Volvo Donor car question

Hi everyone,

My family owns an “automatic-transmissioned” 1989 Volvo 760 Turbo, and I’d absolutely love to convert it to electricity one day to avoid having my family get rid of it. I’ve heard that automatic transmissions need to have the engine constantly running to keep things going smoothly, and that DC layouts aren’t as well suited to direct drive layouts as ACs are.
Without spending 10,000$ on an AC Direct Drive kit, is there a way I could use the 760 with a much more inexpensive DC kit? This vehicle has enormous sentimental value, and it would absolutely bring me joy to drive it as an EV restored to its former Swedish glory.

I’ve found a better suited Volvo donor car (88’ 240 StationWagon with manual tranny at 950 CAD) with the option of installing iPD springs which increase payload by a few hundred pounds. Would I be better off (money wise) converting the 760 sedan’s automatic transmission to manual?


Patrick Leclerc,

more than likely yes.

I consulted (very popular Volvo website) and here’s the most constructive response I recieved:

The transmission conversion is entirely possible. Taking that as a separate issue, you will want to find a complete car to get everything from the end of the crankshaft to the differential flange, plus the the clutch pedal assembly and linkage, whether cable or hydraulic. Because yours is a Turbo, you will need to find an M46 4 speed plus OD transmission, as the M47 5 speeds do not hold up well in boosted applications. Because your 89 has LH 2.2 fuel injection, you can use either a flat flywheel or the one with holes for the RPM sensor (which your car does not have) If you do this, and keep the original engine, you will likely find that your axle ratio is too short (fierce acceleration, lots of revs on the highway, poor gas mileage) so you will probably want to change that too. I believe your car has independent rear suspension, so finding one may be difficult.

Now, for the electric conversion. Someone else raised this possibility in a recent thread (Flex fuel for a 245?) and while it would indeed be theoretically possible to convert a RWD Volvo to electric power, such a car is not an ideal candidate for the conversion, due to being RWD, among other things. One major problem would be that it is difficult to keep the center of gravity and weight distribution within reason in a Volvo. An older Saab (original type 900, 79-93) or other FWD car would be a better choice.

I like the Saab idea, especially considering the fact that they’re Swedish, stylish, economical and at times, fairly inexpensive when bought used. But Volvos have a special charm, especially the 760.