SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 52 - Volvo 242 Turbo Evolution
It's not the snow, but we DO know whatever terrain is on this country, here be a boxy coupe that's known to mess up the landscape. Watch your heads for an incoming Flying Brick.
Back in 1974, Volvo released the 200 series. Now, this might sound unremarkable, because at first glance, that's what it is. It looks like one of those cheap Slavic sedans that got its reputation from being disposable. But these series of Volvo cars got its reputation on the contrary: by being nigh unstoppable like a certain Nokia that I'm salty still for not being resold in Singapore. And unstoppable would mean a long 19 year production run, along with the obvious being as reliable and sturdy like a tank.
But if there's something one can see, it's that Volvo's design team put safety over looks. It was known for having massive crumple zones in the front that would be said is the same way it did for automotive safety like what the Miura did for the supercar name. Considering Volvo's reputation for making the seat belt open source, it's a given, and thankfully so.
Within the 200 series is the 240, and within the 240 name comes variations of this boxy sports coupe. And in 1978, this box of a family would receive the 242 iteration. This would one call the sports package, maybe like an M branded BMW. It's got stiffer suspension and stronger anti roll bars. What this did was allow the 242 to start going wild by the rear, giving it that oversteering tendencies it's well known for.
The 240 would be powered by a 2.1 liter inline 4 engine that produces 155HP. Not much in today's standards, but the car didn't even weigh a ton, so if it's not fast, it's nimble. In fact, it was fast enough that in the 1980s, it went racing, and came out very well represented in just about anything it got its package sent to. The boxy design and these kind of results gave it the well known nickname of 'Flying Brick'. It's no Rambo Lambo, but any sort of nickname on cars help give them identity.
The car we have here is the 242 Turbo Evolution. Its status as the most unusual variant comes from how it is made as a homologation model for Group A racing by the 80s. But unlike the race car having upwards of 300 horsepower, the homologation variant carries 225; essentially its inline 4 with the addition of a turbo. And this success would carry onwards not until 1990, where it ended, but it's the very variant of a model that would give inspiration to Volvo from 1996 to today in the form of Polestar: Volvo's performance division that made headlines by winning a touring car championship with a station wagon.
A box like Volvo comes packaged with a PI of 548.. which is in the middle of C. You probably are new here if you don't know a lot happens in this part of the class. But within its class of Classic Rally, the Volvo's in class rival would end up being COTW alumni in week 11's sleeper superstar that is the Alpine A110.
If you still have that itch for a Scandinavian flick after all this documentation, the Autoshow has these Volvos for 45,000 credits. Buy outs at the Auction House has 16,000 credits for most common, with 13,000 as the cheapest. Another low cost hero? Just the way I like my nominees. This IS my nominee after all. I'll think of something that'll dent your bank for my next choosing.
Even after a year, we oddly haven't touched upon the well known dirt route known as Mangrove Scramble. As I suggested, let's change that.
And just like the surprise factor of a certain cutter styled wrestling finisher move with a 3 word abbreviation that's also attributed to the man doing the move, here's the rematch between Brocky and the recurring XRAID. If you're going to ask who won then, who won now, and what exactly gave way to this happening again, umm.. I guess you can roleplay it?
"Split between the coastal road and lush swamp of Riviera Maya, this scramble is challenging for both cars and drivers due to its high humidity and thick mud."
I wonder if the humidity of this swampy dirt track does something to the cars. In real life sure, but I definitely mean if it matters in game. Maybe the temperature changes in these biomes vary.
Having a role of being a common test track for your dirt machines, I'm sort of wondering why it's now that it's getting its moment. It's got a good balance of speedy on and off road portions, and a couple of hairpins that challenge and entertain those who aren't afraid to spread mud like it's bread and.. whatever condiment you like on your morning toast. Me? It's a specified portional mix of blueberries and maple syrup. I also like my chosen base to be a bit crunchy. Hyup, I'm very particular to enjoying food.
It might not read this sign up, but it's definitely staying that way despite all the bumps and jumps.
- It's a road legal homologation model, so I'm surpised to see all these gauges as we head into the mandatory interior design review
I shouldn't be, actually, but if I look back at the Carrera RS, that car's a homologation model that's also dialled up to eleven on its dash.
