|I have owned 10
Volvos since 1988. Here are some of them below....
<<< My very first 240. A white 1983 244 DL. I bought it in 1990. Non-sunroof car, roll-up windows. It was exceptionally clean with only 50k miles when I found it in Huntington Beach, CA. I believe I paid $5,000 for it. It got a full iPd suspension and loads of other fun goodies. I drove it everywhere for 6 years and put well over 100,000 miles on it. I then gave it to my daughter in 1996 when she got her drivers license. Unfortunately it was destroyed a few months later when some nit-wit pulled out directly in front of her in a Chevy Caprice and she hit it broadside.
| My current daily driver: I
beautiful black 1984 242
in 2003. I'm the 4th owner and still own it and still drive it
and leather interior stayed very nice because the car has been garaged all its life.
This car was a rare find
and it is a great car
to drive and own. I resisted
the urge to modify it for a few years, but slowly that urge has begun
has also gone
through a few changes...
but not nearly
drastic as the
wagon did (yet). The Eiker rims (Polaris replicas) were imported
are 17 x 7.5
inches and are
215/45-17 rubber. At one time, these wheels were available in the
U.S. from iPd, however before that
Finnish friend imported them for me from Finland. The car also has iPd
TME sport springs, Bilstein HD shocks and
struts, and iPd
bars. The engine is still the original B21FT with a few
added features, such as SDS programable EFI and ignition, Mitsubishi
15G turbo, and after the auto trans failed more than 100 miles from
home, it was replaced by an
M46 4-speed plus overdrive transmission and later by a Ford Motorsport
WC-T5Z 5-speed with a hydraulic clutch. The rear spoiler was a
very rare Volvo 240
Zender in the 1980's (and of course, definitely no longer available).
<<< Here's a pic what this 242 looked like when I first bought it in 2003.
And eventually I grew tired of the traditional coffin-hood, so in 2010 the car received a flat hood and matching grill.
And some nice new taillights. That kept me content for a little while....
In 2011 I decided to go old-school on the front grill. The 7 inch round lights are Sylvania HID units with an H-1 high beam. These are no longer available and really rare. I wanted some mega killer high-beams, so I painstakingly enlarged the 240 GT grill fog light buckets and fitted a set of Dick Cepek 100 watt off-road lamps. They light up the night like the sun, seriously.
These photos were taken during a trip down the Northern Calififornia coast. The first one was on the famous Mattole Road south of Ferndale. The last one in Humbolt Redwoods State Park.
In 2012 I decided it was time for some new wheels.
245 beginnings..... I
think that's what best
when I first
home back in March of
1997. I paid $3200 to who I think was the second owner in Rialto,
California. It was completely stock and original. When I
few little modifications, I really had no idea the direction it would
eventually take. This
was not my
first turbo Volvo, but it was my first 240 Turbo, and I found
myself in a strange new world when it came to understand things like K-Jetronic
fuel injection. I had
no clue what made it tick, but I was learning.
I wanted to modify, modify modify.... But this car was my daily driver, so as many of you know, there are limits to the kinds of mods you can do to a car that needs to get you to work in the morning. For those of you who were into modifying Volvos in the 90’s, you will remember there were not many sources for performance parts. I was no stranger to hot-rodding, having previously owned a ‘66 Chevelle (my first car) and a ’67 BMW 1600ti Alpina former German Group 3 racer... with box flares and roll-cage included. I had been a customer of iPd for about 10 years by 1997 and they were the best source around for Volvo performance improvement items. So mods started getting done, even if they started off slowly.
A funny thing
happened about the time I bought the
245.... I got the internet and soon
discovered a few other Volvo people out there who also
had the internet. Turbobricks
was a brand new concept back then and I remember spending hours
email digests and learning new ideas. I
learned an enormous amount from others who shared
their experiences. The original
list is now extinct. As great as that old list was, the latest Turbobricks
has it beat
by a long way. And I'm
still learning about these cars.
