The Car that Sten Built... a Volvo 740?
I want this car. THIS CAR! Not a car like it. This one. Why do I want this ordinary looking Volvo 740? Because this the car Sten built, and it is by no means ordinary.
Who's Sten? Sten was this crazy old Swede, an artiste-inventor, with an amazing sense of humor. Sten had been an engineer who worked for Volkswagen, but he liked Volvos. When Sten retired he had some time on his hands, and turned his attention to this Volvo as a project--or shall I say canvas.
If you are in or around Montreal and you think you have a fast car, be warned--this inconspicuous Volvo will pull the paint off of your very fast ride as it smokes you. Sten liked Volvos, but he also liked F-Body Camaros and Firebirds with a 5.7-liter V-8s and 6-speed manual transmissions. Perhaps you can see where this is going.
My friend Branden bought this Monster Volvo from Sten. Sten needed a new project, and he was getting tired of shaming Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Porsches with his very custom 740 station wagon. They talked for about an hour on the phone. Sten lovingly described all the mods ... how he had recovered the engine and transmission from a wrecked Firebird ... how the tranny was blown so he bought a new crated 6-speed from GM ... how he had removed any hint of the 740 Turbo that the Volvo had come from, including taking a dremel tool to the badge and carefully cutting off the word "turbo."
Branden bought the car. What committed motor-head could pass up the opportunity to own a monster-sleeper like this? The V-8 and 6-speed fit perfectly into Sten's Volvo. The giant orb of the gearshift knob was the only clue that this wasn't a stock 740. I suppose there was one other hint, something that could not be easily disguised--the loud, very big V-8 sound. Even that could get mistaken as an exhaust "problem," because even the exhaust looked stock.
Branden used the Volvo to great effect No one expected anything from a bland white 740 wagon. Owners of muscle cars and exotic wonders sat slack-jawed behind the wheels of their uber-cars, as the wake left by Sten's Volvo sucked the fillings from their teeth.
Comfort was not lacking in the Monster Volvo. Sten had acquired a set of seats from the Volvo 780 Bertone Coupe. They had been used to train mechanics in the workings of these remarkably comfortable and complex seats. Sten had an inside line and got them for a song.
Eventually the price of gas counter-balanced the joy of ownership. A big V-8 needs a lot of feeding. The car, though beautifully detailed and lovingly crafted, was a bit of a Frankenstein. You need a mechanic who can fully understand a car like this and appreciate the joke.
When Branden put it up for sale, he got a call from Montreal. They talked. "Montreal" asked him to take the car to a local guy he knew in Los Angeles. The mechanic pronounced the car fit. "Montreal" flew in to L.A., handed over the money, and headed north--very quickly--across the border.
This has to be one of the all time great sleepers, and I would buy it in an instant if I could find it. Branden talks about getting in touch with "Montreal," in case he ever thinks of selling the car. I'm trying to coax the contact information out of him, because I want this car. This may be like one of those legendary precious gems that travels from owner to owner building a history as it goes. If so, I want a piece of that legend. I want Sten's Monster Volvo.