I got an email the other day from a friend looking for information about Volvo R-Sport tuning kits that we sold in the late ’60s. Wow, what a rush of memories that brought up. You bet I remember! Absolutely beautiful cylinder head, tube header, oil cooler, even carb needles, jets and damper springs. Somewhere I heard if you replace the damper oil with very light sewing machine oil (Mom never knew I stole her can of oil – thanks Mom!) the damper would open up quicker. Not that that mattered much on a B16 engine, but what can you tell a 20-year-old? Yeah, not much.
Enter something Scotty (from Star Trek) would have loved to play with if the Enterprise used carbon-based fuels: Polestar tuning. Last September, our parts group started offering downloadable performance kits for T6 and T5 engines. Gone were cardboard boxes full of goodies and knowing how to use a torque wrench and having busted knuckles; here to stay are software programs.
How are the sales of our Polestar kits? I asked Orlando in our Rockleigh office. “In just nine months we’re north of 3,000 kits,” he said. He sounded very happy, meaning he sold more than he forecasted. I used to work in his group and remember how most of my forecasts were over-estimated. I wasn’t very good at forecasting. OK, so I’m an optimist.
Last week Polestar unveiled a very secret project that has been brewing for months: the Volvo S60 Polestar concept with 508 horsepower, a lowered, widened and reinforced chassis, Ölins suspension and tuned Haldex AWD.
Will it make production? Very hard to tell. Polestar is not owned by Volvo; it’s a motorsports and performance company. I suspect they might have future orders from customers to street tune S60s but that is their decision. Basically they take what we build, sprinkle dust made from herring tails caught at mid-sommer and out pops a Viking on steroids.
This in from AutoGuide.com: The Volvo S60 Polestar has been getting a lot of attention, and why not? It has a turbocharged six-cylinder engine that makes a whopping 508-hp. Even more surprising is what one customer was willing to pay for it. The Polestar is able to make use of all that power, thanks to custom modifications to its chassis and gearbox. More details are coming out, and it turns out that the car was originally commissioned by one client, who said he’d buy it when all the promotions were completed. That client paid $300,000 for it.
My guess is this is the most expensive Volvo ever made, aside from the one that was made for a UN Secretary that had huge amounts of armor, bullet proof glass and gadgets installed.
I asked around internally: “What is Polestar about and why are they tinkering with Volvos?”‘ Last part is easy, Volvo/Sweden = Polestar/Sweden. The first part is that they are kind of a skunk works project but not in the traditional sense. While they are independent, Volvo helps them with the technologies we are using and they add their own style of performance.
Someone asked if this is like AMG and Mercedes-Benz? Well, not yet. On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being where AMG is today, we’re probably around 1.5. Honestly who knows where this will go, but for now, this relationship is very exciting.
You might be aware that I have an S60 in Vibrant Copper with a T5 engine, with its overboost function, and it’s plenty fast for me. But I had to ask Orlando if he had a Polestar kit for my XC70 (225,000 miles). He chuckled and said, “No.” On second thought, any more HP in that car would probably leave the transmission in pieces within minutes of overboost.
BTW here are some tech specs:
- 0-100 km/h 3.9s
- Top speed more than 300km/h
- Volvo T6 inline six (B6304T4)
- 508 hp @ 6500 rpm
- 575Nm @ 5500 rpm
- Max rpm: 7100
- Modified cylinder head and combustion chambers
- Modified inlet manifold and air intake
- Special manufactured conrods
- Garret 3171 turbo
- Ferrita 3.5” stainless steel exhaust system
- Reinforced M66C (close ratio) manual 6-speed gear box.
- Haldex E-LSD in rear
- Haldex Gen4 XWD
- Tires 265/30R19
- Rims Polestar 9.5 x 19
- Chassis lowered 30 mm
- Öhlins 3-way shock absorbers
- Reinforced anti-roll bar front and rear
- Track width increased 20 mm front and 40 mm rear
- Polestar-tuned EHPAS steering
- Stabilising X-members, front and rear
- Modified control-arms with uniballs front and rear
- Reinforced bushings in sub-frame and control arms
- Modified engine mounts
- Total weight 1640 kg and optimized weight distribution
- Front Polestar-Brembo 6-piston calipers, 380 mm ventilated discs
- Rear Polestar-Volvo calipers, 302 mm ventilated discs
- Brake cooling air intakes from front
- Based on tests in Volvo’s wind tunnel
- Lowered front splitter and larger rear spoiler to reduce high speed lift
- Carbon fiber diffusor
- Body 20 mm widened front and rear
- Polestar designed seats with increased support. Alcantara on all functional areas steering wheel, gear knob, and seats to ensure maximum grip.
- Center console lowered for optimized gear-lever ergonomics.
Wonder if I can trade in my XC70? Oh, and that 240 race car at the top of the post (www.flyingfellows.se), notice who’s on the team: Hasse Nilsson, our VCC S60 Project Manager. It’s why our S60 does what it does so well.