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Profile on the Volvo 740 760


By Don Chapman

After five years of thorough development work the new and radically different 700 Series was launched. The new car was launched simultaneously in nine European locations on 2nd February 1982. Initially, the sole representative was the 760GLE saloon powered by the 156bhp V6 engine carried over from the 260 Series. A new automatic transmission was fitted, the AW71 four speed unit which improved fuel consumption by up to 20% on long runs. There followed the 122bhp turbocharged and intercooled 6-cylinder diesel engine, originating from Volkswagen. This was then considered a very quiet unit by current diesel engine standards, and made the 760 one of the world's fastest diesel powered cars. Volvo decided against using independent rear suspension for the 700 Series and went for a design unique to themselves, ensuring constant track width under all conditions. There were two suspension arms to absorb longitudinal forces, a cross strut to accommodate lateral forces, and two torque struts (over and under the axle) to counteract torsional forces resulting from acceleration and braking. The torque struts were attached to a sub-frame, mounted to the chassis on rubber bushes.

Volvo 760

In 1983 the appeal of the 760GLE was widened again by the introduction of a third engine option, the 2.3 litre (B23ET) turbocharged and intercooled unit developing 173bhp. This higher-powered version had a stiffer chassis and harder shock absorbers to improve handling at higher speeds. Transmissions then available were a manual 4-speed box with electrically operated overdrive and the previously mentioned AW71 automatic unit. Both transmissions had cast aluminium cases in the interest of weight reduction. Another interesting technical innovation was the use of sliding front brake calipers, which enable the pads to be checked without the necessity to remove the wheels. Attention to paint processes and rustproofing was of a very high order; obviously vital in a country where such vast quantities of salt are applied to the roads in winter. This contributed to the average life expectancy of a Volvo approaching 20 years at a time when that of most other cars had a life expectancy of about 10 years. An important development took place in 1984 - the introduction of the first 740 model, the 740GLE. This had the two advantages of being less expensive than the 760GLE, whilst appearing almost identical. The 740GLE had the B23E engine, of 2.3 litres capacity and developing 131bhp. The 740 was priced roughly mid-way between the 240 and the 760. The 740GLE was subsequently joined by the 740GL, which was powered by a 2.3 litre carburetted engine, and had a slightly lower level of trim.

A further very important development took place in 1985 with the introduction of the 740/760 estates. The estates have proved to be a vital and increasing component in 700 Series sales, in 1989 over 40% of 740 sales were estates. In the same year, the 740 was equipped with the new generation low friction engines, including the 182bhp turbocharged and intercooled engine. A diesel version was added, which was turbocharged, but unlike the version fitted to the 760 did not have charge air-cooling, which reduced the power to 109bhp. Engines with catalytic converters and Lambda Sond were introduced in various European countries in 1986. On the engine front, a new V6 for the 760, the B280 appeared, and there were large-scale changes to the B230 engine, these included a microprocessor controlled ignition system designed to improve both performance and fuel consumption. Electronic Traction Control and ABS (antilock system) brakes became options on certain models within the range. In 1987 an updated version of the 760 arrived. The most obvious change externally was the softer rounded front of the car. On the saloons Volvo Multilink independent rear suspension was introduced to further improve comfort and driving characteristics. Micro-processor controlled ECC (Electronic Climate Control) further enhanced the in-car environment. Production of the 760 was concentrated in Volvo's plant at Kalmar.

Volvo 780

At the Geneva Motor Show in 1988 Volvo presented the 740GLT. The engine was substantially different from others in the range being a 2.3 litre unit with twin overhead camshafts operating 16 valves via maintenance free hydraulic tappets. The engine also featured two balance shafts rotating at twice crankshaft speed, designed to reduce vibrations. Power was increased to 155bhp. 1989 saw the 740 Series receive a fronted face-lift. Under the bonnet was a new generation turbocharged engine, the B230FT. This engine had a new more compact and efficient turbocharger which reduced the delay in response when accelerating (turbo lag) by some 40% The newly designed exhaust manifold helped to power the turbocharger more efficiently, and particularly improved lower and mid range torque. In 1990 the 700 Series was subjected to a rear-end re-design and had its name changed to the 900 Series. Engine options in the 940 Series were much the same as in the latter 740 models. In the 960 however, a technically sophisticated new straight 6.3 litre unit with twin cams and 24 valves replaced the V6 engine.

Finally a few words about what must surely be the most exclusive and attractive 700 Series model to be produced. This was the 780, a 2-door coupe based on the 700 floor pan. Although recognisably a 700, there are no body panels in common with either the 740 or 760. Most unfortunately Volvo never made this beautiful model in right hand drive form. A 129bhp turbo-diesel engine, similar to that fitted to the 760 powered a version for the Italian market. The car was equipped to an extremely high standard; the motorised front seats incorporating a memory function aided entry to the back seat, so that the seat could be moved forward and would return automatically to the correct position. For the American market in 1990, two engine options were offered, the 2.8 litre V6 developing 145bhp and the 2.3 litre turbocharged and intercooled unit, with 188bhp. For 1991 the V6 was not offered. From 1988 independent rear suspension was fitted, and a 21 gallon (USA) fuel tank. The servicing schedule supplied with the V6 engine model specifies that the spark plugs should be changed at 25,000-mile intervals! Transmission was the 4-speed automatic. Production of the 780 lasted from model year 1985-86 through to 1991, and a total of around 8,500 cars were produced.

