Volvo 240 Turbo: The Flying Brick

1985 was undoubtedly a golden year for Volvo in motorsport. “The flying brick”, as the Volvo 240 Turbo was known, won the European Touring Car Championship (ETC) and its German equivalent, the Deutsche Touringwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) that season.

When Volvo launched its 240 station wagon in 1981 with a turbo engine, it opened a new market for the company. With it, Volvo proved that it was not only capable of building safe and strong vehicles, but that they could also be fast and fun to drive.

The robust 21-liter turbocharged B2,1ET engine produced 155 hp, which meant that the 240 Turbo could go from 0 to 100 km / h in 9 seconds and reach a top speed of 195 km / h. The 240 Turbo Estate was the fastest Station Wagon in the world.

In 1982 a new international regulation was introduced for Group A. Vehicles used in competition had to come straight off the assembly line and the number of modifications had to be limited. To compete in compliance with Group A regulations, at least 5.000 vehicles of the corresponding model had to be built each year. They had to have at least four seats and the minimum weight was proportional to the capacity of the engine. The regulations suited the Volvo 240 Turbo perfectly.

In addition, at least 500 so-called evolution vehicles had to be built, which is why the 240 Turbo Evolution was created. In July 1983, the 500 vehicles lined up in two fields in the United States - one on the West Coast and one on the East Coast - were presented for inspection to ensure uniformity. The vehicles had larger turbos, modified engine control systems, and water-powered turbotraction, which meant that water was injected into the intake, an invention developed and patented by Volvo.

Finally, in 1984 the 240 Turbo began to truly compete in Group A racing. Volvo had the responsibility to build and ensure that the required components were uniform. Independent teams were in charge of the competition. The first year the dividend was two wins. Swedes Ulf Granberg and Robert L. Kvist won the ETC race in Zolder, Belgium, while compatriot Per Stureson won at the German Norisring circuit in the first DTM season.

Volvo's objectives were expanded in 1985. Two new teams were hired to work as official factory representatives. Not only did they have to beat competitors like Rover and BMW, they had to compete with each other.

The Swiss Eggenberger Motorsport team participated in ETC under the name Volvo Dealer Team Europe. The pilots were the Swede Thomas Lindström, Sigi Müller Jr. from the Federal Republic of Germany, the Italian Gianfranco Brancatelli and the Belgian Pierre Dieudonné. The other ETC team was Magnum Racing from Sweden. Ulf Granberg, Anders Olofsson and Ingvar Carlsson were the drivers. Additionally, IPS Motorsport competed in the DTM.

Per Stureson received for the fledgling season a new and competitive vehicle, with more power and easier to handle. At first, rivals and the public did not take the burly Volvos very seriously. But these "flying bricks" would soon show their competitive character, despite facing vehicles with much larger engines such as the Rover 3500 V8 and the BMW 635.

The sports version of the Volvo 240 Turbo had forged cylinder heads and pistons, aluminum connecting rods and crankshafts. The injection used a bespoke Bosch K-jetronic system and the Garrett turbocharger went up to 1,5 bar. The result was that the 2,1-liter engine generated around 300 hp and allowed the vehicle to reach a top speed of 260 km / h.

All removable body parts, such as the doors and bonnet, were made of finer metal than production vehicles. The rear axle weighed six kilos less, the brakes had four-piston calipers and ventilated discs. A rapid refueling system allowed the vehicle to be filled with 120 liters of high-octane gasoline in just 20 seconds.

On October 13, 1985, after the race at the Estoril, Portugal circuit, it was all over. Volvo had won six of the 14 races and Lindström / Brancatelli had swept the entire ETC series. In addition, Per Stureson claimed the German DTM championship after one victory and five podiums.

As if ETC and DTM weren't enough, Volvo also won the touring car championships in Finland, Portugal and New Zealand in 1985. On the other hand, a right-hand drive 240 Turbo won the Scottish rally championship that same year.


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Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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