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Old 06-29-2020, 08:24 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Poland
Default Prestige, Robustesse, Vitesse: The 760GLE


While presenting my B204FT, I got some requests to write about my 760GLE, too. I promised to do it soon, but then the COVID-altered work schedule etc. rendered it impossible. So, with just a month of delay, I am writing the story of my second brick, the infamous PRV.

Why infamous, though? Well, it has a reputation of a bad engine. When first introduced to the US market, it was roasted for being an US car imposter. The odd character of the shortened V8 was a troublesome one, the engine was said to be underpowered, and prone to damage. Even my car mechanic, who had a number of bricks in his life, but never a PRV, was like "uhh, you know what they say, dem PRVs are crap". But is it really a truth? Let's find out.

I spent half of the last year doing a postdoc assignment in Leiden, Netherlands. Even before going there, I have already made a decision I am going to return from there with a new car - presumably, Saab turbo cabrio. Unfortunately, I could not find a sensible candidate: most of the cars that would be interesting to me had either their MOT gone, or were in a trashy condition, or were too expensive. So my attention slowly drifted towards Volvos. The Curse Of The Trashed American stroke again. I found a nice, US 940 estate, running on LPG. I even went to the dealer (half of a country away from me!) for a test drive, but the car was not worth its price. First of all, it was marketed as B234F - but was "only" a B230F. And it was trashed... a lot of things would have to be done in order to use it as a daily driver, and certainly driving it back to Poland from time to time was not an option. I had to search more.

The second try was another American, this time - a 960, pre-FL. It looked great on the photos! Unfortunately, it was not so great when I saw it "live". In particular, there was a huge hole in the upholstery, made to install the LPG pipes. The 5th cyllinder was dead, and the transmission was raising an error on the dashboard. And the car was offered for ~2400 Euro, this being a price of a working 960, basically.

But there was a light in the tunnel: I found a nice offer of a 760 GLE, for 1750 Euro. It was looking great in the photos! A quick telephone call, and I was set for a meeting in two days time. The owner just asked me it I am going to meet him for sure - there were many a man calling him and asking about the car! But that was nothing surprising. You can see the photos from the ad here:


Looks nice, doesn't it? Even the airco was working. No doubt I did whatever possible to arrive on time, and got the city of Hellmond on time. It turned out that it's owner had a number of Volvos, but had to move from his current home to another one (to shorten the daily commute), closer to Amsterdam, and as there was not enough space for many cars, he promised his wife to get rid of some. But he wanted to keep both turbo 850s, so he was asking for a high price for one them, and was eager to sell the 760 cheaper, than the market "standard". So it wasn't a long decision process. In less than an hour, we said goodbye, and I was driving back home as an owner of this:

What do we have here, actually?

Volvo 760 GLE '88;
Sedan, anthracite metallic;
B280F engine (145 HP) + catalyser + AW70 transmission;
Beige edelvelours;
Power windows, heated power mirrors (azure coating), heated seats, airco, electrical automatic antenna, CR-705 radio, factory towing hook, and a dead sunroof.

Sounds quite nice, isn't it? Here is another photo, with a Stahblerg 760GLE in front of it:

The car spent next weeks mostly grounded, as there was no need to drive it locally at that moment, I only did a couple of "training" cruises, testing what has to be done before I head for a short break in Poland. I got some ATF to fill the transmission (actually that was not an easy thing to do - to get it...), prepared myself for a ~12h long journey, and off we go!

The first problem happened some 150km from Leiden. I got a feeling that the airco seems to be working less efficiently... followed by a loud thump. Cr*p! I quickly pulled over to investigate - expecting the worst. Fortunately, it was "only" the airco belt that broke down. Interestingly, it was not an old one... but nevertheless, I was left without the cooling flow. Should that be a big problem?

