Something Rotten in Denmark: 1991 Volvo 960 Executive

Something Rotten in Denmark has turned up this curiosity. It’s the Volvo 960 Executive.

1991 Volvo 960 Executive
1991 Volvo 960 Executive

It’s labelled a Volvo S90, but sold as a 1991 960. And it has the c-pillar treatment of the Volvo stretch limousine but appears to be at best, just a long-wheelbase version of the car. I found this car for sale at Vallensæk Bil Centre, somewhere south of Copenhagen. It’s for sale without an MOT for 9,900 kr. I wrote to ask if it could be purchased with an MOT and the answer was no. That means whatever is wrong with it is so severe, there’s no chance of getting the money back.

Maybe to get a certificate it needs more than labour, some costly spare parts so a likely price is, say, 60,000 when its value is nearer 30,000. In comparison, a 1978 Mercedes 230E is for sale at the same dealer for 10,000 kr without an MOT and 20,000 with an MOT. That’s about £1,000 and £2,000 respectively.

No it´s not an S90.
No it´s not an S90.
This is the stretch limousine but the C-pillar is the same as the LWB version. The S90s had another design. This is seriously anoraky levels of detail.
This is the stretch limousine but the C-pillar is the same as the LWB version. The S90s had another design. This is seriously anoraky levels of detail.

The dealer has no idea what he is selling either. It took a bit of research (ten minutes) but I found a photo of a 1991 Volvo 960 Executive brochure for sale on eBay giving a clue. This model is distinguished from the ordinary Volvo 960 by having its last side window replaced by a thicker and simpler c-pillar. This same treatment is used on a very few of the stretched limousines beloved of the carriage trade. I am in doubt about the wooden inserts in the doors. They could be an after-market detail. All you’d have to do is cut some veneer and replace the carpet that normally occupies the recess.

1991 Mystery Volvo 960 interior rear

Notice that the car has an S90 badge on it. Its logbook says it’s a 960. The 900 wasn’t renamed the S-series until late in the decade. The video here shows the 1995 car which has a distinctively different side-glass compared to the thing on sale here. Notice also the door casings in the film which are also definitely late model S90. The wood-effect plastic is a great detail. You can see it demonstrated in this nice promotional film.

If Vallensbæk Biler were to get their act together and did a bit of research, they would realise this is actually a collector’s car. Only they know what’s wrong with it. For anyone else barring a mechanic to put down 10,000 for this is too much of a risk. This is a bit of a pity as a long-wheelbase Volvo with a V6 is a super way to have the Cadillac experience without the shame of owning a Cadillac.

1999 Volvo 960 Executive: are those OEM or aftermarket inserts?
1999 Volvo 960 Executive: are those OEM or aftermarket inserts?

There are not so many cars in this class, middle-market long-wheelbase, OEM vehicles. Volvo did this work itself so presumably it’s more robust than something cobbled together by a coachworks. Apart from  Jaguar’s LWB XJ40, and Renault’s LWB 25 (also a V6) I can’t think of any others before we go all the way back to Citroen’s CX Prestige and the Heuillez 604. At the moment my own car is off the road and I am ready to be tempted into a set of cheap and absurd wheels. A long-wheelbase Volvo would have been just the ticket.

I have written to the dealer to tell him what he has on his hands and I will keep you posted.

The standard Volvo 960 from 1990.
The standard Volvo 960 from 1990.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

5 thoughts on “Something Rotten in Denmark: 1991 Volvo 960 Executive”

  1. Richard. A good inclusion for Passengers month. I was always intrigued by the deep C pillar of old Rolls Royces. They had a little courtesy mirror attached, though you’d have to do a near Exorcist style neck twist for them to be of any practical use. However, they added to the feeling of the back seat being somewhere special. Obviously Volvo thought so too. Interestingly, although the pillars give a bit of discretion to back seat passengers, a tasteful old-school vehicle of this sort would not have used privacy glass as a default. That would have been going too far – people would have assumed you were a pop star or a pimp.

  2. What an odd find. One wonders if there is an unused limousine middle section rolling around on castors somewhere?

    What this car needs is a set of oversized spinner wheels to make Denmark’s first Volvo donk.

  3. I once drove the fully stretched version. It would have been circa-1989, when I worked at Cork’s premier Volvo dealer. I can’t remember why, perhaps we had some interest from the local funeral trade. It come down from Dublin on a transporter and I picked it up from our satellite base in the suburbs and drove into the city. I can’t recall whether it was a four or a V6, but it was, despite it’s excessive length, surprisingly wieldly. Our dealership was down some really tight little side streets, so threading this huge vehicle through them initially worried me, but proved a doddle. I squeezed it into the workshop and that was the last I saw of it.

    While working there I drove a good many 700 series’. I wasn’t much taken with them to be honest. In my opinion, the 240 was a nicer drive. They were very relaxing however.

    As to the example here, it looks decidedly worn and abused. The paintwork is poor, the wheels are wrong and the sills have that ‘I’m virtually non-existant’ look about them. I’d walk, no, run away.

    1. “the sills have that ‘I’m virtually non-existant’ look about them”

      Damn. I planned to buy it and fit lo-rider hydraulics.

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