Flagship of the Volvo range during the early 1980’s
was the 262C Bertone-designed and assembled coupe,
based on the mechanicals of the 264 GLE.
at over $30000, the 262C was almost twice as expensive
as the sedan from which it is derived, and for the
extra coin you got the most distinctive of the Volvo
range, Bertone badges, and a luxurious 2 + 2 interior.
Few would have known then however that the 262C Bertone
would become an instant classic and is today highly
prized and very collectable.
Powered by the same Peugeot-Renault-Volvo
co-operative fuel-injected V6 engine that was in
the lesser 264 and 265 GLE’s, the engine was
manufactured in Dourvin, France.
Coupled with the
automatic three-speed transmission, it provided good
performance as well as modest fuel consumption.
suspension setup was totally conventional, with MacPherson.
struts up front and a live axle suspended on coil
springs at the rear. Body roll was kept to a minimum
with stabiliser bars at the back and front.
rack-and-pinion steering was standard, and allowed
the car always to be placed accurately on the road.
flagship Volvo offered safe and predictable handling
on all surfaces, while the four-wheel disc brakes
complemented the on-road security of the vehicle.
Ride comfort was good, but some criticism was directed
at the performance of the rather dated rear live
The 262C was assembled in Turin, Italy, under
the exacting eyes of Nuccio Bertone. High quality
Italian leather was used to cover the seats, trim
the doors, and even cover the sun-visors.
elm veneer was also used on door panels. Standard
equipment included cruise control, heated bucket
seats, a power radio antenna, dual swivel map lights,
and a rear seat cigarette lighter.
power remote-controlled rear-view mirrors, air-conditioning,
and electric rear window defroster were also provided.
The standard alloy wheels were shod with high performance
Michelin or Pirelli tires.
Like all Volvos, the body of the 262C included a utilised
central safety passenger cage. Rust-proofing was extensive
with the use of galvanised steel in susceptible areas,
anti-corrosive coating inside doors, extensive undercoating,
and special stone-chip resistant paint, meaning thankfully
that many have survived to this day.
At the time, the
exclusive Volvo was not for everyone, as its high price
was really not justified by the level of sophistication
offered. Moreover, many thought Bertone's styling
exercise left much to be desired, deeming that the
large sedan body mated poorly with the low roofline,
while the landau side windows looked very much an
Maybe they were right, but they forgot
one important thing – the individuality of
the design and exclusivity of the price would ensure
it remained the most desirable of the Volvo’s.