In 1996, Volvo introduced a new high performance Volvo 850 as a replacement for the hugely successful limited edition T-5R. Volvo decided there should be no direct successor to the T-5R, but due to its huge hand in improving Volvo’s image and the big sales success Volvo decided to develop a new high performance model. The new car should be based on the T-5R but with some improvements. The new car was called the Volvo 850 R which again came as either a saloon or Sport Wagon. In 5-door form, the turbocharged station wagon can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 6.5/7.4 (manual/auto) seconds and reach up to 158 mph.
The only colours available were Bright Red, Black Stone, Dark Grey Pearl, Dark Olive Pearl, Turquoise Pearl and Polar White. Cream yellow was discontinued for the 850 R. The saloon featured a newly designed rear spoiler whilst a spoiler was now standard on the estate. The interior upgrades included bucket style heavily bolstered ‘sport’ front seats (Alcantara centre with leather bolsters), Alcantara door cards, 2-tone leather steering wheel, Stainless steel ‘850’ kick plates and R branded over mats. A 200w amplifier was also added to the 8-speaker audio system as was the option to have an SC-805/815 in-dash CD player (some markets).
Antilock-Braking System (ABS), Traction Control Systems (TRACS), Sport suspension with self-leveling rear shock absorbers, Cruise control, OBC, Electric windows, Electric heated mirrors, Volvo Guard alarm with remote control, Front fog lights, Electronic climate control (ECC), Leather & Amaretta (suede) upholstery and steering wheel, Heated electric memory seats, Volvo SC-801 double-din radio, Burled Black Walnut trim on dashboard and floor console, Leather gearknob, Electric sunroof, Child booster seat, 4 airbags (driver, passenger and SIPS sidebags),17-inch Volan wheels
This vibrant 850 R in Bright red is the definition of an eye catching modern classic and a dramatic departure from the ‘safety first’ mantra the marque is so well known for. The consistency of the paintwork all around the car is excellent with T5-R body kit free of blemishes or signs of previous repair. The black plastic inserts are particularly susceptible to fading and present very well with only a light brush to the off side bumper to note, providing welcome definition and contrast around the car. Sunroof cassette is in again in good shape whilst surrounding trim to the windows and windscreen feel soft, supple and fit as they should. The R badge to the rear signs off this homologation special perfectly.
Synonymous with the incredible BTCC era, where up to nine manufacturers would ‘compete on a Sunday to sell on a Monday’, the 850 T5 Wagon of Rickard Rydell and Jan Lammers won the hearts and minds of the Motorsport enthusiast; “The Volvo 850 estate was by far the largest car in the series,” explains Rickard Rydell. “Our competitors, who were taking part largely to strengthen their sporting image, were not pleased about having to compete with an estate. There were a few taunts from other drivers – but that was no problem. To wind them up, in one heat we drove with a large stuffed collie in the boot during the parade lap!”
All 850’s were blessed with generous spec from the factory; Heated seats, Cruise and Climate control, as well as the groundbreaking SIPS system, all featured then as what we see now as basic requirements for comfort and safety. With Porsche heavily involved with the seat and trim design, a combination of leather and alcantara provides excellent levels of comfort and support. The seats themselves have survived very well, with only the lightest of bolster wear to the driver’s side to report.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Start up procedure cracks the Inline 5 into life before settling to that renowned warble that reassuringly drums through the cabin. A sound many of us (and the dog) are familiar with! The gearbox shifts smoothly through the gears without unneccessary drone or whine.
The car is running as standard, without modifications, and feels strong through the rev range and steady at cruise.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The Iconic Volan wheels present unmarked wrapped in new Falken rubber
Brakes are adequately matched to the performance, with plenty of disc and pad material remaining.
This R was first registered in June of 1996 and has led a pampered life in Japan prior to export to the UK earlier this year.
Having just returned from esteemed Independent garage PGI in Farnham the car is fresh from a major service inclusive of timing belt kit and auxiliary belt replacement.
An owners wallet inclusive of owners pack, original service book and spare key sit in the history file while the car is currently ready to register into the first UK owners name.
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