Euro flavour and supercar style may well be what automotive modification dreams are made of – but a 360bhp Volvo S60 for half the price? Well that's just pure final fantasy.
SCREAMING around bends and ripping across high-speed sweepers are all part of the fun before wide-open throttle down The Green Hell's Antoniusbuche straight, but when an engine goes pop there's the ensuing urgency for many to get their motors 'back on track' fast. When 29-year-old Belgian Koen Lauwereys had his Volvo S60's 170bhp 2.4-litre lump die hard on him after a blood-pumping circuit lap, he seized this opportunity to re-invigorate the looks and performance of his 2002-model 'Ovlov'. And he's never looked back since.
“As a young guy the Volvo S60 wasn't the hottest car I could imagine, but with a little effort…” thought Koen. Near three years later, we can honestly say … he was right.
It isn't so much that the S60 pictured here has been discerningly 'evolved' in strict adherence to the fundamental – though often completely bloody ignored by morons – principal of 'taste', but more importantly that this 'cleaned' project has been executed so authoritatively and inspiringly that the very 'Volvo' brand-name can be seen by many modifiers in an entirely new, alluring light. Yep, that's right! In the case shown here, Volvo is now … voluptuous. This S60? As sexy and sordid as ever.
Put simply, Koen's taken an arguably bland but nonetheless potential-brimming Euro car as a daily-driven base, then enhanced key styling queues from the factory with subtle bodykit application, luxurious interior enhancement and audio specification, imbued it with sexy deeply dished multi-piece rims – then nailed it all to perfection with carefully dialled-in, belly-scraping lowered stance. And that 360bhp wallop from Garrett turbo grunt? That's right on the money, too.
How Swede it is…
Bought in July 2005, the ex-leased 2.4-litre company-car S60 did have leather, but not much else. Koen first bought rims: 8.5×19-inch RH AN Crosslines with 225/35 Pirelli Zero Neros. Then, because of his “fear of heights”, Koen bought a KW Variant II-kit (front adjustable lowering, rear not) to achieve that tarmac-scraping look.
All cool, but then he wanted the rims to look a little less standard, so he changed them to 9×19-inch at the front and 10×19-inch rears – but the non-fit meant arch rolling 1.5cm front and 3.5cm rear, which totally looks hot. Koen, though, did not want it all to look like “just a chassis on wheels”, so after some months an Evolve bodykit arrived. He cleaned out the towing eye holes, made another for the exhaust, then got a bodyshop to spray the bits. While waiting for the paint-job Koen welded up a custom-made Inox exhaust for it.
Come winter 2006, he installed fully clear headlights, cleaning out the holes for the headlight-wipers, the windshield-washers, then tackled the interior as he wanted different coloured leather and alcantara.
Up front now sits a 2.3-litre T5 injected block running a Garrett 2871R turbo with MTE software, K&N air intake, and Ferrita 3-inch downpipe to custom Inox exhaust exiting into Ferrari 612 end pipes. The five-speed manual gearbox works in conjunction with a high-spec stage 3 clutch. Visually under the bonnet, the engine's been painted body colour and there's carbon details throughout.
“T5s are rare around here, but the cops drive around in them and sometimes they crash one. I took that engine out, gave it a complete check-up and cleaned it completely. As the engine wasn’t of the same year like my car, I got some mayor problems to start it. After changing every electric wire and part of the car, everything started working,” Koen explained. And it all sounds awesome when he's racing, balls out, around circuits like The 'Ring.
Ultimately, Keon says he chose this car as you don't see it done much in the world tuning scene. But given how cool it's all turned out, I wouldn't be surprised if that was about to change. An inexpensive supercar that's an almost factory-look special? Yep, we're ordering more IKEA stuff and Swedish meatballs right now!
Text: Fabian Cotter