The Volvo 262C blended Swedish quality with Italian design – a full four decades ago – and is now celebrating the 40th anniversary, considering itself a very rare and beautiful machine.
The model premiered during the 1977 Geneva Motor Show as “perhaps the most unexpected model version,” and is widely considered to be the brand’s first luxury coupe. The stylish model even has an interesting story. Volvo needed a luxury two-door model as it strived to gain US customers and build its image in the country – with Swedish brand’s chief designer Jan Wilsgaard penning the initial design. But the project then went to Italian designer Sergio Coggiola and his company from Turin, where a four-door Volvo 164 was converted into a two-door prototype with a lower roof – this concept can be found in the Volvo Musesum in Gothenburg.
The model series coupe gained a 2.7-liter V6 engine, delivering 140 horsepower (104 kilowatts) – an engine that was researched along with Peugeot and Renault, and manufactured in Douvrin, France. The perks made it a true luxury coupe – power windows and mirrors, central locking, full leather interior, power mirrors, cruise control, air conditioning, heated front seats, alloy wheels, and electrically-powered radio antenna. It was hand made by Bertone, with the 262C squarely attacking the Cadillac Eldorado and Mercedes-Benz 280CE on the American market – with surprise sales. Volvo wanted a total of 800 examples – but it actually had 6,622 examples between 1977 and 1981.