At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking this is just any normal – uninspiring – 33-year-old Volvo estate.
However, a £20,000 pre-auction estimate ahead of its upcoming sale suggests this 1990 station wagon might be hiding a secret or two.
While traditionally seen as a boring choice when it was sold in the nineties, this ordinary-looking V90 estate is anything but that…
It was gifted to an A-list celebrity in 2007 after receiving a significant performance upgrade that makes it unique… a lot more exciting to drive than its looks suggest.
Not your average Volvo: This modest looking 1990 Volvo V90 has quite the colourful history, having been gifted to an A-list celebrity who was a big fan of the Swedish brand
The famous former owner is none other than actor turned racing driver, Paul Newman.
Most famous for starring in huge movie hits including Cool HLuke (1976), The Towering Inferno (1974), The Verdict (1982) and Butch Cassidy the Sundance Kid (1969), Newman is also remembered for his passion for the race track.
In fact, he competed in major US events right up until the age of 83, shortly before he sadly passed away in September 2008.
The nineties Volvo family wagon was owned by the late actor, Paul Newman – pictured here in his leading role in 1982 film, The Verdict
The American petrol head owned everything from VW Beetles to racing Datsuns Porsches, some of his competition cars have gone on to sell for staggering sums when offered to collectors at auctions.
For instance, a 2002 Chevrolet Corvette – the last racing car he drove before he passed – sold for a whopping $275,000 (£175,200) at RM Auctions’ Amelia Islsale in 2012, well above the value of a standard model at the time ($38,000 or £24,000).
But there is one lesser-known automotive passion Newman had that might come as a surprise to many – a penchant for Volvo station wagons.
And the Ohio-born lead man only liked his to be modified with muscle-car engines.
The Volvo’s being sold in the ‘High Speed: Paul Newman’s Racing Legacy’ sale hosted in Connecticut on 6 June. It has a pre-sale estimate of $25k (£20k)
From the outside, this mostly looks like any normal Volvo estate. Though the huge exhaust outlet hints it might have received an upgrade or two
According to RM Sotheby’s, one of Newman’s lesser known automotive passions was for Volvo station wagons. And the Ohio-born lead man only liked his to be modified with muscle-car engines
Inside, there’s nothing to tell the Volvo estate apart from any normal model registered in 1990
And this is one of the three high-performance Volvos he owned – though it is the only one that he didn’t oversee being built.
He had previously commissioned a 1988 Volvo 740 with a 3.8-litre turbocharged V6 from a Buick GrNational a 960 with a supercharged 5.0-litre Mustang V8 under the hood.
Newman even managed to convince friend talk show host David Letterman to buy a modified Volvo estate, such was his passion for them.
This one, uniquely, was a gift to Newman from his race team as a surprise in 2007.
Shoehorned under the bonnet of the modest V90 is a Chevrolet LS3 V8 powerplant.
This is the same 506 horsepower, 6.2-litre motor that was used for the C6 Corvette Z06 supercar, which was produced from 2006 to 2014.
The engine is mated to a General Motors four-speed automatic gearbox with power delivered to the rear wheels.
The Volvo was a gift to Newman from his race team as a surprise in 2007. They completed the high-performance-engine conversion before handing him the keys
Shoehorned under the bonnet of the modest V90 is a Chevrolet LS3 V8 powerplant
This is the same 506 horsepower, 6.2-litre motor that was used for the C6 Corvette Z06 supercar, which was produced from 2006 to 2014
The American actor photographed before the start of the Le Mans 24-hour race. He his two co-drivers finished second in their Turbo Porsche
Paul Newman buckles his helmet at Lime Rock Race Track, Lakeville, Connecticut, in 1985. He would go on to race competitively until the age of 83, shortly before he passed away
Despite the far larger engine (the V90 originally had a 3.0-litre six-cylinder lump), very little fabrication was needed to make the lump fit under the bonnet.
And besides shortening the standard driveshaft tweaking the linkage for the gear shift lever, no further modifications were required to make it work, RM Sotheby’s says.
The rear suspension also remained stock, but the front end was upgraded with components reportedly taken from an early-nineties Porsche 911.
However, in true ‘sleeper’ fashion, the exterior was kept unchanged, as Newman was known to prefer the conservative – very boxy – styling of the Swedish station wagons of the era.
Unfortunately, he passed not long after the car was completed so was not able to fully enjoy its fearsome performance.
The odometer shows 108,293km, which works out at 67,290 miles. Though it’s unclear how many of these have been covered since the engine substitution.
Despite the far larger engine, very little fabrication was needed to make the lump fit under the bonnet
The auction house says the car was gifted to Newman in 2007 but he unfortunately passed not long after so was not able to fully enjoy its fearsome performance
As with any Volvo estate from this era, what it lacked in style it made for with incredible practicality, including a capacious boot
The odometer shows 108,293km, which works out at 67,290 miles. Though it’s unclear how many of these have been covered since the engine substitution
With its Corvette engine under, the car is now dubbed the ‘Volvette’.
It is being offered (with its original inline-six engine, transmission, factory manuals) to the highest bidder as a featured lot in a Newman auction next month.
It will be sold in the High Speed: Paul Newman’s Racing Legacy sale hosted in Connecticut on 6 June alongside other vehicles from his past as well as trophies, title-winning rings, helmets racing suits worn by the late actor during his decorated driving career.
The Volvo is tipped to be one of the most valuable of the 100 lots up for grabs, with a pre-sale estimate of $25,000 – around £20,000 in British money.