One day in April 1987 I spent the day at Donington Park where Volvo Concessionaires officially introduced the ’87 model range to members of it’s dealer network. This was the first opportunity many of us would have to drive the much anticipated Volvo 480ES.
Unlike Volvo’s previous coupé the P1800 which was based on an existing Amazon platform, the 480 was a completely fresh front wheel drive design by Robert Koch, John de Vries and interior by Corien Pompe. The 480 platform would then later be used for the 440 hatchback and 460 saloon variants.
The car bristled with idea’s new to Volvo including a Porsche tuned transverse 90 hp engine and front wheel drive, engine management by Electronic Control Unit, digital dash instrumentation, and a Lotus tuned suspension that gave the car staggering road holding.
By the time the car was launched the pop up head lights were not strictly necessary as the European Laws that had required them to meet a minimum head light height had been repealed, however this change in the law came so late the design remained unchanged.
During the course of the day I had the opportunity of driving the car around the Donington Park Circuit with a racing instructor at my side and I simply could not drive the car anything like fast enough to explore it’s road holding potential, it went every where I wanted it to go safely regardless of the speed I was doing.
Some weeks later I was given the 480 ES, seen here, for a week in exchange for getting up at some improbably early hour to go and drum up some business at New Covent Garden Fruit Vegetable Market in Central London.
From 1986 to 1995 80,463 Volvo 480 ES, Turbo and 2 litre / 122 cui variants were manufactured at the former DAF works at Born in the Netherlands.
Thanks for joining me on this New Covent Garden edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !