Paul Newman’s hot-rodded Volvo 740 wagon can now be yours

Hollywood actor Paul Newman loved modifying Volvo station wagons to create the ultimate ‘sleeper’ cars. Now this one can be yours.

A well-worn and heavily modified 1988 Volvo 740 station wagon once owned by legendary Hollywood actor, Paul Newman, is up for sale on renowned American car auction site,

Newman bought the 740 wagon new in 1988 and promptly shipped it to Hesco Engineering in Alabama to be modified to his exacting standards.

The extensive makeover included an engine transplant, the Volvo wagon now powered by a turbocharged 3.8-litre V6 lifted from a Buick Grand National.

Performance modifications to the engine include a new custom-built exhaust system and larger oil cooler along with a larger cooling fan. The engine received up a power bump too, thanks to a new engine chip. A 1997 listing for Newman’s 740 claims power outputs of around 239kW.

Sending that power to the rear wheels is a five-speed Borg Warner manual transmission sourced from a Pontiac Firebird.

Newman, who was an accomplished race car driver (he finished second outright – and first in the GTX Class – in the 1979 Le Mans 24 Hour in a Porsche 935) also had the Volvo’s suspension beefed up, swapping out the standard springs with aftermarket numbers from Volvo specialists, iPD, as well as Bilstein dampers. New anti-roll bars completed the suspension tune.

Externally, Newman’s sleeper estate sat on 16-inch Volvo ‘Gemini’ alloys shod in 225/50ZR16 rubber all round, while the rare original Volvo OEM aero kit added a revised front splitter, side skirts and rear bumper.

Inside, the 740 is starting to show its age with worn leather on the seats, a sagging headliner and cracks on the dashboard. And the tachometer doesn’t work.

Showing 76,000 miles (122,000km) on the odometer, Newman’s Volvo 740 is currently sitting at $US26,000 ($AU39,269) with two days of the auction left to run.

The car comes with a partial service record as well as a copy of the Connecticut ownership title naming Paul Newman as the original owner.

This 740 wagon wasn’t the only Volvo estate Newman hot-rodded during his life, later going on to cram a supercharged 283kW Ford Racing-sourced V8 into a trio of Volvo 960 wagons, one for himself, one for good friend, talk-show host David Letterman, and one for businessman Ian Warburg.

Letterman’s hot-rodded Volvo 960 later appeared in an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.

Newman also famously once transplanted the body of a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle convertible onto a mid-engined chassis powered by a Holman-Moody built Ford V8 designed for racing.

You can check out the auction listing on Bring a Trailer by clicking here.

MORE:Search Used Volvo Cars for Sale
MORE:Search Used Volvo Cars for Sale

Rob Margeit has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, covering both motorsport and the car industry. Rob joined CarAdvice in 2016 after a long career at Australian Consolidated Press. Rob covers automotive news and car reviews while also writing in-depth feature articles on historically significant cars and auto manufacturers. He also loves discovering obscure models and researching their genesis and history.

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