- So, let's point out how well it likes getting its rear tires skidding. Because when that happens, we find ourselves something out of A class that's full of power: it's not going to stall you by spinning rubber very vigorously. With that said, the launch is just what the doctor ordered: no fuss when going all out. When it comes to shift points, it's like the Corrado: I change by the redline of 7000 RPM on early gears, while getting marginally earlier as it goes up. My 3rd to 4th is about 6500 RPM ish, which is still in the high revving point.
- Gladly the brakes don't suck. I'm not sure about on road situations, but off road it doesn't lock so easy and helps kick your back out. And in this car, controlling this is both effective and predictable, unlike the GTS-R Skyline we had that time.
- First thoughts of the handling is rear happy. If you don't control your inputs while on the longer turns, you're going to meet your rear with the wall. This is a car that enjoys oversteer, and more notably when it's on the dirt, since I don't think I have any issues losing the rear on the tarmac.
- Be careful of its semi long gear setup. This might not be based on the rally car, so that's the explanation for you on why. This is apparent when you do want to slow down so you can oversteer through the dirt corners. Sometimes you're at a gear too high to get swinging, a gear too low to just understeer all the way to give Barry R a kiss. But the penalty for messing up your shifting is quite minimal thanks to the turbo pushing this lightweight beast quite well in the mid RPM range, which is why I prefer being at 3rd for most of these turns.
- It's not an S1 car, but on the dirt, you want to be gentle with the power. I've mentioned the car loving oversteer, but on the mud it likes it a bit too much. And this is the nag for having control on your traction. You turn in, and you better be gentle. Go put it all in, and you're going to lose it. This is the third time I think it's mentioned so it's definitely to note.
- Well, let's look at the track, and have I got news for you: I never go down lower than 2nd. Now, this might not be advice for Manual Clutch monsters, but I find myself preferring on 3rd on all of the tough turns to try preserve the traction.
- And when it comes to bringing down speed, some turns are okay if you just feather the accelerator rather than use your brakes. This is notable on turn 1, the chicane after the quick dip, and the last dirt right hander.
- The best advice to tackle this crate shaped powerhouse is also a c word: control. It just loves to bring out its rear, and without too much power, that's going to lose you some speed when you can't recover. But even though this is a race car brought to road standards, it's obvious one can find the rallying flair in it. It's in a rally class in game, so I guess this is kind of obvious.
A word of advice: I should go get a combination that's not so well done as this. A car that can do anything with a dirt track that tests just about anything. I spent a good 40 minutes pushing far to maybe gift it that Mark of Zen #15
. Wasn't it 26? Past me is silly in the wrong ways sometimes.
But unlike last week's Anglia, this is a combo I would love to explore again. Let's see what a best of this session looks like.
It might not have wings, but this is a Flying Brick that can fly to a best of 1:32.335
with me as pilot.
I didn't ever come close to this time after getting it on lap 20. It was a completely outlier lap, as just about every lap I feel real good about could never go past 1:33, and my initial goal was just beat 1:34. Sometimes I don't realize how much better I can be if I put my mind into it. Guess there are times where I gotta be more confident.
Has anyone any idea if I mention the COTW phenomenon of a catch front on opposite day?
I'm not sure if I made you think, but I'm obviously referring to the return of the Throwback.
I assume all of you know what a Throwback is, but since it's opposite day, I'll tell you as if you never saw it. It's pretty much a revisit of older COTW members, chosen by the appropriate purpose and performance range, and see how well they tackle this week's track. It might seem so, but due to varying PI, competition isn't the original reason for this, and you won't be getting a table that you usually see with a Showcase. This table though is something I might do with the Test, but eh, we'll see if that flies.
It's a quick scroll up, but for easy reference, the Volvo's best time is 1:32.335
Even though there's no such thing as competition, we begin with a competition between THOSE two.
ALPINE A110 1600S
Nominee #11, Sleeper, Mark of Zen #3
MITSUBISHI STARION ESI-R
Nominee #4, Sleeper
With the score at 3-1, the Alpine finally tastes the feeling of being a bit behind. But we're on the dirt now: it's time to come back strong.
The Starion plans to be ahead of that lightweight pugilist rallying king, and judging by the track, it looks like that torque might come in handy this round.
With a score currently remaining at 3-1 in favor of the Alpine, the contest continues with what might be the biggest venue yet. Where the Alpine's lightweight frame gives it the agility advantage, the Starion's torque and general oversteery nature gives it a bump the last they butted heads. But if we mix the 2, the stakes seem higher than it already is.
