The AWD, Turbo V8, Volvo Super Amazon
Tuning Essence

This is it right here. Pure, unadulterated car culture. This is what being into cars is all about. Working on projects, experimenting, learning along the way and at the end – after months or even years of hardship and tribulation – completing a one-of-a-kind creation. Looking at Filip Malm’s Volvo Amazon I almost feel like I’m cheating with my own car…

A few trips to Scandinavia and Gatebil events will quickly make you realise that there are two very distinct ways of building up cars. Suddenly, selecting upgrades out of a catalogue becomes trivial, almost akin to taking a shortcut to boost power and performance.


It was about 10 months ago that Filip got to work on his 1967 Volvo Amazon. He’s always liked these cars and actually built one up prior to this. But for this project he wanted to step it up and take it all the way. It took a while to source a base car that wasn’t peppered with rust, but after one turned up he quickly went to work. He set himself a bit of a challenge – the aim to finish it all before his wife would give birth to his daughter.


Okay, so that gave him nine months I hear you say – plenty of time to dedicate to a home-built project, especially if you take into account how long and dark the winters are in Sweden where Filip is from, right? Wrong. Because Filip is obviously a man that doesn’t like to do things the easy way. Having had a few issues with traction in his previous Amazon, he was quite interested in experimenting with all-wheel drive.


That would also free up the potential to go pretty wild on power too, allowing Filip to transform his car into the grip-oriented beast he’s always wanted. One peek through the Amazon’s grill and the two massive oil coolers hint that there is something quite interesting going on under the massively bulged bonnet.


Fast forward nine months and Filip had put the finishing touches on the machine he likes to call the Super Amazon – a powerful all-wheel drive Frankenstein of a car that he even managed to get road registered in Sweden.


No matter what angle you look at this Amazon from, there’s constant hints to the magnitude of this project. For example, look at the rear and you’ll notice that the radiator has found a new home underneath the lightweight fiberglass trunk lid.


The fiberglass fenders – again added to shave weight – are mated to big black over-fenders which boost the Amazon’s width by 14 and 16cm front and rear respectively, giving a seriously tough presence to the overall feel of the car.


Since I run the exact same Brembo brakes on my car, the gold callipers were something I actually noticed straight away, and instantly put two and two together.


Filip must have ripped the entire driveline and engine out of a Skyline GT-R – a pretty cool idea I thought – and one that would easily give him all the benefits of AWD, as well as the potential for big power.


However, out on track it wasn’t the sweet and familiar sound of a straight-six RB26 that I was hearing, rather something far deeper in tone…

German Power, Japanese Traction

It wasn’t until Filip removed the fiberglass bonnet that it all made sense. Well sort of, as I still couldn’t quite put it all together.


With a little confusion I just had to have Filip explain what I was seeing, because even by Gatebil standards this is next level stuff. The need for decent power dictated that the engine would have to be pretty big, but at the same time reliability was also a concern. For Filip, the BMW M60 4.0L V8 seemed to fit the bill pretty well.


However, with the BNR32 Skyline GT-R driveline in place, figuring out where to drop the engine wasn’t quite so simple. To get around this Filip cut the front diff section out of the RB26 oil sump it’s usually housed in, and made up a separate enclosure to contain it all. The V8 fits right on top of this – separately – which is also why it sticks out a little above the bonnet line, and hence the 25cm increase to the Amazon’s bonnet bulge. This is the same engine that used to power the 540i and 740i – not the most sporty of motors – but silky smooth and decently torquey. A good start then, but one that required a little boost to reach the power figures that Filip was aiming for.


