It's fair to say the classic Volvo 740 has a devoted following, and Hollywood legend Paul Newman was part of that. This was his car, purchased brand new back in 1988 according to the Bring A Trailer auction where it's currently up for sale. Of course, Newman was also a racer and a big fan of motorsports. And thanks to all that, we have one of the coolest, sneakiest sleeper station wagons we've seen in a long time.
On the outside, this looks (more or less) like a well-kept 1988 Volvo 740 wagon, albeit sitting a bit lower than normal. There are multiple reasons for that, starting with a set of lowering springs that are part of the suspension changes. There are also Bilstein struts and shocks, along with upgraded sway bars, and those five-spoke 16-inch aluminum wheels are shod with BFGoodrich g-Force tires. Further enhancing the low look is a modest body kit that features side skirts, a front valence, and a different rear bumper cover. But you didn't click this article to read about a Volvo with a body kit.
Gallery: 1988 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon 5-Speed By Paul Newman
You clicked because you saw Turbo V6 and Paul Newman and had to know more. Per the auction description, Mr. Newman had a shop in Alabama swap in a 3.8-liter turbocharged V6 sourced from a Buick Grand National. It's paired with a five-speed manual transmission pulled from a Pontiac Firebird, sending power to the rear wheels.
There are a plethora of other upgrades to make the engine/transmission swap work in harmony with the Volvo's brick body. A custom exhaust system was fabricated for the car, and cooling is enhanced with a big oil cooler and an electric radiator cooling fan. There is no mention of horsepower, but the auction comes with several engine tunings on various computer chips. Back in the 1980s, the Grand National made 245 horsepower dead stock, while the GNX upped that to 276 hp.
The auction notes some wear and tear both inside and out, but on the whole, it doesn't look bad for a 35-year-old vehicle that was apparently Newman's daily driver for at least a little while. The odometer shows 76,000 miles, and paperwork is listed with the auction showing his ownership. Newman passed away in 2008, so in addition to having a very cool, fun-to-drive wagon, the new owner of this Volvo will gain a legit piece of celebrity history.