You'll notice that my 245 has sorta moved away from the original look. I made a few cosmetic and functional adjustments. As it progressed, I've found it important to work on the aesthetics as well as the performance. The first major step was the elimination of the old original wagon roof rack, which was done by a body shop (all holes welded, roof repainted to match). Then I exchanged the coffin hood for a flat hood and matching flat grill, both of which came from a junked ’83 242 Turbo SE “flathood” I stumbled across in a wrecking yard. The "SE Flathood" was a special edition 240 Turbo built in 1983 for North America. Volvo built 500 of them to satisfy the FISA requirements for factory homologation for Group A racing, the most notable being the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC). More info on Volvo's Group A racing effort with the 240 Turbo can be found at Volvo 240 Group A Racing. I prefer the look of this sleeker nose over the traditional North American import pointed hood. And of course, the headlights werw changed to the European (E-Code) dual H-1 lights. They work so much nicer than the US DOT approved lights found on all USA import Volvos back then.
In 1998 the internet supplied the connections which helped me import the Bross body kit from Sweden, originally obtained from Hallsjo Styling of Sweden. It's no longer available from them and it became unavailable for a few years. Now there is a company in Europe who currently advertises this kit and others for Volvos at http://www.stylingkompaniet.com/. This site has an English page too.
When I bought my 245, the originally tan leather seats had begun to dry up and crack like most leather Volvo interiors in sunny climates. I replaced the interior with a custom tweed and vinyl interior that makes me very happy.
1999 I was dissatisfied with
the performance of the B21FT motor and I began gathering parts for a
new 2.6 liter
stroker turbo motor.
It was based on the B23FT block from the '84 760 Turbo. Due to
involved, it was nearly two years before that motor made its way into
car in the spring of 2001.
The motor was equipped with a programmable
digital electronic fuel injection system from Simple
Digital Systems in
Calgary, Canada. The
turbo was a Super 60 from Turbonetics.
And a huge intercooler was built by Spearco to fit in the
position (more info is available in my Spec
This car was originally equipped with an automatic transmission and I considered my options for something that would hold up to more power. I settled on a custom race-prepared Volvo AW-71 auto trans built by Art Carr Racing Transmissions in Huntington Beach, CA. Once installed, the new drivetrain seemed to run pretty well, logging a best Zero to 60 time of 5.9 seconds while running about 14 psi of boost. But from the beginning I felt the new motor was not running to its desired high-power potential. The ignition was still stock and I remember spending a lot of time trying to get the primitive boost retard system to mesh with everything else. It never did that very well. As is always the case with modified cars, it's never enough. In 2003 I upgraded the SDS fuel injection system to include a crank-triggered ignition system that was fully programmable. It helped a lot. I also installed a coil-over spring package I got from MVP (no longer available). I was very impressed with the handling improvement. Things were stiffened up substantially, since I opted for 200 lb. front springs and 175 lb. rears. I had a chance to take the car to a VCOA track day at Thunderhill Raceway in Northern California and the coil-overs really seemed to make the handling for the car. There are more photos of this installation in my Spec Sheet Page.
