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1983 Group A Homologated 242 Turbo

This two-door 242 series car arrived in the dealerships in 1983 as a result of the need to manufacture a minimum number of cars to qualify them for racing in a production class. One of the enigmas about these cars is exactly what differences there were from the rest of the 240 series turbos. It seems that everyone has a different answer. The question often elicits just a clandestine smile from Volvo Corporation types, however, I have been able to piece together a few interesting items. These cars were fitted with a B21ET engine in place of the B21FT installed in other cars. The ET version was the European version of the turbo engine and provided some extra power over the FT. I am guessing, but I suspect that these engines were fitted with slightly different pistons and other internal parts as well, because they were intended to be used for racing with a different manifold and the larger T04 Garret turbocharger. I have heard, but cannot be certain, that they may be equipped with larger clutches and lightened flywheels. Thirty of the cars were returned to Sweden for racing after being imported to the US. These cars were fitted with other items besides the larger turbos. Included in the list are Volvo Electronic Water Injection Systems with an eight gallon tank, Getrag five-speed gearbox, limited slip differential, ventilated disc brakes on all four wheels with aluminum AP-Lockheed four piston calipers, adjustable front/rear brace balance, magnesium alloy wheels (8.5/8.75x16") with center lock nut and Pirelli P7 245/45 VR16 tires. Final drive ratios were available ranging from 1:4.56 to 1:3.15. The car also had a 31 gallon fuel tank. For instrumentation, the racing cars were equipped with full digital instruments. These were vertical stacks of green, orange and red lights. Although the US drivers have indicated a preference for the analog type gauges, the European racing drivers said this digital arrangement worked very well for them since all they needed to know was that the system was performing properly, marginally, or had failed. The x-ray picture also shows the special lightweight alloy roll cage that was installed for racing (not legal in the US), the four corner pneumatic jacks, trunk mounted battery, extra bracing for the front shock towers, and the rear spoiler. These rear spoilers were reputedly supplied with all cars, unmounted in the trunk. I don't recall seeing any of them, so I wonder what happened to them? Oh, and by the way the engine with all the goodies on it develops 340 HP at 6600 RPM and 310 ft/lbs. of torque at 4000 to 5000 RPM and will power the car to speeds over 150 MPH. Thanks to Mike Laslie of the Delaware Valley Chapter for researching much of the information here and for the loan of the photos from his personal files. (An article from ROLLING the VCOA's bimonthly magazine. Vol. 9 No. 3 May/June 1991)

-Steve Seekins VCOA Technical resource and current President


ETCC details and Volvo's tricks of the trade

1985 was a year, which mirrored the '83 season in a way, with its silly discussions about what's legal - and what's not. This time however, it was not Walkinshaw who was suspected of illegal tricks, it was Volvo who happened to homologate the 240 turbo in an evolution version - which a rear spoiler, big turbo, intercooler and water injection. After production of the 500 cars and subsequent homologation (with close inspection of 23 cars), the other 477 cars were robbed of their competition equipment and sold as standard 240 turbo roadcars. Not illegal by any means, but it left a bad taste in the mouth of their competitors.

The FISA reacted in July, after trying to buy an Evolution car in a few European countries (which failed): Volvo had to release the names of the 500 owners of the evolution cars. Volvo didn't react, so the "evolution" homologation would end on September 1, 1985. Later (after the factory holiday!) Volvo could manage to reveal a few evolution cars in Sweden, so the ban was lifted.

- Frank De Jong's compilation from numerous sources (site)


How the 1983 "flathoods" were come to be

In the last issue, I mentioned the very rare 1983 "flat-hood" 242 Group-A Turbos. Volvo manufactured 500 of these cars to meet production requirements for Group-A sedan class racing in Europe. Some number of them were sold to private customers in the US through the Volvo dealer network. Different sources tell different stories about the distribution of these vehicles. According to various US sources, all 500 were brought to the United States through Portsmouth, Virginia port of entry. Some 30 were then sent back to Europe for racing. In racing trim, the cars had bigger (T04) turbo, water injection, a different intake manifold, four wheel vented disc brakes, full digital instrumentation, light alloy roll cages, and different front struts.