Yes, because my BB Passport phone which I was using at that time was prone to overheating. And when overheated, it was loosing range, thus rendering the GPS unuseable... Therefore, I decide to go for a short rest on one of the Tankstelle's in Germany - hoping that a ~30 minut stay will allow it to cool down. So I choose the first exit possible, hoping for a smooth stay... just to have a *&%($&* trucker hitting the 760 with his backing up trailer. Fortunately, there was not really much of a damage, but still, getting him to pay was one heck of a story. Nevertheless - after additional 10 hours, I finally reached Poland. Here are a couple of photos after arrival:

The second one is a photo of 760 together with a parts car - a 91' 960, bought without an engine. In general, it was in a derelict state, being used as a daily driver by a doctor - complete with a number of used needles hidden in the compartments, or lying on the floor... and it turned out later, that it was made of two different cars, welded altogether :P

Fortunately, the journey back was much of a smoother one. I used the car most extensively during the rest of my stay, visiting more distant parts of the NL, and gathering spare parts for my Volvoes. In mid-september, I packed the car up with most of my belongings, and drove them home. The car was fully loaded, as seen below:

I had to fly back to the NL for a couple more days, and the car was put in stasis once again, minus some short trips made by my parents, who had their A8 going through some maintenance. Shorly after arrival, I started the process of registering the car in Poland, as an oldtimer. This includes preparation of a lot of paperwork, and making a whole set of car photos - that you can see below, showing the PRV in its full grace:

As you can see, the radio set got replaced: I put an SC-811 PSS, and a 2-DIN console from spares. It works really nice, and can be easily coupled with a small FM transmitter.

The registration process took some time, but finally, after 2 months, I was able to change the plates:

And I also did a small upgrade to the engine bay - do you see it?

So far, the car just... drives. No bigger problems since that ill-fated journey to Poland, no need to do any larger maintenance (the most costly one was probably the exhaust makeover, around 400$). What I would say is the most surprising part is that the PRV does not behave that bad. Of course - it does not accelerate as fast as B204FT, but it can easily rival eg. Audi 2.8 engine. The car is quite fast, easy to drive, and has a lot of cargo space (actually the widest trunk I ever had, I think!). I sometimes start to think that I am getting older, as I prefer driving this one over the Turbo 960 It has a much more "muscle" appearance to me and the PRV sounds "like a million dollars".

Any plans for now? The edelvelour seats are a bit sun-damaged, and I am aiming to replace them. I have already gathered two sedan seating sets - one "turbo" 940, and other velour 960 - and I am trying to buy a set of electrical front seats from 740, with destroyed leather, but working electrical part. Another add-on is the wooden dashboard panel - it is in sorry state as for now, and I am going to have to work with sandpaper, furniture glue and furniture paint to get it nice again. And I am constantly looking for "small details": I got some nice 1987-1988 Volvo brochures, a (working!) laptop computer from 1989, and I am still searching for an onboard phone kit. A Tourist and Diplomat series fender flag pole is also demanded.

Well, I guess that is all for now?
92' 965 B204FT+M90;
89' 765 D24TIc+ZF4HP22;
87' 764 B280F + AW70.
Many more to come!
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Old 06-29-2020, 03:16 PM   #2
former PRVert
tomasss's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Leuven, Belgium

Cool car and story!

Originally Posted by bnw View Post
I sometimes start to think that I am getting older, as I prefer driving this one over the Turbo 960 It has a much more "muscle" appearance to me and the PRV sounds "like a million dollars".
Reminds me the years that I've spent with my PRV! Even when I had both the PRV and B204FT cars at the same time...I always loved the PRV sound and smoothness more
Volvo 740 Turbo B204GT 1991 >project thread<
It's the oversteer that scares passengers. It's the understeer that scares the driver.
Originally Posted by Wren View Post
I would rather push a 240 than drive a V70.
lazy PRV engine? Check >this< out
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Old 07-03-2020, 04:48 AM   #3
All idiot, no savant
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: The Netherlands, Europe

Good score! My experience with the earlier PRV was quite good too, they just suffer a lot more from neglect.. Like most other euro cars. The redblocks seem to be more idiot proof/bullet proof.
Btw Hellmond is not that far away (nothing is really far away in NL), next time drop me a line haha (probably not anymore since you're back home now).
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Old 07-03-2020, 09:27 AM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Poland

Me, too, think that PRV behaves much smoother

Originally Posted by JW240 View Post
Btw Hellmond is not that far away (nothing is really far away in NL), next time drop me a line haha (probably not anymore since you're back home now).
Well, I was planning to go and visit Leiden for at least a month-long stay, but it did not work due to the coronalockdown. I still should do that at some point, though - apart from work issues, I still miss a couple of Stahlberg models, and there is one battered 780 that I was going to buy just before the virus stroke down... So I can give it a try ;) Any chance to polish my Dutch is a good one.