|After experiencing some problems with the suped up AW-71 transmission (it started slipping at 11,000 miles... bummer!), I decided in 2004 that I was long overdue for a manual transmission. The Volvo M46 manual (4 speed plus OD 5th), which was normally optioned in a 240 Turbo, simply would not do. The M46 is well known for breaking when subjected to high torque levels. By this time I had found my stroker motor was making well over 300 lbs. of torque at the wheels. Once again, the guys on the Turbobricks forum came though and led me to a great transmission swap based on the Ford T5 gearbox. I chose a brand new Ford Motorsport T5-Z five-speed gearbox from Summit Racing. This gearbox is rated at 330 lbs. of torque and typically survives behind V8 engines with much more than tthat, so I felt it would be sufficient. It was mated to a modified Volvo M46 bell housing with an aluminum adapter plate. Doug Kauer’s 242 Turbo (you can find it here) was the original Guinea pig for this conversion and it worked so well for him that I had to try it for myself. Strangley I had never owned a manual transmission Volvo before this, primarly because I never found the right one when hunting for them. I never knew what I was missing. The increased control and fun factor was no real surprise as I had owned other manual trans cars over the years. The jump in fuel mileage was a pleasant surprise. I knew it would increase a little, as I was used to gas mileage figures in the 16 to 18 MPG range. I suddenly found the car getting 26 plus MPG on the highway... exceptional considering the bigger displacement and my lead foot. I was also surprised at how much cooler the engine ran. The manual trans puts a LOT less demand on the motor.|
like this is NEVER done.... so to keep that idea
alive, in 2004 I
front brakes. These were adapted from a 2004-2007 S60R.
photo at left is the mock-up a friend (Paul Jones) and I put together
using a junkyard strut assembly, before
actually installing the brakes.
The aluminum adapter brackets were designed by Travis Kijowski
Maryland (thank you Travis). I had the pleasure of putting
together the first 240 on the planet
with R brakes. The
installation of 13 inch front rotors and big 4-piston calipers from the
transformed the braking on this car. More info and photos about
how and why I did this can be
found in my 240
Big Brakes Page.
While my 245 is no longer a daily grocery getter, it’s still very much a road trip machine. I’ve made quite a few long trips to meets and shows in California and Arizona, Oregon and Washington and it hasn’t stranded me yet. With so many mods, I cross my fingers each time. In the summer of 2003 I drove in air-conditioned comfort 1,100 miles each way to the West Coast National Volvo Owners Meet in Olympia, Washington. It won First Place and Best of Show in the modified division. It has also made many trips to shows and track events in Northern California and Arizona.
What kind of investment does it take to build a car like this? That’s classified. For all I know one of my wife’s spys could be reading this. My lips are sealed, but I doubt I could offer a very accurate estimate if I had to. More info on the parts I have put into this car can be found in my Spec Sheet Page.
1980 242 DL in
2000 in non-running condition. It was a very basic, non-sunroof
car, which I
actually prefer. The car had been abandoned by
previous owner outside a local repair shop because he couldn't afford
repairs. It was eventually towed away and I found it in the tow
storage and bought it for $150. I tracked down the previous owner
and gave him a
little money for
the original keys... which worked out quite nicely. He told me
the car had been his daughter's car and it over-heated. I pulled
the head off and found it was cracked and warped. After
rebuilt head (plus a few minor things to freshen
it up, like new vacuum hoses and such), it
served as a
great daily driver
for several years
bought the black 242
2003. I gave the DL
to my son when he turned 16. He kept it for a while and did some
of his own. After a few years and a
few broken transmissions
later, he bought something newer.
The first two pics above of the DL were taken
after it was towed home and dropped in my
driveway. The next pics were more
recent after applying new
Scotia Blue), 1984 bumpers, black turbo trim on
the fenders, new trim above the bumpers
and around the windows, later style headlights (Cibie hi-watt E-code), a "new"
interior, a nice "new" uncracked dash, freshly powder-coated
Virgos, full iPd suspension (TME
springs, 25mm sways and Bilsteins HD's), all new suspension
bushings, and lots of other
goodies. This car is sadly
Here's a red
1990 740 Turbo
I bought used in 1996 at San Diego Volvo. It also soon became
with IPD sport springs,
25 mm sway bars and Bilstein HD shocks. It was a great driver and it
handled beautifully. It eventually got traded
2002 for a brand new S40.
