If your Ford had a Matthew McConaughey, it would be a Lincoln

An Oppo Rant and Volvo Education

Disclaimer: This post contains me ranting about people’s opinions on Oppo. It also contains me ranting and defending Volvo station wagons. More after the jump.

1990s Volvo 940 Turbo wagon

Yesterday I wrote a post about forcing my girlfriend into buying a 1989 Volvo 760 Turbo wagon. The post was shat allllllllllll over by everyone that cared enough to comment on it. First, let’s clear up some of the issues people had.


Am I trying to get dumped? Nope. In fact, my girfriend and I have been looking at Volvo station wagons for months now. We’ve been dating for over 3 and a half years, and she’s been wanting to have a fun project car for herself. She drove a mutual friend’s Volvo 940 Turbo wagon and decided she wanted one to supplement her 2001 Civic EX slushbox. I’m not getting dumped over this. I plan on keeping her around forever.

On to the Volvo itself. Some of you guys seem to think that her bank account will suffer from buying this and that the car is boring, ugly, and bland. Well, buckle up. I’m about to school you guys on these cars.

The Volvo 200 series, 700 series, and 900 series are all very similar. They share engines. The 700 and 900 series are even pretty much the same car; the difference being trim and marketing. The crown jewel of these cars is the Volvo B230FT engine. Commonly referred to as the Volvo “red block”, it’s an SOHC 2.3L iron block that will hold up to 700whp safely on stock internals (depending on config). Late 80s models had nice beefy conrods, and there was an addition of oil squirters to the block on 90s turbocharged variants. 16 valve heads were added towards the end of the production run as well.

B230FT 8-valve SOHC

Typically stock, these engines produce a healthy for the time 160hp on around 8psi of boost. Official numbers for an early 90s 940 Turbo are 162 hp and 195lbft and around 3300 lbs. A manual boost controller and minor exhaust work will get you to around 250whp without much effort. Still, plenty of scoot for what it is. Not to mention the nice comfort on the highway, room for many dead hookers and pop tarts in the back, fairly decent handling for what they are (yes, there’s aftermarket suspension options), and incredible visibility do to copious amounts of glass around the cabin.


Red blocks are plentiful and VERY simple in construction since they’ve been around from the 1970s onward. In fact, they’re actually still in use in marine and industrial applications via Volvo Penta. Branded as the AQ151 (2.5L stroker 8-valve SOHC) and AQ171 (2.5L stroker with 16-valve DOHC and a forged crank), they provide a nice source for interchangeable parts for the red block family of engines. This makes parts cheap as well.

An NA Penta AQ171

The best part about dealing with red blocks is that most, if not, all of the parts are interchangeable. You bought an NA B230F powered Volvo 240 and want more power? Swap over the ECU and turbo manifold from a B230FT. Plug and play. Boosting your B230FT to insanity and your 8 valve heads have stopped flowing well at the 350hp mark? Swap over to late model 16 valve heads. Turbo too small? Well, grab a turbo off literally any 90s and 2000s Volvo engine. They bolt up and flow beautifully on a B230FT. Shitty manual trans only supporting 180whp? Well, you’re in luck. Grab a bell housing from a ford thunderbird, literally any T5 manual trans, and it’ll bolt up. The drive trains in these cars are legos.

If you still think that these cars are boring, ugly, and bland.... rub salt in your eyes. I don’t expect you guys to love these Volvos. I just expect you to accept that I and other people like them. Oppo is supposed to be a place for acceptance and appreciation of cars that wouldn’t necessarily be loved by the rest of the enthusiast community. We like Citroens and Land Rovers and Porsche 944 Turbos with 506,000 miles. This is the kind of junk I expect to see on here. I REFUSE to let “crappy” car acceptance on Oppo die.

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