When the doors to the 1985 international motor show in Geneva were thrown open to the public, the spotlight fell on an all-new Volvo model.
The Volvo 780 was an exclusive 2-door coupé. It was designed by Italian styling house Bertone, which was also responsible for production of these exceptional cars, having gained prior experience with the manufacture of the Volvo 264TE (a limousine version of the 264) and the Volvo 262C, the coupé version of Volvo’s 260.
The Volvo 780 combined elegant, timeless design with a clear Volvo identity. The interior was also unique to this model, and the rear seat was individually shaped for two occupants.
Technically, the Volvo 780 was largely based on the 760 model.
“With the 780, we can offer an elegant touring car with a personal design, exclusive details solutions and a unique engine programme with emphasis on comfort,” said the Volvo Car Corporation marketing manager Carleric Häggström in the press release on the new car.
Comfort was also the best word to describe the model. It was not a sporty car but very comfortable, luxuriously appointed and loaded with all sorts of equipment and accessories as standard features.
Twice the price of a 760 GLE
Most things were electrically operated: Seats, windows, mirrors, sun roof. There was an air conditioning unit, ABS brakes, self-leveling system, a trip computer and state-of-the-art audio equipment. Certainly it was expensive with a price tag of SEK 290,000 or about twice the price of a 760 GLE.
There were three engines to choose from: the 2.8 litre V6, a turbocharged four or the straight-six turbo diesel that Volvo used at the time. None of these engines, however, were capable of giving the car a top speed of 200 kph (125 mph) which is a psychological threshold on the German Autobahn, but it was exclusive, comfortable and quiet. It was primarily aimed at the USA, Japan and a few markets in Europe, one of them was Sweden.
The Volvo 780 stayed in production until 1990 without any major changes to the exterior but technically it kept up with the 760 and got independent rear suspension for model year 1988. It eventually also received the cult status exclusive cars usually get. Only 8,518 780s were made and today it is a collector’s item, cared for by owners in both Europe and the USA.
Produced: 1985 – 1990
Body: 2-door é
Engine: 4-cylinder in-line DOHC 1,986 cc or 2,316 cc OHC, V6 OHC 2,849 cc, or 6-cylinder in-line 2,383 cc Turbo Diesel
Transmission: 4-speed manual with electrical overdrive or 4-speed automatic
Brakes: Hydraulic, disc brakes all round
Dimensions: Overall length 479.4 cm wheelbase 277 cm