Black Metal V8olvo crew chief and mastermind Hellhammer likes stuffing V8s into cars that never came that way from the factory, and now he's learned a few things about Volvos. Let's get another one!
We really wanted to swap in a more potent small-block Ford and take the V8olvo to the dragstrip, then put the LeMons engine back in when we were done burning rubber and howling at the moon, but that fragile Dana 30 rear could never stand up to the abuse. It's on the ragged edge of disintegration right now, being road-raced with a 1986 Ford 302. Hellhammer had two choices: make the existing race car LeMons-ineligible by blowing the budget and putting a beefy Ford 9" or GM 12-bolt in it… or buy another cheap Volvo 240 and make a super-sleeper drag car out of it, keeping the Black Metal V8olvo on the LeMons circuit. And if you're going to do that, why, you might as well get the sporty two-door 242, preferably a '75 so's the smog cops don't kick down your door (1976 and newer vehicles must pass emissions tests in California). And, as luck would have it, Hellhammer did some horse-trading and now has a healthy 450-horse stroker small-block Chevy sitting in his garage, right next to a drag-ready Powerglide. As we already know, the Chevy fits nicely in the Volvo 240 engine compartment.
So, eventually the List That Is Craig's produced a long-dormant 1975 Volvo 242, sunk to its axles in the redwoods and ferns of the Santa Cruz mountains and priced down in scrap-metal territory. Bay Area law-enforcement types will tell you that these hills are a body-dump magnet for murderers from throughout the region, since it's freeway convenient, yet remote enough that suspicious eyes won't be on your digging in the nice soft shovel-friendly dirt… and you definitely get a weird, haunted vibe tromping through the woods in search of a cheap car (the secret meth labs and their twitchy, heavily-armed workers add a frisson of real danger to the experience as well). The guy selling the car was the property owner, but he was out of state and just mailed Hellhammer the key and bill of sale; we hooked up the trailer and ventured down some winding single-lane roads to find the car. There it was, right next to a long-abandoned Transporter!
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The back window was busted out, so the interior was pretty icky after 10 years of exposure to the elements, but the mechanical stuff all looked solid. The junkyards are overflowing with well-cared-for Volvo 240s, so it's no sweat to find interior components in nice shape.
Some critter had been nesting in the engine compartment for quite a while. That old B21 isn't frozen and might work fine- and, in fact, there's been some crazy talk going around about building a Volvo-powered LeMons Spitfire- but it's going to need all those gnawed wires and hoses replaced. For now, it's going to sit in the weeds behind Hellhammer's garage, with all the other future project engines.
A couple hours of digging, cursing, and wrestling of floor jacks in the mud were required to get some good wheels and tires onto the car, enabling us to hook up a chain and drag it out with Hellhammer's beater Chevy pickup. Then we had a really exciting adventure rolling it down a long driveway to the main road, the nearest level spot to get it onto the trailer; this task was made (slightly) easier by the semi-functioning brakes. That's right, a Volvo can sit in the woods for 15 years and the brakes will still work! His plan is to get the body and interior looking good, then set it up as a street sleeper/weekend drag racer machine.