1979 Volvo 260 Series 262C Bertone Coupe

The 200 series Volvos are among the most recognisable cars worldwide, having been bestsellers in many markets when new, and were instrumental in establishing the legacy of quality and safety which Volvo has since enjoyed. What is not so well known, is that Volvo made a luxury coupe from the 200 series. Built in very low numbers (6,622) by the famous Italian design firm Bertone, the 262C was sold from 1977 to 1981 in selected markets, with the main target being the US (as evidenced by the car's styling).

These coupes come up for sale around the world more often than you’d expect for their low numbers, and for some years now prices have plateaued. This 1979 model is currently advertised in Colorado for $3,150 on topclassicsale.com. With prices like this, it’s certainly the time to buy if you’re in the market for a classic Volvo.  This sort of affordability isn’t limited to the US. Several cars have sold around $5,000 or under in Australia in recent years, and there is one currently available for $4,800 on carsales.com.au, which has been advertised for over a year. There are exceptions, of course, and several seen in Europe have asked substantially higher prices, but the good news for those looking to buy is that there seem to be a few bargains around.

This particular car comes in its original ‘Mystic Silver’ paint, with vinyl roof and black leather interior. For a car over 35 years old, it seems to have held up relatively well, and at a glance could be a car you can get looking great without breaking the bank. The leather interiors we've seen in these cars are often badly worn, with the decorative pleated ‘rows’ running across the seats suffering in particular. Unfortunately the seller has not provided any images of the leather trim in this car, and this should be a significant considerations when looking to purchase a 262C. With the ornate detail that Bertone applied to the interior, it would likely be costly to replace. Finding a car with a good interior could save you a substantial amount in re-trimming, assuming you tried to replicate the original design.

Overall styling is a matter of personal preference, but the 262 really stands out, particularly if you’re living in a non-US market. Although the 262C carries the Bertone badge, the cars were only built by Bertone, while the initial design was the responsibility of in-house Volvo designer Jan Wilsgaard. The car has a very distinct and proud look, and we think Jan did a great job to ensure the coupe was well proportioned for its US target market. Some have mentioned, however, that the styling came at the expense of headroom and visibility from within the cabin, particularly for those over 6 foot. 

In comparison to the standard 200 series, exterior styling changes are evident from the window level up, with the lower half of the car retaining the standard 200 series proportions. The roofline was lowered 10cm, with revised roof pillars, roof pan, glass, cowling and door apertures. Those upper half changes made a big difference to the car’s overall appearance. The lower roof-line meant a more raked back and streamlined appearance, which was brought to an abrupt end by the thick vertical US style C-pillar. To further integrate with the US market, the 262 was finished off with a vinyl roof. As these cars are getting on in the years now, the condition of the vinyl roof is an important item to check.

The 262 underwent a minor styling change in 1979, which included the introduction of wrap-around tail lights, a revised trunk lid and new alloy wheels – features that can be seen on this car in the images. For the 1981 year, the vinyl roof was dropped, which altered the appearance of the car significantly, and possibly broadened its appeal.

Aimed at the luxury end of the market, the 262 was well equipped, competing against other luxury coupes such as the Cadillac Eldorado, Lincoln Continental and Mercedes 280CE. Inside the car, luxurious pleated leather and elm veneer trims covered nearly every surface generously. Heated front seats, electronic mirrors, windows and door locks, plus air conditioning and cruise control were all standard features. The few options available on the car included a limited slip differential, power antenna, manual transmission and a choice of stereos.

The 262C was fitted with a jointly developed V6 engine built in conjunction with Peugeot, Renault and Volvo. The engine initially displaced 2.7 litres, producing around 127hp, but was significantly modified in 1980 with revised compression ratios, and changed from 4 main engine bearings to 7. Bore was also increased to 2.8 litres, and all of these changes resulted in horsepower increasing marginally to around 130hp. The majority of 262s were sold with a 3-speed automatic Borg-Warner transmission, rather than the optional 4-speed plus overdrive manual. 

In the end, the 262C was replaced by another Bertone Volvo, the Volvo 780 Coupe. The 780 would be built in slightly higher numbers than the 262C, but was sadly the last Bertone built Volvo. If you own a 262C or 780, please sign up, add it to our register and share your story.

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Vehicle details

Added on 4 Oct 2016

Vehicles are added to the register for historical record purposes by owners and enthusiasts. If you have a question about this vehicle, please contact the user that added the vehicle by clicking "Contact Author" below.

Vehicle Location: Country: 
United States
Build date: 
built in 1979
Automatic (floor shift / T bar)
66663 Miles
Paint Colour/Code: 
Mystic Silver
Interior Colour/Code: 
Black leather
Engine Fuel Type: 
Petrol (4 stroke)
Engine Number: 
Chassis Number: