Finland: The Land Of Petrolheads
Never Enough Horsepower

As Speedhunters, we take it as our duty to dig up the freshest, weirdest and most wonderful stories surrounding car culture from all over the world. Japan and America have such massively diverse and thriving car scenes that we tend to dish out a lot more content from these countries, as well as the places where our editorial staff members are based. But we also try to travel to different parts of the world as often as we can. I recently discovered a place that we definitely need to spend more time in, and that’s Finland.

As a Speedhunting treasure trove filled to the brim with automotive gems just waiting to uncovered, our Editor in Chief, Pedey, and I recently managed a quick trip there a few months ago, where we thought we’d try to find out how many of those treasures we could uncover in just under three days. As it turned out, quite a lot…

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After two days adventuring around the Finnish countryside discovering some radical machines alongside our fantastic guide (and now friend) Toni Yläranta, we finished off our trip with a small, private meet-up in an industrial area near Helsinki airport.

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I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but there turned out to be a very interesting mix of cars, with everything from Volvos and RX-7s, to Lamborghinis and Supras, and even some cars I’d never even remotely heard of before. In fact, this was probably the most diverse, unusual grouping of cars I’ve ever come across in my life. You’ll soon see what I mean.

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Let’s start with this ST185 Celica GT4. The track-ready Toyota looked cool with its custom rollcage and rear wing, but it wasn’t until I was given the full tour that I realised just how extreme it actually was. As the owner, Antti Heikkinen, popped the hood for us, we were met with a glorious sight…

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Antti and his friend Joni Marttila, a 3S-GTE engine specialist, had only just the previous day put the finishing touches on this fully rebuilt 3S-GTE Gen2 motor, which is jam-packed full of custom parts and good for 440hp and 625Nm on 1.5bar (22psi) boost. What a weapon!

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This wild Toyota Soarer belonged to local car enthusiast Toni Mård. Toni originally bought the JZZ30 back in 2009 as a fresh import – the perfect blank canvas for him to perform some crazy modifications.

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The Soarer has been through many looks over the years, with the most notable feature of its current guise being these wide carbon fiber over-fenders, which Toni designed and created himself.

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As is the norm with performance car builds in this part of the world, it was also powered by a 950hp 2JZ with a massive snail. When I asked Toni what he uses the car for, he just smiled and answered, “It’s really just a street car for fun.”

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Speaking of power, next up I was introduced to Sami Keinänen, a well-known Finnish tuner who runs his own one-man tuning business called SK Performance. Sami has built this rare manual version Gallardo into a raging bull with almost three times as much power as it came with from stock.

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To say the rear end looks intimidating would be an understatement. The Lamborghini’s bumper has been removed, exposing two massive Holset HX40 turbos and some very evil-looking custom exhaust piping. At 1.47bar (21psi) of boost, the V10 engine produces 1466hp and 1500Nm on 98 octane fuel.

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Sami’s Gallardo might seem like a tough act to follow, but this RX-7 has its own unique story too. When Lauri Ylikorpi imported this FD3S RX-7 from Japan he thought he was getting a standard model, but to his surprise and delight what turned up was a rare JDM-spec RZ version. Produced in limited numbers, the lightweight RZ came with a stiffer chassis, tuned Bilstein suspension and no rear seat. Lauri has since customised his FD with a custom wide-body kit and aero package that he designed and manufactured himself using fibreglass, carbon fibre and carbon-Kevlar, with the front end moulded from a 997 Porsche GT3 Cup car bumper. How cool is that?

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As much as I love big-power builds and Japanese imports, it wasn’t long before the raspy sound of an old carbureted engine caught my attention. The owner of this Volvo Amazon had just finished giving the old girl a wash, and that cage peeking though the window had me intrigued…

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The Amazon was actually an ex-rally car, and the owner had recently picked it up for a decent price, thinking it would be a bit of fun. It would be awesome to see this back out on some gravel back roads being driven in anger, so I hope he makes it happen.

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See what I mean about a random collection of cars? Just to further mix things up, let’s throw this Donkervoort D8 in the mix. It took me a while to figure out what this was, but I soon learned of the small Netherlands-based company that produces these super lightweight, hand-built sportscars. As I was taking a closer look at the low, long-snouted machine, the owner came over for a chat.

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Pasi Wirkkala has had a long and sometimes rocky history with the Donkervoort, which he has owned for many years and driven on many tracks around Europe. It’s also been modified and is looked after by Sami Keinänen (the owner of the Gallardo), so of course the 2.0-litre Ford Cosworth engine now gets an extra kick from a larger Garrett turbocharger, producing a healthy 340hp.