And here's a pic of my very first Volvo... a black 1988 760 Turbo. I bought it brand new from the showroom floor of Riverside Volvo (this dealer is now gone) in March of 1988. I added 100 watt killer driving lamps, Fittipaldi 15 x 7 wheels (they were the hot ticket back then and the ONLY aftermarket wheel available for a Volvo), iPd anti-sway bars (with the rear IRS type that are no longer offered), and a factory Volvo rear trunk-lid spoiler. It was a very nice car. This will tell you how much I knew about Volvos before I bought one.... I thought the 760 Turbo had a 6 cylinder engine until I got it home and opened the hood. I was never disappointed by the car (except for maybe the killer car payment).
Here's the 2005 S40 T5 I bought new in 2005 after trading in the 2002 S40. It was a pretty good car, but not nearly as trouble free as my other Volvos. It suffered from what I believe was a mis-engineered rear suspension that allowed too much negative camber. I discovered this in December 2007 after burning through the first two sets of tires in under 30,000 miles; first set lasted 15,000, which I didn't really notice. The second set lasted 14,000, and I did notice this time. These were very good 40,000 mile tires, so I was NOT happy. That's when I discovered the extreme wear on the insides of the rear tires (see photos). The tires had been getting regular rotations by the Volvo dealer during regular check-ups (every 5000 miles), but no one noticed the inside tread area was worn slick, while the middle and outside tread still had 60% left on one side and 70% on the other. After putting on the third set of tires, I took the car to the dealer and asked them to check the alignment. The service manager told me that the camber setting was within factory spec. When I demanded to know what it was actually set at, they had to check again (??). It measured at negative 2.1 degrees on both side (this is a lot of camber and it was visibly obvious when viewed from the rear). Apparently Volvo considers up to negative 2.5 degrees to be acceptable and "within spec." I certainly disagreed and so did my tires. The rear camber on a Volvo S40 is not adjustable or correctible without changing parts. I was pretty disappointed when they repeated that they considerd the camber to be OK. They checked the front camber too. It was negative 1.0 degree, which I believe is closer to what the rear should be from the factory. Since this dealership was rotating my tires every time I brought it in, I asked them if their techs should have noticed the inside tread was worn smooth? I couldn't get an answer.
Not all Volvos with this chassis have this issue.... While at the dealer aguing about this, I spotted an identical 2005 S40 pulling into the service area. I got down behind the car and it obviously did not have as much negative camber. The difference was clear. I noticed the tires on this S40 were nearly worn out, but EVENLY worn. I then asked the owner about the car. He told me he bought it new in 2005 (about 6 months before I bought mine). He had 40,000 miles on it and those EVENLY WORN tires were his ORIGINAL TIRES. After I brought the service manager outside and showed him, he seemed more confused than ever at the significance, so I left.
After researching further, I discovered through a confidential Volvo insider (it helps to know people) that Volvo knew about this defect and there was even a Technical Bulletin in existence (but no recall). The fix for this problem was a new, re-engineered set of rear control arms that were available to correct this (common) problem. I again checked with the dealer and they said they knew nothing about it. After I pointed them in the right direction, they contacted Volvo Corporate and verified the existence of the replacement control arms. Volvo then agreed to replace the control arms free of charge. While Volvo eventually owned up on this, at least for my car, I should NOT have had to fight so hard to get this defect corrected. Volvo needs to improve vastly in this respect! After being corrected, the rear camber was measured at a more reasonable negative 1.1 degrees. I believe that since the S40 shares the same platform as the C70, some of them will be affected too. I had a close look at several new C70s in the showroom that day and they ALL had way too much rear camber.
In February 2013 I received an email from a Volvo customer regarding this: "I read of your rear alignment issues with your S40 and I had about the same experience with a 2010 V50. I just traded that V50 for a 2011 with the T5 and it had the same problem. The local dealer replaced the control arms under warranty. This was also a problem on my wife's 2011 C30 and we just had the dealer replace those control arms under warranty (after buying a new set of tires at 18k miles). Too bad Volvo did not just fix this one part early on. I know the Mazda 3's have the same problem , too." S. R., Nindle, VA