While the Alpine flaunts its 2 PI advantage by setting the base time of 1:32.072
The Starion's best blows away even my own expectations, with a NEW best of 1:31.918
, and by breaking the 1:32 second mark allows it to make the score 3-2. Things are shaping up to be more equal that it should be.
The entire premise of the Alpine is similar to the Volvo, with a similar driving pace and shorter gearing. Only that with extra handing precision comes a boost in the issues the Volvo had: you need to be better in your control, and also consider it's added grip.
The Starion however is quite the opposite. It's much easier to drive, it's got longer gears so that I don't slip up more often. And it cruises over bumps way better than both the Alpine and Volvo. Which is how it got ahead in this little competition in the realm of not really competing. Oh, and its monster torque allowing it to just charge through the straights, can't forget that.
And let's end these misadventures with me inserting the Volvo 242 as part of these shenanigans, but maybe indirectly like with the NC Miata that's absent today.
NISSAN SKYLINE (R31) GTS-R
Nominee #20, Sleeper
Another rallying Throwback in this class would mean I have to bring back this fetching homologation special painted ugly green here back to the fold.
Despite being.. probably the least remarkable of the middling C class cars, the R31 did debut with its track questioning its general purpose, but convincing me that while it's built for the streets, it's not going to be estranged to the dirt. It did impress me on the last outing at Plaza Circuit, but let's not expect something amazing here.
This Nissan calls for a quick clean up after securing a best of 1:32.938
. And I expected it to not even beat 1:33, to be honest.
It's a road car alright, and it shows. The overly stiff springs and the dramatic loss of traction and pace when traveling sideways on the dirt sets it back. The gearing was also the least applicable, with the car's optimal turning speed stuck in the middle of 2nd and 3rd. But compared to the current crowd so far, it's behind on PI, and this is not the car's best place to make paces with.
Coming up next..
Hey, have you ever thought why is it that only one car gets a sort of buildup to me announcing it. There might be a reason, but I don't think it'll feel right to reveal it, if such a reason even exists.
Well, okay, ladies and gentlemen, it's time to make a stand, as it's the one, the only, the ninety eighties, mission completer and floor perforator from Italy, it's..
LAMBORGHINI LM 002
Nominee #7, Beater
So far the only Beater from my end, and more than that of the Anglia after all since its unanimous, Rambo Lambo has all the flaws of things like slurring in speech represented through its unusually long gearing. But to say it's a terrible off-roader is a complete fabrication of facts. I did nominate it as a beater thanks to it losing soundly to its successor in the Urus on its week's Showcase. Eugh, I do NOT want to Showcase a bottom end D class car.
Not taking to betrayal well due to me nominating it as the worst (because it's the only) Beater of our one year thread, the LM 002, just like in the Teotihuacan Scramble Throwback provides a NEW best of 1:29.472
Yeahh.. no other car's beating this time.
Given its power and AWD performance, Rambo Lambo's main claim to this great time was the on dirt exit turn acceleration, going 5 MPH faster than the previous batch of Throwback entrants. And it's easier to get the power down there too since it don't slip. Speaking of slip..
Nominee #10, Sleeper, Mark of Zen #2
I am not your failure.. You didn't kill the dark American age of automobiles.. I did.
I was going to get the Buicks on, but I don't think the GSX will like the mud with all that juicy torque. Though, the Buick GNX might be the most polarizing of my top Sleepers, but it's mainly because of what it's done, how it goes, and lives as the ultimate map cruiser. And it's usually found itself at the top of this middling C class group in terms of PI even on the dirt, so while going off the marked road isn't its forte, a result is to be expected.
To please Lord Vader, a car bearing his namesake should perform, and I hope to please with a best of 1:30.849
The GNX's main advantage is its killer acceleration. Once you get the traction down, you are going to fly. And its 4 gear setup is long enough that you can steady the power coming in. Due to the muscle setup, this car is by far the most challenging to get around this track, though, and I don't see why it shouldn't be.
MINI JCW COUNTRYMAN ALL4
Nominee #34, Sleeper, Mark of Zen #11
Let's keep into the Star Wars trend so that I can forget it with a fit of rage. How? Well, did you ever hear the tragedy of Week 34 the HOW DARE YOU!!
