Sold by a Swiss auction house called Oldtimer Galerie Toffen, Bowie’s Volvo 262 C Bertone fetched more than $270,000 CAD, or about 212,000 swiss francs. That’s about three times what the auctioneers had predicted the car would go for.
Built jointly by Volvo and Italian coachbuilder Bertone, the 262 C was based on the platform that underpinned the rest of the 200-series lineup. Volvo built most of the car but had Bertone finish the job at its factory in Torino, Italy, where it installed the chopped roof and shortened pillars.
Introduced in the late 1970s, the 262 C could be a spiritual successor to the sleek P1800, which went out of production earlier that decade.
As rare as the 262 C is — Volvo made fewer than 7,000 examples — we have to think that Bowie’s legacy is what helped this one garner such a high selling price.
It was far more stylish than other members of the 200-series family, and its 2.8L V6 engine — developed with Peugeot and Renault — reads like a high-performance alternative to the four-cylinders that powered most of the 262 C’s sedan, coupe and wagon siblings. However, its 155 hp wasn’t much to write home about — especially not in a car with a 1,360-plus kilogram curb weight.
The PRV engine, as it was called, found homes in a number of Volvo, Renault and Peugeot cars, but arguably the most notable car to use it was the Delorean DMC-12, made famous by its appearance in the Back to the Future movie trilogy.
Bowie’s car was fitted with an optional three-speed automatic transmission, as well as heated leather seating, air conditioning and a Blaupunkt stereo.
Apparently, Bowie kept the car in Switzerland to use when he visited that country. On one hand, we’d suggest that driving a Volvo in the early 1980s would have helped Bowie keep a low profile when out and about, but the 262 C would have been a rare sight on its own.