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Listening to some of Pasi’s tales, I was able to get an idea of just how brutally fast and exceptionally well set up this car is; a serious track toy for the more experienced driving enthusiast. Pedey and I were also curious as to how someone tall like Pasi could even fit in the cockpit, so we had to test it out. It was so incredibly small and I could reach out and put the palm of my hand flat on the ground, so I’m sure it would be terrifying to drive flat-out on a race track. “How do you actually drive it?”, Pedey jokingly asked, to which Pasi replied, “Oh, I’m not allowed. This is actually my wife’s car, and she’s banned me from driving it.”

A Basement Full Of Treasures
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Pasi and his friend had some garages within the industrial-looking building where the meet was taking place, so we walked around the back to take a look.

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As we walked through the long underground parking area, I couldn’t help but notice that almost all of the cars being kept in there were interesting or cool in some way.

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Porsche 930 Turbo, anyone?

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Most of the cars were covered, but Pasi lifted some of the covers to give us a peek. We weren’t disappointed!

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The parking area wasn’t limited to European cars either. This cover revealed a classic Corvette Stingray convertible in what looked like good nick, sitting and waiting patiently for its owner.

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Eventually we found Pasi’s lock-up garage space underneath the building, where he stores several cars and other projects, most of which were in various states of restoration. One of them was this rare Intermeccanica Italia, an Italian-made, Ford V8 powered coupe of which only 600 were produced between the late ’60s to early ’70s. Less than 60 of them were coupes, with the majority of them being convertibles. Strangely, the roofless versions are worth more now, but that doesn’t worry Pasi too much as he happens to own one of each.

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Another car he’s currently restoring is this two-seater Davrian Imp, a small British-made sports coupe which consists of a completely fibreglass monocoque.

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Pasi is an avid collector of old, unusual and rare cars and by this stage I’d diagnosed him as a completely and utterly obsessed petrolhead. When he talked about business and the weather you’d never be able to tell, but as soon as anything car-related came into the conversation, his eyes would light up and he couldn’t stop smiling. And by the sounds of it, his wife has the same bug. Check out these extremely cool ‘his and hers’ retro turbo motorcycles.

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Although it was just a quick stop-off before we headed to the airport and back to Stockholm, I couldn’t believe how many fascinating cars just a few local enthusiasts could show us in such a short amount of time. Every person we met here didn’t just like cars, they were all passionate gear-heads who truly take their automotive hobby to the next level.

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Whether that meant collecting cars and restoring them, or performing well-thought out modifications in their own signature style, all of these people took ultimate pride in their cars and their enthusiasm was infectious.

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A big thank you to Toni Yläranta and all of the wonderful people we met in Finland, and thanks for dropping us off at Helsinki airport in style. I can’t wait to visit again and check out what else the Finnish car scene has on offer – from what I’ve seen so far, my expectations are high!

Words by Taryn Croucher
Instagram: taryncroucher
taryn@speedhunters.com

Additional Photos by Peter Kelly
Instagram: speedhunters_pedey
pedey@speedhunters.com

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57 comments

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1

Man I love that FD3S! The kit on it isn't too over the top and the color is just right. SH needs to do a feature on that car.

2
Nikita_Falaleev

It would be nice to read more about that Celica GT4

3

That GT3 bumper looks great on the FD; Better than flat RB front bumper iMO..

4

Never thought I'd see a Donkervoort on Speedhunters
You should visit their factory for a story on these hand-crafted rockets!

5
Pete the perfect pilot

Great to see some rotary love in Finland. Personally, I'd have kept it stock and unmodded, given its rarity. Now it's just another modded Rex. Still, any rotary is awesome, so it's still the business as far as I am concerned. Well done that man!

6

Bram I was there a few months ago. Super accessible, nice people and absolutely tiny compared to the quality of stuff they put out. A feature would be great, especially on their monstrous racecars.

8

Ops. Go check our webside facebook.com/alaraumoshitworks. We are from lapland finland.

9

Check our webside facebook.com/alaraumoshitworks. We are from lapland finland.

10

That soarer is just perfect...

11
deleted_82067014_Abezzegh87

Höly shit.

12

Thats RX7 with the Porsche bumper looks insane. I'm surprised no one else has though that using that bumper on a RX7. Looks perfect. All it needs is a GT Wing to finish off the project, cause as it stands no it seems unfinished.

13

I think that RX7 is forsale..

14

DieterManero As far as frankensteins go this one is good ye.

15

MatsNorway DieterManero Yeah I'm a huge fan of the front end on that RX7, it fits so well. Some of the widebody isn't to my taste but the colour and the front treatment is excellent. I'd LOVE that bumper on my 7.

16
90nissanS13@my350z

Man, Peter Kelly has all the fun...

17

I want to know the ST185 more!! Nice article btw

18

Now that's some seriously awesome coverage!

19

Now that's some seriously awesome coverage!

20

Maart3n Bram Hi Maart3n, fire me an email on pedey@speedhunters.com!