Time for you to get.. sorta angry: I nominated the JCW Countryman for the upcoming COTW Beater or Sleeper Awards Show in ¡Campeón de México!. Now to say it won or not is to be seen, but this lightweight crossover has impressed me again and again ever since its unfortunately not SPD marked nomination. It was a driver's ride that I say deserved the name of being the quintessential MINI, but can Mangrove Scramble give it a place to trip?
Not tripping in any sense, this unnaturally big MINI makes a naturally big impact with a best lap of 1:32.042
, which is 3 hundredths faster than the Alpine, being within their competitive range while being about 12 PI behind.
Now how else would I say top Sleeper? It's all a very fanfare deserved spectacle, but it's also the most modern car of the lot, with a modern clutch to facilitate smooth speeds. Plus, it also got the traction and general off-road worthiness of the LM 002. The only bad thing: it doesn't oversteer as much, so it's generally the most boring to drive of the lot.
VOLKSWAGEN CORRADO VR6
Nominee #17, Sleeper, Mark of Zen #5
Sure you do know I put the Corrado usually at the bottom, because you all know it's bound to shatter this Throwback as it always has done. A Sleeper among Sleepers: my top Sleeper.
So, here's the last car. The original starter car of Horizon. And in no ways a weak small hatchback. As I've been calling it the proto Veyron, the car's a total powerhouse, and easily puts itself as the very top Sleeper for me. Without much else to say, because I'm making a reference to my lack of hatchback knowledge, will this Corrado, with the lowest PI of this list of Throwback contenders, impress me when it has to contend with a salad of road, mud and water? And has anyone noticed I'm plagiarizing myself with this paragraph.
Not a long wait after, you might be wondering how'd this piece of red do this time? I won't be expecting a similar pace but..
Oh wow, freaking deja vu but more like a deja wow..
I never thought I'd come back to the time that has me non stop wowing.
This damn car. This holy WOW damn amazing piece of kit, you, wow, YOU!!!
The Corrado surely is the car reserved for the bottom, because the best time it got is a whopping 1:31.544
Once again, we gotta put it in perspective. While only Rambo Lambo and the GNX are ahead, here's our third fastest car, and it is 30 PI behind the Rambo Lambo, and 16 PI behind the Starion. And when we look at this and that Starion, it just didn't give a damn, and said: I'm a whup your Nippon ass back to Tokyo. Once again, within the confines of this week's Throwback, the Corrado has ripped and tore any 4 wheeled machine ahead of it in a 20 PI range.
What's the Corrado got that the others don't? It's all a combination of how it wants you to treat it like a B class FWD car, compounded with its amazing handling on the dirt. Not to mention the amazing grip, the general balance and how easy it is to be consistent. It also necessitates a different driving style than your usual rally car, but it's proof this style works.
And Throwback is over. Man I realized how fun this segment is to write and report in this performance range. Let's wait for yet another middling C class runner on a road course so we can include other COTW superstars into the fray, wink wink.
Thanks to the sheer potential of that Corrado VR6, I forgot this is the week of the Volvo 242. So, I better conclude.
What is the Volvo 242 Turbo Evolution? It is..
Real life version of Squidward driving a TV's cardboard box out to the dump site in unadulterated joy, sans the imagination.
Maybe I shouldn't be nominating these well known classic Sleeper
cars. Makes the results just as predictable. You probably were thinking the Cortina would come, but it's too soon, and if we don't get out of D class, I might just go run off a cliff rather than drive it. The Volvo will work, and I suppose anyone who knows about it would expect it. But Sleepers work wonders on the contrary of this pack.
But SPD: why not put in a car you like instead of a random Volvo? I know the MINI happened, but I have a reason. This all stemmed forth when I came back to playing NFS Heat again. Knowing the general consensus of car potential in that game, I bought the 242 and my friends could never ever see this car the same way again when it too lived as a sleeper choice for doing anything in that game. I personally knew this car's legacy was a surefire definition of a Sleeper, and I've wondered if it's some fluke or not.
Within Horizon, no it ain't! But now, we wait for whoever is ready to get that other Volvo in.
Not really sure how to end in relevance to what's happened, but.. this week's the chance for me to nab a now Hard-to-find that I listed as a top 10 in Horizon 4: the Aston Martin One-77. It's a car I picked up early in Horizon 4 to enjoy very much however long I had there. Way I described it there, it's the kind of high performance car that helps pick yourself up when you're falling down.