Volvo is celebrating 30 years since its 240 Turbo, nicknamed ‘the Flying Brick’, won the European and German touring car championships.
Volvo launched the 240 in 1981 as turbo technology was gaining popularity. Fitted with a turbocharger, the company’s robust B21ET 2.1-liter engine generated 157ps, powering the 240 Turbo from 0-100 km/h in nine seconds and on to a top speed of 195km/h. The 240 Turbo Estate was the world’s fastest estate car at the time.
International Group A racing car regulations in 1982 were perfect for the 240 Turbo: at least 5,000 cars of the model type in question had to be built each year. They had to have at least four seats and the minimum weight was related to the engine capacity. Competition cars had to be pulled directly off the assembly line.
The regulations also required at least 500 so-called evolution cars to be built, which was why the 240 Turbo Evolution was created. In July 1983, the 500 cars were lined up for an inspection to ensure they were uniform split across two fields in the USA, one on the west coast and one on the east coast. The cars had bigger turbos, modified engine control systems and water turbo Traction which involved water injection into the intake, an invention developed and patented by Volvo.
Following a degree of success in 1984, Volvo pitted its two factory-supported teams against the likes of BMW and Rover in 1985. The racing version of the Volvo 240 Turbo had aluminum cylinder heads and forged pistons, connecting rods and crankshafts. The injection used a custom-built Bosch K-jetronic system and the Garrett turbo charged up to 1.5 bar. The result was that the 2.1-liter engine was generating around 300 hp and gave the car a top speed of 260 km/h.
All detachable body parts such as the doors and bonnet were made from thinner metal than the production cars, the rear axle was 6kg lighter, and the brakes had four piston calipers and ventilated discs. A rapid refuelling system made it possible to fill the car with 120 liters of high octane petrol in just 20 seconds.
On October 13, 1985, following the race at the Estoril track in Portugal, it was all over. Competitors had not been able to take the blocky Volvo seriously, but the manufacturer had won six out of 14 races and drivers Thomas Lindström and Gianfranco Brancatelli had won the European title. Swedish driver Per Stureson won the German DTM championship after one victory and five podium finishes.
As if ETC and DTM were not enough, Volvo also won the touring car championships in Finland, Portugal and New Zealand in 1985. In addition to this, a right hand drive 240 Turbo won the Scottish rally championship in the same year.
October 14, 2015