Fastback Friday: 1987 Volvo 480 ES


Let me just begin by shooting myself in the foot, and asking whether the squared-off Volvo 480 ES is a fastback. Is it a hatchback? Glassback? Shooting brake? Doorstop? An anteater? In any case, it’s one of the quirkiest Volvos ever, and it’s their pioneering front-wheel-drive outing.
I’ve always been fascinated by them, so it was crucial to take a couple photos of this one.

480_4

How many forced styling features can you see in this shot? The 480 ES wasn’t originally designed to have pop-up headlights, but the small and shallow lights above the bumper couldn’t accommodate good enough lighting, so a workaround was devised.
Also, Volvo really really wanted the 480 ES to have the diagonal bar emblem, so one was mounted underneath the bumper.
The engine here is the Renault-sourced 1.7-litre four with little more than 100 horsepower. Later on, a turbo boosted the power output to 120hp, and in the ’90s you could have a 2.0 with 110hp.


But the rear end does work, with hockey stick shaped taillights and a nice kick up the back. Shame the taillights always dim and crack, and the rear arches rust out.

But still, having these two cars would be a very complete car combination. I’m still missing a nice, neat and cheap 480.
[Images: Copyright 2015 Redusernab/Antti Kautonen]

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