Turbo LS2-powered street-and-strip Volvo 242 GT

This weapons-grade Volvo is a far cry from your geography teacher’s beige wagon

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Photographers: Shaun Tanner

Update:

Sash and the Volvo ran a new PB of 9.711-seconds at 137mph at Heathcote Park Raceway on the weekend, topping his previous axle-busting PB of 10.1-seconds. Stay tuned for more on Sash’s quest to run an eight in the Flying Brick.

The story to here: 30 October 2023

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you and you haven’t been drinking degreaser (we hope). You’re looking at a Volvo here at Street Machine! Fret not, Sash Avramoski’s 242 GT is no trainspotter’s resto with matching-numbers sparkplugs and factory diff oil; the street-and-strip wheel-and-tyre package hints at what’s really going on here.

First published in the October 2023 issue of Street Machine

Sash’s list of previous cars is as long as your arm, with highlights including the XY GS that was his first car, a low-10-second manual VL Turbo, an animalistic F6, a van with a 151dB competition sound system, and a handful of Skyline GT-Rs. In between the home-grown and JDM cars, however, is a fascination with Volvos that stems from a couple that Sash’s parents owned. “I’ve had a 760 and a 740 turbo, but I’ve always wanted a 242 GT,” he says. “Someone had this one for sale in Wollongong – I think I paid $1200 for it and it was a running and driving car. It even had roof racks with a big toolbox on top.”

The entertainment provided by the 2.3-litre four-pot and manual trans didn’t last very long, and the Volvo soon found itself in the hands of Dex of Probuildfab for a thorough overhaul. “Dex was awesome; he pretty much built the whole car,” Sash says.

The Avramoski clan don’t seem to own a single car that isn’t boosted, so the Volvo’s fate was sealed. “It was always going to get an RB30, a 2JZ or an LS,” Sash says. “I bought the LS2, as it was supposed to be done up, but when we took the rocker covers off we found ARP studs at the ends of the heads and standard bolts in the middle!”

On a strict diet of E85, the result was a responsive 815hp at the treads, enough to have Sash knocking on the door of a nine-second run

More investigating revealed valves that were too small for the seats, so with Sash and Dex’s confidence in the combo lower than the average snake’s belly, it was stripped and machined by The Engine Reviver. Dex screwed it back together with CP Bullet pistons and Spool I-beam rods swinging off the standard crank, tickled LS3 heads, and a baby Crow bumpstick.

Boot: When it comes to plumbing, Sash has an addiction to hard lines. The Raceworks surge tank contains two 520L/h pumps to supply the copious amounts of E85 the LS2 quaffs, and an Astra electric pump provides hydraulic power to the Volvo rack. Check out those nifty factory boot hinges!

Keeping everything below the bonnet was of paramount importance to Sash, so the intake is a low-profile Holley unit wearing a set of 1650cc injectors. Feeding the 6.0-litre 16psi of extra air is a Garrett GTX45 turbo sitting on modified KillaBoost VE Commodore manifolds, with a 50mm Turbosmart ProGate controlling turbine speed. The box o’ gears is a TH400 with a transbrake put together by Preston Automatics, and it sends power to the custom Ford nine-inch through a GJ Drivelines one-piece tailshaft. On a strict diet of E85, the result is a responsive 815hp at the treads, enough to have Sash knocking on the door of a nine-second run after only a couple of hairy test passes.

Although the Volvo was completely rust free, Sash dropped it off at PNT Panels for a quick neaten-up to get rid of the scuffs and trolley dents. Soon the situation grew legs, and the car was bare-metalled, straightened and covered in that super-slick Volvo Silver Metallic. “It was never meant to look good, but once we’d started, I just had to take it to the next level,” Sash says. He stipulated that the body had to stay as stock as possible, though he couldn’t resist having the ugly spare wheel well trimmed to line up with the bottom of the right-hand quarter.

The all-aluminium 6.0L probably doesn’t weigh much more than the original cast-iron four-banger, so the GT tips the scales at a lithe 1260kg. Dex from Probuildfab is responsible for almost all the work involved in the driveline swap, including most of the fabrication and wiring

The Volvo engineers really didn’t want these things to twist; the GT runs straight as an arrow down the strip without any additional bracing, and all of the stock suspension mounting points have been used. The nine-inch dangles from custom four-link arms with a Panhard bar to centralise it and Viking coil-overs for launch control, while the front end rides on BC coil-overs mated to Mustang hub assemblies. Wilwood four-piston calipers clamp discs on all four corners, and the standard Volvo master and booster provide a nice, easy pedal.

Much of the interior has been left the way the Swedes intended, though the flip-forward Recaro buckets definitely weren’t a factory option. “GTX Garage brought them in from Japan and supplied more of the material for the rear seats and door trims,” Sash says. Auto Image Interiors took care of the trim work, including wrapping the dash, parcel shelf and headlining in suede. Tucked away behind the dash is the VE Commodore ECU that controls the engine, with a VE accelerator pedal calling the shots and a PowerTune dash displaying the LS2’s vital signs.

Sash says the bowling hats and venetians in the back were mandatory additions to such a sleepy vehicle

It’s taken less than three years for Sash to build this wicked Swedish street sweeper, but the Volvo’s not finished yet. “We’re in the process of fitting a ’cage and ’chute to it, and then I’ll try to run an eight,” he says.

Clearly not one to rest on his laurels, Sash has recently acquired a nice, tidy XE Fairmont Ghia that’s just begging for a serious power upgrade, too!

That big red light on the dash is even more necessary now that the Volvo packs 10 times its original power!

BRICK WORKS

Well known for being safer than the average bank vault in an age when many cars would still happily murder their occupants in a crash and Falcons would bend like a banana on a two-post hoist, the humble Volvo 240 series was quite popular in the world market.

The GT-spec 242 two-door was sold in Australia from 1978 to 1981 and copped ventilated discs, harder springs, some chassis stiffening and shiny silver metallic paint with black and red stripes.

The 80s also saw the introduction of turbos to the Volvo four-cylinder range, and Kiwi steerer Robbie Francevic (backed up by John Bowe) took out the Aussie Touring Car Championship in ’86 at the wheel of Volvo Dealer Team 240T.

SASH AVRAMOSKI
1980 VOLVO 242 GT

Paint:Volvo Pure Silver Metallic
ENGINE
Type:6.0L LS2
Intake:Holley Ultra Lo-Ram
Turbo:Garret GTX 45
Injectors:1650cc
Heads:LS3
Cam:Crow
Crank:Standard LS2
Rods:Spool
Pistons:CP
Sump:Modified VE
Fuel pump:Twin 520L/h
Exhaust:KillaBoost manifolds, 4in dump, 3.5in single
TRANSMISSION
Gearbox:TH400 with transbrake
Converter:3500rpm
Tailshaft:GJ Drivelines custom
Diff:9in, 3.5:1 gears
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front:BC Racing coil-overs, Volvo steering rack
Rear:Viking coil-overs
Brakes:Wilwood discs (f & r)
Master cylinder:Volvo
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims:Street Pro; 17×4.5 (f), 15×8.5 (r)
Rubber:Mickey Thompson S/S 26×6.00R17 (f), Mickey Thompson ET Street 235/60R15 (r)

THANKS
Dex Gambin at Probuildfab for going above and beyond to make this car happen; The Engine Reviver for the machining; Frank at Allsparks Automotive & Performance for the tuning; Preston Automatics for the built transmission; Auto Image Interiors; PNT Panels for the body and paint; VPW; Refined Car Detailing; most of all, my lovely wife Rebecca and our kids Jacob and Alexander for all their support.

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