I am most grateful to Volvo Cars of North America for the brochures, which they were good enough to supply; also for information from two Club Members who are fortunate enough to own 780's, one in Berkshire and the other in Paris.

Volvo 780
1991 Bertone Coupe owned by Tom McDaniel in the USA

Volvo 740 and 760 production details

Volvo 740 Saloon / Sedan production, engine and gearbox information.

Chassis Name Model Year Model Name Production ID Ch. Nr. From Nr. Built Engine Gearbox
Volvo 744 1984 Volvo 740 Turbo E --- 14338 B23FT M46, AW71
Volvo 744 1985 Volvo 740 GLE F 81680 102440 B230F M46, ZF22L
Volvo 744 1985 Volvo 740 Turbo F --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 744 1986 Volvo 740 GLE G --- 90088 B230F M46, ZF22L, AW70L
Volvo 744 1986 Volvo 740 Turbo G --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 744 1986 Volvo 740 Turbo DIESEL G --- --- D24T M46, ZF22L
Volvo 744 1987 Volvo 740 GLE H 90200 100499 B230F M47, ZF22L, AW70L
Volvo 744 1987 Volvo 740 Turbo H --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 744 1988 Volvo 740 GLE J 190700 102257 B230F M47, ZF22L, AW70L
Volvo 744 1988 Volvo 740 Turbo J --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 744 1989 Volvo 740 GL K 294100 101487 B230F M47, AW70L
Volvo 744 1989 Volvo 740 GLE 16 Valves K --- --- B234F M46, AW72L
Volvo 744 1989 Volvo 740 Turbo K --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 744 1990 Volvo 740 GL L 397000 100576 B230F M47, AW70L
Volvo 744 1990 Volvo 740 GLE 16 Valves L --- --- B234F M46, AW72L
Volvo 744 1990 Volvo 740 Turbo L --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 744 1991 Volvo 740 GL M 499200 31531 B230F M47, AW70L
Volvo 744 1991 Volvo 740 Turbo M --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 744 1991 Volvo 740 SE M --- --- B230FT M46?, AW71
Volvo 744 1992 Volvo 740 GL N 561000 5669 B230F M47, AW70L
Volvo 744 1992 Volvo 740 Turbo N --- --- B230FT M46, AW71

Total 740 Saloon cars built: 650443


Volvo 740 Estate / Wagon production, engine and gearbox information

Chassis Name Model Year Model Name Production ID Ch. Nr. From Nr. Built Engine Gearbox
Volvo 745 1985 Volvo 740 GLE F 1 7015 B230F M46, ZF22L
Volvo 745 1985 Volvo 740 Turbo F --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 745 1986 Volvo 740 GLE G 6970 54983 B230F M46, ZF22L, AW70L
Volvo 745 1986 Volvo 740 Turbo G --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 745 1986 Volvo 740 Turbo DIESEL G --- --- D24T M46, ZF22L
Volvo 745 1987 Volvo 740 GLE H 62100 53915 B230F M47, ZF22L, AW70L
Volvo 745 1987 Volvo 740 Turbo H --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 745 1988 Volvo 740 GLE J 116100 60353 B230F M47, ZF22L, AW70L
Volvo 745 1988 Volvo 740 Turbo J --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 745 1989 Volvo 740 GL K 176800 64741 B230F M47, AW70L
Volvo 745 1989 Volvo 740 GLE 16 Valves K --- --- B234F M46, AW72L
Volvo 745 1989 Volvo 740 Turbo K --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 745 1990 Volvo 740 GL L 242700 71462 B230F M47, AW70L
Volvo 745 1990 Volvo 740 GLE 16 Valves L --- --- B234F M46, AW72L
Volvo 745 1990 Volvo 740 Turbo L --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 745 1991 Volvo 740 GL M 316300 26128 B230F M47, AW70L
Volvo 745 1991 Volvo 740 Turbo M --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 745 1992 Volvo 740 GL N 342700 20355 B230F M47, AW70L
Volvo 745 1992 Volvo 740 Turbo N --- --- B230FT M46, AW71

Total 740 Estate cars produced: 358952


Volvo 780 production, engine and gearbox information

Chassis Name Model Year Model Name Production ID Ch. Nr. From Nr. Built Engine Gearbox
Volvo 780 1986 Volvo 780 G 1 683 B280F AW71
Volvo 780 1986 Volvo 780 Turbo G --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 780 1987 Volvo 780 H 1200 2035 B280F AW71
Volvo 780 1987 Volvo 780 Turbo H --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 780 1988 Volvo 780 J 4000 2334 B280F AW71
Volvo 780 1988 Volvo 780 Turbo J --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 780 1989 Volvo780 K 6500 2166 B280F AW71
Volvo 780 1989 Volvo 780 Turbo K --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 780 1990 Volvo 780 Turbo L --- --- B230FT M46, AW71
Volvo 780 1990 Volvo 780 L 9000 1300 B280F AW71
Volvo 780 1991 Volvo 780 M 11300 --- B280F AW71
Volvo 780 1991 Volvo 780 Turbo M --- --- B230FT M46, AW71

Total Volvo 780 cars produced: 8518

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