The vehicles which stayed in the US were changed back to standard 1983 Turbo specs in these areas, although the Group-A Turbos sold here did retain the GT springs, a factory intercooler, and the 242-style European front end sheetmetal. Although Volvo Cars of North America spokespeople indicate the Group-A Turbo has the standard 161 HP turbo output, those who have driven these cars all say they are definitely faster than a stock turbo with an intercooler added. Supposedly, all Group-A Turbos sold in the US came through with manual sunroofs, while the European racing cars did not have sunroofs. One unconfirmed source suggests 312 of the 500 vehicles had 4-speed manual plus overdrive transmissions, with the balance being automatics. The vehicles were produced in a variety of colors, although metallic blue, metallic silver and black seem to be the most common in the US. Information on the Group-A Turbos is scarce and conflicting. Any club member who has one of these cars is encouraged to check the VIN and VIC plates, and let me know of any discrepancies from the information shown here. (An article from ROLLING the VCOA's bimonthly magazine. Vol. 9 No. 3 May/June 1991)

-Duncan LaBay VCOA Historical reference

(The above info was right out copied from Rolling magazine)


The "Evo/Flathoods" and FIA Group-A rules and regulations

According to the FIA homologation papers the 240 was homologated in Group A in march of 1982. An extension was granted for the evolution models that was valid from Sept. 1st of 1983 with the changed front end, water-injection, k-lambda fuel injection, rear wing, and changed turbo. The homologation specials, or evos were all made before this date as they were inspected in the USA before this form was released. On the form there is a spot for chassis numbers, it was left blank. For Grp A homologation in the early 80's the manufacturer was required to produce 5000 cars of that model. 500 examples of a evolution car were required to homologate special equipment.

The run of 500 evo cars had to be sold, it didn't matter where. All the cars were sold to Volvo of North America.
The cars were lined up in the USA for inspection by the FIA, the first row of cars ( approx. 30) was fitted with the Volvo Grp A competition kit rated at 225 hp @ 1.05 bar. These cars had the special parts, rear wing, water injection( the extra four injectors), large aluminum end tank intercooler,"220" cam, bigger radiator and turbo. The next couple of rows of cars had the competition kit in the trunk. It is rumored that not all the cars had the Grp A kit in the trunk as there were less than a couple hundred produced. After inspection the 30 or so cars with the competition kit fitted were shipped back to Europe because they would not pass the E.P.A requirements in that state of tune. The kits in the trunks of the cars were returned to Volvo competition, both the 30 cars and the kits were to be sold through the European dealer network. The remaining cars were sold in the USA by Volvo of north America.

The homologation of an evo was valid for 5 years in the 80's. The homologation expired for the cars with the special equipment in Sept. of 88'. This is one of the reasons that Volvo didn't continue to compete in Grp A in 88'. The 1983 flatnose turbo homologation special (evo) was part of racing politics. These cars had to be produced in order to allow the special equipment to be used on the race cars. All the evo's are street cars and were never intended to reach the track.

-Tom Smith Hartford, CT e-mail


Other pieces of information/speculation:

Here are a few notes from conversation about these cars in particular, some may very well be true... so I thought I'd share them. The following is from a few threads on the TurboBricks.org message board:

  1. Some have found information stating that there was exactly 497 built and shipped here to the USA. (where the extra 3 were who knows, possibly prototypes)
  2. 312 were standard (both of mine have been autos, and I know of at least 2 more that are autos... maybe 312 were autos?)
  3. 23 were shipped back to Sweden to race (some say 30)
  4. Some theory would state that ALL 500 cars were dealer only, and a special "options" package was available to the public so technically no one really has a group-a car.
  5. Each selected dealership could receive 1 flathood for display/sale

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