Volvo 480 Turbo

Not much chance of seeing either of the other two 480 Turbo autos coming the other way

Cost New £16,000 Price £5995


he futuristic 480 is the quintessential modern classic. Forward-looking styling and an interior straight from a spaceship. Oh, and it has pop-up headlights and that other 1980s must-have, the word 'Turbo' on the rump. We just had to check it out.

And it checks out very well indeed. We searched high and low for blemishes in the paintwork and could only find a minor touched-in stonechip on the front bumper and some minor marks at the bottom of the passenger side door, neither of which represent significant cause for concern. The rear lights, which are well known for going milky, are pleasingly clear, and the vendor has redone the vinyl strip that runs between the bonnet and the bumper. There are also brand new Firestone tyres, which encircle freshly refurbished alloy wheels.

The interior is a time capsule with all sorts of chunky buttons and dials harking back to the late 1980s and early 1990s.

They all work too – the previous owner removed the dashboard to replace all the lights (which have a tendency to stop working on 480s) with much more reliable LEDs.

There is, however, a crack in the plastic instrument binnacle surround casing that's visible from the passenger-side seat. Other than that, it's absolutely perfect, with no rips, tears or unsightly marks.

There's a bulging service book and original book pack which contains the first bill of sale and the list of available accessories. The service book is full of stamps, with fresh ink appearing on a largely yearly or biennial basis. There are receipts to back all this up, with the last major service (which included the timing belt) occurring in 2018, at a cost of £1240.

On the road, the Volvo isn't quite as swift as the Turbo lettering might suggest, but it's quick enough to keep up with modern traffic. The brakes aren't the sharpest, but they weren't when new, and the automatic gearbox isn't quick, but that's normal too. It's no ball of fire, then, but it's a charming place to wallow in nostalgia. We didn't experience any strange rattles or vibrations. It feels new.

Volvo 480 Turbos rarely come up for sale, particularly in automatic form. This is one of just three autos left. That alone should pique the interest of this car's fans, but it deserves a closer look on its condition too. It really is an excellent example of the breed.

Volvo 480 Turbo

Year:     1990
Mileage:    38,493
On sale at:     Stone Cold Classics

Engine:     1721cc, 4-cyl, SOHC
Transmission:    FWD, 4-speed auto
Power:     118bhp@5400rpm
Torque:     130lb-ft@3300rpm
Weight:     1040kg

0-60mph:    8.6sec
Top speed:    124mph
Economy:     25mpg

Choose your Volvo 480 Turbo

1986: First 480s roll off the production line in the Netherlands. Original engines were Renault-sourced. Porsche helped to develop the engine, and Lotus tuned the suspension.

1988: 480 Turbo joins the range, and is available in automatic and manual form. Catalytic converters were added to its spec sheet.

1991: Range facelifted with new mirrors, headrests and further trim changes. Renault F3-derived 2.0-litre joins the range.

1993: Catalytic converter legislation leads to a drop in output across the range.

1994: Run-out special Celebration model appears.

1995: Production ceases.