That’s why tucked away on one corner, between the engine and firewall, sits a Garrett GT42RR mounted on a custom set of manifolds. The externally wastegated, race-spec turbocharger supplies enough boost to turn this V8-powered Amazon from something pretty interesting to something outright ballistic. Seeing the engine has been kept stock, Filip ramps up the boost through the gears so as not place too much stress on the internals, something achieved via the MaxxECU and its boost control function. Furthermore, there’s actually no intercooler – the Garrett’s compressor directly feeds the big throttle body on the 180-degree turned stock BMW intake manifold. Boost is limited to 0.75bar for normal driving and 1.2bar at the highest setting, and Filip says heat isn’t an issue. At those boost pressure settings this set up delivers 450hp/540Nm and 620hp/750Nm respectively – all figures measured at the Volvo’s rear wheels on a 2WD dyno. Power is channeled to the rest of the driveline via a stock BNR32 five-speed transmission along with a beefy upgraded clutch.


Here is a detail of the front structure and the boxed suspension top mounts. Along with the driveline, Filip swapped the GT-R’s front and rear subframes as well as its arms and links, all working in conjunction with a set of adjustable HSD Monopro coilovers.


And here’s a look down at the inside of the right-hand side front wheel. Yes, it’s pure Skyline GT-R under there!


As we saw further up, seeing the lack of space up front the radiator had to be relocated to the trunk where it sits in a slightly tilted position with its own shroud. At speed the airflow over the car is enough to keep a decent volume of air flowing over the core, but Filip also added a fan for when a little help is needed. Right in front of the radiator sits the fuel cell, from where two Bosch Motorsport 044 pumps send fuel up front to supply eight Bosch 1200cc/min injectors.


The Skyline GT-R’s ATTESA E-TS pumps and control unit – just like on the donor car – are also fitted in the trunk area and are easily accessible for checks and maintenance.


After finding out all the little secrets this Amazon hides underneath that one of a kind body, it all of a sudden takes on a whole new attitude. As you can probably tell by the chunky Hankook slicks, Filip has built this car for straight-up grip driving, although it could potentially rip some pretty mean four-wheel drifts too I would think!

Not A Single Glitch

While Filip has registered the Amazon for the road in Sweden, Gatebil Rudskogen was actually the first proper chance he’s had to really push it. And despite only going out a few times over the course of the weekend he was very happy with how it all felt.


Along with the front and rear sections, the Amazon’s floor has also been completely custom fabricated, and it’s all connected to the roll cage to build some much-needed stiffness into the almost 50-year-old base car.


Behind the adjustable OBP pedal box in the driver’s footwell you can see how the surrounding transmission tunnel has all been shaped with sheet metal. It’s all been kept very minimalistic and functional in here, and the whole black-on-white theme of the exterior has been carried through into the cabin as well.


Seeing the way the engine and gearbox have been positioned, the shifter to the Nissan gearbox was never going to align with where Filip actually wanted it to be. But that was easily fixed with a nicely executed linkage.


Sheet metal was also used to sculpt the simple angular lines of the custom dashboard, which before being fitted in the car was flocked to make sure it wouldn’t reflect on the windscreen. I love the Swedish labels for the various switches dotted along the dashboard.


Hiding under the little carbon fiber instrument binnacle is a Samsung GALAXY Note II running a MaxxECU application which connects via Bluetooth to the engine management system to display a customisable variety of parameters. This nifty little application is even road legal in Sweden.


Aside from handling the fuel and ignition maps, the MaxxECU – as mentioned before – has also been programmed to ramp up boost through the gears, as well as control the torque split of the ATTESA system. This can further be adjusted by a simple dial on the dashboard.


Black Sparco Sprint buckets and belts were the final addition to the interior, helping keep driver and passenger tightly contained through the corners. One should never underestimate the grip an all-wheel drive car on slicks can generate!


Behind them, one can check out the rear section of the roll cage which also doubles up as anchor points for the harnesses.


It’s reached the point that we begin to take these crazy Gatebil cars for granted, for the sheer reason that there are just so many of them. Except Filip’s Super Amazon has truly stepped the game up in terms of both concept and execution.


And what about his daughter I hear you ask? Well, the car was pretty much finished at the same time as her arrival, and the car’s first track outing coincided with her first visit to Gatebil aged three weeks. Mission accomplished then, and what a project this old Volvo turned out to be!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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and, this is street legal?!


so I guessed right then ;)


Wow Dino! Great capturing the true essence of this car and the back story.


