Our Competition Volvo 140's
The "Volvo's from Hell" as the 140 series came to be know in SCCA IT-B class club racing. At present we have three 140 series Volvo competition cars. Our original dark blue 142E track car (which is an original "Volvo from Hell"), Nick's Swedish flag 142E affectionately known as 'Sven' and our 'Rally Wagon' that Nick drove in rally cross competition.
The dark blue car pictured here was purchased in 1990. It was originally built by John Biery of Pittsburgh in the 1980's and successful raced by him with the SCCA in class IT-B.
SCCA drivers school at Summit Point 1991. My first attempt at having my competition license reinstated. I won the novice race but unfortunately blew the engine in my first regional. The #77 Volvo behind me disappeared after this event. I never saw the car again. It was clean and well prepared but I was able to outrun him.
I took the car to SCCA school and had my SCCA license reinstated in 1991. Unfortunately, a crankshaft fracture in my first SCCA regional put paid to my racing plans. Not possessing the necessary facilities to replace the engine at that time, I elected to take Nick kart racing. With the kart racing, family obligations and move to West Virginia, my 142 sat unused for the next dozen years.
With the move to West Virginia we were able to once again participate in the world of full sized automotive competition. We now had a facility in which to maintain race cars.
Upon graduation from high school, Nick opened an auto restoration shop and his racing interests moved from karts to full sized race cars and the SCCA. With our 142E needing much work to make it race worthy again, Nick decided to speed things up for himself by purchasing a race ready 142E. Enter "Sven". Nick purchased Sven from Charlie Broring who had purchased the car to replace "Wrinkles", his other 142E which had been badly damaged in a race track incident. Deciding he preferred Wrinkles to Sven, Charlie put Sven up for sale.
Nick in turn three at Summit Point hanging the tail out with Sven.
We now have two competition 142E Volvo's for SCCA's IT-B class. In the intervening years, Nick rebuilt our original blue car for me and Sven ended up being put out to pasture where he remains to this day.
Prior to his involvement in SCCA track racing, Nick along with friend, Brian Seville, decided to try his hand at Performance Rally competition. With Brian's help a 142 was procured and prepared for rallying. As luck would have it, after hauling the car to Maine, Nick made an error in the first special stage and destroyed the car. End of the rally endeavor. Nick went back to his roots.
Nick's performance rally car shortly before its demise. As with everything he's built, it was nicely finished. We were looking forward to some new adventures in the world of performance rally but unfortunately it was not to be. Shortly after this photo was taken, Nick rolled it up into a ball on the first stage. The tub was bent beyond repair and the car was scrapped.
While heavily involved with the SCCA, Nick fulfilled his still standing desire to go rallying by participating in Rally Cross competition. At the time, we had an abundance of 140 series station wagons on hand. Nick thought, "why not". Thus the Rally Wagon was born with which Nick won the season Rally Cross competition in his class.
The infamous 'Rallye Wagon'. Among our collection of old Volvo's, we had this solid 145 wagon. With the demise of the rally car, Nick's next best option was rally cross. The wagon seemed perfect. A stripped interior, a welded rear and the wagon was ready for competition. Nick won his class that season.
Much to the surprise of the Miata drivers, they found the 142 to be very nearly their equal on braking.
Lifting a front wheel entering turn one at Summit Point during an SCCA drivers school. Note the large taped over marker light beside Sven's right headlight. These were a feature of the 1974 iteration of the 140 series Volvo. Note also, that the left front marker is missing. Nick left that one implanted in the right side door of a Miata who had no idea the big Volvo sedan could pretty well match him on braking.
SCCA school again at Summit Point. Nick had pole position for the novice race and used it to good advantage. He held the pace down to where he could use 2nd gear when the flag fell, much to the chagrin of the driver of the RX-7 alongside him. This was the result.
Me in the dark blue 142E at Summit Point after it was rebuilt.
At Pocono for an EMRA drivers school.
Road America National Volvo meet 2016
Photo credit - Brendan Norton
Road America National Volvo meet 2016 Photo credit - Brendan Norton
As can be seen, the dark blue car is currently active and has been extensively rebuilt (see below). These photo's show it with Nick behind the wheel during the National Volvo meet at the historic Road America race course in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin.
Our original racing 142E has been considerably reworked by Nick. The following mods have been implemented with plans for further development in the future.
Completely new 8 point cage with nascar bars, dash bar and the rear braced going to the top of the frame above the rear shock mounts, and the front braces going to the back of the frame braces that come up the inner fenders to the fire wall, and excess cross bracing/triangulation wherever I could fit it in.
Full width Wink mirror
3 quart Accusump for the oil system
Full electric actuated onboard AFFF fire system with w/two nozzles in the passenger compartment, and one in the engine bay.
fuel cell with external make up tank and twin fuel pumps to prevent fuel starvation
in line front to rear brake bias adjuster, with braided steel flex lines to all calipers
Still using old Carrera shocks, fronts have been upgraded to slightly newer but still way out of production threaded body carreras.
Suspension is all original Griffith set up, but all remaining rubber bushings have been upgraded to urethane.
Fixed all the rust everywhere on the car, and most of the bent sheetmetal.
Installed 4.56 rear end ratio with a TruTrac torque biasing differential (doesn't push anymore!)
"adjusted" tow on rear axle to give it 1/8" tow in and 1/4 degree neg camber on rear (had 1/8 tow out...)
Planned mods: I was going to mount a smaller high powered alternator, but have figured out how to isolate the stock alternator in a rubber mount to keep it from breaking mounting bolts.
Watts link for rear suspension to replace panhard rod.
Cold air intake w/larger air filter for engine
2 way adjustable Penske shocks for front and rear
Megasquirt fuel managment system to replace Bosch D-Jet.
The toe in/out and camber for the solid rear axle is a modification technique Nick learned about through his employment at GMT Racing.
Last fall (2019) my son Nick and I attended an SCCA Regional race hosted by the Steel Cities Region at the Pittsburg International Race Complex. This marked my return to SCCA competition after an absence of 30 years or so. I had originally purchased our racing 142E for SCCA competition but one thing and another, life got in the way. I eventually ended up racing vintage with our PV-544 described elsewhere on this site. The accompanying pics show our 142E on the false grid at PIRC.
The impound area after a race. I'm standing by the rear fender of our 142. To my right is the driver of the Golf. The Mustang is to the right of our Volvo. Only three cars in class IT-B at this event. Once upon a time IT_B could boast a field of 40+ cars and have a race of its own.
Looking down pit lane from the false grid. #95 was my immediate competition. There was an '88 Mustang entered also but I had no chance of staying with him. With the Golf however, I might have had a chance of putting up a fight.
Our 1972 Volvo 142E on the false grid at PIRC with me behind the wheel, suited up, buckled in and ready to race.