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Category: Volvo

Junkyard Gem: 1994 Volvo 850 Turbo Wagon

Volvo began selling brick-shaped rear-wheel-drive station wagons in the United States with the 145 in the 1968 model year, continuing the tradition with the 200, 700 and 900 series wagons and all the way through the very last 1998 V90s. The benefits of front-wheel-drive proved impossible for those Göteborgers to resist, though, and so the 850 was developed. The 850 sedan first appeared in the United States as a 1993 model, with the wagon version following in 1994. Today’s Junkyard Gem is one of those first-year 850 wagons, found in a Colorado Springs self-service yard recently.

The 850 wasn’t the first production Volvo with front-wheel-drive (the 1986 Volvo 480 beat it to European showrooms), but it was the first one available on our continent.

The base 1994 Volvo 850 wagon for the U.S. market had a 2.4-liter DOHC straight-five rated at 168 horsepower and 162 pound-feet, but this car has the turbocharged version with its 222 horses and 221 pound-feet.

American buyers of the 1994 Volvo 850 had the choice of a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Most took the automatic.

This car is a loaded model with power sunroof and other goodies in addition to the slushbox, so its MSRP was $30,985 (about $66,194 in 2024 dollars). This was a bit less than a similarly equipped 960 wagon (which listed at $34,950, or $74,665 after inflation). The antiquated but reliable 240 wagon had been discontinued the year before, with the 740 wagon getting the axe the year before that).

This car just made it past the 200,000-mile mark during its career on the road. That’s respectable, though I’ve found discarded Volvos that made it beyond 400,000 miles (and one that got to 631,999).

The interior looked pretty good before someone smashed all the windows. Perhaps vandalism sent a running car to this place.

Someone was kind enough to write down the security code on the factory radio.

Drive safely.

For those of you who hate to commute but adore driving.

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