Acc Here you go. Its in Swedish tho.


Nice build but I found one (common) glitch. Those Aerocatch bonnet locks are mounted wrongly and they are pointing to the wrong direction. If you forget close them fully the airflow might open them if they are mounted that way. The mounting direction should be a safety function to keep them closed. It's weird that so many do this mistake.


another awesome car beside Nigel Petrie's Hilux


@Swede1234 Acc thx, hurray for google translate


Wow!  mindblowing, I was hoping for a feature of this beast. Only thing I don't like are the ovefenders, I think rounded ones would look better. :)


makes me want to throw away my e36... at the same time its kinda inspiring. if a guy can dream that big and make it a reality then my automotive dreams seem much more attainable.


Wow!  Mindblowing, I was hoping for a feature of this beast. AWD Swedish German Japanese quite a mix! Only thing I
don't like are the ovefenders, I think rounded ones would look better.


jdmRob yes it is, sweden has some pretty awesome laws! But it´s not so easy to get it legal, you have to pass three inspections. one when your'e building it, a special inspector comes to your garage, and one when it's completed (same inspector) and after that the "regular" registration inspection. and after that you have the yearly inspection as usual here in sweden.  Sorry about the bad spelling and grammar / Another car freak from Sweden.


"620hp at rear wheels" huehuehue

Nicholas J OGara

ANOTHER rear radiator! Ahh. By the time I finish my project, this trend will be out dated. I curious of the weight distribution on this build. A lot of work has been done and a lot has been moved around.


heat may not be an issue for this car in sweden..but it definitely
would had this car been build here in florida


So cars like this are built in the peoples garages and stuff? I can't even fathom the cars I've seen here that people have built themselves. I mean, I had a hell of a time just just swapping out my clutch in my 240, but a lot of that is due to or incredibly cold winter here in Michigan we just had and the fact that our garage is only a two car and not heated. But the people in Scandinavia are just insane with their cars.


Can't get my head around the fact it has no intercooler, especially considering boost is "ramped up" to "protect the internals". Mind-boggling.


Im speechless.


This is fucking stupid and I absolutely love it.
Hats off to you Filip. This wins everything.


MatsNorway R32 GT-R driveline can be switched to run RWD


Car screams perfection in my book, that twin turbo BMW V8 is the icing on the cake! 
Again I tip my cap to this build!


EricSeanDelaney Yes, you create so much with dedication, a angle grinder and a decent welder.
Some of the parts has been lasercut but most of it is hand crafted. Thankes for yor comment!


dovvv I had liked to use an intercooler but there was unfortunately not enough space. In a later version, it may be necessary with either water-cooled intercooler or 
water / methanol Injection. It's because I'm running E85 it works despite 1.2 bar boost and 10:1 compression ratio. Thankes for yor comment!


Is the BMW v8 the new LS1?

overrated and doesn't belong in this car, especially when Volvo offers much better v8 options...


Timfromsweden thx for the information dude!


dgf I disagree, When it comes to power vs cost the Bmw m60 and m50 engines is unbeatable. The Volvo v8's are still quite expensive. And not sure how well they hold up for 5-600+ hp.


dgf  LS1's aren't dual over-head cam or 4.0 liters. It's BMW's own design. Its a great choice for this car; its cheap, it can handle power, and its a V8. Not much more you can ask for, and better yet, its a proven engine.


This is by far the coolest build I've seen in a while. Everything is put together so well to create a car that has it all. Love this car!

Nicholas J OGara

steelyknives I'll let you know when I have finished mine. "561"


This is a creation for the record books with out a doubt for 2014.


Why the fuck would anyone do this and then put xxr's on it...such shit. Hate it now.






