, it's a sleeper that could easily be driven daily. With its stowable third row of seats and huge capacity cargo area, it's also going to be ridiculously practical for the new owner.
We love a vintage Volvo wagon but wouldn't spend over $80,000 on one, even if Paul Newman owned it. That said, we can't help but feel a little jealous of the new owner. However, unmodified and non-famous people-owned models are floating around, and they have plenty of space under the hood for more modern engine swaps. That's food for thought.