HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1996 Volvo 850 T5R

Pick of the Day: 1996 Volvo 850 T5R

A wolf in sheep's clothing


A Volvo station wagon and high-performance vehicle are not usually used in the same sentence. Preconceived notions and the assumptions derived from them can be a tough cycle to break. But if you start with a turbo-charged station wagon from the factory, and then it was modified by the ensuing ownership, well you have a true wolf in sheep’s on your hands.

“Volvo designed the limited edition T-5R after competing in the BTCC (British Touring Car Championship) with a race tuned 850 series estate,” the listing states. “When Volvo announced the news it would be racing an estate for the 1994 season, many thought it was a joke. Although when it was race time… Volvo’s wagon held its own.” 

The Pick of the Day is a 1996 Volvo 850 T5R available for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in Aiken, South Carolina. (Click the link to view the listing)

A stock 1996 850 T5R was powered by a transversely mounted 2.3-liter straight-five turbocharged and intercooled engine Bosch Motronic 4.3 engine management that produced a factory-rated 222 bhp when new. This Volvo’s engine was modified, and the selling dealer states that it now produces an estimated 300+ bhp. Engine upgrades include an upgraded aluminum intercooler, silicone intercooler hoses, larger aftermarket dump pipe, and custom exhaust.  

The engine is now paired with a five-speed manual transmission and Quaife limited slip differential. It rides on OZ Racing 18″ Alleggerita HLT wheels.

1996 VOLVO 850 T5R

The black interior has front high-back bucket seats, and amenities include a sunroof, air conditioning, and a power driver’s seat. The dealer states that the aftermarket Kenwood DVD GPS touchscreen head unit, speakers, and amplifier are installed but have not been tested due to the malfunctioning head unit.

This sleeping hot rod is available for $33,980 and is a solid choice to enter the modern classic car market. Also, very few expect great road performance in a boxy station wagon and this Volvo is an opportunity to against the grain.  

“Over 716,903 Volvo 850 series were built but few quality T-5R examples are still existence,” the listing states. “Volvo only sold 19 Dark Olive Pearl wagons to the United States but all of them featured an automatic transmissions.”

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

David P. Castro
David P. Castro
David P. Castro is one of our lead writers. The Santa Rosa, California native is an experienced automotive and motorsports writer with a passion for American muscle cars. He is a credentialed automotive, NASCAR, and IndyCar reporter that graduated from the University of Nevada-Reno. A devoted F1 and NASCAR fan, he currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife, son, Siberian Husky, Mini Cooper, and 1977 Chevrolet C10.


  1. I remember reading about this car in a Motor Trend (or C&D) article back in 1995; it was a writeup of ‘Thunder Wagons’ and featured a wagon from BMW and M-B as well as this one. I thought it was called the 850 R as well but this was 25+ years ago. I could be wrong.


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