The late actor and race car driver Paul Newman had a thing for modified Volvo wagons, and one of those cars is now up for auction on Bring a Trailer.
The car in question is a 1988 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon with an engine that originated in Flint, Michigan, not Gothenburg, Sweden. It’s the turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6 from a Buick Grand National, and it drives the rear wheels through a 5-speed manual transmission sourced from a Pontiac Firebird.
The engine swap was done in 1988 by HESCO Engineering of Birmingham, Alabama, according to the auction listing. That company was run by Lee Hurley, who built engines for NASCAR stars Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip, and Neil Bonnet, the seller adds in a comment on the listing. Other modifications reportedly include an engine tuning chip, an electric cooling fan, a larger oil cooler, and a custom exhaust system, while a subsequent owner reportedly added a new air intake and a Bosch fuel pump.
The exterior has some subtle modifications as well, including a body kit, 16-inch Gemini wheels, and lowering springs. The black leather interior also has a Sony CD player—the latest in-car audio technology in 1988—and an eight-speaker sound system.
Newman owned the Volvo from 1988 to 1998 and put just over 59,000 miles on it, according to the seller, who claims it now has 76,000 miles. It’s being offered with a clean Illinois title in the seller’s name, plus a photocopy of a Connecticut title in Newman’s name to prove the actor’s ownership.
While mostly associated with Datsun/Nissan in racing, Newman owned multiple modified Volvos. After this car was built, Newman commissioned three more Volvo wagons, this time with supercharged Ford V-8s, according to the seller. He even convinced David Letterman to get his own supercharged V-8 Volvo 960 wagon, which appeared on an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
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