ChristianSchmidt It found me haha


brianelmore181 Yep, execution is really impressive


86foxmann dgf 620 HP at the wheels so 700+ at the crank


kphillips9936 Single turbo :)


aussieANON MatsNorway yes pull the fuse, but best way is to remove the return shaft from the transfer box to the front diff housing


itswhitenoise Thanks Elisabeth, thanks for your help:)


Timfromsweden jdmRob Lots of checks but at least you guys can do it. Try putting something like this on the road in Italy and they'll tell you where to go :(


Rccq This is epic!!

Cannot speak Swedish but the pictures tell the story perfectly. The amount of fab work and quality shown is mind bending for one guy in a garage... Well done Filip!!


Timfromsweden jdmRob Well, it may be "street legal" but it's probably not excactly street legal. The laws state that you may build a car of your own vision and you may infact have it registered as an "amatuer built vehicle" but there is no way what so ever that it will ever be legal with 620 whp. Unless it's well over the three tonne mark on a scale....

Maximum power allowed is 15kW/100kg or about 200 hp per tonne. Now that engine puts out 286 hp stock and I would guess that car hits a weight of no more than 1500 kg which places it very near that limit. With fibreglass body panels I would think it may be even less. Exceptions can be made if brakes and such are high spec, so it is still possible to have the car registered with a low boost turbo setup though, but not with a big ass turbo capable of 700+ hp and certainly not in combination with injectors that can match it. I'd be surprised if they even accepted the dual fuel pump setup should they have allowed the big turbo to pass inspection.

But once all the initial inspections have been passed, you can make a lot of changes that no one will ever notice at the regular yearly inspection. And who's gonna know if you run 1200 cc or 300-ish cc injectors? No one will care about the two fuel pumps if it does not strictly say it's a one pump setup in the papers and so on.

The Governator

Well built, no doubt, but in my opinion the aesthetic of the Amazon is ruined by the overfenders. Besides, I can not help thinking it would probably handle better with the engine sitting a lot lower.

However, I do like the drivetrain / engine combination—it's amazing that people come up with this kind of stuff and actually pull it off so well... Hats off!


XXR's on a build like this?




@Swede1234 dgf Oh, so the Noble M600 isn't good enough for you?


Big Pooky I believe those are his track wheels. A common thing we have been noticing at Gatebil


The Governator In their garage haha!!


its a very nice car and it shoud handel good i think but all you need is horsepower!!!


Beautiful build!  Unless you're planning on building up the engine I wonder why 1200cc injectors were used and whether they impact driveability, especially at low throttle or idle.

I'm supremely surprised that you can track it without an intercooler.  Good job on the tuning!


volvonut90 dgf Its not good enough. The engine still cost a lot if you compare to Bmw's m50 and m60 engines. Cant beat it. And the Bmw engines can handle a lot of power with very small modifications. If I remember right the reliability with Noble M600 isn't that good too.. Know guys that have run turbo m50's with stock interiors and pushing around 500 HP for years. (Swedish) <- Is a perfect example. Stock m50, and was able to get 442HP for very little money.


mikemurphymobile Hi, the EV14 high ohm Bosch motorsport 1200cc injectors are very stable at low PWS. no problem to be stable at lambda 1 at idle. Even the old low ohm 1680cc works really good together with MaxxECU on small vol turbo cars as it has some really nice injector drivers and lambda control. I have about 65% DC at 1.2 bar boost. (E85 Fuel) So for any future engine building there is more fuel available... Thankes! Regards/ Filip

Gianluca FairladyZ

Derpusthefirst Raw power is nothing without control


I don't mind the fender flares and wide tires; it's a nice, aggressive look which IMHO complements the classic shape. But for a little bit of style concession, I would at least paint them to match the body. The next step would be to mold the fenders right in and lose the rivets...


speedhunters_dino Big Pooky what the hell is the point of driving rims you don't dare getting a scratch on.
Magnesium, forged rays, you name it.
you will prolly drive faster with something you don't care about, if you can't afford replacing them, don't buy them.

My opinion, and yeah, I'm norwegian :)


Where can I buy the bodykit ?


c o o l...


Where can I get the fenders?


Where can I get those fender flares?


A Nissan GTR died for this.. and somehow i'm okay with that despite being a purist?