21

Having been there several times I can confirm that yeah...they put our cars to shame here stateside - even if licensing and fuel is insanely expensive.

22

Omg it's a Toyota with wheels that actually fit inside the over-fenders.
That's so fuckin hipster.

23

thedriversvault Cheers!

24

You people should do a longer visit to finland, even for a week or two and try to visit various shows and events. Even in the winter time we have ice racing, provided the weather gets cold enough.

25

Nikita_Falaleev It's pretty epic huh. Toni actually sent me a whole heap of info on it: it's on BC Racing coilovers and has ST205 GT-4 brakes, a fuel cell in the trunk, the engine block has been filled, it's running Wiseco pistons, Eagle con-rods, a KMS MD35 ECU with a flexfuel E85 sensor, and a whole bunch of other custom-made parts. I wish we had spent more time with it but time was something we didn't have!

26

Project AT180R See some more info in the comments below!

27

I have gone to Finland driving several times already what breath taking spectacular country it is...anyways there are some Insane and serious build cars there...also super fun and cheap getting into amateur rally races. Keep looking around guys.

28

Man that gallardo is sick as fuck

29

@Tom

30

DieterManero With GT wing. More pics: http://molsa.pictures.fi/kuvat/Cars/SCD+RX7/

33

I want to know more about that Soarer

34

DieterManero He can produce this kit for sale, if you are interested. Check SCD.fi. He also has two types of dry carbon GT-wings in stock. Huge and really f****ing huge :D!

35

Taryn Croucher it's pretty epic for sure. thank you sir.

36

Taryn Croucher it's pretty epic for sure. thank you sir.

37

they say the finnish do a scandinavian flick when they come out of the womb

38

I'd love to see more of that FD on here.

39

Honestly, not even a passing mention of that fine W111 coupe? That's probably the best looking car in this article; and we didn't see half of it. And a Gen 1 Viper(!) that we only saw because it was in the background of other cars? I get the thinking, all the other cars are more expensive, rare, modified and whatever but c'mon guys.

40

Maart3n Bram That would be really cool
I'd gladly help you out with info and photo's, since i'm an employee there

41

Lambo TT.. hands down

42

Nikita_Falaleev Taryn Croucher Nice work 'Sir' Taryn :D

43
Gianluca FairladyZ

FC-GT3-RS!!! That bumper mod is very refreshing!

44

WTB more of that FD

45

ThelamusCeasar Check out the owner's IG: instagram.com/thefattis

46

Janne Koskinen Ice racing is on the to-do list for sure!

47

Janne Koskinen Ice racing is on the to-do list for sure!

48

Bram 2nd that! Its about time you guys pay some attention to Donkervoort. The one here is an older model powered by a Ford engine, the current ones use VAG engines. Specifically the 2.5 5 cyl TFSI as used in the Audi RS3 and TT RS, the major difference here being the weight. 380 bhp/ 280 kw in a car that weighs 695 kg...which results in  0-100 in 2.8 sec. and that's the "normal version". This will run rings around a 911 turbo or a GTR. It is in fact faster then those two around the ring. If only i could afford one...it would only last for a few minutes anyway, because these would absolutely make me lose my license.

49

Taryn Croucher Janne Koskinen You should take Larry and his cameras and send him to cover Arctic Lapland Rally in January

50

Taryn Croucher Janne Koskinen You should take Larry and his cameras and send him to cover Arctic Lapland Rally in January

51

From that camera angle, it looks like someone photoshop'd one cylinder of the 3SGTE right out of the picture. LOL!

52

As a Finn, I have to call your headline bullshit... Why? Because although there are some cars like this, you can't do much with them, because the police are everywhere, and in Finland, one can not escape the police... It might be a different story in Sweden, but in Finland you can't escape the police... If you do manage to get them off of your arse, they'll come knocking on your door...

53

Going to need more of that ST185 Celica, know where there is a build thread or anything? Also the RX7, Awesome post.

54

Going to need more of that ST185 Celica, know where there is a build thread or anything? Also the RX7, Awesome post.

55

@Jermu People like to say this, but it's not actually true. Obviously they'll come knocking on your door if they see the plate, but since Finnish police doesn't have a single helicopter it's pretty easy to get away with stuff...

56

You guys should visit the Mäkelä Auto Tuning (MAT) shop.

57
Taisto Leinonen

In fact, in Finland, the police will invariably come knocking on your door for speeding, unpaid vehicle tax or insurance. Why? Actually there are very few police cars or motorbikes on Finnish roads, but all of them are equipped with top-grade cameras and radars that alert our very polite officers (they never use the impolite word "suspect", we all stopped are "customers") automatically inasmuch they have a real-time connection to all Finnish data systems. You may escape with the help of dirty license plates or wearing a mask, but be assured, sooner or later, you will hear: knock - knock.

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