The 780 has always generated strong opinions. For those who waited as much as six months for their custom ordered 780 to be manufactured, largely by hand in Turin Italy, it was a dream come true. The automotive world in 1985 was mixed. It was too conservative for some Bertone purist, who hoped for a true Italian made sports coupe, and were longing for a more aggressive engine. For Volvophiles, it was a radical departure from the plane vanilla era of boxy 240s and 740s, and a chance to drive something truly unique. It hinted of a Maserati Bi-Turbo and offered something hand-made and truly unique.
Yet the 780 is still a timeless design. Contrary to the current practice of automakers (Volvo included), where a model’s appearance is altered as frequently as every one to two years, the 780 was a “legacy” design. And though its angular lines may date the 780 as a design of the 1980’s, the car is a classic, distinctive example of Volvo’s last collaboration with Carrozzeria Bertone, and it has become a collectible, limited-edition Volvo. In an automotive age, where obsession with aerodynamics and trendiness have yielded excessively rounded and tediously similar-looking cars (the “jellybean factor”, as some Volvo owners have described it), the 780 will still stand out in a crowd of current but common-looking designs.
One thing to remember about the 780 is that it was not designed as a sport or performance coupe. The 780 was really built for touring. With its luxurious appointments, refined suspension, heavy soundproofing, smooth V-6 or 4 cylinder turbo engine, and automatic transmission, the 780 was designed to carry a driver and three passengers on long distance drives in comfort and style. The real joy of driving the 780 is taking it on leisurely excursions on smooth highways and back roads with winding curves and long straightaways.
With the 780 depreciating in price to a great value for the money, assuming the car has been well preserved, the demand for the 780 has increased considerably over the past few years. In highest demand are the 780 Turbos of 1989-1991 vintage, mostly for their improved performance and easier maintenance.