(from Volvo Press
Release) Hot Rod champion gives the very first Volvo a new
lease of life
Hot Rod Jakob is a unique combination of classical car-building
craftsmanship allied to modern technology and design. In February
2008 the car will be unveiled at the Volvo Museum in Gteborg before
setting off on a tour of the Nordic region and the USA.
1925-1926: The prototypes of what would eventually become the first
Volvo slowly take shape in a simple workshop on the island of
Hisingen in Gteborg on Sweden's west coast. Volvo's enthusiastic
founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustav Larson and their skilled
craftsmen proceed with immense skill and precision. They design and
engineer all the parts themselves. They test-drive and make changes
in preparation for the next prototype. And in doing so they lay the
very foundation for the excellent quality reputation that has been a
Volvo trademark over the decades.
On April 14, 1927, the very first series-produced Volvo car leaves
the factory that was built alongside the workshop. The model is
called the V4 (the Swedish abbreviation for Open Car, 4 cylinders),
but it soon gains a new pet-name - Jakob.
2005-2006: In Leif Tufvesson's workshop in the rural south of
Sweden, work gets under way in earnest. After documenting the
original in detail, his company Caresto starts building a car that
will develop into Hot Rod Jakob - his personal interpretation of
that very first Volvo. He harnesses the full width of his knowledge,
which has already won him awards such as "Hot Rod of the Year" and
"Most Innovative Car" in that Mecca of Hot Rods, the USA.
On December 18, 2007, in a perfect grand finale to Volvo's 80th
jubilee celebrations, the car is first revealed to Volvo Personbilar
Sverige's highly impressed top management.
"Volvo has always been a special make for me. These were the cars I
learned my skills on in my youth, and I also worked for a while at
Volvo's concept-car department. So instead of obtaining inspiration
from an old Ford, as is usually the case in Hot Rod circles, I
wanted to build something that meant more to me personally. That's
why I chose to bring together the most classic attributes of Volvo,
the Jakob, and my own modern Hot Rod style," explains Leif Tufvesson.
Parked side by side, the similarities between old and new are
remarkable. The curvature of the bonnet has exactly the same radius.
The characteristic windscreen attachment pillar that runs down the
body side follows the original in detail as regards dimensions,
materials and the number of screws used. Equally identical is the
radiator grille with its characteristic mesh pattern and diagonal
bar that incorporates the classic iron symbol. The body has been
built by hand from raw aluminium panels that were bent into their
final shape using a hammer and English wheel. Exactly as it was done
in the prototype workshop back in the 1920s.
That said, however, the differences are naturally also obvious. Hot
Rod Jakob is far smaller than the original. It is a two-seater
instead of offering space for four. And it has those typical Hot Rod
attributes: large wheels, no wings and a muscular rear axle. And if
you get a bit closer it is possible to see differences in terms of
materials and details. The chassis is built of lightweight carbon
fibre, just like today's most advanced racing cars, not from heavy
steel beams as in bygone times. The brake discs are remarkably slim,
but their huge diameter (450 mm front, 515 mm rear) guarantee that
the braking surface is still going to be more than sufficient. The
wheel spokes are made of aluminium instead of wood, but they are
exactly the same in number. The massive tyres with their specially
milled tread in the form of Volvo's iron symbol give an assertive,
modern aura, while the charming luggage compartment at the very
front - in actual fact an elegant leather case - instead conjures up
images of white suits, straw hats and wide skirts.
The entire build is typical of Leif Tufvesson's style. Lean.
Aesthetically elegant. Stylishly minimalist. Largely because most of
the components have been hidden away inside the body. For instance
the springs and dampers, the electrical components and exhaust
system. The result is that the body and axles look like they are
floating in the air.
A closer look at the seating compartment reveals deeply rounded
backrests instead of a single flat bench, creating a robust and
sporty atmosphere. The seats are upholstered in light brown hide.
The piping, the upright rifling on the backrest, resembles the
original, while the perforated flat upper section behind the seat
echoes more modern styling cues. A glance at the instrument panels
reveals no conventional gauges. Instead, all the functions are
gathered into a single, in-house-developed instrument to the right
of the steering wheel. The dial face changes colour and function
when pressed. Press once: the ignition comes on and the button glows
red. Press the clutch and the button turns purple. Press once more
and the engine fires up smoothly at the same time as the button's
colour turns Volvo Blue.
"I really love combining old solutions with my very own ideas.
Creating a fine balance between high-tech and tradition that works
seamlessly. Dusting off old parts to renovate a car to original
condition is not something that appeals to me," says Leif Tufvesson.
But there are nonetheless a number of classic Volvo parts in the Hot
Rod Jakob. The steering wheel comes from a 1962 P1800, as do the
gear lever gaiter and steering column. The brake pedal and brake
master cylinder are from the 140 Series. Supplied by Volvo Genuine
Classic Parts (Volvo has one of the industry's widest ranges of
genuine manufacturer's spare parts). The M90 gearbox is Volvo's last
rear-wheel drive variant and comes from a Volvo 960. The engine, on
the other hand, is brand new - a powerful Volvo T5 converted to run
on eco-friendly ethanol, all so as to underline the lifecycle
approach to this entire project.
The Hot Rod Jakob project has challenged not only Leif's skills as a
car builder but also perceptions of the Volvo brand. Just how does
this car fit in with the image of safe, secure Volvo?
"Absolutely perfectly, in fact. We have for some time now been
moving Volvo towards a more daring design language. The Hot Rod
Jakob does of course go its own way, but I regard it more as a work
of art than as a Hot Rod. The car is built with the very same
Scandinavian design tradition as our modern Volvo models. Lean
elegance, yet in a way that sticks out," says Volvo Cars design
director Steve Mattin.
"That was exactly what made it so exciting. The paradoxes in the
project. Challenging the usual perceptions of Volvo. And showing
that it is perfectly possible to balance modern design and
technology with classic Volvo and Hot Rod traditions," answers Leif
Tufvesson when asked the same question.
After being unveiled at the Volvo Museum in Gteborg on February 26,
2008, Hot Rod Jakob will be exhibited at the four Nordic winners of
Volvo Best Partner 2007. In November Hot Rod Jakob will visit the
SEMA show in Las Vegas in the USA.
Hot Rod Jakob - technical
Carbon-fibre chassis. Steel subframe to carry the engine.
Live front axle with built-in steering gear. Concealed control
arms, spring struts featuring coil-over gas dampers.
Wishbone. Internally fitted, concealed control arms and spring
struts with coil-over gas dampers.
Hand-beaten aluminium body.
Similar to Volvo Jakob Blue. The exact name and colour code of
the original have been lost over the years.
Hand-sewn light brown smooth and perforated hide. Foam padding.
Classic vertical piping in the backrest.
T5, five-cylinder petrol engine with light-pressure
turbocharger, installed longitudinally. Flexifuel conversion so
it can run on both petrol and ethanol. Power output: 265
horsepower. Torque: 370 Nm. Max output: 185 kW.
5-speed manual M90 gearbox (Volvo 960).
Specially manufactured brake discs fitted to the wheel rims.
Diameter: 450 mm front, 515 mm rear. Twin four-pot callipers per
10x22" AEZ Forge rims.
8x19" AEZ Forge rims.
Pirelli Scorpion special 225/55/19.
Pirelli Scorpion special 295/40/22.
Concealed installation of 3" stainless full-flow exhaust system
with racing catalytic converter.