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Does the 850 make a good track car?


Active member
Mar 1, 2008
Santa Cruz, CA
I am trying to decide if I should put any money into my DD 850 5 speed(I was thinking a strut brace and some other suspension stuff to tighten up the handling) when I get another job (I am getting pretty close, have a couple lined up, one a shoe in welding position), or should I dump it (or trade it) for a rwd redblock powered volvo?
Er, are you going to competitively race it?

Of course it could be a decent FWD hoon/autocross car... FWD though. :-P

I am thinking if I keep it, I am going to retire it to track duty, using a different vehicle as a daily driver, but I want to be sure it is capable of being something competive (ie:I don't want to be polishing a turd).
After I did some bilstiens and springs to Sarahs 850 I was pretty impressed. But when you really start to toss it around it likes to send the ass end around in a pretty sharp fast uncontrolable manner. I see the same thing at a local racetrack.

But I am not The Stig, and neither are the cars at my tack. Also, I only had basic suspension done. I am sure with some more budget and time playing with it, it would be sweet.

The rwd would be cheaper though.
I think it could be decent with the right setup, an LSD is a must....I've taken our S70T5 to Thunderhill and it did okay for a near stock car



embedding is disabled, so you'll have to click on the link.

*Copied from wikki*
Legendary Australian race driver Peter Brock drove a Volvo 850 touring car in a one-off Bathurst 12-hour endurance event in 1994, and drove the car in the 1996 Australian Super Touring Championship. Volvo joined forces with the famous and very successful Tom Walkinshaw Racing team (TWR) in 1994 to build an 850 Estate touring car to compete in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). Despite much criticism, the 850 Estate performed well, with a best placed finish of fifth, and a best qualifying spot of third. It was driven by Rickard Rydell and Jan Lammers and Volvo finished sixth in manufacturers' standings in the 1994 season. In 1995, TWR and Volvo built the 850R Saloon BTCC Racer and this won five races, qualified on pole position 13 times with Rickard Rydell and Tim Harvey and finished third in the championship. The switch was due mainly to the change in BTCC regulations which allowed aerodynamic aids (spoilers) which effectively ended any chance of the Estate being fully competitive. In 1996, an improved 850R saloon raced which boasted eight wins with Rickard Rydell and Kelvin Burt and finished third in the championship. Volvo were also prevalent with the 850 in championships across Europe and in Australia.


They seem to do quite fine:


yea, if you want to spend what, a minimum of $100K on it??? :)

I dunno, an 850R already handles pretty well. I bet shocks, struts and sways would make one handle very well.

They all have the delta link(passive rear steering) rear end setup.
I dunno, an 850R already handles pretty well. I bet shocks, struts and sways would make one handle very well.

They all have the delta link(passive rear steering) rear end setup.

I'm not saying they cannot handle decent...I think a street car with a low budget to throw at it has nothing really in common with a purpose built race car...only thing his car will have in common is Volvo and FWD, other than that, might as well be different make and model
It doesn't sound like you have the funds to spend many days at the track anyway, between fees/tires/brakes/fuel/other expenses. So a moot point perhaps?

Regardless...is your 850 a turbo?

While the 850 does handle better/firmer, I wouldn't be satisfied with N/A power. I had a GLT (n/a) and it was nice to drive, but it didn't have all that much power. It was spring stiffer and felt lighter than my 940. No contest in the handling dept, the 850 handles better.

A redblock turbo would be more fun from a power standpoint, but won't handle quite as well as the 850 (the playing field might be leveled if you spent $1500 revamping the suspension, but...that's a lot of money). But for $500 in engine work, it will blow the doors off an N/A 850 in a straight line.

If the 850 was a Turbo, then it's a no brainer. Keep it.

Just depends on what you prefer. Better handling but less power (850), or, more power but sloppier handling (7/9 series Turbo).
Keep the n/a 850 as DD.

Track... auto cross? road track? drag? what?

This, unless you want to drop mad money on an ITB set-up like the origional 850 btcc. You will seriously need to put about 4k (more for n/a) into your car to make it good on an autocross track. With that same money, you could buy a used miata, put 500 into the engine, and I bet it will probibly beat the volvo around the track (will get eaten on the straights though).