A small photo I found on my disk, from this July, I guess - definitely showing that I am slowly drifting towards underpowered, NA petrol engines.
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Old 07-03-2020, 08:24 PM   #5
Board Member
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Nomi, MN

Great story and a beautiful car.

I owned an 88 780 with the B280f and really enjoyed the motor. I would absolutely own another- especially since you can find V6 cars for almost nothing compared to their turbo equivalents.
1985 760 Jurbo- 80k miles, finally running. Build thread HERE
2000 Honda CRV- ├ůsnan
2012 Honda Civic LX- Reliable.
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Old 10-25-2020, 07:32 PM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Poland

It would probably be good to give an update, right? Eh, but not much is happening: this car just works. Nothing really bad happens, you fill the tank, and then drive, and fill the tank again, and drive... Some minor things got a bit edgy and are currently being finished. Gaskets for the exhaust manifold, old spark plugs and cables, fuel filter etc. As I am getting a bit bored with this way of living, I got myself two problems. First of them is a look-alike of this 760, but an estate. It has a blown head gasket, and I am going to pick it next month (hopefully). I have bought an advanced PRV engine from a written of Espace and I have some stupid thoughts about building a 760 GLT version, with a 24v engine ("replica" 760 GLT and 24 valve emblems are also planned ;) ). The second problem is visible in this picture:


Same model year and production year (both are from 1987, but are MY'88), nearly the same engine power rating (147 hp vs 152 hp), both are naturally aspirated, obsolete, boxy, rwd estates. However, I am now thinking that evading a Crown Vic in 760 (especially the turbo one!) would be quite an easy thing: 760 corners much better, and generally goes much nimbler than MGM.

Anyway, other good things: I should be able to put the "prop" laptop inside the car soon (I just have to get a matching power connector and do some soldering on a universal car laptop adapter, and I bought leather power seats. They are heavily battered, but should work well from the electrical point of view - so I can use the edelvelour covers from mine manual ones with them.
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Old 11-01-2020, 12:20 AM   #7
Aero challenged
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Vancouver, WA

Super clean seven!

@PDXvolvo on IG
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Old 11-14-2020, 07:55 PM   #8
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Poland

Ok, some updates on the way!

In general, the car runs well. There was just one thing: the engine was running a bit rough, especially while revving up. I was quite sure that the reason is I once filled the tank with some ~10l of 95 octane fuel bought on a small station. At first, adding the "water neutraliser" helped. I got in touch with the mechanic, and we agreed that I am going to burn nearly all the fuel, and then he can proceed with the cleaning.

Finally, after quite a long time (I am only driving this car during weekends now), I got to the point at which the tank was nearly empty. The mech let the car burn the remainders while idling, cleaned the system, filled some new gas... and the problem persisted. But it wasn't a long time till the real reason was discovered: it was the ignition system. Should have checked it myself :( While all the "normally-wearing-off-parts" were looking good from the outside, they were totally worn off from the inside. So, guess what, the car runs now just fine.

Got a few sensible photos recently. Nothing special, but moreover does the job:

Plans for the future? Well, I have already bought memory seats (three of them!), leather in sorry state, but electronic and mechanical part should work ok; unfortunately, they are in my other Volvo, which is being brought back to life near Warsaw (some 300km from here). I had a plan to go through the pressure "switches" and belt buckle's lighting, but I guess that it does not make much of a sense now, actually.

And I made a short movie. The sound is much better "live", but still it gives the vibe. Actually, it easily tops many V8s!
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