This is what the Volvo P1800 would have looked like when it arrived in 1961: sharper optics, sharper driveline and a completely unfiltered driving experience. Sixty years later, we are finally here on a rain-soaked Nürburgring, with the sports coupe of dreams: 990 kg, 419 hp, rear-wheel drive, manual
box and no ABS. What can go wrong?
The five-speed manual gearbox from Holinger rattles rebelliously with the gears while the BorgWarner turbo with ceramic ball bearings whistles dramatically in the background.
I thought the Cyan Racing technicians said that this unicorn had power steering but it is surprisingly strenuous for the forearm muscles to steer. Tightening, now full concentration applies.
After all, it’s about leaving curve 2 on the Nürburgring GP track with the honor intact. We had expected that our modern P1800 would override more than anything else.
The outer thermometer stays around five plus degrees, the asphalt is damp and the rims are shod with Pirelli P Zero – on an “old” Volvo.
The original car left the factory with engines that had no more than a paltry 124 horses and it probably feels strange to look at the well-known silhouette and imagine that it was once so tame.
For tame, Cyan Racing’s creation really is not! The prototype is also not very affordable with a monstrous price tag of seven million kronor and considering that you do not have an ABS system at your disposal, today’s task is almost anxious.
However, there is a reason for the price. Nothing on the car is original, nothing has been left untouched.
In addition, it is not a home construction we are talking about but a perfect creation of the thoroughbred professionals at Cyan Racing who currently dominate the WTCR with their Lynk & Co.
Breathe. Focus. Where was I? That’s right, curve 2. Steering against works in the end, even if the self-constructed differential lock comes with the sledgehammer at times. However, it does not matter much, here in the spartanly decorated command center we sit strapped with four-point belts in deep shell chairs and can concentrate on what counts: to act and react.
Braking before curve 3, adjust the steering angle. The steering wheel suddenly becomes light and the car continues to storm forward in a straight line. That’s right, no ABS! That the 18-inches lock is obvious. Release the brake and continue.
The car bounces over the curbs, but the chassis with its adjustable anti-roll bars keeps the body stable. The weather conditions will probably not be much better than this, however, no snow will fall and the fog is not too dense.
The BorgWarner turbo has been hidden deep in the engine compartment to make the engine look like a suction engine, just like in the original car.
Accelerates out of the curve in second gear past the Mercedes grandstand. Volvo’s four-cylinder two-liter engine delivers a toxic bite. At 5,000 rpm, the engine turns into a rabies-infected pit bull and continues to spin wildly far past 7,000 rpm.
After 7,500, it’s time for the next gear, the gear selector confirms the selection with a loud clunk. They wanted to preserve the feel of the 60’s when it comes to the gearbox and had to look all the way to Australia to find a gearbox that could handle the engine’s 455 Nm.
Jante may say that the feeling is rather reminiscent of a Ford Transit from the 90s and you would not be completely wrong there either. At least the clutch pedal is slightly tamped, always slightly.
However, the box is not the only thing that is retro here. Take, for example, the wonderful instrument rounds with their lovely, traditional graphics. Look closely and you will find that Cyan Racing’s crazy boilers have scaled up the rating: the tachometer stops at 9,000 rpm and the speedometer at 270 jerks. Cruelly!
Cyan Racing has its roots in the company Flash Engineering which was founded in 1996. Does it feel familiar? Of course, who could forget the STCC cars Volvo 850 and then S40 that were developed together with Volvo? The company was bought in 2005 by employee Christian Dahl and renamed Polestar Racing. Polestar first developed a C30 and later an S60 for competitions around the world and they became successful. In parallel, they also showed how to sharpen the street cars in an ingenious way.
Volvo bought Polestar Racing in 2015 as well as the rights to Polestar, which were later transformed into an electric car brand that everyone knows. Since then, the team works around Christian Dahl under the name Cyan Racing and they most recently won the touring cars world championship WTCR with a Lynk & Co 03 driven by Yann Ehrlacher.
Take your time and you will discover more uncompromising solutions.
The shell is cast in carbon fiber, the chassis has double triangle links all around, the rims have center bolts and the engine originates from the racing cars. The front and rear axles have been moved forwards and backwards by 30 millimeters to give the engine a more central location.
Somewhere among all the modernities, the original coupe is still left with more than just the chassis number and a few pieces of sheet metal. Therefore, you can register the Cyan Racing P1800 as a vintage car. The racing stable plans to produce 25 copies with a price tag of at least five million kronor.
Meanwhile, the prototype sprints towards the Dunlop curve, and sounds as if you had washed your carpenter’s trousers with all the tools left in your pockets.
Overall, the body’s Italian elegance fades which the designer Pelle Petterson got to learn from Frua in a hair-raising driving experience. Running this analog creation is like juggling circular saws that want to kill you.
This car simply requires courage, power and above all finesse, but rewards the owner with his very individual anarchy far away from all the hysteria surrounding the Porsche 911 rest mode.
Further towards the Schumacher-S. The two-liter engine roars, fueled by 1.7 bar overpressure and ends up in a kind of aggressive trance, it screams, trumpets and jaws speeds that you and I eat peanuts.
Sure, the response is not the best from a standstill, but still fast enough and above all homogeneous through the lap register. Three thousand, four thousand, five thousand revolutions, first press then comes the attack. The maximum torque only appears at 6,000 rpm.
In the fast left-right turn Volvo remains surprisingly stable, slowly but surely we begin to trust each other. But the perceived speed is probably eons away from reality.
You can almost hear the speedometer laughing, but that’s exactly what the whole car is about: an intense driving experience that demands and rewards its driver. Well strapped into the shell chair, you want to feel like an STCC professional driver from the past, in a machine as stripped as it can be, but which has been showered with love.
Braking again. The front axle’s four-piston caliper bites hard over the plate-sized 362 mm discs, the wheels continue to spin, steer in with a strong hand and the rear end finally follows. Accelerate out and be on your guard.
The sum of seven million kronor is constantly buzzing in my mind, even though the Cyan Racing people assure that they have more than enough spare parts in place.
Full attack, fourth gear, fast to five as we fly towards the harassment. Down to third, provides helpful intermediate gas, the rear axle is welcome to stay in the track this time. We bravely jump over the curbs, the windshield mists again on the passenger side, the car’s passenger compartment blow fights but the engine’s intense heat leaves them without a chance.
Disturbing but at the same time charming, and above all very suitable for the car’s unfiltered, raw bark and wild nature. The Volvo P1800 from Cyan Racing is a rarity among boutique sports cars and does not want to be anything else.
Here and now there is only me and the machine, we towards the track. This is an insane driving machine that is well thought out in every detail and that never gets boring. Another lap, another intoxication of joy, another panic attack. Heaven is on earth today.
Source: Senaste nytt från auto motor & sport by www.mestmotor.se.
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