A Photo For Sunday: 2002 Volvo S80

This is what it takes to turn one of the more handsome saloons of the past decade or so into an anonymous slab: matte black paint.

Ruined: a Volvo S80 with matte black paint all over it. Everywhere.
Ruined: a Volvo S80 with matte black paint all over it. Everywhere.

Volvo didn’t offer this car with the asphalt option. The owner actively decided they wanted to smear their lovely Swedish saloon with this drab coating. There’s a reason matte paint is not typically offered by OEMs. The highlights, worked over to the last 0.005 mm, disappear and the forms are flattended. Towards what end?

The usual victims of this special treatment are decade old BMW 5 series cars and again the lovely surfacing is made invisible to give an already quiet aggressive-looking car an even more sinister demeanour. With the Swede the effect is even more unwelcome as the S80 was not intended to look mean but handsome and elegant. The resultant car has become a dreary block of rolling gloom, fit for the background of an advertisement for some other car.

I expect this example has one or two more rounds of vehicle inspection before it rolls off to the scrap yard as there are few takers for a big, comfy and costly saloon that is so disfigured.

Author: richard herriott

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

16 thoughts on “A Photo For Sunday: 2002 Volvo S80”

  1. Plastidip, perhaps? Here in the US the really cool guys (self-defined, I think) dip their cars. The stuff peels off easily, doesn’t damage the paint.

  2. Hyundai offers matte paint on some of their models in our Canadian market. I’m not familiar with what they offer elsewhere. The matte blue Veloster, a rather strange scuttler of a vehicle seems to be the main offering. Apart from the fact that only hand-washing is permissible, a special Hyundai soap must be used that costs several hundred dollars to purchase. Best to negotiate a free bottle at time of purchase then.

    With all these “advantages”, one wonders what prospective purchaser simply “must” have such a finish. Standing out in a crowd would be the primary draw, but the constant lookout for birds and their notoriously loose bowels must be a constant source of anxiety once your dream is parked in the driveway.

  3. Thank god it doesn’t have red rims and white wall tyres. I still don’t understand why they allow cars in that square by the way.

    1. I find modern Volvos acceptable at best, just not my type of car, and if it were up to me saloons would be banned from public roads. But still, the charcoal paint ruins any car, even the one I’m not that fond of. Red rims, white walls, rusty bonnets, roof racks with kiddies bikes, suitcases, surf boards and Coca Cola crates or coolers make for an even bigger disaster.

  4. Melle: saloons are harmless. It’s the SUVs that deserve some flak. The saloon is an honest and practical format and timeless in its appeal. It’s the dark blue suit of cars. What’s not to like?

    1. The dark blue suits sums it up, it looks harmless but disguises the worst the world has on offer: ruthless managers, fraudulent public servants, dodgy estate agents, members of royal families (no adjective needed), shady second hand car dealers, warring politicians. At least with SUVs what you see is what you get: evermore hot air.

    2. Whereas wearing a nice dark blue jumper marks you out as a lovely person with no reprehensible traits whatsoever. Ah, I see…

  5. Marchione’s jumpers are chunky. I find knitwear very unflattering of the larger sized frame. A suit and tie combo is able to work better with body shapes the deviate from the modern ideal.

  6. Haha, what have I started! Don’t worry chaps, even though I’m of the blue collar type I was only joking.

    1. I know where you’re coming from with the suits. If I had to work in an office I’d hate them. As I work in an arty setting I just go against the grain.
      Is the saloon car urban or suburban?

  7. You certainly stand out in your suits where you currently work Richard, so did I when I was there. But hey, that’s easy enough if you’re not a hipster. Most people in my current workplace wear hiking gear, not sure how they commute.

    1. Hiking gear in an urban setting. On the one hand it is silly if they haven’t been hiking. On the other hand the suit is just an adaptation of the military uniform and I have not been waging war and have no plans to do so.
      Like clothes, the car is only usually faintly related to its daily purpose. The rest is symbolism.

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